This soothing reishi face cream recipe features anti-aging mushrooms and regenerative rosehip seed oil. It’s suitable for most skin types, but is especially nice for dry, weathered, and/or aged skin.
Reishi mushrooms, also called “the mushrooms of immortality” have been used medicinally for centuries for their ability to modulate the immune system, help us adapt to stress, fight the effects of aging, and more!
Not just for internal use, reishi are loaded with antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatory properties, making them useful for soothing redness, irritation, acne, and dry skin. The polysaccharides in reishi may also protect against UVB-induced photoaging and accelerate wound healing.
In this study: Resolution of Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Following Topical Application of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi Mushroom), researchers “report the case of a 44-year-old male patient who used soap enriched with G. lucidum (reishi mushroom) and goat’s milk for 3 days in treating annular cutaneous sarcoidosis. The patient showed almost complete regression of the lesions”!
Related: Check out my recipe for Shiitake Facial Soap! (You could replace the shiitake water infusion with reishi if you’d like – just simmer the reishi in water for about 1 to 2 hours to create a tea.)
For more about foraging and using reishi mushrooms, or easily growing reishi in your home, check out these articles at our family site, Unruly Gardening:
For this recipe, we’re going to combine a hot water extract with an oil extract, in an attempt to capture beneficial polysaccharides, triterpenes, and ganoderic acids from the mushrooms. (The water extract will be more powerful, so if you only have enough reishi for one infusion, go with the water extract, and use plain or herbal-infused oil instead.)
We’re also adding rosehip seed oil, a quick absorbing oil that’s helpful for weathered, damaged, scarred, or wrinkled skin.
The inspiration for this reishi face cream comes from Herbal Academy’s Mushroom Course, Unit 4, Lesson 6: Mushroom Preparations. 😊
The Infused Oil
To make the reishi oil infusion, fill a small jar with 2 tbsp coarsely ground dried reishi pieces. A coffee grinder works well to pulverize them.
If you don’t grow or forage reishi, it’s also available for sale online:
The slices can usually be snapped in half, then ground in a coffee grinder to make a coarse yet fluffy powder, or the purchased reishi powder can be used, just be sure to stir frequently during the infusing time.
Cover with 1/2 cup of carrier oil. I’ve given some oil suggestions below – feel free to use one oil, or a combination of oils.
Place the dried reishi and oil in a heat proof half-pint canning jar. Place the jar down into a saucepan containing several inches of water and place the pan over a medium-low burner. Heat for 2 to 3 hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. The heat should not be so high that the water bubbles or simmers.
After this time, remove from heat. You can strain and use right away if you’re in a hurry, but I like to let the oil infuse for another several days to 2 or 3 weeks, to ensure a stronger infusion.
Once infused to your satisfaction, strain the oil into a clean jar, cap, label, and store in a cool dark place. Shelf life should be around 1 year.
The Water Infusion
For the hot water infusion, place 2 tbsp coarsely ground dried reishi in a small saucepan. Cover with about 1 1/2 cups of water.
Bring to a simmer, cover to prevent evaporation, and heat at a low simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Check water amount periodically, to make sure it doesn’t evaporate out. Strain. If needed, add distilled water to the reishi tea, in order to make sure you have 105 grams needed to make the cream.
If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate the tea for 1 to 2 days, or freeze for longer storage.
For an in-depth resource about making lotions and creams from scratch, plus loads of helpful information about the best oils, butters, essential oils, herbs, flowers, and other natural ingredients to use for your skin type and needs, be sure to check out my Handmade Lotions & Creams eBook Collection!
You will need an accurate digital scale that measures in grams to make this recipe. Check in the kitchen gadgets section of local stores, or I use and love a Jennings scale I bought from Lotion Crafter.
- 27 g reishi infused oil (18%)
- 7.5 g rosehip seed oil (or other favorite luxury oil) (5%)
- 9 g emulsifying wax (6%) (I use plant-based ewax from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- 105 g reishii water infusion (70%)
- 1.5 g Geogard ECT (an organic-approved preservative) (1%)
I used a combination of organic apricot kernel and fractionated coconut (MCT) oils to make the infused oil for this batch, but you can use pretty much any other type of carrier oil instead.
Some oil ideas include:
- Sweet Almond Oil – protects damaged or itchy skin, absorbs at a medium rate
- Jojoba Oil – for all skin types, absorbs quickly
- Grapeseed Oil – for oily or acne-prone skin, light and non-greasy
- Apricot Kernel Oil – revitalizes aged or dry skin, quick absorbing
- Fractionated Coconut Oil – absorbs very quickly, makes products feel less greasy (don’t confuse this with regular coconut oil which is solid at room temperature and heavier)
- Sunflower Oil – helpful for eczema, sensitive skin, nourishing
How to Make
Weigh out the reishi tea into a canning jar or other heatproof container. Cover this jar with a lid, to keep the tea from evaporating while it heats.
Weigh out the infused oil and emulsifying wax in a separate heatproof jar or container. If using rosehip seed oil, wait to add it after the wax has melted, since it’s more sensitive to high temperatures.
Place the two jars/containers down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a double boiler of sorts. Turn the burner to medium low and heat until the wax is fully melted. (About 20 to 25 minutes.)
When the wax has melted, turn off the burner, but don’t remove from heat quite yet.
Add the rosehip seed oil to the jar filled with melted wax and infused oil. Stir well, then remove from heat.
Carefully – since the jars are hot at this point! – pour the hot water infusion into the jar of oils and stir, stir, stir.
I often use a fork to stir, but you could also dump the two mixtures into a wide mouth canning jar, and mix them with one beater of a standard hand mixer.
Stir frequently until the cream starts to thicken as it cools. To speed things up, I usually set the jar down into a bowl of ice water while stirring – once the jar has cooled down a bit. (Don’t plunge a piping hot jar into ice water though, or it may crack.)
Once cooled to below 104°F (40°C) , stir in the preservative. Pour into containers or jars. Depending on your brand of emulsifying wax, it will probably thicken up even more over the next 24 hours.
Even with a preservative, because of the water extract (tea), it’s a good idea to make small batches and use this cream up within a month or two, to make sure it stays nice and fresh! For that reason, I don’t recommend doubling or tripling this recipe.
If you don’t want to use a preservative, refrigerate and use within two to three days.
Related Article: 10 Natural Preservatives for Homemade Skin Care
All of my recipes are designed with the home hobbyist in mind, and are not formulated or tested for commercial use. If you sell skin care products, you may wish to consider reformulating with a standardized commercial mushroom extract instead. 😊
Sources & Further Reading
Cheng, Poh-Guat, et al. Polysaccharides-Rich Extract of Ganoderma lucidum (M.A. Curtis:Fr.) P. Karst Accelerates Wound Healing in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Volume 2013 |Article ID 671252 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/671252.
Kurtipek, Gulcan Sylam, et al. Resolution of Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Following Topical Application of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi Mushroom). Dermatology & Therapy, 2016 Mar; 6(1): 105–109.
Wang, Ju, et al. Emerging Roles of Ganoderma Lucidum in Anti-Aging. Aging & Disease; 2017 Dec; 8(6): 691–707.
Wu, Yuanzheng, et al. Mushroom Cosmetic: The Present and Future. Cosmetics; 2016, 3(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics3030022
Yin, Zhuming, et al. Preventive and Therapeutic Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Skin Diseases and Care. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; 2019;1182:311-321. doi: 10.1007/978-981-32-9421-9_14.
Zeng, Qinghai, et al. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides protect fibroblasts against UVB-induced photoaging. Molecular Medicine Reports; 2017 Jan;15(1):111-116. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2016.6026. Epub 2016 Dec 12.