What Rikke Made - Cream With Zing

See those 'sticks' in the picture above? They add zing to things. It doesn't take a lot of them either. Just a few will add a refreshing, cool bit of zing that can be felt immediately. I've never worked with them before, but Rikke has.

The Zing Thing

Rikke is a crochet artist, but she also makes her own skin care products. We've been comparing notes – 'talking shop' – and have even started trying each others products. She sent me a package the other day with a cream sample and a few 'zing sticks'. OK, I'll come clean: they're menthol crystals, and Rikke told me that she uses them for that 'extra kick of freshness' as well as for their antibacterial properties in the face cream she makes for herself. Obviously, I got curious, so I started researching.

Good For Just About Everything!

Menthol crystals are incredibly versatile. They are widely used in foods, cosmetics and medicines, offering both antifungal and antibacterial action. They also help simulate circulation. The cooling and envigorating boost and refreshing, minty scent and taste makes them ideal for everything from toothpaste and chewing gum to drinks, sore muscle balms, and Rikkes face cream! 

It Starts Out Green

Menthol crystals originate from the plant commonly known as wild mint, corn mint, field mint and even Japanese mint (INCI: mentha arvensis). The leaves contain up to 70% menthol, and India is (at the moment) the leading grower and producer with China coming in as a strong second (I believe the 2 countries are pretty much neck and neck in production volume). India has several Fair Trade programs. (I have not run across any info on how production in China is handled).

Making The Crystals

Menthol crystals are formed during a several step process that begins with the steam distillation of mint leaves to produce mentha essential oil. The oil is then frozen to minus 60° C (minus 76°F) and kept at this temperature for 6-7 days. This creates menthol flakes. The flakes are collected and heated to 40° C (104°F), creating a liquid that is then filtered. More flakes are added to the filtered liquid and kept for up to 3 weeks, where the crystals form. The entire process takes place in a strictly temperature-controlled environment.

Working With The Crystals

This is something I have yet to experience. I have a little sample packet from Rikke but haven't had time to use them in anything – yet. The instructions for use I've found are all identical: dissolves easily in water or oil with a melting point of about 44° C (111° F). Everyone also cautions against overdosing (must be some kind of punch these innocent-looking crystals provide!). 

Rikkes Zing Factor

Here's a dollop of Rikkes cream next to the menthol crystals. I tried the cream on my hands and face the first day – lovely and fresh. The next day, I went crazy and used the entire sample up with an all-out, all-over body application finishing with both feet.
Moisture factor: rich without feeling greasy, thumbs up
Zing factor: excellent for face and body (less noticable on hands), but ladies, the feet – the feet love this zing!

PS: Rikke – I forgot to ask what you call this cream.


Rikke said…
Hi Lise

*S* I call it my facial cream. On my notes from when I made it, I call it the silk cream because it contains a lot of silk protein.

Talking about overdose. I have som experience with that. The first time I experimented with the menthol crystals, I added 4 og 5 times as much as I do now. In the same batch I experimented with azulen - wich I also overdosed a bit (too much). So the result was a dark blue cream that made my eyes water for several minuts after applying. Not very useful ;-)

Thank you for explaining how menthol crystals are made!!

Have a loveley Saturday!

LisaLise said…
Wow! A blue cream with mega-zing! I know I will be asking you about dosage when I start working with this.
Thank you!!!