February 23, 2009

Lavender Hand Cream


Speckled with propolis, the beeswax-fortified
cream smells divine.
A couple of weeks before starting this recipe, make an oil infusion by filling a jar with herbs and cover with oil by an inch. We use lavender petals painstakingly separated from the sepals. Set on a sunny windowsill to steep.

This small-batch recipe makes a fairly firm hand cream or body butter. For a firm finished product, be sure to stir the hot mixture with a spoon to cool but pour it into your containers before it begins to set. This helps to keep the propolis in suspension, otherwise it will sink to the bottom before the cream sets. Sometimes I use silicon or tart molds to make bars of solid lotion or Guest Creams. These a great for massages.

For a fluffy cream, beat continuously as the mixture cools and thickens, then spoon into containers. You can make a larger batch and use a stick blender to "cream" the mixture, or use a stand mixer with paddle/whip attachment with a really large batch, to get air into it. I like small containers for the fluffy stuff, like these mushrooms from Elements.

Hand Cream, Body Butter or Lotion Bars
Melt together, using gentle heat:
1/3 c. oil infusion, strained - for a soft cream, increase the base oil to 1/2 c.
1 T. coconut oil
1 t. palm oil


Stir in, off-heat:
1 oz. beeswax
6-8 drops of essential oil
, optional
Pour into molds or a 1/2 c. container and let cool.

Notes:
• It barely takes any heat to melt the oils together. Do not let the wax boil; this can make it brittle.
• We used evoo as the base oil, which leaves the skin slightly slick. Almond oil is a lighter oil that penetrates deeper and is also very good for dry skin.
Or pick from the oils described here.
• Spectrum Naturals shortening is 100% expeller pressed palm oil.
• The cream will shrink as it cools. The hotter it is when you pour, the more it will sink in the middle.

#tobehonest: this recipe is an adaptation (i.e.: oops!) of the recipe "Jeanne's Hand Cream" in The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum. I miscalculated the measurements when scaling down. Even so, I do not believe the original recipe (which is anhydrous) would turn out as pictured in the book (which appears to be hydrous).

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