make: face cream

today i’m continuing to share recipes from my all-natural diy face care regime. previously, i posted recipes for my face wash grains and my herbal facial toner. today i’m sharing my face cream recipe. this cream is light, floral, and sensual. click through for the recipe!

after i wash my face and spritz with a toner, i follow up with a face cream if my skin is feeling dry. i’m going to be honest – creams and lotions are not easy to make. they are emulsions of water and oil, two ingredients that do not like to intermingle. but making your own lotions is very satisfying, and with care and attention to the details it can be done!

another consideration when making creams and lotions is sanitation. because creams and lotions utilize water, they are susceptible to molds. any aqueous solution is. sterilizing your equipment, work space, and containers is absolutely necessary – i might go a little overboard, but better safe than sorry. it would be really sad to whip up a lovely batch of cream only to find mold on it a few weeks later.

because the bulk of the cream i make is to sell, i use a nature-based preservative for even further protection from germs. the one i use is called leuical sf and can be found on cosmetics websites or amazon. the preservative is derived from fermented radishes, which i think is pretty cool! if you are making cream or lotion just for yourself, you can keep it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. even with preservatives, i still recommend storing these items in the fridge to make them last the longest possible.

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last note before i get to the recipe – if you’ve never made cream before, i recommend trying a batch with plain water and a cheap oil like vegetable oil to practice making the emulsion. it’s frustrating to make a cream with infused oils and expensive hydrosols only to have it fail to emulsify (been there done that). practice, and once you can successfully make an emulsion, you’re set to use finer ingredients.

equipment

  • large pot for boiling water/ sterilizing
  • fork
  • metal whisk
  • medium sized metal or ceramic bowl
  • glass jars or measuring cups (half pint and pint sized will do)
  • scale
  • rubber spatula (i use one with a wooden handle so i can take the rubber head off and sterilize it easily)
  • containers (i recommend baby mason jars as they are easily sterilized)

ingredients

(i measure everything in grams for exactness, which is important for emulsions. this recipe makes approximately 1/2 cup of lotion)

  • 110 grams floral hydrosol, floral water, or distilled water
  • 8.4 grams infused (or not) carrier oil (i use sweet almond oil, but olive, avocado, or rosehip oils are good choices too)
  • 12 grams cocoa butter (do not sub shea butter, they have a different consistency imo)
  • 9.6 grams e-wax (do not sub beeswax, it is not a true emulsifying agent)
  • preservative of your choice
  • 15-25 drops essential oils of your choice

first you will need to choose the herbs you want to work with. good herbs for skin care include calendula, elder flowers, comfrey, plantain, roses, lavender, chamomile, chickweed, and others. i make my cream with just roses because let’s face it, roses are heavenly and rubbing that scent all over your face makes you feel like a god(dess).

i start with a rose infused sweet almond oil. you can read my post about how to make infused oils here. i also use rose hydrosol, which can be purchased from mountain rose herbs, along with all the other ingredients in this recipe. finally, i use a blend of rose absolute and rose geranium essential oils.

begin by sterilizing your equipment. working in batches, i boil everything in water for 10 minutes, then set it on a freshly laundered dish towel to dry. use wipes or a cleaner like star-san (we use for brewing beer) to clean all surfaces in your workspace. the bowl you are using likely won’t fit in a pot to be boiled, so what i do is pour boiling water into my bowl and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes, refreshing with new boiling water halfway through. make sure you sterilize lids for your storage containers too.

once everything is sterilized, measure out your oil, e-wax, and cocoa butter into one of your jars or glass cups. measure your water or hydrosol into another. place both containers in a pot filled with about 2-3 inches of warm water (you are essentially creating a double boiler). warm on medium low heat (i use a 3 on my stove) for ten minutes, or until the wax and butter have just melted into the oil. stir occasionally with your whisk if it will fit, or the fork.

once everything is warm and all the wax/ butter melted, it is time to emulsify! pour the oil mixture into your bowl, scraping the sides of the jar with the spatula to get it all out. then, slowly, pour the water in. the mixture will turn milky. whisk, rapidly, for 30 seconds on 30 seconds off. the mixture will begin thin, and as it cools it should emulsify and thicken. i whisk 30 on 30 off for about 3 minutes, then set the mixture aside, come back 3 minutes later and repeat. the whisking is important because it speeds up the emulsion and adds air into the cream, which makes the cream nice and light.

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once the mixture is somewhat thick, it’s time to add the preservative and essential oils. preservatives are added by percentage weight – the total weight of this recipe is 140 grams. the preservative i use is added at a 4% ratio, so i would add 5.6 grams. you can place your bowl on the scale and zero it, then add the preservative directly in. whisk until combined. then add in your oils, and whisk again. keep whisking in cycles until the mixture is almost a lotion like consistency. scoop it into your storage containers, and let these sit uncovered until completely cool. you might need to give them a little mix to complete the emulsion, but i usually find that unnecessary.

once cool, cap and store in the fridge!

phew. making cream is surely a process, but i get so excited every time i make a successful batch because this stuff is heavenly. if you don’t want to go to all the trouble to make your own, i sell my face cream (can also be used on the body) in 4 oz containers over in my shop.

FaceCream1

let me know how it goes in the comments!

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