This is the original Galen's Cold Cream recipe invented by Galen in the 9th century. This makes a firm set cream which liquidises almost immediately on contact with the skin. It can be used as a cleansing cream, handcream or as an alternative to oil for certain types of massage. You could substitute orange-flower water or distilled water for the rosewater, and any essential oil suitable for your purposes instead of the Rose.

40 grams almond oil
10 grams beeswax
40 grams rosewater
10 drops Rose


Weigh all ingredients accurately. (Shred beeswax with a very sharp knife before weighing.) Put the almond and/or other oils in a bowl, which should be either stainless steel or Pyrex, and add the beeswax. Put the water or flower water in another bowl, and place both bowls in a large shallow pan of water over a gentle heat. Stir the bowl containing the oil(s) and wax until all ingredients are melted, then turn off heat.

Start adding the water to the oil mixture, a drop or two at a time, while beating with a rotary whisk. Continue to add the water very gradually, beating all the time, in the same manner as making a mayonnaise. When all the water has been absorbed into the oil/wax mixture, stop beating at once. If using an electric mixer, set it on the lowest speed, as over-beating can make the cream separate.

Finally, stir in the essential oil and put into a jar or jars. Leave in a cool place or fridge until set. Alternatively, divide the cream into several small jars before adding the essential oil, in which case you can use a variety of different oils in each jar.

These amounts make a relatively small amount of cream. Once you have mastered the technique, you can double or treble the quantities to make larger batches. These creams will keep for quite a number of weeks as the essential oils act as natural preservatives, but if making large batches, keep in the fridge until needed, and then dispense small amounts into individual jars.

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