I like to use a double-cleansing routine when I wash my face at night. I started doing this about ten years ago and love the results. I got the idea from reading all those books about French women that were so popular back then. Remeber that, when American women were obsessing over how French women did everything? I loved those books… Anyway, I figured, if it works for them it could work for me, right?
First, I use pure coconut oil to remove any eye makeup. Next, I use a creamy cleanser to remove any other makeup, dirt or grime, then follow up with something more deeply cleansing and/or exfoliating. The ingredients in my cleansers have shifted over the years, depending on what my skin seems to need at the time. I was almost out of my current creamy cleanser and felt like I needed a change. I’ve been experiencing the effects of age-related hormonal changes (increased dryness, decreased elasticity, occasional blemish). In researching all of the possibilities, I decided on these ingredients for a simple cleanser:
Apricot kernel oil: Light, non-oily feel; similar to almond oil, only lighter; great for aging skin due to its skin-tightening and slightly astringent qualities and high quantities of vitamins A and E, which slow the signs of aging; softens the delicate skin around the eyes and on the throat.
Coconut oil: Lighter than shea and other butters, but very moisturizing and easily absorbable for most skin types.
Beeswax: Thickener; soothing and antibiotic; adds a sweet, honey-like fragrance.
Borax: A water softener and cleansing agent; can suspend soap particles in water so they don’t adhere to the skin and clog the pores; leaves skin cleaner and softer; acts as a binder and texturizer; in combination with beeswax, oil and water, aids in the formation of a stable emulsion and acts as a natural preservative.
Vitamin E: Acts as a preservative when combined with base oils, lotions and creams and extends their shelf life (prevents rancidity of fatty ingredients due to its antioxidant properties); prevents scarring; revitalizes aging skin.
Grapefruit essential oil: Balances the mood and elevates the spirit; helps relieve congestion and balances combination skin; helps tame the occasional blemish; increases photosensitivity, so it is best used in night-time formulas.
Lavender essential oil: Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory; calms damaged skin; has cell-regenerating properties, making it useful for reducing wrinkles and scarring; calming and relaxing to the nervous system, aiding in sleep; relieves blemishes.
Here is the recipe I came up with:
1/4 cup Apricot Kernel oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Coconut oil
1 Tbsp Beeswax
1/2 Cup Distilled water
1/4 tsp Borax
1 large or 2 small Vitamin E capsules
20 drops Grapefruit essential oil
20 drops Lavender essential oil
Here’s the process:
In a small stainless steel or glass saucepan (no aluminum or coated pans), place apricot kernel oil, coconut oil and beeswax. Place over low heat and stir until the beeswax is just melted.
In another pan, add water and borax. Lightly warm the mixture until the borax is dissolved. This is the proper way to do it. I, on the other hand, boiled mine in an electric tea kettle and measured it into a glass Pyrex measuring cup, then added the borax, stirring until it dissolved. To each their own.
Pour the oil/wax mixture into a blender and cool in the fridge until the mixture starts to thicken and become opaque (around 10 minutes). The mixture should still be fairly thin – if it gets too thick it will not mix well with water mixture and give you the desired consistency in the final product. Since I use leftover wax from my favorite beeswax candles, I filter my oil/wax mixture through a very fine mesh strainer to remove impurities.
Give the oil/wax mixture a little stir to remove any lumps. Put the lid on the blender, but remove the little plastic piece in the middle. Turn it on high and slowly add the water mixture until it is fully blended.
Replace the plastic piece in the lid and blend further until mixture is smooth and creamy. If necessary, remove the lid intermittently and mix the cream by hand to ensure that everything is fully blended. Add the contents of the vitamin E capsule(s) by pricking the end with a pin and squeezing the contents into the mixture. Blend again until everything is evenly distributed. This whole process can take up to ten minutes.
Pour the cream into your desired container, then add the essential oils. I prefer NOT to add them while the mixture is in the blender because I use my blender for culinary purposes as well.
Yields about 1 cup. The process is similar to that of simple body lotion, the main difference being that this is MUCH more thin and requires a higher blender setting to mix, so you can’t get away with leaving the blender lid off. Trust me, you’ll have greasy splash back all over your kitchen.
I use my creamy cleanser with a hot, steamy cloth to open the pores, and then splash warm water on my face. This prepares my skin for the deep cleaning step, where I use cleanser two and plenty of warm water to finish up. When I am ready to make my ‘Step 2’ cleanser, I’ll post that one, too. Until then, may your skin be happy and glowy…
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