Two months into motherhood and now, more than ever, I feel my time is rarely my own; the advantage of this is that it is forcing me to strip away anything unnecessary, unhelpful or less-than from my daily routines and rituals – and where any sort of fuss might fall by the wayside, this homemade body butter will always stay out on the shelf. It outperforms anything else and because I made it myself I feel a real and genuine love for it as I work it through my hands and on to my mama’s body – which is something of a miracle, as I discover more each day.
And this is no flash in the pan natural beauty infatuation: I have an ongoing affinity for this butter and it’s stuck by me throughout the seasons and cycles of time. I made a pot about two years ago and it only just ran out… I used it throughout pregnancy and got no stretch marks, and before that (and since then) I have always adored coating my post-bath skin with it, whatever the season or however I’m feeling.
The original recipe – a rich and protective fatty acid fest – was devised by Wellness Mama, and needs no improving, even for our cooler climate. I have tried a few different combinations of butters and oils and this one is my favourite. Combining anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory coconut oil, moisture-locking shea and cacao butter and healing vitamin E in the sweet almond oil, it is a deeply nourishing balm which penetrates the surface of tired, dry skin and works deep into the layers, free from all the nasty chemicals, preservatives and artificial fragrances so often packed into tempting store-bought body whips. For those who are interested, a quick search of some of the more popular body butters throws up a list of around fifteen to twenty five ingredients, only five or six of which are naturally derived. It’s surprising to see how many artificial colours are used to hide the pigment of the natural ingredients; it seems we have often gotten so far removed from the palette of nature that it’s good to remind ourselves of the real sources of the nutrients designed to benefit us.
Since all the ingredients are in equal quantities, you can up- or down-size as you like. You might like to use essential oils for fragrance but I personally prefer the natural cacao and coconut aromas; in a life where rose, lavender and chamomile form the pillars of most of my relaxation rituals, something stopped back and neutral is also very welcome. A little goes a long way, so you only need to use it sparingly, and if you prefer something a bit less oily, you can lessen the amount of almond oil and see what quantity best suits you. And if it goes wrong and is too solid, you can just melt it all down and start again.
Makes one large jar:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup sweet almond oil
1/3 cup shea butter
1/3 cup cacao butter
(optional essential oil for fragrance)
In a bain marie, melt all the ingredients together until a smooth liquid forms. Place in the fridge for about 40 minutes (or the freezer for about 20) until the mixture is stating to go white and solidify, but still malleable. Bring it out and whip it with an electric whisk until a fluffy butter consistency forms. (If you are adding essential oils, drop them in now).
Transfer to a jar or container and store at room temperature (you may need to refrigerate if you live in a hot climate).