Learn how to make an effective, non-greasy, and natural cold care chest rub cream featuring essential oils and menthol.
It’s peak cold and flu season around here, and I’ve been sharing jars of this natural vapor rub cream with loved ones.
I originally created the recipe especially for my Handmade Lotions & Creams Course, but since it’s been so effective this winter, I wanted to share it here on my website today too!
(Don’t have the time or ingredients to make a natural chest rub? You can find some great looking options by searching “natural chest rub” on Etsy.)
You can download and print out the mentholated chest rub recipe PDF from the course’s recipe ebook, by clicking HERE, or on the thumbnail below.
This creamy rub is a non-greasy and more natural take on the classic petroleum-based chest rub many turn to when colds and coughs strike.
My version is fairly mild, since I tend to be conservative with essential oils, so if you’d like it to have a stronger scent, try increasing the menthol crystals to 4 grams (2% of the recipe). Please note that this cream was not designed for children, and take care not to rub it in your eyes.
Ingredients are listed by weight. You’ll need a scale to make this recipe.
- 32 g (1.13 oz) sunflower (or other) oil (16%)
- 20 g (0.71 oz) mango (or shea) butter (10%)
- 14 g (0.5 oz) vegetable emulsifying wax NF (7%)
- 2 g (abt 3/4 tsp) menthol crystals (1%) (add after heating)
- 124 g (4.37 oz) distilled water (62%)
Cool Down Phase:
- 8 g (0.28 oz) Leucidal SF Complete (4%) (more preservative options below)
- essential oils: 17 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops peppermint, 3 drops white camphor
Yield & pH: This recipe makes about 7 ounces of lotion. The pH (before preservatives) is 6.5.
Directions to Make
Combine sunflower oil, mango (or shea) butter, and emulsifying wax NF in a heatproof jar. (Don’t add the menthol crystals yet.)
Add the water in a second heatproof jar, and cover lightly with a lid.
Place both jars in a saucepan with a few inches of water.
Heat to 158 to 176° F (70 to 80° C), or until the wax is melted, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir the menthol crystals into the hot oil mixture. (Be aware there may be momentary strong fumes.)
Pour the water phase into the oil phase.
Mix with a fork for several minutes as the mixture starts cooling.
Add the preservative and essential oils. Stir frequently as the cream cools.
If desired, set the jar in a bowl of ice water and stir frequently to cool/thicken faster, though it still may take up to 24 hours to reach final thickness.