I have had a very productive day today making my own creams, I am so happy with the result! Making your own hand-made cosmetics is so very rewarding.
I had ordered some ingredients a while ago from the soap kitchen, and made my first cream a couple of months ago, but it wasn’t exactly a success that time. So, today I decided to try a couple of new formulas and they both worked really well.
I made a body lotion and another lighter cream for the face.
The one for the body has a very simple formulation and I didn’t think too much about what oils to use or not, as I am not too fussy with my body creams (yet!). However, I’ve got a much more reactive skin on my face, so I choose very carefully the ingredients for that one.
Let’s start with the body lotion (500ml):
Tangerine and rose water body lotion
50ml mineral oil
50ml safflower oil
7 tsp emulsifying wax (I used emulsifying wax BN, which has cetearyl alcohol added)
360ml deionized water
32ml rose water
8 drops of tangerine essential oil
1ml parabens (preservative)
First of all, I sterilized the pots I was going to use for my creams by boiling the pots for a few minutes.
I had all the tools I needed to use very clean, and apart from that, I took a piece of kitchen roll, poured some surgical alcohol onto it and rubbed the tools and the inside of the pots with it too.
I mixed the oils in one pot and the water, rose water and glycerin in another pot, having the “oil phase” and “water” phase in two different pots. The next step is to warm these two phases up (water and oil) in two hobs, separately. Ideally, a termometer is needed, as they need to warm up until they reach around 70 deegres C. I haven’t got a thermometer though, and I did this without it, but I will definitely buy one for my next hand-made creams to be more precise.
I added the emulsifying wax to the oils when they were already warm and help them to dissolve with a whisker. Once the liquids are hot enough, turn off the hobs and pour the water phase into the oil phase stirring with a whisker. I was stirring for the whole time pretty much until this mixture cooled down to a bit more than room temperature. Once at that temperature I added the tangerine essential oil and the preservative and stirred for another few minutes.
Then I waited until it was completely cool and poured the cream into the container.
Lavender facial cream
10ml safflower oil (non-comedogenic, what my skin needs!)
5ml argan oil
1 tsp emulsifying wax
30ml rose water
53.5ml deionized water
5 drops essential lavender oil
5 drops tea tree oil
0.2ml parabens (preservative)
The procedure is the same as in the previous recipe. Mix the oil phase ingredients (safflower oil and argan oil), and separately the water phase ingredients (deionized water, rose water and glycerin) and warm up to around 70 degrees C. After making sure the emulsifying wax is completely dissolved, pour the water phase into the oil pase and stir with a whisker until it cools down. When it is not too warm, the essential oils and preservatives can be added and stir for a bit longer. Pour into clean container once it is completely cool.
There are a couple of ingredients in these recipes that I’ve read a lot about online and they don’t have a good press among some people who make cosmetics and take pride in using natural ingredients. These ingredients I am talking about are mineral oil and parabens (used as preservatives). I have used this ingredients for these formulations and I don’t have any problem using them, actually I’ve got my own opinion about this that I would like to share here.
Well, first of all, I must say I am no expert and this is just my opinion.
First of all, about the mineral oil…it has a bad reputation partly because it comes from petroleum (a refinated form, of course), it is cheap and I have read a lot about it being occlusive. When I read about it being occlusive I was quite surprised. I suffered from acne as a teenager (and beyond…) and unfortunately my visits to the dermatologist were frequent. There was this brand that most of the dermatologists loved: Avene, and they used to recommed, and I loved them as a consumer too! Most of these creams I used in my “acneic” years had mineral oil (or parafinum liquidum), and they never made my skin worsen, and I can tell you that my skin was really really prone to have break outs!
Sometimes only because something is more natural doesn’t mean your skin will react better to it. Actually, lavender essential oil causes quite a lot of allergic reactions in a lot of people (thank God not to me!) and it is natural.
There is a very interesting article on this page about mineral oil if you are interested in reading more about this.
The second ingredient I have used here and it is highly demosinised is parabens.
I haven’t made a lot of research about it to be honest, and I will probably be trying other options in the future. But one thing is clear to me: they are easy to use and they are super effective. And if I am going to use a preservative I want it to be super effective. I don’t want any bacteria in my creams! If a business such as Lush still uses them for their long life creams (and they are all about natural cosmetics), I think that probably this is because it is the safest option. I would like to make creams and lotions for my friends too and be 100% secure I am not going to pass them something nasty on the jar! If you can make your own creams in small quantities so that they last only one week and keep them refrigerated, maybe you don’t need to use preservatives at all.