Monday, December 24, 2012

Recipe for homemade herbal hand cream

Homemade hand cream, what a good idea for a quick last minute Holiday gift for a very good friend of mine.

I've been making this natural and mild hand cream for years now.  It is excellent for dry, dishwashing hands and most skin conditions, especially those caused by allergies.  I call it mild because it has almost no smell, but it is hard working.  It even has some antiseptic qualities to it which can help wounds heal faster (don't apply to open wounds, just ones that have scabbed over) and prevent scarring.

I used some herbs I collected from the garden over the summer and dried on a baking tray in the shade, you can choose your own combination of herbs, or even use none at all.  Rosemary works well for dry, flaky skin.  Calendual has magic skin healing qualities, so do roses and lavender, well that just smells nice and felt right.

This recipe makes quite a bit, enough for 4 of your friends and 4 months use for yourself.  Please use it within a year of making.

Homemade Herbal Hand Cream

1 and 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup bees wax (when melted)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp castor oil (optional, but helps to draw out toxins from the skin)
small handful of dry herbs (I used calendula, rose petals and lavender)

Raid the recycling bin for a few old (heat friendly) glass jars and clean them out really well.  Also, at this stage it's a good idea to get your tins and jars ready for the finished lotion.    Something wide mouthed with a lid works great.  Altoids tins don't work all that well due to the holes where the hinge goes.

Everything, jars, final tins, everything needs to be dry before you start.

In your largest jar (I used a cheeze wiz jar that the Ancient had finished with) put the olive oil and herbs.  Save a few perfect looking herbs for decorating the finished lotion.  Place the jar in a pot and fill the pot with warm water so that it is just about the same level as the oil, maybe a bit higher.  This makes a poor mans double boiler.  Place the pot on medium heat.

In the smaller jar, place some chopped up beeswax and place this jar in the water next to the oil and herb jar.

When the beeswax is melted, you can turn down the heat and start straining the herbs from the oil.  If you don't get them all out right away, don't worry, you can strain it again when you fill the pots.

Combine about 1/2 cup of coconut oil to the olive oil.  Feel free to bring up the heat again at this point.  When the coconut oil is completely melted, CAREFULLY poor about 1/2 cup of melted beeswax into the oil.  Mix it all together and test the consistency by dripping a few drops onto a tin, letting it cool, and feeling how creamy it is.

If it's too solid, add more oil, if it's too liquid, add more melted beeswax.

Make certain you have the honey and castor oil right ready.

Remove the jar from the water, and very quickly add honey and castor oil to the lotion, sir very well.  Poor through a strainer into the jars.

Leave it somewhere with the lid off where it won't be disturbed until it starts to go creamy and the top just starts to solidify.

Place the remaining herbs on top of the lotion, and press gently with your finger.

Infusing the herbs into the oil like this gives a very mild scent but also helps impart some of the healing qualities in the herbs into your hand cream.

You can add essential oils to the cream at the same time as the castor oil, but I don't recommend it.  Essential oils can be as harmful as they are helpful, and if you are making this for someone with skin troubles, it is best to keep things as gentle as possible.

Correction, this is NOT vegan friendly due to the beeswax and honey, but it is suitable for most vegetarians  and will work well for most people with Allergies.  If you are giving it away, make sure you include an ingredients list.

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