How healthy is your skin? I will admit that while I have been blessed with clear, smooth skin, I didn’t devote as much attention to it in my quest for healthy living. The majority of my healthy skin care regime included using natural body products that are free of parabens, sulfates, and dyes. And as a naturalista, I use clean products for my hair. Our bodies are exposed to so many toxins on a daily basis, I’m ashamed to say that while I focused heavily on cleaning my body with natural products, I did not devote as much time to moisturizing my body post-cleansing. I used the regular lotions you see in the grocery or big box store. Nothing fancy, but something to get the job done…the wrong job. Turns out, the lotion I’ve been using has chemicals–plenty of them. And while some chemicals are helpful and pose little to no harm, others can be toxic.
The key ingredients that caught my eye in a negative way are paraben, sulfate, and urea.
Parabens are chemicals used in cosmetics for preservation. You’ll usually see them listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. Studies have shown high levels of the man-made chemicals in the urine of participants as young as 6 years old.
Why is this chemical a no-go for me: several studies have linked parabens to cancer. Paraben use in cosmetics is not regulated by FDA.
Sulfates are synthetic components made of sulfur used in several cosmetic products, including shampoo, dish detergent, and toothpaste. It’s known to dry out the skin and hair.
The ingredient in my lotion that shocked me the most was urea. Surprisingly, urea cream within lotions is used to moisturize and soften “dry, cracked, calloused, rough, and hardened skin of feet, hands, or elbows” by loosening the shedding the rough skin. This may sound like a beneficial component for your moisturizing regimen, but I know that urea is the nitrogenous compound that is excreted from the body in urine. While urea can be beneficial in some circumstances (jellyfish stings, some extreme cases of acne or dermatological issues), I don’t see the purpose in exposing my skin to this when it is unnecessary. Your body (healthy body) excretes urea for a reason…
Needless to say, I was ready to protect my skin in a healthier manner. After consulting with a friend who makes natural beauty products, I decided to make some whipped body butter to replace my lotions. The only requirements I made for this creation were that I can name all ingredients, all ingredients are natural, and I make the butter myself.
Cocoa butter is amazing! Its numerous benefits help keep skin supple and hydrated. Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants to fight off free radicals that can damage the skin, potentially causing cancer and supports collagen production. It’s also known to reduce stretch marks and heal skin irritations, such as scars and eczema. For this very reason, cocoa butter was a staple skin moisturizer/scar minimizer in my childhood (I was a clumsy kid). Lastly, high in fatty acids, cocoa butter can easily hydrate the skin.
Shea butter is another great skin moisturizer, derived from the Shea tree. Similar to cocoa butter, shea butter is known to be rich in antioxidants, moisturizing and healing capabilities.
The carrier oils I used are also filled with numerous nutritious qualities, namely their abilities to penetrate the skin providing essential moisture. Coconut oil is hailed by many naturalistas and wellness buffs for its penetrating moisturizing capabilities. Other than beauty purposes, coconut oil can be used for cooking as a substitute for fattier oils, such as butter or margarine, and is a great agent for oil pulling (stay tuned for a future post on oil pulling!).
Jojoba oil is a super carrier oil with its strong ability to penetrate the skin to reduce water loss and improve skin suppleness. Jojoba oil is pretty cool; it is a liquid wax that closely resembles sebum, the liquid secreted from the sebaceous glands to moisturize and protect the skin. Jojoba oil can dissolve pore-clogging dirt and provide a protective layer over skin to help retain moisture.
The butters and coconut oil are solid at room temperature. To blend all ingredients, I placed all ingredients in a mixing bowl slightly submerged in a pot of hot water. Once all ingredients were melted and blended together, I allowed the mixture to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing in the refrigerator to cool and semi-harden for around 90 minutes.
After removing the bowl from the refrigerator, I used my hand mixer on the lightest setting to whip the semi-hardened concoction to a fluffy butter. It looked like cake batter! Once complete, I placed the whipped butter into four 8-ounce mason jars (this process was a bit messy). And voila! Natural, homemade whipped body butter.
This body butter is amazing. It melts to the touch and spreads across the skin very smoothly. The shea and cocoa butters provide a nutty smell, and there is a hint of coconut provided by the blessing known as coconut oil. Due to its nutrient-rich qualities, a little of this butter goes a long way and keeps the skin moisturized for a long time before need for re-application. The butter I made produced 4 containers: 1 for home, 1 for use at my office, 1 at my husband’s office, and 1 for my mother.
So far, I’ve used the body butter for about a month and can already note a difference in my skin. My smooth skin feels even softer (like butta’) and retains moisture longer. Since my skin isn’t dry or ashy after a long day, I only apply the butter once a day, after I shower.
Due to hand-washing, I do reapply the butter to my hands throughout the day. I plan to make some additional butter to carry within my purse, so I don’t have to haul the 8 oz jars around. For now, I’m on my way to making healthier choices!
This body butter mix is amazing; however, it was a bit on the greasy side. To take away some of the shine, I added 4 teaspoons if tapioca flour to the mix while it is still in a liquid state. The flour removes the excess shine and helps with that fluffy texture. Take a look at that whipped butter!