Saturday, December 18, 2010

Natural moisturizers for winter skin....

A jar I received from a friend becomes my kitchen sink cream  container

Winters on the northern prairie can be very harsh to say the least.  The air is dry and the cold is deep, in fact I had a brisk walk to the mailbox this afternoon and our high temperature for the day was just 12* F.  My family's skin pays dearly for such exposure, and my dishpan hands always need relief.  So I do what I can to bring relief to chapped hands, lips, feet and over-all dry skin.  I really dislike all the additives and things that are found in commercial lotions and creams so for several years, I have been making what I call Bee Butter.  I first found this recipe here, but have since altered it by adding a few capsules of vitamin E oil.  Sometimes I swap part of the olive oil for coconut oil (which is very healing to the dry, itchy skin).   I love the smell of the beeswax in this formula which gives it a sweet, honey smell so I never have added fragrance to the cream, but you could add an essential oil if you wanted to.
Bee Butter  (non-petroleum jelly)
2 ounces olive oil
1/2 ounce grated bees wax
12 drops grapefruit seed extract (natural disinfectant)

1. Melt the beeswax with olive oil in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time until wax  is liquefied.  Be careful!  The glass will be HOT.  Or you may heat it in a double boiler over simmering water and medium heat.
2. Remove mixture from the heat and add the grapefruit extract.
3. Allow mixture to cool about 10 minutes.  Then beat mixture with a hand mixer or whisk until it starts to turn creamy or cloudy.  Pour into a clean container.

Makes 1/4 cup. Store in glass jar with screw on lid.
Shelf life up to one year.

*I have made this without the grapefruit seed extract and it still maintains a long shelf life. I also add 3 or 4 capsules of vitamin E oil to the butter to further enrich it.  You may like to substitute part of the olive oil with sweet almond oil, coconut oil or others. It is fun to experiment and find the combination you like best.

I want to try a creamy body butter next.  This video looks simple enough.

 Another skin soother is oatmeal.  My family enjoys a hot soaking bath in the winter months, but even baths can take a toll on already-dry skin.  To moisturize your skin in the bath, toss in an Oat Float.  I found this idea over at Maya*Made.  She gives a complete tutorial on how to make these cute little sachet pouches for gift-giving or for your own bath.  After soaking in the bath, I  rub the pouch on my face  for an easy oatmeal facial and then scrub the rest of my body with it for more moisturizing.

I think I made a couple dozen "oat floats" for our baths and for gift-giving this Christmas.  I used cheese cloth (doubled) for my pouches, but you can use thin muslin like Maya did in her instructions.  Another idea would be to buy some spice bags or bouquet garni bags that are pre-made and just pour your oatmeal in them and pull the drawstring --much easier than sewing if you're not a sewist.  Enjoy!


  1. What an excellent idea! I really want to do this -- but where do you get grapefruit seed extract? I've never heard of it, much less seen it. Please fill us in.

  2. I just got a wonderful herbal supply catalog in the mail, and I bet I can find all the ingredients for the moisturizer. My hands get so dried out from baking and the dry air this time.

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. MK,
    I bought grapefruit seed extract (GSE) at my health food store. It is used primarily to clean, disinfect, and to stop bacteria or mold so the addition of it to the bee butter is to keep it from spoiling as well as providing healing/medicinal properties for the skin.

    I have made it many times without the GSE. I added a link to the grapefruit seed extract ingredient so you can see other ways it is used.

    I am wanting to experiment with other homemade creams, particularly "body butters," that would be lighter weight than the bee butter.


  4. Just this morning I am lamenting the dryness of my busy hands. When I was at Kelli's with the girls, my hands dried out so quickly. Now that I'm home buzzing around the kitchen and doing some heavy cleaning, my hands will surely suffer. I am going to think about making some goop and I like your recipe. I've always struggled with dry hands because I'm a compulsive hand washer ):
    Thank you so much for the help!

  5. I bought a ton of oats on sale a while back...not sure what I was thinking because no way we are going to eat all of those...and this is a perfect solution for what to do with them!

  6. Love it, on my new year to do list xoxo Clarice

  7. Love new recipes for winter skin care! I found a couple of recipes for moisturizing bath salts and combined them and love, love it! I combine epsom salt, rock salt, sea salt, ground oatmeal, baking soda and peanut skin finally quit itching and I can really tell a difference!


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