Homemade Makeup Remover and Cold Cream
In the colder months when the humidity is low, I like to use cold cream to remove my makeup at night.
My cold cream recipe rivals most store bought varieties. I love using it for the following benefits:
- gentle and soothing
- effective at removing all traces of makeup
- won’t harm your eyes
- moisturizes your skin
- all-natural ingredients
Homemade Makeup Remover
Note: There are many substitutions that can be made for ingredients in this recipe. I’ll discuss variations in a section below.
- 3 ounces distilled water
- 1 teaspoon lecithin granules – acts as an emulsifier (find them here)
- 3 ounces sweet almond oil (find organic sweet almond oil here)
- 1 teaspoon liquid vegetable glycerin (find organic vegetable glycerin here)
- 1 ounce beeswax (find beeswax pastilles here, or learn to clean and render your own beeswax)
- 10-15 drops preservative to extend shelf life – optional (like rosemary extract or grapefruit seed extract)
- 10 drops essential oil of your choice (find pure essential oils here)
Prepare Your Workspace
When preparing to make anything with oil and wax, make sure you have no distractions. These things can get very hot and can burn the skin quite easily. Choose a time when you won’t have kids or pets underfoot. Cover the surface of the area you’ll be using with newspaper to prevent wax and oil from making a mess. Gather all ingredients and tools so you’re not hunting for something at the last minute.
- Heat the water to boiling. Mix in the lecithin until melted and dispersed. Add in the liquid glycerin. Stir and set aside.
- Combine the almond oil and beeswax and heat until very hot and the beeswax is melted. Handle with care as this can get very hot and burn quite easily. When both mixtures are still very hot, very slowly pour the water mixture into the oil mixture, a little at a time. It may bubble and foam, this is normal. Stir until it begins to cool and thicken. Then use a stick blender (like this) to completely emulsify. The mixture may try to separate, but keep going.
- When it’s cool enough that you can touch the sides of the mixing bowl, add your essential oil. Blend again, until the mixture is light and fluffy. You may also end up with a texture that is kind of jiggly, more like pudding – which is also fine.
- When it is thoroughly blended, transfer to small jars. This will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator. Adding the natural preservative will extend the shelf life some. To keep it for longer than three months, store it in the freezer. It may separate, but whipping it again will bring back the consistency. I normally just make small batches so ingredients aren’t wasted if it goes bad before I can use it. Keeping it in the refrigerator is really nice for summer when you need a little cool down!
How to use your cold cream
This is very easy. Simply spread some on your face and neck, then wipe off. As you wipe it off, dirt and makeup come with it. Any that may be left behind will soften and moisturize your skin.
You can substitute almost any oil for the almond oil. This could be sunflower or safflower (both of which are high in Vitamin E), or grapeseed which contains antioxidants, or even jojoba which is a great moisturizing oil. You do not need to make any adjustments in this recipe if you switch to another oil.
Don’t want to use plain water? Herbal teas are one of my favorite ways to incorporate the healing or soothing benefits of herbs. Make a very strong tea and strain well. Depending on the tea, it may color your cream some.
You can also use a floral water or hydrosol in place of the water. Rose water is very nice and has the skin softening ability of rose essential oil at a fraction of the cost. Jasmine flower water has a great smell. Experiment to see what you like the best. (Find a variety of organic hydrosols here.)
Don’t want to use beeswax? I’ve used soy wax with good results. Bayberry wax works well too. Almost any natural wax will work because of the emulsion of the oil and water. (Find other varieties of wax here.)
Use any skin-safe essential oils you like. I like lavender and frankincense. Both oils are healing and soothing while not being too floral. Chamomile is a nice choice, and very mild. Tea tree can help combat acne or other skin problems. Rose is very good at helping keep skin soft and supple. Patchouli and ylang ylang are good for aging skin. Stay away from anything harsh like cinnamon, or skin irritating like lemongrass. If you want it to smell like one really well-known cold cream brand, use a few drops of camphor, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils. Don’t go too heavy on the oils as these can irritate your skin in higher amounts. (Find 100% pure essential oils here.)
More or Less Ingredients
Since the lecithin granules and wax you use can vary in hardness, you may not get the exact results you want the first time. The mixture can still be used, just make a note of how it turned out and make your adjustments from there. If it was too soft, you can add more wax next time. Add more oil if it turned out too soft. Don’t try to add more water as it can “weep” out of the mix. If this happens, you can try to blend it in again or just drain it off.
Troubleshooting Cold Cream
When you are making an emulsion, a few things can go wrong:
- Separating while mixing – This is very common with lower temperatures. If your mixture should start to get chunky, either keep mixing or heat it again. These measures usually help to rectify the problem.
- Separation in the container – Sometimes if your blend isn’t properly proportioned, oil can seep out, especially in warmer weather. I had this problem with one soy wax I used. I increased the amount of wax in my next batch and the problem was solved. Separation can also occur if not blended properly. When I first made this I had all kinds of problems with it separating. Now I use a stick blender and it stays together very well.
- Too hard or too soft – Waxes can vary. One beeswax I used made a very hard mix while another made it very soft. This recipe can be cut in half to experiment with and not waste a bunch.
- Smells strange – I’ve had this happen with some oil combinations. You can always use a bit more essential oil and blend it well.
- Mold growth – It can happen with any mixture that contains both oil and water compounds. You can store it in the refrigerator or use a natural preservative to keep it longer.
Have you ever made cold cream? Let us know how it worked out!