Slip Slidin’ Away: DIY Body Oil

News Flash!
Library Life Hack gets a brief cameo this week on Discovery Channel’s “Stuff of Genius” blog, written by Christian Sager. I’m honoured and very excited! You can find the blog post here. (And by the way, it’s an outstanding top-ten list of highly useful life hacks, all courtesy of your local library.)
A Tale of Two Moisturizers

A Tale of Two Moisturizers

Hi! It’s good to have you here at Week 21. Last week, we tried making lip balm, with the help of Stephanie Tourles’ book “Organic Body Care Recipes”. This week, we’ll take on something trickier: moisturizing body oil.

No Blender, No Cry
There are all kinds of recipes in this book for moisturizers. I combed through them, rejecting the ones that required expensive ingredients or the purchase of a blender (remember, part of the deal with life hacking is that you’re supposed to save money).

The recipe I settled on is called Sesame and Shea Buttery Body Oil and it’s found on page 219. It was simple, inexpensive – and didn’t require a blender. I also liked that it was unisex. It used sesame seed oil, shea butter and a tantalizing combination of ginger, cardamom and sweet orange essential oils.

Like the lip balm, it took only about 20 minutes to knock together. And it smelled fabulous! I kept one bottle and gave three others to dry-skinned co-workers. These are their reviews:

Thanks for letting me trial your body moisturizer.
The good news: love the oil and its lasting power, and quite liked the scent, although a bit heavy on the ginger.
The bad news: didn’t love the consistency and found the ginger was too chunky (Note: I think she actually means the shea butter, which got solid and grainy within a few days.)
I use the body oil on my hands constantly and on dry areas. It smells so nice and is very easily and quickly absorbed. It only takes a few drops for my hands so it goes a long way.
The Good – smelled really nice, and it seemed to moisturize pretty well, my skin felt quite soft a few hours later.
The maybe not so good – It was fairly solid in the bottle so I used a Q-tip to get some out. Also, it was quite greasy/oily and didn’t soak in quickly. That was a big con for me because I live with pets, so having greasy legs meant I ended up with a lot of cat hair stuck to me.

Let’s Look at Some Alternatives
The cat hair comment cracked me up, but I have to concur. As a moisturizer, it was great and left my skin really soft, but it didn’t sink in very fast. Speaking as someone who goes from sipping coffee in her housecoat to sprinting for the bus — in 45 minutes flat — I learned to put on a very small amount and really massage it in. But I needed a body oil that was quicker.

Open, Sesame!
This called for some additional research. I tried the sesame seed oil on its own, with the three essential oils blended in. On one hand, this worked great! It seemed to just melt into my skin. On the other hand, it wasn’t quite enough for dry skin like mine.

I wondered if I could blend the shea butter and sesame oil to get something that’s more like a body butter. I tried a 4:1 ratio of shea butter and oil. That’s the solid you see in the photo above. It’s very nice, and holds together well. (No separation of the oil and butter.) I think you could safely go down to a 3:2 ratio and get something a little softer yet.

The finished product still needs to be used sparingly and massaged in, but it sinks in quicker than the original version and has great staying power.

Try This At Home
I’m going to continue to experiment, but if you want to try this at home, it’s very simple:

Over moderate heat, melt 4 tablespoons of shea butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil. Add your favourite essential oils, stir well and pour into a clean jar. Let it set overnight and start using it right after you shower the next morning!

As I mentioned earlier, I used a combination of cardamom, ginger and sweet orange to scent this, but I think any essential oil would smell great. (If there’s a man in your life with dry skin, I’d try cedar oil in the shea/sesame blend. I bet he’d smell super sexy. And be all moisturized to boot.)

Dollars and Cents
Including the cost of the containers, the initial recipe worked out to $1.67 per 125 ml (4.23 oz) bottle, which I thought was a good deal for a pretty effective body oil. There isn’t a way to do a valid cost comparison with a commercial product, so we won’t be adding any numbers to that “cha-ching” column on the right this week.

That’s a Wrap
That’s it for this week’s life hack. Tune in next week, when we get really fancy and tackle face cream. Thank you — as always — for reading this post and have a great week!


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