In 2005 I started making my own skin creams and lotions, for a couple of reasons. First, money was tight around that time, and second, my skin is very sensitive and reacts negatively to most commercial preparations. And I mean 'most' - not for me a casual trip to Boots for some hand cream!
You see, Mum drilled into all three of us girls the two most important laws of skin care: 1) Never go to bed in your make-up, no matter how tired, and 2) Cleanse, tone and moisturise every single day. At 13 I started buying from The Body Shop, a habit which lasted for twenty years until it became clear their ingredients were far from vegan, and included some unsavoury chemical elements, a decision compounded years later by their purchase by L'Oreal. The Body Shop was supplanted by Neal's Yard, whose products are not only vegan (with the exception of beeswax, so I avoid those particular creams) but are virtually 100% organic, and made in Dorset. It ticks, as we say around here, all the boxes.
Then Leigh bought me a book one day from the charity shop, 'Neal's Yard Remedies Health & Body Care', full of recipes to make your own, with all the raw ingredients available from NYR. I think it was a fiver, and it's saved me a hundred times that in skincare orders.
So. Here's what I made this morning. I'm sharing it in case anyone else wants to try it out (my favourite personalised recipe at the bottom). it can be adjusted to suit (thicker, creamier, less oily) but I fulsomely recommend the book.
The ingredients, including 100% organic Vanilla Absolute - at £16 a bottle, not cheap, but the smell is the sort only a genuine extract can yield, and as such lasts all day.
Stir it up in a main-marie or steel bowl like mine. Don't boil! See how the oils are still, at this point, separated from the watery ingredients.
Cooling in a basin of cold water - it thickens nicely depending on how much water is in the mix. Keep stirring.
Ready for smearing all over!
3tsp organic almond oil
1 tsp coconut oil
3tsp cocoa butter
2 x tbsp boiled water (or use an infusion such as a tea or raspberry leaf, chamomile etc.)
2 tsp emulsifying wax
One or two drops of your favourite essential oil
- Heat the oils gently over a bain-marie (or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) - do not boil.
- Keep stirring and add the emulsifying wax and water/infusion. Add it slowly so the to fully combine - keep stirring!
- Allow the mixture to cool in a basin of hot water (stir frequently) and add any essential oil drops right at the end when it's completely cold (do it before and the heat will damage their power, so be patient!)
Remember this is a fresh product without preservatives, so don't keep it in a steamy hot bathroom - the fridge will make it last longest, bit a cool shelf will do. Or just use it up with gusto!