Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pretty Things That Smell Good

Today was rather a mixed bag on the potion front. I did manage to make a couple of successful products, but I threw out more than I cooked - and it's logistically challenging to throw these waxy, oily things away!

For starters, here's what I made:

Arnica Salve
It's a rather pretty salve of olive oil-infused with arnica from dried flowers. I simmered them together for 2.5 hrs (it called for 3) and then realized that my arnica was starting to burn. I think I caught it in the nick of time but next time, I'll use a bit less arnica and cook for 2 hrs. BTW, here's a book I found, from which I've made the lip balm and this salve - both successful. It's got the longest title ever but it's cheap as beans and the recipes are good so far.

Arnica, as you likely know, is a herb used in a variety of formats to diminish aches of all kinds, but especially muscle pain. I can't believe I found the flowers at my local, crazy, skin-care components shop. The store is like a vortex, utterly unlike anything I've ever seen. You can get lost in that tiny space for hours where they sell everything. And everything is affordable.

I added some marjoram, helichrysum and neroli to make it smell like something other than a cooked herb and it's actually a really balanced, pleasingly floral scent. It's potent but not overwhelming.

I also made a couple of face serums (sera?), which I modeled on this stuff here. (That product is excellent, btw, and you can get it at Cure.)

Rosehip Face Serum
Of course, I can't reproduce that proprietary product altogether, but I can do my own thing with most of the same ingredients. I subbed almond oil for jojoba because a) it's winter and faces need a bit more oomph from their creams right now (even if your skin is oily, like mine) and b) I had a bit left over after my lotion fiascos du jour and it was easier than storing a tiny amount of oil that would go-off fast sitting in a bottle with a lot of oxygen.

Essentially, in this 10ml bottle, I used @4ml organic sweet almond oil (bought in Mtl. in December), @5ml organic rosehip seed oil and 1ml vitamin e (in sunflower oil). For each bottle, I scented the oil with essential oils known for improving skin: rosewood, lavender, geranium and rose. It smells awesome.

In truth, the branded product is excellent and pretty well priced, for it's quality at @35 bucks. The homemade version, every bit as organic and with 90% of the same ingredients, cost 9 bucks - including the packaging (which is nowhere near as sexy as the shop version). Mine's a quarter of the price and I created multiples, by hand, in 10 minutes.

I can see I'm going to need a nice label...


  1. That's strange that both of us are lotion potion maker who took a really long break and got back to lotion making lately... I made a salve with olive oil infused with chamomile, calendula, lavender and comfrey. And love it!

    And I've been thinking about ordering rose hip seed oil On great coincidence!

  2. Kay, that's crazy! I LOVE that salve I made, I'm making more - so much more (in all the flavours - comfrey and calendula are next). And you must get the rose hip seed oil. You will not regret it.