Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mercredi: The Art of Beauty

As I mentioned yesterday it’s cold where I live. Like down to single-digits-at-night cold. Along with the cold weather comes the dry air. In the summer we have a (relatively) fair amount of humidity but once the snow starts falling all bets are off. The humidifier goes on, of course, but it really can’t keep up. Our hair goes limp, our skin crackles and my daughter has to be more diligent about oiling her cello. How did Stephen Maturin ever keep his in descent condition at sea I have to wonder?

For those of you in similar climes now is the time to listen to your skin and your hair. Today, let’s talk about the skin on your body. If it’s really chilly where you are, put away the milks and the creams and head straight for the butter: body butter. It is rather a jarring term but of course it refers to consistency and not content (although certain Arctic tribes have been known to smear themselves with butter made from reindeer milk to keep skin insulated from the harsh winter elements).

Here, then, is my all time favorite recipe for body butter. The base comes from the good folks at Reader’s Digest but you can add or subtract essential oils to get the scent and treatment you need. I like to use rose oil, which is calming to the skin and has a relaxing scent, chamomile oil, which helps alleviate any itching brought on by dry spots, and jasmine oil because I can’t get enough of it. Tuberose is even better as scents go but I find it is hard to come by and can irritate my skin. A tuberose candle is a nice alternative if you’re craving that lush, romantic scent.

¼ cup grated shea butter
1 tbsp grated beeswax
½ cup avocado oil
2 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsps vegetable glycerine
10 drops rose essential oil
10 drops jasmine essential oil
10 drops chamomile essential oil

Put the first four ingredients in a ban Marie over simmering water and heat them very gently until they are all liquid. Remove the bowl of your double boiler from the heat and set aside to cool – but not harden.

Whisk in the glycerine and then add each of your essential oils in turn, mixing after each addition. Pour into a shallow, wide-mouthed jar with a tight seal (small canning jars are great) and store in a cool, dark place. Use within four weeks.

If you are just not the kind to make your own body butter (lets face it, much like Jack Aubrey, most of us have “not a moment to lose” in any given day), Bliss makes a delightful unscented body butter just perfect for adding your own scents to. Find it here at Sephora. If things are really out of hand and you have pealing or cracking due to dry skin, look for Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Cream at the market. It too is made with shea butter with the added bonus of oatmeal (healing and soothing) and menthol (calming). It’s got a slight medicinal scent but the addition of five drops each of the essential oils in the recipe above (or others of your choice) will mask that completely.

Remember that if you are prone to breakouts on your backside, body butter is not the moisturizer of choice for your butt. What to do? Treat it just like your face. Seriously. Use your facial moisturizer on your behind and watch those spots disappear. If that doesn’t work, use your facial cleanser and even toner on your derrière prior to moisturizing. Trust me; it works. A votre santé ~

Header: La Bella by Titian


Timmy! said...

No wonder your skin looks (and smells) so nice even in the cold weather, Pauline!

Pauline said...

Awww, so nice. It's better now that I'm tucking my jeans into my lambsy-woolsy boots.