My father-in-law told me that Walgreens used to sell an ammonia-based hand cream and they were always sold out because the workers at the local Goodyear plant used it to heal their dried and cracked hands.
I found an old recipe for the original Cornhuskers hand cream. This is different from the commercially available stuff that goes by that name.
I reverse engineered the recipe to take out the perfumes and simplify the ingredients.
I use it on my hands and feet. It isn’t greasy and it is highly hygroscopic.
- 4 oz Vegetable Glycerin (Amazon)
- 4 oz 80 proof Vodka
- 4 oz Witch Hazel (Dollar General or Dollar Tree)
- 2 oz Camphor Spirit or 0.2 oz (1.25 teaspoons) Pure Camphor Oil (Amazon).
- Spirits are just oils infused in alcohol.
- 2 oz Household Ammonia Cleaner (Dollar General)
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
Mix all the ingredients together in a pan with an immersion blender or a regular blender.
All the alcohol and ammonia should preserve it for a long time so you can keep it in a mason jar and transfer it to a squirt bottle as needed.
You only need a tiny bit (the size of a dime) per hand.
Original 1920s Cornhusker’s Lotion (not the commercial version)
- 4 oz Foaming Glyceryn
- I can’t find a reference to foaming glyceryn so I assume it is just glyceryn used for soap production.
- 4 oz Bay Rum 70 proof Alcohol
- 4oz Witch Hazel
- 2 oz Camphor Spirits
- The U.S. Pharmacopeia site reports that an accurate camphor spirit solution contains between 9g and 11g of camphor for every 100mL of alcohol. So use 1/10 of 2oz if pure camphor. Also, Vick’s Vapor Rub is 4.8% camphor and other ingredients.
- Ammonium Hydroxide 20ml and 40ml h20 added last (60ml = 2 oz)
- Household Ammonia is 10% Ammonium Hydroxide and 90% water
- Ammonium Hydroxide is about 30%. This recipe calls for diluting it to 30% so just use household ammonia non-diluted.