After making Wild Rose Water last week I've been using the fragrant pink liquid in various lotion and hand cream recipes. Though some prefer buying ready-made, unscented lotion as a base for their beauty creams, making it from scratch is relatively easy and similar to the process of making mayonnaise. Lotions and creams are created by combining waters and oils using an emulsifying agent and they're one of the most fun and fulfilling products you can make yourself. With good recipes, ingredients, and guidelines I think that anyone could do it.
Rose water is a wonderful liquid to use in your handmade creams since it's a mild astringent sensitive enough for most skin types. Using it on your skin will help soothe inflammation and even skin tone - it also smells lovely. You can purchase true distilled Rose Water in health food stores, middle eastern shops, and even ordinary supermarkets as it's used in cooking. If you have access to fragrant roses, you can also make a version of it yourself using this infusion method.
You'll need quite a few other base ingredients to make your own cream which will include your emulsifying agents, oils and butters, humectants (moisture adding/trapping element), thickeners, and preservative. If you choose not to use a preservative in your cream please note that your final product must be kept refrigerated and should be used within a week. Any product that contains water is a place where bacteria and fungus can grow and they'll be present even if you can't see contamination.
The preservative in this recipe is Geogard Ultra, a broad-spectrum agent used in natural and organic creams and the thickener is Xanthan Gum, a product of sugar fermentation and used in the food industry. Sodium Lactate is a natural alpha hydroxy that is also produced through the fermentation of sugar - it provides a smooth and slick texture and extra moisture. Emulsifying Wax is the ingredient that will marry all the ingredients used to make the cream. On the molecular level this brittle and waxy substance attracts water to itself on one end and oil on the other. If you do not use an appropriate emulsifier then your cream will eventually separate back into water and oil.
The humectant I've chosen for this recipe is pure honey - from my own bees of course! If you don't produce your own you can easily purchase a pot from a local health food store or beekeeping association. In creams honey works to draw water from the surrounding air, helping to keep your skin naturally moisturised. A little bit goes a long way though so be careful not to go overboard with this ingredient - too much and your cream will feel sticky.
The oils chosen for this recipe are protective, moisturising and easily absorbed by the skin. Cocoa butter is a barrier ingredient and will stay on the surface level though the sunflower, shea, and rice bran will seep in to help keep your hands feeling soft and smooth.
Wild Rose & Honey Hand Cream
Makes approx 100ml
1/3 cup Rose Water (84ml)
1/4 tsp Honey (1.8g)
1/2 tsp Sodium Lactate (2g)
1/4+1/8 tsp Geogard Ultra (1.5g)
1 tsp Sunflower oil (5g)
1/4 tsp Shea Butter (1.2g)
1/4 tsp Rice Bran oil (1.3g)
1/8 tsp Cocoa butter (0.5g)
2.5 tsp Emulsifying Wax (3.8g)
1/16 tsp Xanthan Gum (0.2g)
Cool Down Phase
20 drops Vitamin E oil (1g)*
optional - 10-20 drops Essential oil - Rose Otto, Rose Geranium, and/or Ylang Ylang (0.5-1g)
Coffee frother/mini whisk
Two glass containers - mason jars work well
Measuring cups and spoons including mini measuring spoons for 1/16 tsp
Glass or plastic jar to store your cream in
* Vitamin E is an antioxidant and NOT a preservative. It helps keep oils from going rancid but will not impede bacteria from contaminating your cream.
Step 1: Measure your water phase ingredients into one glass container and the oil phase ingredients into another. I've provided both volume and weight measurements so hopefully one or the other will help, especially since some of the ingredients are in such small quantities. If you're using the volume measurements, I recommend that you get a hold of tiny measuring spoons so you can accurately measure 1/8 and 1/16 tsp.
Step 2: Place a dishcloth at the bottom of a sauce pan and place the glass containers on top. Fill the pan with water until the contents of the jars are underneath the water level then bring it up to a simmer. Once that's been reached, let the pan simmer away for twenty minutes. The goal here is to slowly get the contents of both jars to 80°C/176°F. If you think you're going to try this out with a microwave instead please think again. Heating oil in microwaves can be dangerous.
Step 3: The below image shows the process of combining the water phase and the oil phase. After the twenty minutes simmering is complete, carefully remove the two glass containers from the pan and set them on your work space. Slowly pour the oil phase into the water phase stirring well with a spoon. Keep at it for a couple of minutes then swap the spoon for your coffee frother / mini whisk. Whisk the mixture for a few minutes trying to keep the whisk part below the surface of the lotion. Take the whisk out and have a look at your cream. At this point it will have the consistency of dairy cream - don't be alarmed at the liquidity of it since it will firm up as it cools.
Step 4: Allow the cream to cool to just lukewarm then add your vitamin E and essential oils and stir well. Spoon the cream into its container and allow to fully cool and settle. It will continue to set up over the next day or so but feel free to use it right away - especially the leftovers in mason jar. Enjoy ~
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