How to make a Nourishing Hand Balm

Nourishing Hand Balm

Every other month Formula Botanica runs a formulation challenge for its student and graduate community – this month we launch our challenge to make a nourishing hand or foot balm. Our students submit their photos and formulations for products that they’ve made, using our guidance. We’ve provided our sample formulation of a nourishing hand balm in this blog post.

In the past we’ve covered formulation challenges such as: 

We challenged our students to make a lip balm in a jar for their last challenge and the results were brilliant! We are now following on from that challenge by tweaking their formulation slightly and making a nourishing hand or foot balm.

How do we use a Hand Balm?

You would use a hand balm to create an occlusive barrier on the top layer of the skin, locking in moisture and nourishing the hands when they undergo periods of dryness. Imagine a hand balm effectively working as a protective film or layer on the top of the skin. When you struggle with cracked hands or feet, a balm can be emollient and provide relief for your dry or cracked skin.

Finding the right consistency

We frequently see people come to us to talk about their grainy balms, their problems with using different butters and oils and their struggles in finding the optimal concentration of wax in a formulation. Thankfully we teach our students how to manage all of this in our Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science.

Our aim for this month is to create a hand or foot balm with a consistency that’s suitable for a jar. This consistency will vary depending on where you are in the world – some hot climates will require a slightly harder balm, whereas those of us in cold climates will need to minimise the amount of harder ingredients. The overall objective is to create a balm that is solid yet creamy in the jar, but can be easily applied with fingers and leaves a pleasant (non-waxy / non-sticky) feel when applied to the hands or feet.

Hand balm

Our Sample Formulation: A Mother’s Love Hand Balm

This hand balm formulation was designed by our Tutor Teresa Foo who included the following explanation:

The first thing that comes to mind when I design this hand balm is an image of my mother. Her beautiful pair of hands has soothed me when I was a baby, she would hold me during my many episodes of asthma attack, and comfort me when I was bullied by my friends and cooked nutritious meals for her grandchildren. I have made this hand balm that will moisturize her dry and aged hands and most importantly, offers soothing properties when her skin starts to crack and bleed due to too much washing done at the kitchen sink.

This simple and effective blend of botanical oils, butters and essential oils work very well in our climate here in Singapore. The hand balm creates an occlusive layer on the skin without any feeling of greasiness or tackiness. As they always say, a little balm goes a long way. Both Calendula and Carrot infused oils are great to use on dry and problematic skin. It has a subtle earthy aroma from Frankincense and Myrrh, both great essential oils that offer anti-inflammatory and cell regeneration properties and balances out with a sweet scent from Sweet Orange.


15% Myrica fruit wax

20% Cocoa butter

30% Mango butter

18% Macadamia nut oil

10% Calendula infused oil

5% Carrot infused oil

1% Tocopherol

0.6% Sweet Orange

0.2% Frankincense essential oil

0.2% Myrrh essential oil

Method of Manufacture

1. Weigh Myrica fruit wax, Cocoa butter and Mango butter in a beaker and gently melt them in a bain marie.

2. Weight the rest of the other ingredients in another beaker. Make sure the Myrrh essential oil is blended thoroughly as it is a thick resinous essential oil.

3. Once the wax and butters have melted, remove the beaker from the bain marie. Stir to cool down the molten mixture slightly.

4. Add the rest of the other ingredients into the molten mixture and blend well.

5. Stir to trace over an ice cool water bath to cool down the molten mixture evenly and thoroughly. This step is essential as it will prevent the butters from turning grainy in the future.

6. Once trace has been reached, pour the balm into a container and leave in the fridge to set further for the next 12 hours.

7. Remove the hand balm from the fridge the next day and cover the product after the hand balm has returned to room temperature.


Now it’s your turn! Either try making our Nourishing Hand Balm, or design your own formulation. And if you are curious as to how Formula Botanica teaches organic cosmetic formulation in our courses, register now for our sample class.

If you are a Formula Botanica student or graduate, the Formulation Challenge for Mar/Apr 2017 will soon be emailed to you and posted in our online classroom. If you’re not a Formula Botanica Community member, leave us a comment below and tell us your experiences in formulating natural hand balms with the right consistency.


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