Face cream

Homemade Face Cream with Herbal Infusions

Freshly made face cream

When I started making soaps in 2012, and finally ventured into lotion-making in 2014 out of curiosity since I had most of the ingredients at home (milk, various oils and butters) except the preservative, I was finally hooked with the lotion I made with a non-paraben preservative (that’s when I learned I was allergic to parabens). And out of excitement and pride, I was sharing my homemade lotions to co-workers so they would know how awesome and (chemistry-)talented I was.

They started buying lotions from me.

One day, one of the occupational therapists who was in her 60’s (which I thought she was only in her 50’s, but she retired soon after, so I presumed she was in her 60’s but I could be wrong and she might have retired early) told me that she used my lotion (that she bought) on her face. “Is that okay?”

I was stumped. I never thought of making face cream before that. I was only thinking that the face would be much more sensitive, especially around the eyes so I never even tried my lotion on my face! Then I was kind of scared, hoping she did not do harm on her face and blame it on me.

“I guess it’s fine if you did not react to it. Face is just more thin-skinned and probably more sensitive especially around the eyes. So if your face was not irritated by it, it’s probably harmless.”

No problems, though, she assured me.

And that’s how I ventured into making creams.

At the time, my lotion recipe was primarily based on a yt channel I watched where goat milk was used. Some changes in butters and oils and using grass-fed cow’s milk (that’s what we have at home; we have about 20 cows on our pasture), and I came up with my awesome creamy lotion. 70-30 proportion of water phase to oil-phase.

I read up and learned about creams before actually making one. I learned that creams have a higher percentage of oils and butter/waxes (oil phase) than lotions. I had a book that I bought for soapmaking which had chapters on lotions and creams, balms and salves and scrubs. I tried the face cream recipe there with good results, using the same non-paraben preservative instead of what she had in her recipe. Note that when using a different type of preservative, I go by the recommended percentage usage. I do the same with other additives that I read up on and decided to use, like green tea extract or caffeine extract, etc.

Infusion of elderberries, blackberries, horsetail, chaga, rosehips, hibiscus, green tea

So, I finally came up with a sort of final recipe using infusions of herbs for my water phase, some special exotic oils to add to final base (to not ruin their properties), and vitamins and other extracts. I might change the ratios of additives and herbs from time to time, or change some of the base oils depending on what special oil I have the most of.

Using stick blender that has the emulsifying blade

I only make a small batch every year, about 2 quarts (half gallon). The image below shows the complete list of ingredients I used this year (except I omitted the aloe juice this time).

Ingredients List

Here’s hoping I will delay having them wrinkles! Now if only I can come up with an eye bag remedy cream…

No wrinkles at age 51!

On Preservatives

If you have read my story, you will know that the paraben preservative is a major allergen for me, and discovering Optiphen Plus as a preservative that didn’t irritate my skin was such a game changer. I used to never try any scented lotion given to me as a gift fo fear of causing a major reaction, and I have tried several unscented ones to which I reacted. I did try another non-paraben preservative that also caused me rashes and itching, that’s why for now I only trust Optiphen plus among the non-natural preservatives.

However, since a coworker once told me she used the lotion she bought from me on her face and then asked me afterwards if it was okay, I had been trying some of the natural preservatives when I first formulated my face cream. I also learned that the more “bug food” I had in my formula (like milk or extracts or teas), I would have to up my preservative percentage. As I said in My Story, essential oils, vitamin E, and rosemary oleoresin extract are NOT preservatives, but rather additives that enhance the products or act as antioxidant that prevents the lotion or cream from getting rancid too quickly.

Below is my experiment that I did back in 2014 where I tested Leucidal® Liquid (Lactobacillus ferment) as my natural preservative. Variations were from the addition of EOs and/or extracts (additives). I had a control with just the base; no preservatives/additives).

This photo was taken three days after making the face cream, with me “using” the cream (dipping my finger into them) and keeping them at room temperature just like I would with a non-experimental, properly prepared face cream. In just three days, the non-preserved cream showed mold growth it was really icky. Can you imagine what non-visible bacteria were also thriving in it?

So the natural preservative passed my crude experiment. I am currently trying another natural preservative called NataPresTM which is so far doing good (going on for a month now; placed in an airless pump to minimize contamination). To test next will be AMTicide® Coconut. I am hoping that someday, I will be able to afford a preservative challenge testing at a laboratory. Until I have a certification of my face creams with natural preservatives passing a PCT, I won’t get into selling them yet.


Mooed in Maine launching

January 2018 when I decided that I would go back in business with my lotions. See, back in 2014 I launched a business selling my homemade lotions, creams, soaps, lip balms, liquid soaps, salves and balms, deodorants, etc., etc. I was even infusing herbs in some of my products. I was growing herbs to make sure they were organically grown and safe to use. I started the business of selling them because more and more wanted to try and got hooked to my products. Even strangers have sought me out.

But I was still working as a RN and it.was.tiring to find an order, package them, label them, pack them in boxes, create shipping labels and finally either drop in the post office or ask for pick up. It got busy. The house started to look like a warehouse. Dealing with individual purchases was killing me because sometimes I would be preparing to ship out an order when I should be sleeping to prepare to work again that night. I could not deal with it anymore so I stopped.

But being that my skin is sensitive I can’t even use Burt’s Bees lotion, I continued to make lotions for myself and for gift-giving, either to relatives or to friends or to new acquaintances.

Then I would be bugged when I am making them again because they wanted more…and were willing to pay for it.

My prior customers, mostly friends and coworkers, would also send me a message to ask if I was still selling my products.

Hence, for regularity of availability, I decided to rename my business, re-brand, and focus on just the lotions (my most popular creation), this time targeting wholesale in local stores so I can focus on it a few days of the week, then work my RN job the rest of the time. Less profit per bottle, but I am hoping to make profit by volume instead. To help me spread my lotions around, I partnered with my sister-in-law, Ann, owner of the business “The Farmer’s Wife” pickles,so she can start introducing my lotions to her client base, and then I just give her commission per bottle sold. Its a win-win for the both of us, since I hardly have the time to do everything myself. Then if anyone seeks me out and sends me and sends me a message on how they can order bigger size or some scent that the store had run out of, I just refer them to the stores that carry my lotions, and coordinate with my SIL and the store to fulfill the request.

I start with the lotions, and maybe down the line I will gradually re-introduce my other products like lavender foot cream, face creams, hand cream, liquid soaps, lip balms, massage oils, and salves.

Why Mooed in Maine? It’s a play in words made in Maine. Mooed because I use a lot of milk from our home-grown organically-raised pastured/grass-fed/hay-fed cows. Maine because it’s made in Maine – where the well water I use after reverse-osmosis is very clean (like Poland spring water, which is actually sourced here in Maine); where the cows we raise are fed on the pasture not damaged by pesticides; where people take pride and support locally-made products. Together with its cute logo, I want my product to be seen as friendly to everybody — not just for the strict natural/organic consumers, but also those who might want to have some playful streaks in them, or anything unisex or even catering to men.

So here’s to a fresh start!Homemade products as Christmas gifts