There are some basic substances and lots and lots of special stuff.
Let's start with the basic stuff that is needed for simple ointments.
OilAny good quality vegetable oil can be used to make your ointments and creams.
For the herbal ointments and creams I usually use herbal oils.
Thickeners are all substances that make a cream or ointment out of the liquid oil and water.
The different thickeners work in different ways. Some are stronger, others weaker. And some are greasy, others give protection to the skin and others have their own healing qualitiy.
You can mix several thickeners in one cream.
There are lots of other thickeners but the above are the most important substances.
EmulsifierWhen you want to prepare a cream you need to combine oily and watery substances. Usualy water and oil doesn't connect, they separate as soon as possible.
To help both types of substances to connect, you need an emulsifier.
The emulsifier connects at one side with the water and at the other side with the oil. This ist called an emulsion.
There are different kind of emulsions:
Here you will find different emulsifiers, by and by. We add new descriptions always, when there are new recipes with new emulsifiers.
Lanolin anhydrousLanolin is a natural wax, that is produced by the sheeps to fatten their wool. It is brown and sticky. Sometimes it's called woolwax.
Lanolin builds water-in-oil-emulsions and can keep the double of its weight of water.
The resulting creams get rather fatty. They are too much fatty for face creams but very good for medicinal creams.
Beside the emulsifiying effects lanolin has its own healing effects to the skin and it keeps the skin juicy and protects from getting to dry.
Some people are allergic to lanolin and may react badly. They shouldn't use it in creams. When it is used as a face cream, some people get pimples because lanolin closes the skin.
Bad qualitiy lanolin could have pesticides. Therefore it is important to buy good quality.
Lanolin is selled with and without water inside.
For making creams you need lanolin without water because you want to put the water yourself to the cream. When buying lanolin tell the vendour that you want lanolin anhydrous, what means without water. Other names for lanolin anhydrous are "woolwax without water" or "adeps lanae sine aqua".
WaterWater is an important part of creams.
Usualy water from the tap is not good enough, because creams made by this kind of water get mildew faster than other creams.
Instead you can take mineral water, sterilized water or special waters like rose water.
ConservationIf you prepare creams, the combination of water and fat makes the cream sensible to mildew and bacterias.
Without conservating substances a cream keeps good about one week, in the refrigerator it could be two weeks.
When you want to keep the cream for a longer time, you need substances to conservate the cream.
Most conservation substances are not very well for the health. I only use two different kind of conservative substances in my creams.