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Victorian Rose: The Story Behind Our 19th Century-Inspired Day Cream

During the 19th century, Victorian women used cold creams as an essential part of their daily beauty routine. These bygone recipes often included nourishing and beautifully scented botanical ingredients like rose water and almond oil. So, when I began researching my own day cream recipe, I turned first to the formulations of Victorian apothecaries and sought to improve upon them with my own modern-day twist.

diy cold cream rose petals

In truth, it took ages to finally perfect the recipe for my Rose Petals Day Cream. I was committed to striking the absolute perfect balance of moisturizing and a lightweight, creamy consistency and I experimented with dozens of oils in a seemingly infinite array of combinations.

Finally, I settled on the luxuriously lightweight yet nourishing rosehip seed oil as the star of the show for my day cream. My rosehip seed oil comes from the Rose canina rose bush and is full of essential fatty acids which are incredible for softening and smoothing the skin. 

Sweet almond oil for Rose Petals Day Cream from Willow & Birch Apothecary

I blend this beautiful rosehip seed oil with sweet almond oil, which is another wonderfully lightweight moisturizing oil and was also a main ingredient in many 19th-century cold cream recipes.


To create the perfect creamy consistency, I gently melt my favorite local Catskills beeswax and blend it into the nourishing oils. As the mixture cools, I continue stirring to ensure that all the goodness of each precious ingredient is evenly distributed. As the final fragrant touch, I mix in a dash of palmarosa essential oil which lends a beautifully delicate rose aroma that leaves your skin gently kissed with fragrance.

co bigelow rose cold cream

what is cold cream


It’s a truly magical experience to mix and blend these beautiful botanicals. Every time I mix up a batch of our day cream, I imagine myself a Victorian apothecary, as I'm creating this decadent concoction for others to enjoy.

Thank you for joining me for this behind-the-scenes glimpse into my studio! You can click here for more peeks behind the curtain at Willow & Birch Apothecary!

And click here for more about my nourishing face creams!

Moisturizing face creams from Willow & Birch Apothecary

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2 comments

  • That is fascinating, Kay! I have not come across that particular ingredient, but I’ll check my books and will email you with what I find out. Thank you for sharing! <3

    Anna, Willow & Birch Apothecary
  • My Great-Grandmother had a recipe for cold cream (dated 1896) and I was wondering if, in your research you ran across the ingredient: Barosaine Sublizate (or Subligate?) – 4 grains I can’t seem to find what this is. I’d appreciate your input and expertise. Thank you for your time.

    Kindest regards,
    Kay Herndon

    Kay Herndon

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