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Home > Craft Topics > Projects > Natural Skin Creams

Aromatherapy Projects - Make your own Natural Skin Creams

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Aromatherapy Projects - Natural Skin Creams from Walkabout CraftsList of Herbs and Effects:

Chamomile - Good for all skin types, lightening, tautening, cleansing, anti-inflammatory
Comfrey - Emollient, Healing
Elderflowers - Good for all skin types, cleansing, emollient, lightening
Fennel - Cleansing, gentle astringent
Lavender - Antiseptic, stimulating
Lemon Balm - Tautening
Lime Flowers-Tautening
Marigold Petals - Cleansing, mildly astringent, healing, toning
Mint - Astringent, cleansing, not to be used on sensitive skin
Nettles - Cleansing, purifying, and excellent toner
Parsley - Cleansing and toning for all skin types
Thyme - Toning, refreshing, disinfectant
Violet - Cleansing, emollient
Witch Hazel - Astringent, healing
Yarrow - Astringent

Rich, creamy cleansers, lotions and nourishing creams can be made at home for a fraction of the price of bought skin preparations. You can ensure that only the finest ingredients are used and that animal testing has not been involved. Before using a natural treatment, use a small amount for a skin test to make sure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.

Herbs
It is essential to choose herbs that are suitable for your type of skin. Some herbs have a drying, astringent effect and are good for oily to normal sin. Others act as an emollient; they contain materials that form gels when mixed with water and are therefore good for moisturising dry skin. Some are healing and soothing while others have a tautening effect. The chart below shows a small selection of herbs and their various uses.

Combining Herbs
The herbs can be used singly or mixed to obtain a combination of their different qualities. Try combining any of the following: chamomile with thyme or lavender for cleansing and soothing; comfrey with elderflowers for dry, damaged skin; lime flowers with elderflowers works both as an emollient and for tautening; yarrow and chamomile for cleansing and as an astringent.

Materials and Equipment

Herbs - refer to the list above for suitable herbs. Grow your own or buy them from garden centres.
Rosewater - this is available from chemists and some supermarkets
Witch Hazel - this has soothing and astringent qualities and is available from most chemists
Buttermilk - this is also soothing and astringent and is available from health shops and supermarkets
Yoghurt - use natural, unflavoured yoghurt made from cows or goats milk and, ideally, from full cream
Honey - any brand of clear honey is suitable. It can be used to soften and heal skin and to help bind other ingredients together
Eggs - use the yolk for dry skin and the whole egg or just the egg white for oily skin
Lanolin - this grease is naturally present in sheep's wool. The refined product, a thick, light yellow cream, is available from chemists. Lanolin helps to soften the skin.
Coconut oil - This is the oily extract of the coconut which, unlike other nut oils, becomes hard at room temperature. The best type to use for face and body creams is sold by chemists in small jars. It is white and virtually odourless.
Petroleum jelly
- use the ordinary household type, widely available.
Borax
- this is sold as a household and laundry cleanser. It acts as an emulsifier on coconut oil and lanolin, enabling them to be whisked easily into other ingredients. It acts as a preservative and is only needed in small amounts.
Oils
- almond oil can be bought from most chemists; avocado and wheat germ oils are available from health shops. Buy wheat germ oil in the form of capsules and pierce them to extract the oil.
Beeswax
- purified beeswax can be bought in small blocks or discs from craft shops and herbalists
Fine oatmeal
- available from health shops, it is an excellent skin softener, often used in face packs.
Fullers Earth
- a very fine, absorbent powder used in face packs, available from chemists
Double saucepan
- for the best results, use a stainless steel or enamel pan. For some recipes you will also needs a small saucepan
Pots and Jars
- these should be small with wide necks and well fitting lids
Water
- always use bottled spring water, as it does not contain the chemicals found in tap water
You will also need
- a variety of spoons and heat resistant bowls

Herbal Infusions
A herbal infusion can be made from any of the herbs previously mentioned. Use it warm as a simple cleanser, or cool to splash on your face after cleansing to close the pores and tone the skin.

You will need:
1 oz dried herbs or 2 oz chopped fresh herbs
1 pint bottled spring water
jug
cling film
sieve
muslin or coffee filter paper
jar with cover or lid

Method
1. Put the herbs into a jug. Boil the water and pour onto the herbs. Cover with cling film and leave until the infusion is cold.
2. Line the sieve with muslin or a coffee filter; pour infusion through. The infusion will keep for up to one week in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Steam Cleansing
Steam cleansing is an inexpensive and effective method of deep cleansing that can be used once a week on normal to oily skin types. If you have dry skin, only steam cleanse your face once every two weeks. It is not suitable for delicate or sensitive skin types, skins that flush easily or if you suffer from broken veins. Anyone that suffers breathing difficulties should avoid steam cleansing.

Suitable herbs
You can use any of the herbs from the chart singly or mix together. Or try using one of the following; chamomile with thyme or lavender for cleansing and soothing; elderflower with peppermint for tautening and stimulating; fennel and lime to remove impurities; fennel and comfrey for healing; or nettle and rosemary to boost circulation.

You will need:
Large wide bowl
2 tbsp dried or 4 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped
1 pint bottled spring water
large thick towel

Method
1. Put the herbs into the bowl. Then boil the spring water and pour it over the herbs
2. Put your head over the bowl and drape a towel over your head and bowl to form a 'tent'. Stay like this for 10 - 15 minutes, breathing normally. Wipe your face dry with cotton wool and splash it with cold water or a cold herbal infusion to close the pores.

Face Packs
Depending on their ingredients, face packs can cleanse, tone, soften, tauten, lighten or soothe the skin. Experiment with several recipes, about one week apart, to see which one best suits your skin type.

Using a face pack
Allow plenty of time to lay down and relax your facial muscles after you have applied the pack. This helps soothe lines and wrinkles. To open the pores before applying the pack, first use a herbal steam cleanser or lay a comfortably hot wet flannel over your face for five minutes. Pat your face dry. Spread the face pack over your face quite thickly and lie down and relax for 10 - 15 minutes. Ad the pack dries you will feel your skin tighten. Afterwards, rinse off the pack with warm water. If your face feels dry, use a moisturising cream or lotion. If possible, wait for two hours before applying make up.

Basic herbal face pack
Herbal face packs can be used to soften and tone all skin types. Select herbs to suit your skin type.

You will need:
2 tbsp finely chopped herbs of your choice or 2 tbsp herbal infusion, double strength
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp clear honey
1 egg yolk fro dry skin or 1 egg white for oily skin
fine oatmeal or fullers earth
bowl and a wooden spoon

Method
1. Mix together the chopped herbs or herbal infusion, yoghurt, honey and egg yolk or white in the bowl.
2. Add enough oatmeal or fullers earth to make a soft, spreadable paste. You will need more for the herbal infusion as this makes the mixture runnier

Avocado face pack
Avocados contain vitamin A and E and are especially good for softening dry and normal skin

You will need
1/4 of a ripe avocado
2 tsp clear honey
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
2 tbsp fine oatmeal or fullers earth
plate and fork

Method
Using the fork, mash the avocado on the plate. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to form a fairly thick paste

Strawberry and Yoghurt face pack
This recipe is especially good for softening and tautening the skin

You will need
4 oz strawberries
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
2 tbsp chopped fennel leaves
2 oz fine oatmeal
bowl
fork or potato masher
wooden spoon

Method
Use the fork or potato masher to pulp the strawberries in the bowl and stir in the yoghurt and fennel. Gradually stir in the oatmeal to make a soft, spreadable paste

Honey and buttermilk face cleanser
Honey contains healing properties and buttermilk helps to soften and slightly whiten the skin. Once made, the cleanser will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

You will need:
1/2 pint buttermilk
3 tbsp dried or 6 tbsp fresh chamomile, meadowsweet, elder or lime flowers
2 tbsp honey
glass jar or bottle to store the cleanser

Method
1. Put the buttermilk and herbs into a saucepan and bring to simmering point. Keep at that temperature for 30 minutes,without letting it boil.
2. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the honey; then cover and leave to stand for three hours. Strain and bottle.

Skin toners
When you wash your face with warm water and soap, the water opens your pores and the soap can upset the skins natural acidity balance. Splashing on a cool, astringent liquid closes the pores and helps restore the natural balance.
The most suitable infusions for skin toners are made with astringent herbs. For example, elderflowers, chamomile, fennel, parsley, chervil and rosemary have a gentle effect. Others such as yarrow and nettles have a stronger effect. For very sensitive skins use rosewater.

Rosewater and witch hazel toner
The soothing and astringent properties or rosewater and witch  hazel are especially good for dry and sensitive skins

You will need:
For normal skin : 3 tbsp rosewater to 1 tbsp witch hazel
For dry skin: 3 tbsp rosewater to 1/2 tbsp witch hazel
For oily skin: equal amounts of rosewater and witch hazel

Method
1.Put the ingredients into a bottle and shake together until thoroughly mixed
2. After washing your face, splash on the toner

Alternative toners
To make a herbal rosewater and witch hazel toner, add 4 tbsp of herbal infusion to the basic toner mixture; shake together. For oily skin add 1/2 tsp of benzoin to the herbal toner. Add 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the basic mixture to quickly restore the skins acidity.

Honey nourishing cream
Use this nourishing cream on your face after cleansing and toning. It works best when left on overnight.

You will need:
3 tbsp lanolin
2 tbsp almond or avocado oil
1tbsphoney
2 tbsp elderflower infusion, made up double strength
1 tsp fragrant essential oil, such as rose or lavender
double saucepan
tablespoons and teaspoon
wooden spoon or electric beater
small, clean, wide necked jar

Method:
1.Put the lanolin into the double saucepan and melt it over a medium heat, without boiling
2. Remove the pan from the heat, but leave the top part standing in the hot water. Add the almond oil, honey and elderflower infusion and beat thoroughly
3. Remove the pan from the water and beat the mixture until it begins to thicken. Beat in the essential oil.
4. Pour the cream into the jar and leave to cool before covering

Chamomile or Rosemary cold cream
This recipe is good for all skin types. Make it with rosemary as a make up remover or with chamomile to enrich your skin overnight

You will need
1/2 oz beeswax
3 fl oz almond or avocado oil
4 tbsp chamomile or rosemary infusion, double strength
1/4 tsp borax
1 drop essential oil of rose or lavender
double saucepan
wooden spoon or electric beater
clean, wide necked jar

Method
1.Put the beeswax and oil into a saucepan and place over a low heat until they melt
2. In a small pan, gently warm the chamomile or rosemary infusion. Sprinkle in the borax and swirl around until it has melted
3. Beating vigorously, add the chamomile and borax to the melted wax and oil. Remove pan from the heat and take top layer out of the water. Continue beating until the mixture is cool with a creamy texture
4. Pour the cold cream into a clean jar; leave to cool completely before covering

Elderflower Face Cream
Use this on dry skin areas or on any skin type, especially after exposure to the sun or wind

You will need:
4 fl oz almond oil
2 tbsp lanolin
2 tbsp dried or 4 tbsp fresh elderflowers
double saucepan
fine sieve and wooden spoon
clean, wide necked jar

Method
1. Put the almond oil, lanolin and elderflowers into a double saucepan and set on a low heat. Bring the water to just under simmering point. Cover and keep at this temperature for 30 minutes
2.Quickly strain cream into jar. Leave to cool before covering

Elderflower and Marigold Hand Cream
Elderflowers have a softening and marigolds a healing effect on skin. If you cannot obtain both types of flowers, double the quantity of the one being used

You will need
6oz petroleum jelly
1/2 oz beeswax
2 tbsp honey
petals from 20 marigold heads
1 oz fresh or 1/2 oz dried elderflowers
small casserole dish
wooden spoon
nylon sieve
small, clean, wide necked jar

Method
1.Put the petroleum jelly, beeswax and honey into the saucepan and melt over a low heat, without letting them boil.
2. Stir in the marigold petals and elderflowers. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish; cover and put into a preheated oven at 100'c for four hours
3.Strain through a nylon sieve directly into a jar. Leave to cool completely before covering

Coconut oil  body lotion
Coconut oil helps to make this rich, creamy lotion perfect for using on your hands and all over your body

You will need
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp lanolin
6 tbsp almond oil
2 tsp wheat germ or vitamin E oil
4 tsp of comfrey, rosemary, elderflower or marigold infusion
1 tsp essential oil, optional (if using rosemary, use rosemary oil; if not, use a flower oil or a mixture of flower and citrus)
double saucepan
wooden spoon
small, clean, wide necked jar

Method
1.Put the coconut oil, lanolin, almond oil and vitamin E or wheat germ oil into a double saucepan.  Gradually melt over a low heat, stirring gently. Then beat the mixture well
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and take the top container out of the water. Gradually beat in the herbal infusion, 1 tbsp at a time, and then, if you wish, add the essential oil
3.Pour into jar and leave to cool completely before covering.

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