Whether you're concerned about the components of store-bought cosmetics, prefer an all-natural approach to skin care or just think it would be fun to play apothecary and tinker with homemade "potions," making your own beauty products at home is an enticing idea. It allows you to fully customize the scents and properties of your cosmetics, and learn new skills and knowledge as you experiment. Beeswax, a pure, natural substance that softens gently against the warmth of your skin, is an appealing ingredient to use for homemade skincare products, and a common component of many such recipes.
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You'll find beeswax listed as an ingredient for various homemade lotions, most of which call for variations on the same basic components and methods. Beeswax is generally melted, combined with a base oil and essential oils or infused oils, then poured into a container to cool. Sometimes vegetable butters, such as cocoa or shea butter, are also included. Pure honey is sometimes added to complement the beeswax and impart its sweet fragrance and skin-soothing, antibacterial properties to the product. The ratio of wax to oil determines the viscosity of the finished product, and can be adapted as you work by reheating the mixture and adding more oil or wax as necessary. To melt beeswax, grate it or shred it with a knife, then place it in a double-boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan or barely simmering water. Don't cover the wax, don't let it get too hot and don't melt it in the microwave.
Base oils used for cosmetics include coconut, grapeseed, olive, sunflower, jojoba, hazelnut and avocado oil, each with its own particular fragrance -- or lack thereof -- and skin-softening properties. Essential oils are added by the drop and used to impart certain fragrances or healing properties to the lotion. If you want to use your own blends of essential oils, research their applications beforehand, and make sure you use oils that are safe for use on the skin. Another way to add fragrance and healing properties to your homemade cosmetics is by infusing the base oil with fresh or dried herbs, either by steeping herbs in cold oil for several weeks or warming the oil with the herbs. Strain infused oils before use.
A ratio of approximately four parts base oil to one part beeswax and two parts water is suitable for a skin-softening lotion with a consistency similar to a store-bought moisturizer. For a richer, salve-type lotion, combine one part beeswax with three parts oil. Coconut oil and olive oil are particularly suitable for heavier lotions. Add a few drops of Vitamin E oil for its skincare benefits and optional essential oils for fragrance.
A base of three parts oil to two parts beeswax, melted together then cooled, will thicken into a solid substance that serves as a carrier for your own personal blend of perfumed essential oils. Pour the mixture into tiny jars or cleaned-out old lip balm tubes for easy application of your solid perfume. Essential oils renowned for their pleasing fragrance include rose, lavender, vanilla, chamomile, jasmine and citrus. For men, consider earthy, woodsy scents like patchouli, sandalwood and allspice. Experiment with various blends of oils to create a custom scent unlike any you can buy in a store.
A thick balm made of one part beeswax to two parts oil, infused with essential oils that have healing properties, can replace store-bought antiseptic lotion for minor scrapes and burns. Essential oils known for their antiseptic properties include tea tree oil, lemon, calendula and chamomile. Lavender is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory; clove oil reduces pain. Pure honey also has antiseptic properties. If you are making an antiseptic balm to use on injuries, sterilize all of your jars and other equipment before you start the project by boiling them in water for five to 10 minutes.
Soap-making is a considerably more involved and complex process than concocting beeswax-based lotions. For safe and successful soap-making, you need to be precise with measurements, temperatures and the order in which ingredients are combined, so unless you already have experience, find a good book or tutorials on the basics. Beeswax is usually included in more advanced soap-making recipes.