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How To Make Your Own Herbal Cosmetics -- Cleansing Creams and Milks

Updated on December 17, 2011

All good things have a foundation, and the real foundation in having beautiful skin, begins with good skin care. Cleansing creams are superior to water and soap when it comes to removing pollution, dirt, and make-up.

The facts are that we have pores, microscopic cracks, and crevices in our skin. For some of us, these are more visable. For others, especially those who are younger, not-so-much.

Regardless of your chronological years, it is never too late or too early to start your foundation of beauty by using cleansing creams. Without them, your skin will be dull, lifeless, and definitely age more quickly.

A Little Cleansing Cream History

Aelius Galenus (aka Claudius Galenus) supposedly invented or at least made cleansing creams (aka cold creams) known by writing down his recipe. His recipe is known to contain beeswax, water, olive oil, and rose petals. It was many centuries later before his basic recipe changed to ingredients more common today.

For example, the olive oil was later replaced by mineral oils, alcohol, almond oil, glycerin, jojoba oil and lanolin. Additionally, other ingredients became more common place, such as borax.

What's In A Skin Cream?

Virtually all skin creams have certain combinations of melted waxes, oils, and scented water. The waxes are first melted over a slow low heat, then the oils are warmed to the same temperature, then beaten into the waxes. Lastly,the scented waters are added.

Some have compared the basic recipe to that of making homemade mayonaise. It is simple and it takes very little time. In fact, it'll take more time to spoon the creams into your sterile jars.

One thing to remember, is that such creams will spoil as all of the ingredients used are perishable and have a very short shelf life. So you'll want to label and date them, and be sure to not make more than you can use.

It's important today, with all the bacteria and infectious diseases going around, to also work clean. Make sure that your hands and nails are as clean as a surgeons. I use anti-bacterial solutions prior to applying skin creams. You can also use alcohol.

Dry And Sensitive Skins - Chamomile Cream

From Your Herb Garden: Chamomile flowers (A gentle, soothing herb that both softens and whitens skin. Very aromatic).


  • 1/2 cup of Lite cream
  • 2 tablespoons chamomile flowers (preferably fresh, but can used dried, but then use only 1 tablespoon


  • Heat both ingredients in double boiler for 1/2 hour
  • Do not allow cream to boil or form a skin
  • Infuse for three (3) hours
  • Strain through cheesecloth
  • Keep refrigerated
  • Apply with cotton balls
  • Dry excess with separate cotton balls

Note: Shelf life in refrigerator -- 1 week

Plants And Herbs For Creams

The following are plants and herbs often used for skin creams:

  • Aloe vera
  • Avocado
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Comfrey
  • Cucumber (known allergen for some individuals - test first)
  • Dandelion
  • Elderflower
  • Essential Oils (some are known allergens for some individuals - test first)
  • Fennel
  • Houseleek
  • Ivy
  • Lady's Mantle
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Linden Blossom
  • Lupine seed
  • Marsh mallow
  • Nettle (known allergen for some individuals - test first)
  • Orange flower
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint (known allergen for some individuals - test first)
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sage (known allergen for some individuals - test first)
  • Thyme
  • Violet (known allergen for some individuals - test first)
  • Watercress
  • Witch Hazel (known allergen for some individuals - test first)
  • Yarrow


Dry and Normal Skins - Orange Cleansing Cream

From Your Garden: Orange blossoms; orange peel; (stimulates cell replacement)


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1 oz. shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 2 tablespoon orange-flower water
  • 1/8 teaspoon borax
  • 6 drops of essential oil of neroli (orange flower extract)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel


  • Mix and warm avocado oil and almond oil
  • Warm shea butter and beeswax (separately)
  • Mix oils, shea butter and beeswax (slowly)
  • Beat all ingredients to a whipped consistency
  • Warm orange-flower water
  • Dissolve borax into orange-flower water
  • Mix well with oil/wax mixture
  • Mix in finely grated orange peel
  • Allow to thicken and cool slightly to touch
  • Quickly add in essential oil of neroli and mix well
  • Spoon into sterile jars and label
  • Refrigerate

Note: Shelf life in refrigerator -- 1 month if kept refrigerated

Cautions:Some individuals are allergic to neroli essential oils, be sure to test if you are not sure.

Dry and Normal Skins - Rosewater Cleansing Cream

From Your Garden: Rose petals


  • 4 tablespoons lanolin
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 2 ounces almond oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon borax
  • 3 tablespoons rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon zinc oxide ointment
  • 6 drops essential oil of rose
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped rose petals


  • Melt lanolin in double boiler
  • Heat almond oil separate double boiler
  • Mix glycerin into almond oil and continue to heat
  • Add in melted lanolin to almond oil and glycerin mix, beating continuously
  • Warm rosewater
  • Dissolve borax in rosewater
  • Add lanolin and oil mixture to rose water/mix (slowly) while beating continuously
  • Allow to cool to room temperature
  • Beat in by hand, finely chopped rose petals
  • Cool completely (when creamy)
  • Add zinc oxide
  • Add rose oil
  • Beat to creamy
  • Spoon into sterile jars
  • Label

Note: Shelf life in refrigerator -- 1 month if kept refrigerated

Cautions: Some individuals are allergic to glycerin essential oils, be sure to test if you are not sure. Additionally, some individuals are allergic to lanolin, be sure to test if you are not sure. Also, other individuals are allergic to almond oil, be sure to test if you are not sure.

Oily Skins - Buttermilk Cleansing Milk

From your herb garden: Fennel seed (Cleanses and soothes, crushed seeds help to remove impurities from large pore skin).


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons crushed fennel seeds


  • Heat buttermilk on low to low medium in double boiler
  • Add crushed fennel seed, heat for 1/2 hour
  • Allow to cool
  • Infuse for additional three (3) hours
  • Strain through nylon netting
  • Use funnel to sterile bottle
  • Refrigerate
  • Apply with cotton balls
  • Dry excess with separate cotton balls

Note: Shelf life in refrigerator -- 1 week

Oily Skins - Lemon Cleansing Cream

From Your Garden:Lemons (they act as an astrigent and restore natural skin balance)


  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon petroleum jelly
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (strained)
  • 1 tablespoon witch hazel
  • 1/8 teaspoon borax
  • 7 drops essential oil of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind


  • Combine beeswax and petroleum jelly in double boiler over low heat
  • Warm avocado oil separately
  • Gradually add warmed avocado oil to beeswax and petroleum jelly
  • Beat for at least 5 minutes by hand
  • Add witch hazel to lemon juice
  • Warm witch hazel and lemon juice mixture slightly, stirring in borax until dissolved
  • Add all ingredients (except lemon oil) to wax mixture, while continuously beating until smooth and creamy
  • Add finely grated lemon rind
  • Cool to room temperature
  • Add lemon oil
  • Spoon into sterile jars
  • Label
  • Refrigerate

Note: Shelf life in refrigerator -- 1 month if kept refrigerated

Cautions: Some individuals are allergic to witch hazel, be sure to test if you are not certain.

All About Avocado Oil

Where To Buy?

  • Almond oil - Pharmacy, online, health food stores
  • Avocado oil - Health food stores and online (or you can make your own as it is made from the pulp, not the seed)
  • Beeswax -- Bee keepers, some grocery stores, some hardware stores, online
  • Borax- Hardware stores, some grocery stores, some Walmarts (detergent isle)

  • Glycerin --Grocery store or pharmacy

  • Lanolin- Ebay and online

  • Shea Butter -- Flea markets, pharmacy, online, through individuals

  • Zinc Oxide - Pharmacy and online


20 Mule Team Borax


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    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Jerilee Thank you for this introduction to homemade facial creams. I don't know if I would try it if it only lasts for one month. It does sound wonderful and so natural, so I might think about it. It sounds like the boric acid or borax can no longer be used. Probably it would be ok to not include it in the cream. Thanks for sharing this information. Blessings, Audrey

    • profile image

      Bill Toebes greenfusionlaboratories 

      6 years ago

      I am a Research Chemist.The cosmetic industry was forced to stop using Boric Acid and Borax in skin products since they are toxic.Before you you use Boric anything check the chemical dictionary.Do your research before making any product .Check the ingredients

    • profile image

      Tracy G 

      7 years ago

      I love this! I've been meaning to create my own moisturizer from ingredients I know came from a good source. I'm pretty particular about stuff I put on my skin, so I make it a point to know the ingredients of a skincare product first before using it. This is helpful! Great!

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks Hello, hello! I also failed to mention that because you refrigerate it -- on hot days it is almost heavenly to use.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      That is real eye-opener and I thank you for sharing.


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