Pamper Your Hands

One of the joys of belonging to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is the connections I’ve made with other organizers around the country. These connections have given me business opportunities, assistance with clients’ challenges, and precious friendships. Most recently, I traveled to the Howard County Fairgrounds, just west of Baltimore, to meet up with organizer Penny Bryant Catterall of Order Your Life in Bethesda. We spent the day wallowing in the yarn-based fun of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. We didn’t talk about business (well, not much), just enjoyed a gorgeous day immersed in friendship and fiber.

The festival sported the usual assortment of yarn and fleece and fiber tools, and ancillary goods that aren’t specifically for fiber, but tend to appeal to knitters. One of those things was hand lotion. It’s hard to control yarn with dry hands. As Penny sampled some lotion, I commented on how rough organizing is on my skin, and she agreed. After a day of sorting papers, my hands are visibly dry and more prone to paper cuts. Homemade hand lotion is the cure.

Penny asked for my recipe, so I thought I’d share it here as well. Simple to make, and you can add any scent you like. Best of all, you control the ingredients to address your sensitivities or preferences.


Lotion recipe

1/4 cup Vegetable oil. Grapeseed is my favorite, but olive or almond work well too.
1/4 cup Emulsifying wax. Not beeswax or other wax! Emulsifying wax is necessary to bind oil to water.
1 1/4 cup Water.
1 tsp. Shea butter. Optional.
Essential oils. 5 drops is all you need for a lightly scented lotion. Adjust to your liking. For my most recent batch, I used lavender and carrot seed oils, which help my easily-burned skin recover from the summer sun.

Combine the vegetable oil and emulsifying wax in a glass measuring cup, and microwave in short intervals until just melted. Swirl or stir to incorporate. At the same time, heat water to the same temperature, about 150 degrees. I used a candy thermometer the first few times I made this, but now I just wing it. So long as the water is too hot to touch but not yet steaming, it seems to work fine.

Pour the water into the oil/wax mixture. It will instantly turn creamy-white. Stir occasionally as it cools to keep it from separating. When the mixture starts to thicken, add the essential oils and pour into a jar or pump bottle. Let it sit until it cools to room temperature.

That’s it! Next time you tackle an organizing project, reward your hands. Enjoy!

Live simply,
Organize. Reclaim. Emerge.