I didn’t for the first 30 years of my life, but once I learned that my body was accumulating unwanted toxins which were burdening my system - I decided to begin reading labels. Not just food labels, but all labels of any product that goes in or on my skin.
As we’ve all heard, the skin is not only our largest organ with the most surface area, it’s also one of the first organs to manifest peripheral symptoms for autoimmune conditions in the form of mysterious rashes, eczema and psoriasis.
According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the average American woman uses 12 personal care products a day which has the potential to expose us to 126 - 168 (depending on the source) new chemical ingredients daily. Out of the 10,000 chemical ingredients available, 89% have not undergone safety testing.
Chemicals like retinal palmitate in skin and lip moisturizer, triclosan in soap, oxybenzone in hand sanitizer, formaldehyde/toluene/phalates in nail polish, and fragrances in perfume and body spray are just a few examples. The real danger is when these toxins penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Research demonstrates that many chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, hormone disruption and immune issues.
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) skin deep database not only identifies these chemicals in your every day products, but they also rate them on a scale from 0-10 (with 0 being the least toxic) and show which chemicals pose particular health risks. Check out the EWG's User Guide for more information.
With resources like The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and EWG, I’ve educated myself and spent the past couple of years replacing my home and beauty products (one item at a time) to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are brought into my home and exposed to my body. I've also experimented with many homemade recipes. While some of the do-it-yourself solutions haven’t been repeatable, a few have become staples and one in particular is even gift-worthy.
Today I’m sharing my nourishing non-toxic body butter recipe and how to tailor it to your needs, mood, or the season. It’s so delicious that your skin will drink it up, and it's so effective that you can wrap it up for a heartfelt holiday gift. I like to keep a few on hand for guests or gifts. Not only will this body butter release your inner shimmer, you’ll also be creating a safe and enjoyable present for those near and dear.
Once you gather a few basic ingredients and some high quality essential oils, you’ll find this is a quick recipe to assemble and totally worth the effort!
Since you’ll be placing the ingredients on your skin I suggest purchasing high quality ingredients like organic cold-pressed oils in dark containers (as able) to prevent rancidity. Store your oils in a cool, dark space.
When choosing essential oils, it’s worth paying more for a brand that sources from wild-crafted organic plants in their original location free from pesticides, fertilizers and synthetic ingredients. Companies like doTERRA, Young Living, or Vibrant Blue oils have similar standards and test for impurities. Picking up a cheap essential oil at the grocery store that says “100% pure essential oil” isn’t ideal. I can understand starting small and making a convenient purchase to see if you use and enjoy essential oils first, but beware that impurities may result in unnecessary sensitivities. For that reason and for the autoimmune audience, I suggest starting with a high quality product up front. I use doTERRA essential oils, but from what I understand the Young Living and Vibrant Blue brands are of a similar caliber.
As you gather your ingredients, and oil, consider what scent of body butter you’d like to create. If you want to start simple you can begin with an essential oil blend that has already combined a variety of single scents to create one magical aroma. For instance, a few of my favorite doTERRA blends include Serenity (Features Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oils and vanilla bean) - a relaxing blend to apply to your feet or body before bed, Elevation (Features Lavandin, Tangerine, Elemi, Lemon Myrtle, Melissa, Ylang Ylang, Osmanthus, and Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oils) - a nice pick-me-up said to elevate the mood, and Whisper (Features Lavandin, Tangerine, Elemi, Lemon Myrtle, Melissa, Ylang Ylang, Osmanthus, and Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oils) - a lovely personal scent that is both therapeutic and pleasing to the senses.
One of my favorite combinations of single oils to use when making body butter includes rosemary, lemon, peppermint, lavender and melaleuca.
A nice fall medley might consist of wild orange, cassia (or cinnamon bark) and clove.
And for the winter holidays you could play with white fir, wintergreen and peppermint.
Half the fun is trying different combinations, but I also like to consult my Modern Essentials Guide for creating therapeutic blends for various conditions. For instance I’ll prescribe melaleuca for anti-fungal needs, peppermint and spearmint for headaches, frankincense for bites and inflammation and Elevation for depression.
Essential oils are a valuable tool to add to your arsenal for:
natural alternatives to First Aid kits and medicine cabinet contents
making DIY recipes for home and beauty products
tapping into your creative side as a fun hobby
Nourishing Non-Toxic Body Butter
1 cup shea butter
4 Tbsp. coconut oil
4 Tbsp. avocado oil
15 drops essential oils per 3-4 oz. jar
* Makes roughly 3 servings (3-4 oz. each)
1. Melt the shea butter and oils on low heat in a large glass Mason jar (or a large glass measuring cup with a spout) within a saucepan of water.
2. Remove the jar from the pan after the shea butter melts and mixes in with the other oils.
3. Pour into individual jars, add the essential oils, and allow to cool and solidify in the refrigerator.
If you’re a visual person, check out this website for instructional images.
If you like how I gift wrapped the body butter in the image above, these are the materials I used (all from Amazon using my affiliate links):
How about you? What do you do to reduce your toxic body burden? What are your favorite essential oil combinations? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below: