Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A natural soothing skin cream (with recipe)

A dear friend gave me a jar of homemade "Soothing Skin Cream" for Claire when she was born. Everybody in the family loved that stuff! We spread it on chapped lips and wind burnt cheeks and noses. It was rubbed it into dry elbows, and scraped knees, and used on freshly shaved legs. Mostly though, I especially loved using it on Claire's cute fat tushie! We use cloth diapers at home and disposables when we have to be out all day. (ughh! I really dislike those days!) And so far Claire has never gotten diaper rash, thanks, in great part, to that wonderful cream. When I realized that we were fast approaching the bottom of that jar, I wrote my friend and asked her for the recipe. I didn't have everything on hand that she used so I modified it a bit and still came up with a very good cream for using on the baby’s rear end.

You’ll need:
• 1 cup calendula blossoms (dried or fresh will work fine)
• 1 cup plantain leaves (I collected my own!)
• 2 oz beeswax (Personally I prefer the unbleached kind- it smells so yummy like honey! You can buy this (in the USA) in most Whole Foods type grocery stores.)
• ½ cup olive oil
• ½ coconut oil (For this I prefer the extra virgin kind because it smells yummy too, but the plain old kind you buy in any regular grocery store would work too)
• 1/3 cup water
• Blender
• Small clean tin or jars with wide mouths to hold your cream
I am sorry that I don’t have any pictures of the process. I made the cream about a month ago, late at night and just wasn’t thinking of taking photos of anything at the time. I like using the double boiler (Bain Marie) method to melt the wax and get everything mixed up.

First: Chop the plantain leaves up into fairly small pieces and stir them into the combined oils in the top part of the double boiler. Then put this on the stove to heat up until it was really hot to the touch (don’t you just love how exact that is? I actually just kept sticking my finger in until it felt uncomfortably hot.) Let that mix steep for about half an hour.

Once that part is finished put the ½ cup water to boil in a small sauce pan. When it reaches a full rolling boil add the calendula flowers and gave it a stir to get them all down in the water. Then remove from heat, cover it and allowed to steep for the rest of the half hour that is left for the plantain leaves.

After ½ hour had passed strain both the plantain leaves from the oil and the calendula blossoms from the water. You should have very green oil and nice yellow-orange colored water.

Now place the oil back into the double boiler and add the beeswax. Keep over medium heat and stir just until the beeswax is almost totally melted. (It is OK if not all of the beeswax is completely melted, if you remove it from the heat and keep stirring, it will finish melting, it is best not to let it get too hot for the next step)

Once the wax has melted remove from the heat and place mixture into a blender. Turn on your blender with the lid in place and open up the little center lid and slowly begin to add the calendula water in a thin steady stream.

This next part will happen fairly suddenly! At first it will just look like a gloppy mess in the blender but as the mixture cools and whips up it will take on a creamier color and get thick and buttery as the water is incorporated. Now you can stop blending the cream and use a spatula to spoon it into your chosen container. The first time I made it I didn’t whip it in the blender for long enough (I thought it looked well blended…) But after sitting in my jar for about 15 minutes the water began to separate from the cream. If that happens to you too, don’t worry! Just put the cream back into the blender and whip it up for another minute or two!

This makes a large batch of soothing skin cream, almost one and a half cups! We go through it pretty fast around here because the whole family uses it. You can always halve the recipe if you want. Just use 2 ½ tablespoons water and all of the other measurements will be pretty easy to halve on your own.

I hope you find this recipe as useful as Claire and I did!

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