Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Homemade Christmas 2011, part 4: Aromatherapy Body Butters & Scrubs

This is the final post in my four-part series detailing a Homemade Christmas 2011. As I mentioned in part one of this series (vanilla extract), I decided to give lots of homemade gifts this year and wanted to document all of these different "crafty" projects. Parts two and three detailed my hand-sewn lavender eye pillows and decorated Christmas cookies. This final post covers Aromatherapy Body Butters & Salt/Sugar Scrubs.

I took a class in November on making your own body butters and scrubs and was hooked! I love giving myself facials and slathering on sweet-smelling lotions, creams and scrubs - anything to help me recreate a spa experience at home. So, this class gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies inside and I knew right away that I'd be adding this to my Christmas gift-giving list.

The class I took was just 1-hour so we only had time to learn about creating the scrubs and bodybutter bases; sadly there wasn't very much time to get into the aromatherapy side of things. The teacher did recommend some combinations of essential oils that blended well together, and had a bunch of oils for us to try, but the first thing I felt I had to do was learn more about aromatherapy and combining and blending of essential oils.

I felt like an alchemist, hunched over my table, mixing the different combinations of essential oils with droppers. It was really fun to try recipes I found online and also of my own imagination and then smell them a few days alter to see how they had melded together...or not. I definitely found some scents that did not play nice with each other! I love using different fonts for things so each different "flavor" of butter/scrub got its own cute font that went with the scent and type of cream ("sharper" fonts for citrusy scents vs more flowing, "softer" fonts for more romantic scents such as ylang ylang or bergamot).

I will share the nice recipes I created myself and the ones I used and liked from other websites in a separate post.

Next up: homemade lip balm! I wanted to make these for Christmas but didn't have enough time so this is next on my list. I ordered some lip balm tubes and tins from Mountain Rose Herbs, I've got all the ingredients and a few recipes to try...can't wait.

Links to websites where I got my supplies, recipes and ideas are below.

essential oils and carrier oils

shea butter (on left), oils and salt and sugar for the scrubs

my essential oil mixtures. I gave each a number and kept a spreadsheet
so I could track the ingredients and see which combinations worked and which didn't

the finished butters. The letters on the label corresponds to my scent spreadsheet

the ones in the round jars were whipped longer so they had a really firm texture and were whiter in color

the top two jars here are sugar scrubs with grapeseed oil. This was one of my favorites!

salt scrubs with a citrus scent

spray bottles filled with herbal aftershave and aromatherapy spritzers

I left the letter identification on each jar while adding the final label,
to make sure they all got the correct tag

more finished jars

this is so fun!

finished spritzers and mists

I felt like I was running an old-timey apothecary when I was done

all of the labels included the ingredients and the date made

Sources for butters, carrier oils, essential oils and containers:
Mountain Rose Herbs - a wonderful site for organic essential oils and carrier oils (amongst many other items including lip balm tubes and tins). The customer service was excellent too!
Brambleberry - for shea butter and disposable droppers. They are primarily are a soap-making supplier but have lots of other fun products.
Specialty Bottle - for glass jars and spritzer bottles. A fabulous site with really cheap prices for bottles, jars, and other containers.

Recommended sites for learning about essential oils and aromatherapy, combining different oils and recipes for body butters, scrubs, lip balms and other homemade body products:
Aura Cacia - a great resource for learning the properties of different essential oils, recipes and suggestions on combining essential oils. They also sell many different products (you can find their essential oils in Whole Foods and other health stores).
AromaWeb - a wonderful site to learn about aromatherapy. There are many, many articles to teach you about blending oils and the properties of different oils. Also has lots of links to books and other websites.
eHow -  found some vegan lip balm recipes here.
Make Your Own Cosmetics - a site with user-created recipes for all kinds of creams, butters, scrubs, lip balms and soaps. A really fun place to look around and get ideas.
Mountain Rose Herbs lip balm recipes - in addition to buying oils from this site, I also found an old newsletter detailing several lip balm recipes.

Bye for now...

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