OK, truth be told, the term "body butter" kinda gives me the hee-bee-jee-bees. I don't know... it just sounds... tacky or kinky or something. Right?
But, to be fair, it's not my name for the stuff, and this body cream (ah, better) is so thick and rich that the name might be warranted. But, let me tell you: it's all natural, and it works. It conquers The Winter, as I said before. Dry winter skin--body or face--be gone. Good for Mama, Dada and baby.
So. Want to make some? It's my riff on a recipe from a book that's been hanging around my nightstand lately: Organic Body Care Recipes, by Stephanie Tourles.
First thing: make some lavender- and chamomile-infused olive oil. Let me tell you, this alone is truly wonderful stuff.
How to: Stuff a pint or quart (go big if you can) mason jar totally full with 2/3 dried chamomile flowers + 1/3 dried lavender flowers. Slowly drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the jar, soaking all the flowers (they will mat down quite a bit) and filling jar to the top with oil. Cover open jar top with plastic wrap, then tightly screw on the lid. Set it in a sunny window for a month (yep), giving it a shake once a day. Sounds a little involved, but totally worth it.
After a month of sitting, soaking and shaking, it's time to strain. Take good care to get all the schmutz out. I used a clean, tightly-woven dish towel (which is the same thing I use for straining chicken stock. really works). You could also use coffee filters.
Once strained, pour oil into a storage vessel and add the essential oils, to really heighten the scent: 25 drops lavender and 25 drops Roman chamomile. Stir to combine.
Once your oil is all purified and beautiful, it's ready for anything: Stephanie Tourles recommends adding it to baths, massaging sore muscles, rubbing it on the chest of an anxious child, soothe diaper rash and other skin irritations. Me, I like all the above, but especially like to rub it on my arms, chest and face before bed. It's the scent of happy sleep.
If you make the larger quantity of oil, you'll have quite a bit of leftovers for all this soothing and smoothing. A good thing in my book.
For the body cream, if you've ever made mayonnaise (or vinaigrette) from scratch, this will be super familiar. Basically, lotions, creams and butters are fats plus water/other liquid, mixed together vigorously (i.e., in a blender) to form an emulsion.
Chamomile & Olive Oil Body Butter
Adapted from All Natural Face and Body Care Recipes | Stephanie Tourles
My only nit: I think for my next batch, I'm going to try reducing the lanolin quantity, to cut down on the wool-ish scent, to smell the scented oil more. One of the purposes of the lanolin is to help make a strong emulsion, so the texture might loosen up a little, which I think I'm OK with. This is serious, frosting-like stuff.
For ingredients, I love Mountain Rose Herbs. It's like a wonderland of herbs, oils and supplies.
Makes 2-3 cups
3/4 c. infused chamomile & lavender olive oil (from method above)
1/3 c. extra virgin, unrefined coconut base oil
4 T. beeswax
2 t. anhydrous lanolin
1 c. lavender hydrosol
30 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
30 drops lavender essential oil
1. In a heavy saucepan, warm base oils, beeswax and lanolin until just melted (don't overdo this, go slow). In another saucepan, heat the lavender hydrosol. Remove both pans from the heat and allow to cool to body temperature (~5-10 minutes; the fats will start to go opaque). You want them to be roughly the same temperature, so they combine nicely.
2. Immediately pour the fats mixture into a blender, scraping it all in with a spatula. Attach the lid, but remove the center plastic piece. Turn the blender on (medium or so) and then immediately drizzle in the warm hydrosol. The emulsion should immediately thicken and lighten in color. If it's not combining thoroughly, turn off the machine, give it a few stirs with a spatula and blend some more.
3. When the mixture is evenly combined, turn off the machine and add the essential oils. Gently stir with a spatula, then blend again for a few seconds.
4. Spoon finished body butter into storage vessels. Lightly cover each container with a paper towel for 30 minutes, until cool. Then, cap and store for 30 days without refrigeration. If chilled, you can keep for 3-6 months.
When you use the butter, just scoop out a little a time and work it into the skin. You don't need too much! And, it works best when applied right after showers or baths.
If you make a batch, let me know how it goes!