Want to learn how to make some cool skin-care products in your own kitchen? There are many you can make using just a few items you can purchase at your local natural health store, food co-op or even a good supermarket.
Dina Falconi, founder of Falcon Formulations, in Lyonsville, N.Y., and author of Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair (Ceres Press, 1997) shares some of her recipes below. She and her husband Tim forage and cultivate the medicinal herbs, fruits and flowers that go into their products. Here are her basic techniques for formulating creams, oils and cleansers.
Falconi prefers using food-grade oils and natural ingredients (see below). Be aware, though, that oils vary in their shelf life; bacteria can grow on the surface of unrefined oils.
As a rule, liquid and solid oils are considered your base or carrier oils; essential oils are used for their scent and anti-microbial properties. If you prefer unscented, you may opt out of using them.
You can also purchase ingredients online from Jeans Greens (www.jeansgreens.com) or Mountain Rose Herbs (www.mountainroseherbs.com).
Equipment You'll Need
• Measuring spoons
• Double boiler or mixing bowl that fits on top of a large heavy-bottomed pot
• Wooden or stainless steel mixing spoon
• Measuring cup
• Mixing bowls of various sizes
• Food processor
• Small jars with covers (preferably glass)
• Rubbing alcohol for sterilizing
• Rubber spatula
• Candy thermometer
Liquid Carrier Oils (highest degree of richness to lowest)
7. Apricot kernel
8. Grapeseed oil
1. Coconut: cooling, good for sunburned or irritated skin; long shelf life
2. Lanolin: emollient and reparative (can be allergenic); long shelf life
3. Shea butter: therapeutic, heals bruising or soreness; long shelf life
4. Cocoa butter: waxy, protective; long shelf life
5. Lard: moderate shelf life
1. Chamomile or blue chamomile: anti-inflammatory; good for eczema and psoriasis
2. Ginger: warm and spicy; warms muscles
3. Lavender: strong, clear; used for relaxation
4. Peppermint: cooling, stimulating; good for fatigue
5. Rosemary: invigorating; good for circulation
6. Sandalwood: hydrating and anti-inflammatory
7. Fennel: antispasmodic; massage oil
8. Tea tree: antifungal, antibacterial; good for wound care, acne
9. Wintergreen: analgesic; used for pain
Basic Body and Hand Cream
9 oz water
6 oz liquid oil
3 oz solid oil
1 oz beeswax
3 tsp essential oil
Soothing Body Cream
9 oz distilled water
6 oz sweet almond oil
3 oz coconut oil
1 oz beeswax
3 tsp lavender essential oil
1. Begin by wiping all equipment you are using with rubbing alcohol, including spoons, work surface, etc.
2. Put about 4 oz water from your sink in the bottom pot of a double boiler, or a heavy bottomed pot.
3. Melt your solid oil, liquid oil and beeswax in the top pot of double boiler, or measuring cup, or mixing bowl on top of heavy pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until fully melted (about 15 minutes).
4. Remove from heat. Cool mixture to 100° F. (* important to follow. Use candy thermometer).
5. Pour mixture into mixer and set aside.
6. Heat the 9 oz distilled water in pot until it reaches 100° F. (* important to follow. Use candy thermometer.) Remove from heat.
7. Pour water into mixer and slowly add cooled mixture. You will hear the cream begin to emulsify (makes a slapping sound). Set timer for 5 minutes. (If you turn off too early, mixture will separate).
8. Put cream into a glass bowl or container, and then add essential oil. Do not add essential oil to a plastic mixing bowl- IT WILL STAIN AND LEAVE RESIDUE.
Basic Body Oil
1 oz carrier oil (liquid or solid)
30 drops essential oil.
Great Nighttime Massage Oil
1oz cold pressed unrefined organic sesame oil
30 drops lavender essential oil
1. Mix together in glass container and shake gently.
2. For best results, allow skin to air-dry after bathing and apply when skin is still slightly moist.
Basic Facial Cleanser Honey Pat
Cleans and hydrates
½ tsp of raw unfiltered honey
1. Place honey into hand and rub between your palms to warm it up. Massage it onto your face and neck, keeping on your skin for 2-3 minutes.
2. Gently rinse with warm water.
For acne: Add 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil to ½ tsp of honey. Keep on 20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
Once you master some of these basic formulas, have fun and experiment!
To your health!