Have you ever tried those massage bars that used to be so popular? Jeff bought me one for Valentine's Day many years ago and I really wanted to like it (especially considering how expensive it was). But getting it warm enough to melt was too much effort. I really prefer oil for massages, but it does tend to make a mess just getting it from the bottle to your skin. Lotion seems to evaporate and make you cold. I've tried using pure mango and shea butter, but their texture always seemed to be a bit gritty. What I really wanted was Whipped Shea Butter, but the price was just silly expensive for the amount that you get.
So, encouraged by my rousing success making homemade deodorant, I figured I'd make my own whipped body butter for massages. This stuff feels so nice and silky, melts at body temperature and you can scoop up a decent handful without it spilling all over the place.
Originally, I'd planned to share this recipe for all the men out there to make for their partners as the awesomest Valentine's Day present ever. Well, that and a full body massage, that is.
As I mixed up a batch, however, I quickly realized that very few men would actually bother making this. It's an incredibly simple recipe, but does take quite some time (like almost all day; though don't worry, most of that time is waiting around).
But, I'm sure someone will want to make it as a present, or even just for themselves, so here it is.
(I've linked to my favorite brands, but you should be able to find all of this at your local health food store and skip the shipping charges. Also, you really only need to buy one thing, Shea Butter, but mixing up this kind of stuff brings out the latent apothecary in me and I had a hard time stopping at one ingredient. And since I was making this batch for some especially needy skin, I added more skin helping goodies.)
Shea Butter 7 oz (Mango Butter works well too)
Other Ingredients (All of these are completely optional; this recipe makes a perfectly respectable batch if you use only shea butter.)
Coconut Oil (3 oz or so)
Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil OR Evening Primrose Oil (several tablespoons total)
Vitamin E (a few capsules)
Aloe Vera Gel (I was able to add a few tablespoons of this without changing the texture for the worse.)
Essential Oils of your choosing (my suggestion is to avoid synthetic fragrance oils)
-In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the shea or mango butter in the microwave. If using shea, it doesn't need to be completely clear and liquefied, but should be free from any gritty bits. If I remember correctly, the mango butter did need to be completely melted before the gritty bits were gone (If you rub the oil between your fingers, it should feel completely smooth.) This took about 30 seconds or so.
-Pour this in a bowl of a standing mixer.
-Add the coconut oil if using. (Yes, coconut oil is a solid at room temperature.)
-Mix until it's completely smooth.
-At this point the mixture will be close to room temperature, but still liquid. It won't cool any further, but it will thicken over the course of many hours.
-Now you will walk away from it for a couple of hours. Come back every now and then to turn the machine on for about 10 seconds, just to keep it evenly mixed.
-Eventually it will thicken and will start to look like this, which is close, but not there yet.
-After a total of 6 hours or so, it should be solid enough to whip for 3 to 5 minutes into a nice whipped cream consistency. It should form soft peaks and lighten in color, almost to white.
-Now, you can add any of the oils if you choose. With the machine running, drizzle in the almond, jojoba or evening primrose oil by the tablespooon. Don't add more than an ounce of this or it'll make the mix too soft. Poke a hole in the Vitamin E capsules with a pin and squeeze into the mix. Add the aloe if you want. Finally, add the essential oils a couple drops at a time until you're happy with the results.
Some Extra Thoughts
-When this melts, it's basically oil, not lotion. So don't expect it to have the same absorbency as hand cream.
-I've only made this using a standing mixer, but I'm sure a regular mixer would work too. It'll just take longer to whip it up.
-If you want to save yourself a ton of bowl scraping when using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, I highly recommend buying yourself a Beater Blade like you see in the pictures above. It has rubber edges that actually do a pretty fantastic job of scraping down the bowl as it spins.
-I have not tried the Raw Unrefined Shea Butter but it looks like, even with shipping, it's a pretty good deal (about 7 bucks a pound).
-Don't let the container of this stuff melt (above 80 degrees) or it will go back to the original crumbly texture when it returns to room temperature.
-If you've got a lot of nerve, you can give a batch as a very self-serving Valentine's present.
The last time Jeff gave me a massage with this stuff I asked him how much better it was than oil (that's usually how I phrase questions to him... things like, how fantastic is this dinner? aren't I awesome? and you're the luckiest guy in the world, which isn't really a question, but a fact I like to remind him of every now and again). He said something along the lines of, "Yah, I guess it's less messy." So there you go. Another ringing endorsement from one of my family members about something I've made.
Seriously though, this stuff is fantastic.
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