Feed the skin you’re in. We pay a lot of money for designer products, but what kind of ingredients are these “designers” using? In the last few blog posts we talked about how the skin is a window into health. Read on for how to design your own skin cream.
Our skin can be a predictor of internal illness or disease before it grows into something serious. Taking care of our skin can be a regular way of ‘checking in’ on our inner terrain.
Once we realize how important our skin is as a predictor of health, we learn to nourish it with the ingredients it’s crying out for. That may be an anti-itch cream, anti-inflammatory, or anti-microbial cream.
Making your own cream might feel herculean, but the benefits are sure worth it when you need to customize particular ingredients to feed your skin what it needs. When I started writing my other post, Beauty is Only Skin Deep…Uh, Not I wanted to include a recipe for a simple beauty cream. It just got wayyyy too long, so I’ve included the recipe below. But, the original post is still very interesting. It gives several identifiers for learning to read the skin’s health, how outer beauty can only be tended from the inside, and where to start in terms of nutrition in learning about managing health and beauty.
The Perfect Skin Cream
How to make the perfect cream for supporting the precious skin your in!
Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter
Witch Hazel or Vinegar
Apricot almond, or grapeseed oil (infused with herbs)
Borax or citric acid for perserving
This beautiful emollient cream is an adaptation from Rosemary Gladstar’s Perfect version by Crystal Hamby of Green Blessings. The combination of water and oil combine with nourishing, anti-inflammatory, ingredients such as gotu kola, calendula, dandelion, and comfrey’s soothing, strengthening, and firming properties from the compound allantoin.
If you’ve never made your own lotion before this is the perfect time to learn! Crystal’s recipe is solid and fool-proof. It allows for the addition of essential fatty acid oils and even hydrosols. I prefer to use Veriditas Botanicals Melissa, Orange Blossom, and Wild Sage Hydrosols as they make nice floral notes to my facial creams.
Remember, the key to emulsifying any oil and water-based cream is to make sure your temperatures are both at room temperature before combining. Here are some of the unique medicinal properties of the herbs in this recipe:
Is a genus of about 15 – 20 species in the daisy family, Asteraceae. Also known as “marigold”, they grow wild (Calendula arvensis) and can also be easily propagated and cultivated in the home garden. Calendula is a modern Latin derivative of calendae, meaning “little calendar”, “little clock” or possibly “little weather-glass”. The common name “marigold”  refers to the Virgin Mary. The most commonly cultivated and used member of the genus is the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis). This calendula for this cream is derived from C. officinalis.
Properties: anti-inflammatory wound healer, stops bleeding, and prevents infection. Herbalists use the entire flower head, not just the petals, in preparations for healing cuts, scrapes, burns, diaper rash, sores, ulcers, varicose veins, chapped skin and lips, and insect bites.
As with other members of the daisy family, some people are sensitive to calendulas because of the sesquiterpene compounds that the plants contain.
If you tend to have allergic skin reactions or are sensitive to certain foods, start with a low dose of this herb and work up to a full dose if you don’t experience any reaction.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Are chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion oil heads are soaked in olive oil and used to add essential vitamins and minerals to our cream.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): is also called “knitbone,” “slippery root,” “bruisewort,” and “blackwort.” The plant contains the small organic molecule allantoin which stimulates cell growth, repairs, while also depressing inflammation.
Often considered a common weed, plantain is practically a miracle healer. It has anti-microbial properties. It is an anti-fungal and analgesic. Herbalists use plantain internally and externally for treating blood poisoning, infections, and as a laxative.
How to make it:
Creams are made of a fifty-fifty portion (50%-50%) ratio of water to oil. Choosing ingredients with the best properties for your exact needs is what makes this recipe so versatile. You will use infusions of herbs, oils, and tincture. With a little research, you can determine what actions the herbs have in terms of understanding how to pick the best herbs for your exact skin.
Supplies Needed: Borax or citric acid, Herbal Infused Oils (Dandelion, Calendula, Comfrey), Water: herbally infused, Aloe, Witch Hazel or Vinegar, Beeswax, Lanolin, Double Boiler, Measuring Cup, Blender, Spoon or Rubber Spatula, and Jars.
Combine the water and oil portions separately follow the directions below. Rosemary suggests a ratio of 1 part water to 1 part oil when making her perfect cream. The oils should equal 3/4 cup liquid oil to 1/3 cup solid oil (i.e. cocoa butter, coconut oil, Shea butter, beeswax, and lanolin).
- 2/3 cup distilled water (or tap water): infuse or decoct your herbs of choice.
- 1/3 cup Aloe Vera Gel witch hazel can be substituted to produce a more tissue toning cream, or vinegar can be used if making an anti-itch eczema or psoriasis cream.
- 1 or 2 drops essential oils of choice (you can use 5 – 10 drops per ounce) this helps make a stronger preservative action and a pleasant smelling cream.
- 3/4 cup apricot, almond or grapeseed oil (infused with herbs)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter*
- 1/4 teaspoon lanolin, use a tad less than 1/2 tsp then using only 1/2 oz beeswax
- 1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax: if using 1/2 oz. of beeswax nearly double the amount of lanolin
When melting down Shea butter, meltdown fixed oil first, over the least amount of heat. Then, refrigerate the oil to bring it to room temperature.
Crystal Hamby of Green Blessings also recommends substituting hydrosols, the water leftover from the steam distillation of essential oils,k for the water portion. And oils that are high in fatty acids like rose hip seed, borage seed, black currant seed, pumpkin seed oils to the “oils portion” of your cream.
When adding hydrosols and oils high in essential acids, add them off heat. You will lose the aromatic quality of the hydrosol to heat. Also, oils high in essential fatty acids degrade easily at high temperatures.
If you choose to use hydrosols or other oils you’ll need to subtract that portion from the total amount of water or oil being used for the recipe. For example, if you use 1/4 cup of rose hip seed oil in your cream, you will subtract 1/4 cup from the total 3/4 cups of oil called for in Rosemary’s cream recipe; there fore you would need 2/4 cup fixed oil and 1/4 cups of rosehip seed oil. You would add the 2/4 cup fixed oil to the pot and melt in your other ingredients, then once melted take the pot off the heat and stir in the 1/4 cup rosehip seed oil before pouring the oil portion of cream into the blender.
Begin by making the oil portion. In a double boiler over low heat, combine the oil portion of ingredients. Hea them just enough to melt.
While the oil portions are melting make the water portion. Begin by making a water infusion or decoction from your herbs of choice. Learn how to make a water infusion or decoction here:
Once melted, pour the oil portion into the blender.
Strain out the herb from the water infusion/decoction into a glass measuring cup. Add the aloe and set aside.
Too lengthen shelf life you may add borax or citric acid. Add them to the water portion after the herbs have been strained out, and beffore the aloe is added. Stir the powder into the hot tea until dissolved. You will need 1 tsp of borax, and/or 1/4 tsp citric acid. You can also use alcohol tincture as a preservative. 5 – 10 drops of tincture may be used per 3 ozs. of liquid.
Let both mixtures cool to room temperature. The oil mixture should become thick, creamy, semisolid, and opaque.
Once both phases have cooled to room temperature, add the essential oils and vitamin E oil to the water portion in the glass measuring cup (if adding).
Now it’s time to blend. Stir the oil portion, making sure to scrape the sides of the container so that there is no solid chunks hanging on the walls of the blender.
Next, turn on the blender at the highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle, pour the water mixture into the center of the vortex of the whirling oil mixture.
When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream. If the water portion begins to sit on top of the cream turn the blender off and scrape down any remaining solid oil portions from the sides of the blender and from the blades. Turn the blender back on high and pour the water portion in a thin drizzle into the center of the vortex again. Keep doing this process until the water portion has been incorporated.
When the blender coughs and spits and the cream looks thick and white, like butter cream frosting, turn off the blender – do not over blend! You may, or may not use all of your water mixture – this is common when you use the heavier butters in place of the coconut oil, and often the blender will seize up relatively early. Once the water just sits on top, stop blending. If you have remaining water, you would like to mix in, simply hand stir in the remaining water. Once the water has been incorporated, turn the blender on briefly to whip any water that may have settled in the bottom.
Pour the cream into jars, label, and store in a cool area.
This is very important. Wipe all surfaces down that have come into contact with beeswax. Before washing them with soap and water. If you don’t take this first step, you’ll have beeswax in the pipes of the sink and that’s not good.
Using paper towels wipe all surfaces down until they look clean.
Once the salve mixture has been cleaned off of the surfaces with paper towels, wash them with soap and water.