I was always one of those beauty product hoarders, who had a big basket of toiletries full to the brim with lotions and portions -five different body moisturisers, three exfoliators, seven hair products, four face masks! I always loved trying out new products, and would always have a few different types on the go as I couldn’t wait until some of them were used up to try new ones. I have become a lot more concious about the impact of these chemical laden products on my own health and that of the environment. I am trying to be a more mindful consumer, both in regards of type of items purchased, and quantity. If I already have six red lipsticks, I prooooobably don’t need to buy a seventh, right?!
There is no way that I will be able to entirely remove chemicals from the world around me, and although in theory that would be great, I don’t think it’s healthy to get too obsessive about these things either. The vast bulk of the chemicals in our environment are unfortunately largely out of individual control, and if they don’t kill us, the stress of worrying about them might! It does however make me feel good to be at least minimising my use of synthetic chemical laden products from evil global corporations, and I really enjoy making them! I have been strictly not allowing myself to buy any new products, even natural ones, so that I could use up all of my stash and begin again, replacing as many products as possible with my own home made, natural formulas.
Most home made or ‘natural’ moisturisers contain emulsifying wax. This wax is used to bind oil and waters in creams so that they don’t separate. These are often deemed natural substances but while they are derived from natural ingredients, extra ingredients with thickening properties are added which are chemical. Although these are deemed safe to use, they are certainly not natural and the exact chemical compounds are not required to be revealed by manufacturers. Many natural cosmetics companies use these emulsifying wax regardless, seeing them as a ‘necessary evil’ towards making otherwise natural products. However seeing as I am going to the trouble of making my own skincare in order to avoid products laden with chemicals, I started on a mission to find a truly natural emulsifying wax or agent in my skincare recipes.
A mixture of beeswax and borax is a common alternative, but I’m not yet one hundred percent sold on putting borax on my skin and I prefer to leave the beeswax to the bees! Cetyl Alcohol is a common emulsifying agent used in all sorts of lotions and creams. It can be derived naturally from fatty coconut alcohol or synthetically. If the supplier can assure you that it is extracted naturally with natural agents, it could be a possible replacement.I am still working on making a natural cream or lotion base which will allow me to make a face or body moisturiser which is in lotion or cream form, but in the meantime, I am getting around the emulsifier road block by making solid moisturising bars. These are body lotion bars that are solid rather than cream. They melt on contact with warm skin, allowing the ingredients to transfer to your body to be rubbed in. I am really converted to this way of moisturising now as they are lovely to use and very compact for travelling also. This product needs no preservative and will never go off. It preserves indefinitely because there is no water in the mixture.
Make sure that you use raw, natural, organic, unrefined ingredients that have not been processed from their natural state with chemicals. Shea butter is protective and hydrating. It is very efficient at softening and smoothing the skin. It is a rich source of vitamins A and E and is incredibly nourishing. It has a distinctive, natural, earthy smell that some people are not fond of. Don’t be tempted to buy the refined processed non scented version instead, experiment with other butters to replace it with. I do use other butters for moisturising but the properties of shea are hard to beat! Coconut oil does a similar job of protecting, softening and smoothing the skin. Jojoba wax is conditioning and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants. Rose is known as the “Queen of Flowers” and is the most commonly associated flower with love, romance and Valentine’s Day. Rose is also the oil of the heart chakra. Apart from it’s beautiful feminine scent, rose has fantastic properties for moisturising skin, which suits this bar perfectly. Ylang ylang is said to elevate and stimulate sexual energy! The petals of this beautiful yellow flower are often strewn across marriage beds in Indonesia as Ylang ylang is a known aphrodisiac. Ylang ylang soothes, smoothes, tones and balances the skin. Jasmine Absolute is my absolute favourite essential oil as it’s smell for me is instant happiness in a bottle. This is no surprise considering that the fragrance of jasmine stimulates the release of a neurotransmitter called encephaline and hormones such as serotonin, creating an instant energised, warm and uplifted mood. The warm, exotic floral fragrance has long been used throughout history for romance and attraction. It is also said to help balance the feminine energy of the body. Jasmine also helps to improve the skins elasticity and is very nourishing.
This pretty heart shape and the dried rosebuds contained within make this the perfect natural Valentines gift! Remember, as with all natural products, that you can change the types of oil, butter and essential oil used to create different skin beneficial properties and aromas. Have fun experimenting, and if you try it out yourself, I would love you to share a photo with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 1/4 cup jojoba wax
- 4 drops rose absolute essential oil
- 4 drops ylang ylang essential oil
- 4 drops jasmine essential oil
Place the coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba wax in a glass bowl on top of a pan of hot water, like a double boiler effect. The bottom of the bowl should be heated from the hot steam of the boiling water, but it should not be touching the surface of the water. Allow the ingredients to melt and then stir gently until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the essential oils, stirring well to combine. Pour the mixture in to a mould to allow it to harden. Any mould or compartment will do, even a firm paper cupcake case. Allow to cool and harden completely before popping out of the mould. Remember that these will soften when in contact with heat, so it is best to store them in some sort of protective box. This quantity makes one large bar.