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Ersatz skin food

There was a thread about ten days ago talking about a home recipe for Trumper's skin food. I was intrigued, and decided to try it out. I very much liked the samples from Trumper, but balked at the price. Here was the recipe given:

AFAIK traditional skin food is made up of rose water, glyercin and scent. So, drop by your local health food store and you can likely pick up some rose water, glyercin and essential oil and then go home and mix up your own skin food at home.

Search the forums as I'm pretty sure there have been few threads with members sharing the ratios that have worked for them. Traditional mix is 2 parts rose water, 1 part glycerin. Additions you can make: add 1/2 part witch hazel, if you want a different scent add essential oil by the drop until you get the scent you want.

I tried it, but it was pretty thin, and when I used it on my face it seemed to be VERY tacky. I think it was because too much product had to be dispensed to cover my whole face- it was too runny. Taking a cue from Corn Husker's, I waddled on down to the local organic store and picked up some guar gum for around $4.50 or so. Based on how little it took to thicken my experiment, I probably now own enough guar gum to thicken Lake Erie into a thin gel. If the music thing doesn't work out, I am set up for my first evil plot as a supervillain. Need a costume though...

I started with 1/8 cup rosewater and about 1/16 cup glycerin, or about a 2-1 ratio. Thanks to the Oxo mini measuring cup! I may have gone down to half the glycerine for the second batch, but I forget. Adding a small pinch or two of the guar gum worked very well, thickening it just enough to barely hold it together on my finger, as opposed to running everywhere. This seemed to be enough to allow a small drop to be dispersed across my face in a very thin layer. YMMV. The incorporation is no problem at all- you can just add it and shake it up. Be warned- it seems to thicken up more overnight- perhaps a small blender would be better than hand shaking it. My first experiment was perfect- until the next day, when it was almost the consistancy of old oatmeal... gross... The second batch was better- the next day it was almost runny, but not quite. Just what I wanted. Better to add too little and adjust it the next day than ruin a batch. If you still find this tacky, cut the glycerine maybe in half. As when I make my own aftershave splashes, too much glycerine=sticky face. Again, YMMV.

Results? Seems to work pretty well. Very similar to Corn Huskers, but I seem to have less redness and irritation. Maybe it was just a good shave, or maybe even my imagination! The rosewater didn't really scent it well enough for me, so perhaps some sort of rose oil is in its future. No color either, just looks like corn huskers. I could get pink rosewater, but it was more expensive, and the labelling set off my BS detector ('magnetized water'- please...). My rosewater is clearly cheapo stuff too, I would love to try this recipe with QED's. I remember the Trumpers being cooler on my skin than this, I will chalk that up to the menthol crystals on the label I didn't add. They can be had online for around $2.50/ oz if you so desire, and that was just a quick google search. I added a dab of aloe gel on impulse- takes away some of the 'glow' on the skin, but it felt great. Maybe some witch hazel next...

Overall, an interesting experiment. Reinforces in my mind that Trumper's skin food is quite similar to corn huskers in composition as well as effect. They add better scent and some color, and some menthol for slight cooling which I missed in my concoction, and I'll bet good money the ingredients are overall better quality. Maybe next time.

Still, the cost? Rosewater, $6.50 for 4oz (used 1/2 on 2.5 batches that were about 1.5 oz each), glycerine (already had, but about $8 for 8 oz), of which I used very little, and guar gum $4.50, or which I may have used about gram or two at most. If I used all the rosewater, I would probably have had about 4.5-5oz of the stuff for around $20, and after that the rosewater would be the major expense as the gum and the glycerine would last for many batches. Without adding preservatives, I'll keep my batches small thank you. Even the small amount I made as an experiment should last quite a while, and I have no idea how long it will last without preservatives.

Is it worth it? It's hard to say- my samples from Trumper have long since run out and I have only memory to guide me. I think my experiment falls somewhere between the real thing and corn huskers, but bear in mind I didn't add all of Trumper's bells and whistles. If you value the scent and color above all else, than no, unless you add both. If you like the cooling, also no, unless you take the next step and add the menthol crystals. Suffice it to say, I don't think I could ever bring myself to buy the Trumpers unless my income changes at least one decimal place, but that's just my opinion and my priorities. It would be interesting to try it with the menthol, as I miss the slight cooling effect from the real deal, as well as the scent. The color I could care less about. I'm willing to bet rosewater can be found less expensively- the organic stores usually have inflated prices in my opinion. Frankly, replace the rosewater with tapwater, and you probably have ersatz corn husker's lotion! I think that would be far less cost effective than just going to Waltonia though.
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This is a great review of your process. It'd be interesting to see the same thing done with sandalwood (no doubt much more expensive to do it well) or lime (perhaps a bit cheaper). Thanks!

And if Lake Erie develops viscosity issues (well, worse than at present...), we'll know who to look for! :wink:
I love to hear about experiments like this. To me creating your own things and experimentation go hand in hand with the spirit of wet shaving. Nice!

You stay away from The Great Lakes! I love those lakes :biggrin:
joto great post on your experiment. Since your project was based on a post by me I have to add some details. First, I've never used Trumpers or CHL so I have no idea of how those products perform. Second, I posted without ever trying the recipe and with further research (and as your experience indicates) I think the ratios I listed are too high. A more common recipe I've spotted is 1 3/4 cups rosewater, 1/4 witch hazel and 6-8 drops of glycerin.

I have yet to buy any glycerin, but I have mixed up a rosewater toner to see how it works. Base mix I've used is 2 parts rosewater: 1 part orange blossom water: 1 part witch hazel. Orange blossom water is supposed to be better for oily skin and also I find it cuts the rosewater scent a bit. I use it as a general toner and post shave and quite like it. I added a dash of alum to another batch, but I didn't notice any major change. Overall, it is refreshing and seems to be doing a good job for my skin, but I think I will add some glycerin, once I buy some, to make it more moisturizing.

Also, you are right rosewater (and orange blossom water and alum) will be much cheaper at your local ethnic food store. I found the exact same bottle (brand and size) of rosewater at both types of stores, but it cost 2 to 3 times more at the organic stores.
Yeah, I'll probably be cutting down on the glycerine next time, although an 8-1 water-glycerine ratio leaves me only slightly tacky if I use too much, and fine if I use just a little. I find that depending on the time of year (and thus the overall level of moisture in the air and my skin's needs) I vary the amount I put into my A/S splash homebrew. I remember some A/S splash recipes here from a year ago or so that indicated the glycerine content should be related to the water content so that a certain ratio of glycerine-water remains on the face after the alcohol evaporates. Too much= sticky, too little= drying. My own run around 5-10% glycerine to water by volume, and I imagine everyone will have slightly different needs based on any number of factors. Maybe this should be similar?

It's kinda wierd to think that for the great results I get from Corn Huskers, it's basically gum-thickened water with some glycerine. No real secret. The Trumpers is essentially the same thing, only they substitute rosewater, a different gum thickener (tragacanth), and add a little menthol. I personally don't think there's any reason why anyone can't simulate these products to some respectable degree at home if they are so inclined, without laying out $23 for 100 ml of the Trumpers, but I understand that exact duplication is probably not possible. I came fairly close for my tastes- I'll fiddle a little on the next batch to see if I can get closer. Heck, I'll even bet you could beat the Corn Husker's Wally World price. Plus, you don't have to deal with the preservatives, color, or scent if they're not your thing.

I ordered some menthol flakes to try out- At this point I should have simply BOUGHT the real deal for the money I am into this (although I can still make up batches much cheaper with the bulk ingredients). Brumble, I'm blaming you! :lol: Seriously, thanks for the recipe- it was a good starting point, and this has been a lot of fun for me. I'm a tinkerer at heart, and the process is where all the fun is for me. Someone needs to stop me... please... I can't help myself...

I do notice that redness from shaving and my acne fades much faster using this homebrew than Corn Husker's lotion, although moisturizing is about the same. Given the similarity between the two, I'm crediting the rosewater. I could probably just splash with rosewater and be done, but where's the fun in that?
Great thread! I've been making my own 'home brew' skin food and AS with varying degrees of success.

What I've been searching for is a 'base' mixture that works for me. There are some basic rules (ie: not too much glycerin) and basic proportions. The 'base' mixture is flexible based on the needs of the individual (ie: more witch hazel for some, less for some, and none for others).

Once you've found and tweaked a base mixture that works for you, you can then add scent and alcohol (if desired).

I guess what I'm getting at is that the basic ingredients and proportions that you are laying out will work with any scent that you'd care to add. If you want it to be like Trumper's, take your 'base' mixture and scent it like Trumper's. This is, after all, what the Trumper's (and everyone else) does.

What's most exciting about all this is that the basic ingredients are all available at the local drugstore.

Here is my scaled-down version of an old "Aftershave Balm" recipe:

Aftershave Balm
1/8 oz. quince seed, crushed
5 grains borax (1 grain=approx.1 large pinch)
1/2 oz. glycerine
1/2 oz. alcohol
1/4 oz. distilled water
7 oz. witch hazel extract
60 drops tincture of benzoin
Macerate the quince in the witch hazel and glycerine for 12 hours. Filter. Mix water and alcohol and dissolve borax in it. Add to quince-gel. Add drop by drop,the benzoin and shake well. If desired, add approx. 20 to 30 drops fragrance. Bottle.

A couple of things: benzoin, while it makes a so-so preservative, is a sensitizer, meaning it can cause an allergic reaction over time. This can be omitted and the balm kept refrigerated.

The alcohol can be omitted and the witch hazel increased to 7 1/2 oz. total.

Quince seeds can be found at the health food store or from your local grocers in the form of the whole fruit. They produce a thick mucilage that moisturizes and soothes the skin (makes great jelly and jam, too)!
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