Cold cream is generally credited as having been first developed by Galen, a 2nd century Greek physician, in his service as an attendant in a local temple to Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine and Healing. One of Galen’s primary roles was to tend to the Gladiators following “games.” Naturally, due to the frequency and severity of their wounds, he developed a great many healing treatments, an ointment of fat and water among them.
Galen’s cold cream contained olive oil (for softening), water, beeswax (the base of the cream), and rose petals (for aromatherapy). It was called called “cold cream” because after it was applied to the skin, its water content evaporated, which left a cool feeling on the skin.
Commercially manufactured cold creams have long since replaced the olive oil with mineral or other oils, which will not spoil as rapidly.
Some recipes for cold cream will contain borax (commonly used for laundry whites); others will not. Borax is a natural ingredient, and acts as both an antiseptic and a preservative. A reaction occurs when added to recipes containing beeswax — it turns the concoction a creamy white color.
Strictly speaking this is not “cream” but rather “creme” because it contains no dairy.
- 1 ounce grated beeswax or beeswax** pellets
- 6 tablespoons light mineral oil
- 4 tablespoons distilled water
- 1 teaspoon borax
- 2-3 drops of your preferred essential oil
- In a double boiler or clean class dish in a microwave, combine beeswax and mineral oil. Gently heat and stir until melted and well blended.
- While melting, dissolve your borax in the distilled water and heat it gently — do not boil.
- Remove both pans or dishes from the heat source, and, stirring constantly, slowly drizzle the distilled water and borax solution into your wax and oil solution.
- When fully combined, begin to beat vigorously until it has cooled.
- Add your essential oil and continue to beat until your cream is light and airy, with a brilliant white sheen.
- 40g (approximately 1.5 ounces) fresh, good quality cold pressed safflower oil
- 40g (approximately 1.5 ounces) distilled water
- 10g (approximately 1/3 ounce) beeswax pellets or grated beeswax**
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon borax, if a white cream is desired, otherwise, optional
- 1 heat resistant microwave safe bowl with lid
- 1 hand whisk or wooden spoon
- 1 teaspoon or dropper
- Kitchen scales
- Heat resistant pot (small) to contain the cream
- Ice cube trays
- Freezer Storage Container
- Combine safflower oil and beeswax pellets or shavings into a clean, dry bowl. Microwave on low, gently, until the beeswax has melted.
- Slowly drizzle the teaspoon of honey into the oil mixture, beating thoroughly. A dedicated blender or food processor works fine (dedicated meaning you keep a spare one for craft projects, and you do not use it for food preparation for a risk of cross-contamination).
- Using a teaspoon or dropper, slowly drop minute amounts of distilled water into the oil/wax/honey, whisking quickly the entire time.
- Once you have incorporated all of the distilled water into the mixture, allow your cream to “settle” for at least five minutes.
- Water which has not incorporated will settle to the bottom, and the cream layer will rise to the top. Drain off and discard this lower layer of water.
- Gently spoon one teaspoon of “cold cream” into each well of a clean, dry ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.
- Remove frozen cubes from the tray and place them into an airtight freezer storage container, or ziplock bag.
- Each evening, remove a frozen cream cube from your freezer, and place into your “daily pot.” An empty, clean cosmetic pot works well. Thaw overnight, in your refrigerator, and use the cool, chilled cream within 24-48 hours.
- Repeat the process each evening, or as often as you feel like a smoothing lift.