Circulating Oils Library Mixtures – Galens Cold Cream




125 millilitre


63 millilitre


2 spoon(s)


18 drop(s)


10 drop(s)


200 millilitre


1 unit


Cold cream is an emulsion of water and certain fats, usually including beeswax and various scent agents, designed to smooth skin and remove makeup. The emulsion is of a “water in oil” type unlike the “oil in water” type emulsion of vanishing cream, so – called because it seems to disappear when applied on skin.

The name “cold cream” derives from the cooling feeling that the cream leaves on the skin.

Variations of the product have been used for nearly 2000 years. The invention of cold cream is credited to Galen, a physician in second century Greece. Galen was a Greek physicist who invented a recipe for a cream using rosewater, olive oil and beeswax. After application, the rosewater in the cream evaporates leaving the skin feeling cool. Hence the name Cold Cream.

The Greek physician Galen was one of the originators of the science of anatomy (the study of the structure of living things) and was probably the most important physician of all time. His surviving writings make up about half of all ancient writings on medicine.

Galen said of himself, “I have worked only for science and truth and for that reason I have avoided placing my name at the beginning of my books”.

In his fourteenth year Galen attended lectures given by many different philosophers (people who study and search for knowledge) in Pergamon. He learned something from all of them and thought it was wrong of people to blindly follow everything any one person might say. Later in life he urged physicians to take whatever is useful from wherever they find it and not to follow one school of thought, because that produces “an intellectual slave.” Galen claimed to have studied day and night for four years.

And one day Galen invented cold cream recipe.

The modern formula for cold cream is, however, quite a different thing to that given in the works of Galen, in point of odour and quality, although substantially the same – grease and water. A copy of the London Dispensatory, edited by Nicholas Culpeper and published in the year 1650 included the following formula for this substance:

“Take of white wax four ounces, oyl of roses omphacine a pound. Melt in a double vessel, then powr it out into another, by degrees putting in cold water, and often powring it out of one vessel into another, stirring it till it be white. Last of all wash it in rose water, adding a little rose water and rose vineger“.

Cold cream is used for softening and cooling the skin after sunburn, as a cleansing cream, to relieve harshness of the skin. Protecting face from cold. Save moisture inside the skin.

How to made this mixture:

We make this mixture in bigger proportion, the cold cream is stable with long self life (about 6 month).
In a double – boiler, melt the beeswax in the oil. Heat slowly until the wax is fully melted in with the oil.

In another double – boiler, take rose water and heat until it becomes at the same temperature as the oil.

When working with beeswax it is important that both the water solution and the oil solution be really hot, since beeswax has a high melting point and a fusion point of 63C. Apparently, you can do this without a thermometer by judging that both be very hot but not boiling, and most importantly, the same temperature. If you do have a thermometer, you can make sure that they are both around 60 C (140F).

Once the solutions are at the same temperature, then slowly pour the water into the oil, or the other way around. It doesn’t matter which one you pour, as long as you pour slowly, and whisk/blend while you pour.

Alternatively, you can also pour the water into a blender and then turn the blender on low and slowly drizzle the oil into the vortex. I started by pouring the water into the oil while blending with a milk frother (a little battery operated whisk). When all the water had been incorporated, I switched to my handblender and buzzed for 20-30 seconds.

In the end (then mixture get a little bit cold) take rose essential oil dilution and rosemary leaf extract drops into the cold cream. Mix all ingrediants together with handblender (don’t worry if you do not have handblender – the whole process can be shaken with a wooden spatula and your hands).

If you don’t have rose infusion in almond oil you can use a simple oil of almond.

I think galen’s cold cream main idea is to combine three different substances of roses (rose water, rose essential oil and rose infusion). Each rose substance has it own chemical composition, which is perfectly revealed in these three substance connection.

Rosemary extract is used as a preservative in this cream.


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