The weather on the Isle of Man over the past few weeks has been hot, then rainy, then windy, then back to being sunny again. It's nice to have a bit of moisture for growing plants but the constant change is hard on your skin, and can leave it feeling chapped, dry, and in some cases burned. The simplest remedy to treat environmental damage is to moisturise it with protective cream. You could of course buy it but it's far more fun and less expensive to make it yourself. Another benefit to making your own is that you can control which ingredients you use and keep it as natural as possible.
Making handmade and natural creams is easier than you might think. Lotions and creams are basically water and oil held together by a cosmetic emulsifier and topped off with optional ingredients such as essential oils, luxury oils, preservatives, and other extras. You can think of making a cream like you would of making mayonnaise - but instead of using egg to bind water and oil together you use Emulsifying Wax. Though there are other emulsifiers, E-Wax is the easiest to use for the home and hobby beauty producer.
The ingredients in this recipe for natural body cream are chosen to help soothe irritated skin, to moisturise, and to promote healing. Included is an infusion of oats which creates natural glide and helps treat inflammation and sunburns. The extract of Calendula petals helps to promote healing of minor cuts and reduce the chance of scarring and honey provides natural moisture and additional healing properties. It's a simple recipe using only a handful of ingredients and that I feel confident that anyone could make it.
Handmade Calendula, Oats, & Honey Body Cream
Makes approx 100g/ml
To learn more about making infusions in water and oil please read this post
80g Water infused with quick oats
16g Sweet Almond oil (or other light oil) infused with Calendula petals
8g Emulsifying Wax
1g Vitamin E oil
Optional: 5 drops of your choice of essential oil
Optional: Broad spectrum cosmetic preservative
Heat proof bowls and containers
A handheld milk frother
1. The first step is making your oats infused water. The rule of thumb for making water infusions is one cup of boiling (filtered or distilled) water to 1tsp (28g/1oz) dried plant material. Read more about infusions here. To make your oats infusion, pour the boiling water over 1tsp quick oats and allow it to sit for five minutes. Strain the liquid out and discard the remaining oats. Weigh 80g of the liquid and use it for this recipe.
2. To make your Calendula infused oil please again refer to 'Oil Infusion' in this blog post.
3. Place your oil and emulsifying wax in a heat proof container and melt them in either a microwave or a double boiler (essentially a pan set within another pan filled with hot water).
4. When the oil and wax are completely but only just melted (you don't want it to get super hot), submerge the milk frother in the oil and slowly add the oats water. Turn the frother on but try not to get air into your cream. Keep 'frothing' until your mixture resembles cream/lotion. You can also use an ordinary whisk for this step but again, avoid getting air into your cream if you can.
5. Add the honey, vitamin e oil, and the optional ingredients and stir them in well. Spoon the cream into an air-tight container and use within one week if you have opted to not use a preservative. A preservative can extend the shelf-life for eighteen months or longer.
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