Did you know that the average woman applies upwards of 500 different chemicals (like heavy metals, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, etc.) on her body each day? Pretty baffling, right? Dudes aren't off the hook, either. Shaving cream, aftershave, deodorant, toothpaste, cologne, shampoo, hair gel, etc. are just as bad.
These days, the majority of commercial beauty and bath products contain a laundry list on ingredients that are unrecognizable and hard to pronounce. The cosmetics industry is not well regulated, which means companies can get away with putting hoards of who-knows-what into products, then sell them to you. (Want to know how your favorite products rate? Search for them in the Environment Working Group's Skin Deep Database.)
Because of this, I've made a concerted (albeit slow) effort over the past two and a half years to overhaul my beauty and bath routine with less toxic products.
- I began by ditching my everyday lotion and switching to coconut oil.
- Instead of commercial exfoliating body washes, I made homemade sugar scrub for my body and face.
- Next came my "oil-free" face moisturizer that I'd used for YEARS. That one was hard to give up. I had a lingering fear that my face would turn into a minefield without salicylic acid. Not true! I tossed that out for organic, virgin coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil. Turns out your skin actually LIKES oil (the good stuff, at least) and when you strip it of natural oils with harsh cleansers and don't replenish it properly, it'll go crazy!
- About a year ago I made the leap to a non-toxic deodorant after hearing amazing testimonials from some of my blogging friends about primal pit paste. I could probably figure out how to make it at home, but am happy to support a small company that sells quality products. I'm also addicted to their Lemonade scented deodorant. Yes, I use the kid's line. :)
- Last spring I kissed my body sprays and perfumes goodbye (full of synthetic fragrance and chemicals), and made the switch to therapeutic-grade essential oils. I'm THRILLED with the results and will never go back.
DIY Pampering: Homemade Whipped Body Butter
As much as I love coconut oil for just about everything DIY, I like to switch things up. Even folks with lazy beauty routines (ummm...me!) crave a bit of pampering from time to time. Hence this whipped body butter recipe.
I wanted a creamy, luxurious "lotion" that I could apply all year long. Something that wouldn't feel as greasy as coconut oil and still moisturized well. And to be honest, I also wanted another excuse to use my semi-new kitchenaid stand mixer!
Cocoa Butter Versus Shea Butter
I use cocoa butter in my homemade lip balm recipe and still had 3/4 of a tub leftover (a little goes a long way), so I chose to use it as the main ingredient in this whipped body butter. If you have shea butter on hand, that will work equally as well.
The great thing about DIY beauty recipes is that many of them share the same ingredients and are adaptable, so you can switch it based on what's in your pantry or bathroom at the time.
Lift Your Mood with Orange and Ylang Ylang Essential Oils
I could have chosen any number of essential oils for this recipe, but am currently in love with the combo of orange and ylang ylang. Not only do they smell ah-mazing, but paired together they help to brighten your mood while simultaneously relaxing you!
Orange essential oil smells bright and refreshing while ylang ylang essential oil has a soft floral scent that is effective at relaxing and centering. I would describe it as "feminine-like" (this is coming from someone who in the past hated floral scents).
Ylang ylang is one of the oils in my FAVORITE Young Living essential oil blend, Peace & Calming. I use it every night to help me relax before bed, so it was only natural that I try out some of the individual oils in it for other recipes.
However, if you don't have access to ylang ylang (or a blend containing it), lavender essential oil is an awesome alternative.
If you intend to use essential oils in DIY recipes that you're applying to the skin, please make sure to carefully read the label first. If it has a warning that says "not for topical use" or "for aromatherapy only" DO NOT put it on your skin!
Better safe than sorry. Just leave them out and use the honey and coconut oil, which both have naturally pleasant scents.
If you'd like to know more about where I purchase therapeutic grade essential oils for 24% off retail, check out my essential oils page.
Homemade Whipped Body Butter Recipe
Adapted from Rawmazing's Homemade Body Butter Recipe
Yield: approximately 8 ounces
1/2 cup of cocoa butter OR shea butter (I used THIS)
1/4 cup of coconut oil (I used THIS)
1/4 cup of jojoba oil (I used THIS)
20-40 drops of your favorite essential oils (I buy my therapeutic oils here)
Stand Mixer or Electric Hand Blender*
*Blenders and food processors won't work for this recipe, because they generate too much heat, and the mixture must be cold to whip properly.
Want more real food & gadget recommendations? Check out my shop page
Fill a small saucepan 1/4-1/2 way with water and heat over medium-low. Shave off the required amount of cocoa butter using a spoon (it should crumble with gentle pressure) and measure into a glass measuring cup or large ceramic mug along with the coconut oil.
Place the cup or mug in the water (creating a makeshift double boiler) to gently melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil. Once all solids have dissolved (do not let it come to a boil), remove the container from the water and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
Test the mixture with your finger. Once it's barely lukewarm (it may take another 10 minutes of cooling), stir in the jojoba oil and desired amount of essential oils. Start with a smaller amount, smell it, then add more. Let your nose be the guide.
Pour the mixture into a stainless steel mixing bowl (your stand mixer should come with one) and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. You want the body butter to begin solidifying, but not completely. It must be cold in order to whip properly. If you're using some other type of bowl or your freezer isn't as cold, it may need to hang out in there longer.
When it has solidified partly, remove from the freezer and whip on medium to medium-high power in your stand mixer with a wire whisk until it is the consistency of butter. You will need to take a break every few minutes to scrape down the sides. I think mine took about 4-5 minutes to do this.
Transfer to a container (like a glass mason jar) and store in the fridge until it has firmed up. If it's winter time or cold in your region, you can store it on the counter.
Notes & Tips
- As long as it doesn't come in contact with water, it should last three to six months; however if it starts to smell funky or look weird--toss it! You can always make more. :)
- If your home is especially warm (or it's summertime), you will need to put the body butter in the fridge immediately to keep it from melting.
- If the body butter melts, don't fret! Simply stick it back in the fridge or freezer until it starts to solidify again and re-whip.
- This recipe recommends a bit more essential oil than my normal DIY projects because cocoa butter has a strong, prominent scent (like chocolate). In order to smell the essential oils, you'll need more than usual. If you use shea butter instead, you may be able to use less.
- Coconut oil turns liquid at 76 degrees or higher, so if you change the ratio in this recipe to incorporate more coconut oil, you'll likely have to keep it in the fridge during warmer months.
- If you want to make a larger batch to give out as gifts, feel free to double this recipe; however, keep in mind that a little body butter goes a long way so your friends and family won't need much!
- To make it look pretty when you're portioning it into containers, squeeze it through a piping bag or a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off.
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