1940’s Vanishing Cream (Historical Beauty Recipe)

1940’s Vanishing Cream (Historical Beauty Recipe)

This week’s recipe is for a light, fluffy vanishing cream from the 1940’s. Unlike the more traditional cold-creams, vanishing creams are much lighter and faster absorbing. They are also made from a different set of ingredients. This is a much more “modern” skin cream than recipes I have made in the past. If you prefer less-rich/heavy cold creams, then this may be the recipe for you!

Recipe Notes:
• I’ve listed the preservative as “optional” as it was not included in the original recipe. However, the skin cream will have a much shorter shelf-life without it (due to the high water content). If you choose to omit it, I would recommend storing the product in the fridge to lengthen its life-span. As with any beauty product, if it starts to smell off or look weird: toss it and make another batch.
• If using a preservative, you can add it to the rest of the water before adding the water to the stearic acid. (It can also be stirred in afterwards, but I find it easier to make sure it is fully incorporated when added directly to the water.) Typically the usage rate is about 1% (this may vary depending on your brand), which in this recipe works out to about 1.52 grams.
• Please note that washing soda (sodium carbonate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably.
• I’ve opted to go for a sodium-carbonate vanishing cream rather than a lye-based version, as it is safer to make. However, washing soda can still be caustic, so use caution when handling it. (The soda reacts with the acid in this recipe, so none is left in the final product)
• Either distilled water or rose water can be used for this recipe. I chose rose water as it has some skin benefits and it smells lovey, but both types of water will produce a very similar final product. (I wouldn’t recommend subbing in tap water as the bacteria/chemicals in the water will greatly increase the chances of the skin cream going bad quickly).
• For the water-bath part of this recipe: you can either use a double-boiler or do as I’ve done and set a canning jar in a pot of simmering water.
• While stearic acid is a safe product often used in skin creams, I have read that some people with sensitive skin may find it a bit irritating. As with any new skincare product, it may be a good idea to do a patch test before slathering it everywhere, especially if you a prone to having extra sensitive skin. (My skin is somewhat sensitive and didn’t have any sort of reaction, but I thought I should just mention it).
• The essential oil is optional and is mostly for scent. Good oils for the skin include lavender, rose, cedar wood, peppermint, etc. (I’d recommend avoiding citrus oils, as they can cause sun-sensitivity).


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