Guest Blog: Indie is the new Green by Jessica Gonacha – Make your own hand/body cream!

I always get really excited when I’m about to run out of hand cream. I know that sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but it really truly is something I look forward to, because it means I get to make MORE. That’s right folks, I make my own eco-friendly hand-cream (more like body cream– I use it for everything!) and my skin will accept no other. It has become spoiled and snooty about what it likes to have soaking into it, and I love dreaming up new concoctions when the time comes.

Here is a very versatile recipe for a rich, emollient, decadent cream that will last you a good long while. And I promise you’ll be excited when yours runs out, too!



6 oz. raw shea butter
1/2 oz. jojoba oil
1/2 oz. sweet almond oil
1/2 oz. grapeseed oil
1/2 oz. apricot kernel oil
1/2 oz. lanolin (melted)
1/2 oz. aloe vera gel
1/2 oz. glycerin
1/4 oz. Vitamin E oil
5-10 drops favorite essential oil (some of my favorites are geranium, rose, clove, clary sage, cinnamon, and lemongrass.)



Place all ingredients in a large bowl (I like glass or stainless steel). Mush together with your hands to get the lumps out of the shea butter. (Alternatively, you can use an electric mixer, but doing it by hand is the eco-friendlier way, because it saves energy!) Adjust accordingly– if you like a thicker cream, more lanolin and less oil will do the trick; a thinner cream can be made by adding more oil or aloe vera juice)


P.S. This recipe is very fudgeable—what I usually do (since I’m the type that doesn’t really measure things and just eyeball it!) is just toss everything in a big glass bowl and mush it up with my hands and if it needs adjusting I’ll add a little oil here, a little lanolin there…!

Have fun!



*My personal favorite: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary in Boulder, CO
*Goldthread Apothecary in Florence, MA
*Botanica Medica in the UK
*Mountain Rose Herbs
*The Essential Oil Company

If you want more information about essential oils, herbs, oils, aromatherapy, etc, here are a couple of great resources:
*Aroma Web
*The Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose

GREEN CHALLENGE: change 1 (or more!) light bulb in your house or studio to a compact fluorescent bulb!

About Jessica:
Jessica is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia who is endlessly creating. Her work includes paintings, drawings, illustrations, and paper goods and is vibrant, colorful, and charming. Her work can be found on her site, in her Etsy shop and in the Indie Fixx Shop. You can also read more about Jessica and her work on her blog.


  1. Hey guys…the vitamin E oil is a natural preservative, so that’s why it’s not going bad on you guys:-D.

  2. Very cool. I did some lip balm at Christmas time for gifts, this looks like fun as well!
    I linked to you at by the way.

  3. Cara,

    I’m not the recipe creator but with the small amount of glycerin in mixture, I suspect that it won’t make much of a difference.

    I make lotions from scratch on a regular basis and I usually don’t put the glycerin in because it’s a bit sticky for my personal preference.

    I hope you like the lotion when you make it. It sounds very luxurious.

  4. I’ll definitely try your recipe next time I need lotion. It would be a great handmade gift at the holidays too….

  5. I’m a lotion addict, so thanks for sharing.

    My husband is allergic to glycerin. Is there another ingredient I could use for it? Or would there be a problem if I omitted it from the recipe?


  6. Glad to hear you’re all enjoying it! As for the aloe, I buy 100% pure aloe as well, and I keep it in the fridge. Like I said before, I have never had a problem, and I always keep mine in a jar, too. It is way to thick to put in a pump. I like to use amber or cobalt colored jars to keep the sunlight out. I’ll have to look into the aloe issue some more!

    PS- I’m certainly not posting this as an expert of any sort. 🙂 Just someone who likes concocting things and has found something that works great for me.

  7. I can’t wait to try this! It sounds great and simple to make. Just what I’ve been hoping to find.

  8. I just made up a batch and it’s fabulous. I’m always on the look out for a new receipe. Oh, the green challenge? Too late, we switched all our lighbulbs two years ago. Come to think of it, I have’t bought a bulb since then, either?

  9. Wow, thanks for sharing some of your wisdom. It’s nice to have a pro sharing tips and tricks. 😉

    I really didn’t know that about aloe. The kind I buy does say 100% aloe, but it sounds like there still may be some preservative in it. I’ve never actually used it in any recipes either. So far, I’ve kept to pretty basic experiments with shea and plant oils.

  10. Aloe typically spoils easily, however most commercial brands will actually have a preservative added to it already– you’d want to check the ingredients (the “green” stuff for the sun, especially, is not what’s meant here… you’d want to get something pretty pure). The rest of the ingredients are all pretty stable and have shelf lives ranging from 9-24 months. Vitamin e and certain essential oils have antioxidant properties, which can help prevent rancidity.

    Pumps are definitely more sanitary, in general. Another way to protect your products (handcrafted, or otherwise): keep them out of the bathroom! The what seems like universal suggestion, “store in a cool dark place” is usually a very good one =)

  11. Luscious Naturals, is that because of some particular ingredient in the mix or do you just think pumps are more sanitary in general?

  12. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a problem, since the aloe gel does contain water.

    Then again, depending on where you source your aloe gel, it may contain a preservative (most of them DO contain one) that is saving the cream from going south on you.

    This does sound yummy though–I might have to try it out.

  13. That seems to make sense to me, Jess. Just make a small enough amount to use up within a couple of months.

    I also use plenty of purchased products without any preservatives in them and I’ve never had them go bad either.

  14. Oh! I can’t wait to try this! I’ll have to start trying to find the ingredients. Thanks for the tutorial.

  15. i’ve kept mine for several months at a time and have never had any problem. perhaps i’m just lucky…? since there’s no water in it, it doesn’t get moldy or anything. you can always keep it in the fridge for added protection!

  16. Awesome tutorial!

    The only thing I’d want to add is that one should be *very* careful about where/how they are storing the cream, and how long they keep it for since there is no preservative in this formula–and while, in an ideal green world, there wouldn’t be the *need*, they are unfortunately necessary! =)

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