Of Rosewater and Glycerin

A few months ago, I bought rosewater online.  Mainly because I love the scent of roses, but also because I wanted to make some rosewater and glycerin hand “lotion” like Grandma used.

In early March, with the rumblings about Covid-19, I looked up a how-to on making homemade hand sanitizer.  Hm.  It also requires glycerin.  I looked at ingredients and not amounts.

Thinking to make both hand sanitizer and rosewater lotion, I ordered a gallon of glycerin on Amazon.  It has been sitting here for a few weeks because I’ve been busy with other things.  However, the other day I decided to drag out the recipes and make something.

Oh, boy!  The recipe for hand sanitizer uses 91% alcohol and glycerin in a 2:1 ratio.  The rosewater and glycerin is at 4:1.  Needless to say, if I can find the alcohol needed to use all of my glycerin as hand sanitizer, I’d probably be able to keep my whole neighborhood sanitary for a decade.

I have thus far used about 2 cups of the glycerin.  So I’m going to have to search for other uses for it.  However, I’m glad I took this little foray into home crafting.  The hand sanitizer is incredibly softening and moisturizing.  As is the rosewater and glycerin.  So much better than commercial products and lacking the preservatives.

One blog suggested using the rosewater blend very sparingly on the face for people with oily skin because glycerin is a humectant – it draws moisture to the skin.  Sounds good, right?  But it also attracts dirt that can clog the skin’s pores.  I’m thinking it is best used at bedtime and washed off in the morning.  It is thin, so I use it in a tiny spray bottle, and spray it onto my palm.  I use my ring finger to apply it around my eyes and it feels amazing.  It absorbs into the skin around my eyes quickly and is very soothing.

The recipes follow, with links to the original blogs where I found the information.  I hope you find this interesting and educational.

Homemade Hand Sanitizer



91% or higher isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol alcohol

Aloe vera gel or glycerin

Essential oils (optional)

Bowl and spoon

Storage bottle or container

Funnel (optional)

Step 1.

Combine ⅔ cup of 91% or higher alcohol with ⅓ cup of aloe vera gel or glycerin in a bowl and stir until blended.

Getting your ratios right in this step is critical. By combining two parts of 91% or higher alcohol with one part softening agent, you’ll land at about 60% alcohol content in the final product. Hand sanitizer that’s less than 60% alcohol will not be effective.

You can also increase the alcohol content to about 68% by combining ¾ cup of 91% or higher alcohol with ¼ cup of aloe or glycerin. Aloe or glycerin helps prevent the alcohol from drying out your skin.

Step 2.

Optional: Add 5-10 drops of essential oils to reduce the smell of alcohol.

If you’re sensitive to the strong smell of alcohol, you can add several drops of essential oils to your hand sanitizer. Do not add too much essential oil or you will dilute the alcohol content of your sanitizer below the 60% alcohol threshold. It’s important to note the active ingredient here is the alcohol, not the essential oils.

Step 3.

Bottle your hand sanitizer mixture.

Once your hand sanitizer is mixed and complete, pour the mixture into a container or bottle for use. You can purchase an empty bottle with a squirt top or pump from your local drug store or recycle a washed-out hand sanitizer bottle. If you have a funnel on hand, it can make it easier to pour the hand sanitizer into your storage containers. Once it’s bottled, your hand sanitizer is ready to use!

My notes:  I found that adding essential oils was a waste because the scent didn’t come through.  I used the recommended amount of grapefruit EO simply because I love the smell.

Also, the hand sanitizer is very thin.  If you re-use a hand sanitizer bottle, be careful when you apply it, as it will shoot across the room and scare the cat.  Okay, only halfway across the room, but the cat was there and she did get scared!

Rosewater And Glycerin Moisturizer


  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 4 tablespoons rose water
  • Glass dropper bottle
  1. Combine the ingredients in a glass dropper bottle.
  2. Close the lid tightly and shake.
  3. Pour two to three drops on your face and massage well.
  4. Use it two times every day, once in the morning and once at night.

As I said, I use mine in a spray bottle with a very fine mist.  I imagine this will be very soothing on a hot summer day, even more so if it is refrigerated.

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