A tremendous range of cosmetics is available in the market today. In the past, women made good use of all kinds of everyday items like fruit, vegetables nuts, and cereals in caring for their beauty. These days even in the most beauty conscious European countries there is a definite tendency towards herbal and natural therapies. Your kitchen larder is a storehouse of beauty aids. You just have to follow a few recipes, pick the ingredients, mix them and you will soon have a beauty lotion or cream in hand. These home-made preparations help beautify the skin and prolong youth without causing harm. Home-made preparations contain no preservatives. These may be refrigerated for a short time, say, for a week. It is advisable to make these preparations in small quantities and bottle them in air-tight jars preferably in China or stainless steel containers which have no chemical reaction.
Since ancient time’s vegetable oils, refined animal fats and the cream of milk have been used for the care of the skin. A number of costly modern creams available in market today are still based on refined animal fats. These helped in keeping the skin smooth. Taking care of your skin is a must in order to remain young, fresh and buoyant for long. During youth the skin is elastic and smooth but as you grow older, your skin also grows and loses its elasticity, natural oils and water content. During older days there were hardly any cosmetics available in the market and home-made preparations were used for skin care.
How to make them
Making your own cosmetics is as simple as basic cooking. Some books on this subject and beauty consultants frighten people off by making things too complicated. Some people never try making their own cosmetics because they think that commercial products must be better. They get this idea just because they cost too much. In fact these ideas are fallacies. Making your own creams, tonics and lotions is easy. By learning to make your own cosmetics, you have at your finger-tips not only more luxurious products than you could afford to buy, but also more of them especially to suit your skin. Most of the recipes mentioned in this book have been tested on me and my clients, and all the recipes are extremely easy to make. They are so foolproof that some of them may even be made within minutes.
Creams and emulsions are all basically a mixture of water and oily substances, waxes and fragrances, in varying proportions.
A slight change in the preparations changes the character of the preparation. You should be careful when measuring the ingredients. The majority of the creams, also, are made basically in the same way. When measuring the quantity the following rough equivalents should be kept in mind:
60 drops = 1 teaspoon = 5 ml
3 teaspoons = l teaspoon
2 teaspoons = 1/8 cup = 1 fl oz
4 teaspoons = 1/4 cup
8 teaspoons = 1/2 cup
16 teaspoons = 1 cup = 8 fl oz
Since volume and weight are different measurements, it is not possible to render the one in terms of the other in a simple table of equivalents, because bulk and weight do not correspond for all substances. In case of oil, the same oil of different grades may have different weights as below:
60 drops = 5 ml = 1 teaspoon
1,000 mls = 1 litre
1 litre = 1.759 pints
1 pint = 20 fl oz = 0.568 liter
Here are a few more weight measurements.
15.4 grains = 1 gm
28.3 gms = 1 oz
16 oz. = 0.453 kilo grams
1 kg = 2.20 1bs
Oils and waxes should never be exposed to direct heat as they can burn and an intense heat can change the properties of the preparations.
Separate enamel or Pyrex bowls of oils and ways are placed in a large pan filled with hot water (not boiling). When the oils and waxes have melted, remove the bowl from the heat and continue stirring with either a wooden spoon or a glass rod or an electric beater on slow speed. While stirring, add water to the waxes and oils. Soon the cream will cool and thicken. Now add coloring or perfume. If your skin is sensitive or allergy prone, I would advise you to omit the perfume. Continue stirring or beating until the cream is cool, then put it into a jar and it is ready for use. If the preparation does not gel, just remit it and start again. Oleic acid is of great help here. Add a few drops and this will bind together any cream or lotion which looks as though it will separate. Sometimes preparations turn gritty. This is because a particular ingredient has not been properly mixed. At first, it requires some extra effort but once you have mastered the art of preparing home-made cosmetics, it is very easy.
Most of the ingredients used in preparing these creams and lotions are readily available from a good chemist or health food shop. Beeswax, emulsifying wax and coca butter can be ordered through a dispensing chemist. If you are unable to get them in a small quantity, you can always share with a friend. Lanolin is readily available from the chemist’s shop. There are two types of lanolin-anhydrous and hydrous. Anhydrous lanolin should be used because it has less water content. In case you are unable to get anhydrous lanolin, you may buy hydrous lanolin, but add less water to the preparations as hydrous lanolin in itself has a fairly large water content. The preparation with anhydrous lanolin will be much richer and greasier.
Oils, herbs, brans, lentils, vitamin pills, etc… are readily available from shops. The other chemical ingredients, such as camphor B.P., Fuller’s earth, tincture, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, tincture of benzoin etc, can be purchased from a good chemist or druggist.
Creams and lotions should be filled in small bottles and jars with screw tops. You may use empty medicine, spice or jam jars which should always have labels on it put the date on the labels when you have prepared a particular cream or lotion. In most of these home-made beauty aids I have included a few drops of perfume. This is entirely optional and sometimes they can irritate. Essential oils to perfume most of these cosmetics are lemon-verbena, jasmine, orange, rose and herb oils. In every recipe only a few drops of these are added.
Essential herb oils can be purchased from good herbalists, but you can always make your own perfumed oils. Use any fresh herbs or flowers: thyme, rosemary, basil, lavender, rose petals, tarragon, marigold and jasmine. Crush the herbs with a pestle in a mortar. Take a half-pint bottle, and fill it with three quarters corn or sun-flower and one tablespoon vinegar. Now add two tablespoons of this crushed herb. Cork the bottle and place it in strong sunlight. Shake the bottle at least twice a day. After a couple of weeks, strain the oil. If there is no strong sun light, you can put the bottle in a double boiler and gently heat. If you use a water-bath, always keep the water below boiling point. Do this every day for a week, then strain and repeat the whole process. The oil is ready when it smells strongly of the herb. These herb oils are either used to perfume the creams and the lotions or you can use them for massage.
None of these home-made cosmetics contain any preservatives, so be sure to screw jars tightly. A piece of foil or waxed paper should be placed on the surface of the jar to make it extra tight. The life of these preparations can be lengthened by refrigeration. Keep a small jar in the bathroom and the rest in the refrigerator. It is suggested to make small quantities of the recipe and use them lavishly while they are still fresh.
Niacin M is an effective preservative. When heating the water contents for your recipe, add a few drops of Nipagin M. Stir constantly until the oily globules disperse. With the addition of this the cream or lotion will have a longer shelf life.
The following articles are needed for making these cosmetics at home:
- Enamel or Pyrex bowls
- One large frying pan
- Measuring spoons
- A set of measuring cups
- An electric beater (but it is not essential)
- A liquidizer or a good strong sieve
- A pipette or eye-dropper
- A roll of kitchen paper for wiping jars, spoons, hands, etc.
- Jars and bottles