How I save 90% on my facial cream, and get a better product

A few months ago I had the privilege of studying herbal manufacturing as part of my naturopathy degree. We learnt how to make all sorts of creams, infusions and herbal extracts, as well as herbal pills and poultices. When I made a cream for my assignment, I got curious as to the costs of what I’d prepared. 100g worked out to cost $3AUD! This was a revelation to me, as I’d been forking out $45 a jar for years. As it turned out, the cream I made was full of natural ingredients including beneficial medicinal herbs.

The basic formula for making a cream with any choice of herbs comes from the book Herbal manufacturing: How to make medicines from plants (This is not an affiliate link, I just think people need to be empowered to make their own!).

I played around with the formula a bit and here’s what my skin loves. Be careful though, only use the ingredients right for your skin, ask your health professional if you’re not sure. Patch test before use and stop if any sensitivity occurs.

Ingredients I used:
* Calendula flowers/ petals
* organic olive oil
* cold pressed rosehip oil (optional, good for anti-ageing but not suited for rosacea)
* emulsifying wax
* citricidal (from grapefruit, to preserve)
* distilled water
* chamomile flowers/ petals
* vodka
* tea tree essential oil or eucalyptus essential oil
* 2 x 500ml glass jars
* 2 x brown paper bags
* 200ml amber glass jar

Phase One

1. Ensure all surfaces are clean. Wash the 500ml glass jars and place in an oven set to 150 degrees Celsius. Leave them in there for half an hour to sterilise – no one wants bacteria on their face!

2. Place 1 part (e.g. 20g) of dried calendula in a mortar and pestle and grind to smaller size. Place in the sterilised 500ml glass jar and pour 10 parts (e.g. 200ml) of olive oil into jar and seal. Shake jar and place in brown paper bag in cupboard. Shake it at least once daily for two weeks. Strain through clean muslin. This is calendula infused oil.

3. Place 10g chamomile in mortar and pestle. Grind the chamomile and place in the second 500ml glass jar. Add 40ml of vodka. Seal and place in brown paper bag. Shake daily for two weeks. Strain through clean muslin. This is a chamomile tincture.

Phase two: two weeks later

4. Add some ground chamomile flowers to a pot with 100ml of distilled water and simmer down to 90ml. Strain through clean muslin. This is your chamomile infusion.

5. Put two pots half filled with water on low heat. Place a pyrex bowl in each. One will hold the oil mix and one the water mix. Also, wash and dry and then place amber glass jar in an oven at 150 degrees Celsius.

6. In the first add either 30ml of calendula infused oil and 20ml of rosehip cold pressed oil, OR simply just 50ml of calendula oil. Add 1tbsp of emulsifying wax and allow to slowly melt together.

7. In the second, add 10ml of chamomile extract and 90ml of chamomile infusion. Slowly heat to the same temperature as the oil mix.

8. It is essential to measure that the oil and water mixtures are the same temperature before combining. The order of combination is also vital. Remove both mixtures from the heat.Take the water mix and very gradually add to the oil mix, while whisking the oil mix continuously. Keep whisking until all the water mix is added, and the two mixtures are completely combined and have a silky creamy texture. This may take some time but inadequate mixing will cause separation.

9. Once slightly cooler, add 10 drops of citricidal and 5 drops of tea tree or eucalyptus essential oils. Combine with whisk. Pour into amber glass jar. Allow to cool, then seal and label with ingredients and date.

So, that’s how I make heavenly face cream. I’d love to hear from you, do you have a natural cosmetic recipe you’d like to share?

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