Life is an adventure of the heart, an adventure into love

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Homemade Chamomile and Viola Skin Cream

I have been wanting to make my own herbal beauty creams for a while now, and I was inspired to make my own yesterday. I knew that I needed Violas to make a particular eczema cream for my daughter, so when hundreds of them blossomed in the garden, I knew I had to go for it! The 'Viola tricolor' have apparently been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory to treat skin conditions. Chamomile flowers have great antihistamine and antiseptic properties, so combined with some lovely nourishing oils this makes a good skin salve. This recipe was adapted from two great books: 'the ultimate natural beauty book' by Josephine Fairley and 'Grow your own drugs' by James Wong. I used Lavender and Chamomile essential oils at the end, but feel free to use whatever smells you love best.

A note on ingredients:
Some of these ingredients may look unfamiliar or difficult to source, but in actual fact it is very easy to get hold of all these things. For the dried flowers and essential oils, I would recommend www.baldwins.co.uk although there are numerous online suppliers of all these things. If you don't have any Viola flowers, then take a trip to a local Garden Centre where there will be plenty of plants for sale. Glycerin can be bought off the shelf from any Chemist and the Olive oil and Honey are fine from a supermarket.

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers
150ml filtered/ rain water
100ml Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon runny honey
10g Beeswax
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Glycerin
2 drops Chamomile essential oil (essential oils are optional)
2 drops Lavender essential oil

Equipment
A saucepan and glass bowl to make a double boiler.
Wooden/ Silicone spoon
Measuring Jug
Measuring spoons
Scales
Hand/ Electric Whisk
Sterilised glass pot or jar to put finished cream into.

Method
1. Put the chamomile flowers, viola flowers and water into a small pan and bring to the boil ; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool, then strain off and discard the herbs. You have just made a herbal decoction!
2. Place the oil, honey and beeswax in the top of a double- boiler and slowly add the glycerine; melt gently on a low heat, stirring. (It is almost worth making this, just for the gorgeous relaxing smell of melting Beeswax- one of my top 5 favourite smells).
3. Remove from the heat and SLOWLY add the herbal decoction, beating all the time with a whisk. You should see the cream thicken, if it doesn't, you have added the herbal decoction too quickly, so please take it slow!
4. Add your essential oils of choice and stir again. Transfer to a clean sterilised jar or pot and cover when cold.

Use within 2 months (I would recommend keeping the cream in a cool dark place).

The cream feels really luxurious and smells lovely and organic. I would recommend using before bed as it does make your face look a bit greasy for a while!

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