Mind Our Beeswax

In skin care on 07/22/2010 at 1:18 pm

The other half has sensitive skin. In fact, it’s very moody and needy when its pores are clogged. If you don’t treat it right, it gets angry. And when it’s hurt, you hurt, in more ways than one, e.g. an empty wallet.

Why are skin care products so expensive, and yet none of them work? At least that’s the case for the beleaguered other half. The latest $$$ failure was the thermally activated killing device known as the Zeno Hotspot. That worked for about one day.

I was blessed with obedient skin, except for my little pet I’ve acquired in the past several years on my fingers, Mister Type IV Hypersensitive Atopic Dermatitis aka Momma Eczema. It’s an autoimmune thing, my body decided one day to attack itself for kicks n’ giggles. It doesn’t respond to high-dose carcinogenic topical steroids. Bag Balm keeps it at bay, most of the time. The other half says it’s because I grew up indoors and didn’t eat enough dirt.

Everywhere we go, if there is a skin care product that promises blemish-free this or that, we are sunk. Someone named the other half will surely want to try it. Finally, I put my foot down. If we’re so crunchy-granola, why can’t we make up a batch ourselves for pennies on the dollar?

I googled the latest concoction on ‘the wishlist,’ Australian Scent. The story of this brand is that the hubby-wifey team behind it were living in Australia. Hubby suffered from psoriasis – itchy scaly yucky patches all over the body. Nothing helped, not the drugs or the fancy-shmancy beauty products. At his wit’s end, he begged the wife to make something un-diluted, natural and with no chemical additives to relieve his condition. She went into the kitchen and got to work. Six years later, he’s perched on a stool at their kiosk at the Brooklyn Flea, blemish-free, shilling to the other half like there’s no tomorrow.

I checked out the ingredients listed in the descriptions for their prized product, Balm of Gilead: “a concentrated face and body moisturizer, carefully formulated to hydrate and smooth the complexion, whilst balancing the skins’ texture. with the high vitamin e content of wheatgerm oil and the conditioning and scar healing properties of almond oil and shea, this delightful moisturizer is a nutrient reservoir for your skin. balm of Gilead has produced beautiful results for oily, combination and dry skins. high in essential fatty acids, known for their antibacterial and anti- inflammatory effects, it is particularly suitable for sufferers of acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacia.”

Meanwhile, my daily TV indulgence, LX New York, did a piece on these two girls who wrote a book, No More Dirty Looks, promoting all the natural ingredients that are good for your skin, and the pricey products to buy that included them. They highlighted six items on the show: vitamin C (nourish), coconut oil (anti-bacterial/fungal), green tea (mix with clay to pull out toxins), honey (wound healing), olive oil (moisturize) and argan oil (moisturize).

Then we did some digging at our local organic store and found ascorbic acid powder and coconut oil (which is solid white at a cool room temperature). We foraged in our pantry stuffed with discarded skin care products and found aloe, vitamin E, tea tree oil, rose water and witch hazel. At an awesome outdoor sports store near Wall Street, we found super cheap beeswax candles, $11 for three that would usually cost $15 for one at a health food or farmer’s market.

The other half scoured the web for a proper recipe. But who were we kidding, any thick, creamy skin stuff sells for at least $10 per ounce, who’s gonna post a real recipe? We did find ratios and tips, and fiddled with some ideas. Basically we wanted a cream that absorbed quickly, wasn’t too smelly (I’ve got a hypersensitive nose) , was solid at room temperature, and kept the face feeling clean, not greasy or too heavy like you’re wearing a mask. We wanted happy pores.

The other half discovered an amazing fact: skin cream is really an emulsion, like mayonnaise! You mix the proper ratio of oil, water and wax and voila! CREAM. Life really is food, eh? And all the ingredients are actually food-grade, to boot.

This is the fourth incarnation of the omnipotent panacea so far: Sweet Ginger Skin Aioli (body butter is already taken, so I fancied up the name). Its texture is a little harder than room temperature cow milk sticks, is rich and creamy, absorbs like a dream, finishes clean, and smells outrageously good – a little sweet n’ spicy – your skin will slurp it up!

If we were really motivated, we’d start making up big batches, ship some jars out to the Olive Oil Importing Aunt’s fancy store in the Midwest, print up stickers and business cards, set up shop at local fairs on the weekends, and hustle it like there’s no tomorrow. There is that empty jeju-townhouse-down-payment-coffer we’ve yet to fill. We might take orders via this blog if anyone’s interested.

Q.Q! – now a new and exciting grassroots life, to be continued…

70 ml water
2 T rose water
½ t citric acid                                    should equal ~ 150 ml liquid
1 t witch hazel
1 t apple cider vinegar

50 ml olive or jojoba or apricot kernel etc. oil
50 ml coconut oil
10 ml vitamin e                                 should equal ~ 150 ml when melted
30 gram beeswax

Melt fats, heat waters, mix with immersion blender.
Cool, letting fat separate.
Collect top fat layer, stir to remove any excess water.

Heat again, add 2 splashes rose water, mix with blender until emulsified.
Cool? Cool.

  1. I want some! I will pay an exorbitant price for jeju. Let me know if you get into the hair conditioner business, also…

  2. we’re not for sale, but the sweet ginger skin aioli is…i’ll send you some toot sweet in a week or so. have you tried argan oil for your hair? they sell it at kiehl’s. haven’t found a cheap distributor for it. maybe you have ties in the middle east?

  3. rocky! we location tested the SGSA and it’s too solidified in cali. the other half will have to reformulate and make it more liquidy. we’ll send you a cali version as soon as it’s done.

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