RECIPES – Basics

 

 

Hygiene

Think of your product as freshly made, home-cooked food. Homemade products can do without dangerous chemicals and preservatives only if they are made in a hygienic work space (usually your kitchen), and with hygienic equipment and containers. When it comes to homemade skincare products, ‘clean’ means free from bacteria and germs. This matters a great deal because the level of hygiene is the best way to prolong the shelf life of homemade products.  Remember these basic tips:

  1. Sterilise the equipment and containers in boiling water for several minutes.
  2. Use alcohol or vinegar on a piece of cloth or gauze to wipe or spray the work space, equipment, and containers and let them air-dry. Do not wipe even with clean paper towels or cloth.
  3. Make sure anything that touches the ingredients and products is cleaned this way.

 

Measurement

The following measuring standards apply in this book:

1 cup                    200 ml

1 tbsp.                   15 ml

1 tsp.                     5 ml

1 ml oil                 0.9 g

1 ml clay              1.3 g

1 drop                   0.05–0.06 ml

 

The total yield indicated in the recipe may vary depending on various factors, but each is designed to be used up within the standard shelf life.

 

Constructing a Recipe

Recipes introduced in this website are designed to teach you how you can modify and personalise products, rather than how to precisely follow strict measurements and instructions. For the sake of efficacy, differences in proportions in base ingredients have very little, if no significance. There is barely any side effect either, unless you are allergic to some of the ingredients, and each ingredient is versatile, which means the effects will be wider and milder. That is why most recipes allow you to be flexible and creative.

 

 

Tincture

The making of herbal tinctures has been practised throughout human history and is a great way to preserve the precious properties in a concentrated form. Making a variety of tinctures using raw ingredients is easier than most people think. When properly stored, tinctures can last up to two years or longer with alcohol, but only up to one year with glycerine. Some traditions believe that the energy of the new moon can draw out the properties most effectively.

 

Ingredients (350 ml)

100 g Dry herbs or 300 g fresh herbs

½ litre of 25% Alcohol/water mixture; * use unflavoured vodka or rice wine

or 70% (350 ml) Glycerine and 30% (150 ml) distilled water

 

*To determine the amount of alcohol/water mixture:

Alcohol (ml) = Total amount of liquid (ml) x 25 (% you wish to achieve) divided by % of alcohol

For example, for 37.5% vodka, 500 x 25 / 37.5 = 333 ml vodka and 167 ml water

 

Instructions

  1. Sterilise the container and all equipment as per instructions under ‘Hygiene’ in this chapter.
  2. If using fresh herbs, rinse and dry completely.
  3. Chop or grind the herbs.
  4. Put the herbs in a large jar and cover the entire herbs and an extra few cm more with the alcohol or premixed glycerine water. Seal the jar and store in a cool, dark place for two weeks.
  5. Shake it vigorously at least once a day.
  6. Fit cheesecloth around the rim of a glass pitcher and pour in the two-week mixture from the jar.
  7. Squeeze the mixture until the very last drop using the cheesecloth.
  8. Pour the strained liquid into clean, dark glass bottles using a funnel.
  9. Label the herb and date of extraction.

 

Tips

 A tincture makes a great ingredient for lotions and creams. If you prefer the tincture without alcohol, add 25 ml of almost boiling distilled water to 5 ml of the tincture in a cup and allow it to cool. This evaporates most of the alcohol effectively. You can use almost any herb for variation.

 

Infused Oil

 Infusing herbs and plants in oil can extract active ingredients. Infused oils are great to use directly as facial or body oil as well as the main ingredients for creams. When properly stored, infused oil can keep for up to one year, but it is best to make these products freshly when you prepare to make creams to prolong the shelf life.

 

Ingredients (350 ml)

250 g Dry herbs or 700 g fresh herbs

500 ml Sunflower oil or rice bran oil

 

Instructions

  1. Sterilise the container and all equipment as per instructions under ‘Hygiene’ in this chapter.
  2. If using fresh herbs, rinse and dry completely.
  3. Chop or grind the herbs.
  4. Put the herbs and oil into a double boiler and place on top of boiling water.
  5. Gently cook for about 3 hours.
  6. Fit cheesecloth around the rim of a glass pitcher and pour in the mixture from the double boiler.
  7. Wear heat-proof gloves to protect your hands from getting burnt. Squeeze the mixture until the very last drop using the cheesecloth.
  8. Pour the strained liquid into clean, dark glass bottles using a funnel.
  9. Label the herb and date of extraction.

 

Options

If you are not using a double boiler, then simmer on the lowest heat.

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