Directions For Homemade Creams

Begin by pouring 6 oz. Of liquid oil into a 16-oz. Heat-proof measuring cup. Add pieces of solid oil to the liquid oil until the total volume reaches the 9-oz. Mark on the measuring cup; this will give you an exact 3-oz.

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Measurement of solid oil. Next add pieces to the cup until it reaches the 10-oz. Mark; this will give you an exact 1-oz. Measurement of beeswax. Put the cup containing the oils and beeswax into a pot partially filled with water, place over medium heat and stir with a chopstick or spoon until the oils and beeswax melt and dissolve into a single uniform liquid.

Remove the cup from the hot water and allow the mixture to cool to body temperature. I check the temperature by simply touching the cup to my skin. As it cools, the mixture will become thick and opaque. Stir it as it cools to keep the consistency smooth and uniform. If it becomes cooler than body temperature, just reheat the mixture.

While the oils are cooling, pour 9 oz. Of distilled water into a measuring cup and heat to body temperature by placing it into the hot-water bath after the oil mixture has been removed from the heat. Test the temperature with a clean finger.

When the oil mixture and the water have both reached body temperature, pour the water into a blender, food processor (preferably using a whipping cream attachment) or mixing bowl and add optional water-soluble ingredients such as vitamin C, grapefruit seed extract or PABA. Process at high speed. If using a high-power blender such as a Vita mixer, set it on low. Slowly add the oil mixture by pouring a thin drizzle into the whirling water. It will begin to thicken and sputter. Continue to process until the oil and water have blended together into a thick, creamy liquid. This may take 5-10 minutes in a blender or food processor. If using a high-power blender, generally you will only need to blend for 20-30 seconds. If using an electric mixer, beat at the highest speed for about 15 minutes. I get the best results with the Vita mixer set on low speed, where an emulsion occurs in 20-30 seconds. This process of emulsification, whereby water and oil merge into one liquid, is the secret to creams.

Scoop the cream into a 32-oz. Measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring. If you are going to add essential oils to the cream, do so at this point, making sure to stir them in well. Pour the cream into very clean, dry jars, filling them to the top and leaving as little airspace as possible. Cap with tight-fitting lids. Leave undisturbed overnight so that the cream will set thoroughly. Store the cream out of direct heat and sunlight. Use up quickly or refrigerate for longer storage. Unfortunately, cold temperatures often alter the consistency of a cream, causing the water to bead out and the solid oils to turn slightly granular. But this is only a visual problem and will not change the effectiveness of the cream. If the cream should separate after a period of time, stir vigorously to whip it back together. Try adding a pinch of borax while slightly warming the cream as you stir to help reemulsify it.

In applying cream, make sure that your fingers are very clean when you scoop the cream out of the jar, in order to minimize bacterial contact. Because truly natural creams are so perishable, they are hard to come by on the commercial market. In the Resources section I've included a number of wonderful, mostly small companies that make excellent natural creams.

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