Galen’s cold cream was apparently developed by the physician Galen in the 2th century AD. The original recipe calls for olive oil, although today it is often made with almond oil. The basic recipe also contains Rose essential oil, one of the most expensive essential oils (and one that is great for the skin) however you can use other essential oils instead: try Lavender, Geranium or Palmarosa (or a combination of the three), all are hydrating, moisturizing and good for the skin. Once you get used to making the cream you could also try orange flower water instead of rosewater.
Galen’s Cold Cream Ingredients
If you haven’t made your own homemade hand creams before, you might want to start with my other hand cream recipe, which is very easy to make. Galen’s cream is not difficult to make, but it is easy to mess it up when you’re adding the rosewater into the mix, and there is a chance that the cream will separate. Start with small batches and increase the amounts when you feel confident about your handcream-making skills.
This recipe is from Aromatherapy: An A-Z: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Aromatherapy Ever Published by Patricia Davis:
- 40 grams olive or sweet almond oil
- 10 grams beeswax
- 40 grams rosewater
- 10 drops Rose essential oil
If you’re not happy with weighing grams of olive oil, this site has a recipe in more easily measurable teaspoons:
9 teaspoons of rosewater, 9 teaspoons of almond or olive oil, 2 teaspoons of beeswax.
How to Make the Hand Cream:
1. Shred the beeswax into small pieces. Measure the beeswax and the almond (or olive) oil into one bowl, for example a stainless steel bowl.
2. Measure the rosewater into another bowl.
3. Use the double boiler method for making this cream: Place the bowls in a pan of water on the stove, and heat it up slowly, stirring the beeswax-oil blend while the beeswax is melting. Keep the pan on the heat until the beeswax is melted.
4. Turn the heat off. Now add the rosewater into the oil-beeswax blend slowly, a couple of drops at a time, and using either an electric mixer that is set on low speed, or a rotary whisk. Once you have added all the rosewater and it has mixed in the oils, stop whisking. Overdoing it can make the cream separate (and once your cream has separated you can’t really do much about it anymore).
5. Then add the essential oil(s) of your choice and stir well. Pour the mixture into a glass jar or several small jars. Leave the cream to cool down for a few hours or overnight maybe in the fridge.
The cream does not contain preservatives, although essential oils will preserve it for several weeks. It is best to make relatively small amounts at a time, or if you make large batches, keep the cream in the fridge.