It has been so cold here lately (yesterday our thermostat read -23, and we heard that the windchill brought it down to -35 – yikes!) This morning I bundled into layers and layers and layers of tights and sweaters and scarves… to take out the garbage. I am officially in hibernation mode until spring (or at least until tomorrow when I have to go back to work).
Living in southern Ontario means that the air here is not only cold but also so dry. I used up the last of my body moisturizer fending off the itchy, chapped skin that is our regional scourge in wintertime, and I’m replacing it with something even more soothing and hydrating – body oil. Bonus: I don’t even have to go outside to get it.
I started making diy body products after reading about many of the harmful ingredients in conventional brands – things like phthalates, parabens and triclosan that scientists are saying are harmful to us and to the planet (check out the David Suzuki Foundation’s “‘Dirty Dozen’ Cosmetic Chemicals to Avoid” for a scary basic rundown). My general rule is that I won’t buy any product that contains ingredients that I don’t recognize (weird chemical names? No thanks. Sneaky, vague qualifiers like “fragrance” hiding nasty synthetics linked to asthma and even cancer? I’ll pass). There are a few brands that I can get at my health food store or online that do use safe, natural ingredients and that have comprehensive anti-animal testing policies. But I’ve also found that for many items, it’s easier and much less expensive to make my own.
If you’ve never ventured afield from lotions and butters, you are in for a treat. Not to knock homemade lotions and butters (recipes to come!), which are also wonderful, but body oil has the distinct advantage of being ridiculously easy to make. It’s also endlessly customizable (Crunchy Betty has some great recipes for other combinations here). But this Organic Lavender and Sweet Orange Body Oil is my favourite – it’s ideal for an after-shower treat, and its gentle scent relaxes and rejuvenates. I chose grapeseed oil because it absorbs quickly (more quickly than olive and avocado oils, I find) and hazelnut oil for its beneficial fatty acid content (it’s especially clearing and calming for irritated skin). I also added carrot seed essential oil for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
- 2 parts organic, cold-pressed grapeseed oil
- 1 part organic, cold-pressed hazelnut oil
- 10 drops organic carrot seed essential oil per 1/2 cup oil
- 15 drops organic sweet orange essential oil per 1/2 cup oil
- 10 drops organic lavender essential oil per 1/2 cup oil
** If you have any sensitivities or allergies to the ingredients above, feel free to swap out the oils (olive or avocado for the grapeseed; apricot kernel, sweet almond, rosehip seed for the hazelnut), or consult your physician if you have concerns. If any of these ingredients are new to you, I recommend that you do a patch test to rule out any issues.
I used the frosted glass bottle pictured above (which holds about 1/2 cup oil), but you can customize the recipe to whatever size container you plan to use (I recommend tall bottles and, if you’re worried about spills, something with a flip-cap). Using a funnel, pour the base oils directly into your container, then add the essential oils. Finito! This body oil makes an amazing gift, especially in a basket full of other handmade products. I make it in small batches and plan to use within 6 months.
Unhappy dry skin evaded once again. You’ll skill have to bundle up to go outside though; there’s no diy solution for weather (yet!)