For as long as I can remember, bath time has been one of my family’s most cherished rituals. Come about 6pm, wherever I find myself, I am usually ready to sink into a hot tub and relax and reboot before the evening unfolds. Sometimes (usually) this glorious hot water ceremony segues into snuggly jumpers in front of the fire, sometimes into more exotic night time activities; but as rituals go, and devotion to the art of cleansing and reviving, I am something of a master when it comes to the bath.
And so what goes in it is of utmost importance. I like to use oil because I find body cream a hassle and it usually makes me cold. A while ago I made some lavender and chamomile body lotion bars, which cut out the problems and melt happily onto your warm post-bath skin. But a new Neal’s Yard beauty book full to the brim with exciting starting points and a hankering for a dreamy homemade bath oil blend led me to make something new today and I think they will quickly replace store-bought bath oils in both my own tub and that of any friend whose home I find myself visiting.
These otherworldly little truffles are so simple to make and yet deeply nourishing in a way that most cheaply-produced branded blends struggle to be: vitamin A-packed shea and cacao butter encourage the skin’s healing and regeneration processes and create a barrier of oils to protect from dryness, sweet almond oil softens and relieves any inflammation. A blend of sensual, uplifting ylang ylang and calming chamomile to allow the senses to soften and relax a little deeper is all we need to take us into dreamtime and wherever it may lead us.
You will need a small ice cube or chocolate mould, or you can use mini cupcake holders. The smaller the better as they don’t need to be huge.
Makes about 15 small melts
50g cacao butter
50g shea butter
1 tbsp sweet almond oil
6 drops chamomile essential oil
6 drops ylang ylang essential oil
In a bain marie, melt the shea and cacao butter until liquid. Remove from the heat and add the almond oil, stirring to cool the liquid while you mix it.
You don’t want to add the essential oils too soon as if the mixture is too hot they will evaporate and go to waste; so wait until the liquid is tepid before adding the chamomile and ylang ylang. Mix well and pour into moulds. Place in the fridge to set.
If you live in a hot climate you may want to keep these in the fridge, otherwise they should do well by the bath.
To use, simply melt one into your bath and allow the oils to work their magic. It’s a sweet opportunity for a little meditation; a nourishing moment to float into the present moment and leave the stories of the day behind.