Now that I’ve fallen in love with face creams for winter skin hydration, I’m afraid I’m finding myself on a slippery slope. I caught myself drifting off to sleep the other night thinking about orange blossom water in face cream, and evening primrose oil. Some silk, perhaps… and suddenly I am dreaming about surfing on a cresting wave of neroli-scented face cream. Or something like that. Anyhow, I think you will enjoy sliding down this particular slippery slope with me, as this orange blossom face cream is divine.
The base of this cream is a blend of fragrant orange blossom water, protective allantoin, hydrating vegetable glycerin, and healing, amino-acid rich silk. Orange blossom water is a wonderful thing, and if you love neroli, but recoil at the price tag (~$90/5mL!), you’re going to love orange blossom water. A bottle is just a few dollars at the grocery store, and it smells just like neroli!
A blend of linoleic-acid rich evening primrose oil, argan-oil-esque abyssinian oil, and rich shea butter make up most of the oil part, with added cetyl alcohol for a thicker, richer cream, and some BTMS-50 to emulsify everything together. Both shea butter and evening primrose oil are heavier, richer oils with slower absorption speeds—the sort of thing you might not love to apply to your face straight, but when they’re diluted in a cream you can enjoy their benefits without feeling weighed down.
Some vitamin E (tocopherol) and vitamin B5 (panthenol) bring up the rear, along with a touch of white champaca (michelia alba) essential oil. I find the michelia alba blends beautifully with the neroli, helping brighten and sweeten what can be a bit of a dusty citrus note.
I tried a new toy making this lotion—a higher powered milk frother with interchangeable attachments as an alternative to an immersion blender. The one I got buzzes up to an impressive 15,000 RPMs, and definitely handles a bit easier than an immersion blender (with less splattering and less product loss). I’ve been eying the Minipro Mixer from Lotion Crafter, but adding $30 in shipping (plus duties and currency conversion) to a $20 purchase seemed… silly… so I went with the Ozeri mixer that’s available on Canadian Amazon instead. So far, so good!
If you love neroli and enjoy a richly hydrating, silky face cream, you’re going to love this stuff. Give it a go—I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Orange Blossom Face Cream
2g | 0.07oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
1g | 0.03oz panthenol powder (vitamin B5)
0.5g | 0.017oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])
4 drops michelia alba (white champaca) essential oil
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the water, orange blossom water, allantoin, glycerin, and silk into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Cover that measuring cup with some foil, and place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through. Weigh the evening primrose oil, abyssinian oil, shea butter, cetyl alcohol, and BTMS-50 into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup and place that measuring cup in the water bath as well.
Heat both parts through for twenty minutes; this ensures the oil part is thoroughly melted, and helps the allantoin and silk fully dissolve in the water part.
After twenty minutes, pour the water part into the oil part. Remove the measuring cup with the two parts from the water bath and set it on a dishtowel to insulate it from the counter top. Using an immersion blender (or a high powered buzzy milk frother—mine does 15,000 RPM), blend the solution together, in bursts to prevent the lotion from leaping out of the measuring cup. After a minute or two of blending, leave it to cool for ten minutes before returning to blend it some more.
Do that a few more times until the cream is only a bit warmer than room temperature, and then stir in the vitamin E, panthenol, liquid germall plus, and essential oil. Transfer the cream into a 120mL/4oz plastic pump-top bottle or jar.
To use, smooth a small amount of orange blossom face cream over just-washed skin. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
I do not recommend scaling this recipe up as 100g is quite a lot of face cream! After three weeks of 2–3x daily use I’ve barely made a dent in mine.