Our bodies can absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin. And if you care to check the ingredients of the body and skincare products you’re putting on yourself, you’d actually find a lot contain synthetic and sometimes possibly harmful ingredients. So, can you imagine all those things going into your body?
People are beginning to recognise the benefits of using products with natural ingredients. And guess what, you can even make your own with little effort. As I found out at a workshop held at Mahota Commune, making a natural body balm is as easy as ABC – with just four ingredients, no more no less.
The workshop was conducted by Theresa, the founder of natural skincare brand Balm Kitchen. Theresa shared that she started creating her own skincare products using natural ingredients when looking for a remedy for her son’s skin problems. Within three days of using her homemade balm, the skin problems of Theresa’s son disappeared.
Theresa educated us on the various types of natural ingredients used for body care products, their differences and therapeutic benefits. Common ingredients used for body care products include carrier oils, butter and essential oils.
The theory-based introduction was kept short, and we soon got our hands dirty for the hands-on session. OK, it’s not really literally dirty since we had gloves on, though I would very much prefer not to have the gloves, which felt more of an impediment.
Essentially, making a body butter only involves four ingredients:
- 35g of organic butter
- 14g of carrier oil
- 5g Vitamin E
- 5g essential oil blend
Obtained by cold pressing (virgin oils) or solvent extraction, butter is basically solid fats used in cosmetic applications. They can moisturise your skin when applied topically. Common types of butter comprise cocoa seed butter, mango seed butter and shea butter. For our workshop, Theresa prepared the relatively less common mango butter for us as it is easy to blend with other ingredients, without the need for heat to soften it first.
And just like any recipe, measuring the right amount of ingredients is important. Thus, we were given a scale to use for measuring exact quantities of the ingredients.
You might be thinking of adding more essential oil, believing it would make your skin balm smell better and pile more benefits onto your skin. After all, essential oils are good for us, right? On the contrary, doing that may cause sensitising of the skin such as burning, redness and allergies; it’s the very reason why you must never apply essential oils neat. Theresa informed that one drop of essential oil contains more than 100 chemical constituents. In layman’s terms, it is potent.
For some of the ingredients, Theresa also provided different types for us to choose from. For the carrier oil, we had a choice of argan oil, grapeseed oil and macadamia oil. I opted for the argan oil, which is known to have anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and moisturising benefits.
For the essential oils, we could select between bergamot, lavender and a blend that Theresa concocted. Secretly, I wish to know what went inside the blend concocted by Theresa, not because I want to reproduce it but for me to know the benefits of the ingredients in the blend. Unfortunately, Theresa informed that the blend is “proprietary”. In the end, I decided to mix some of the “secret blend” with some lavender oil, which I know has calming effects.
Measuring the ingredients was the easy part. The next step was to blend all the ingredients together with a spoon by hand. It was a good 10-minute exercise for my arm just to “whip” the butter into a smooth consistency.
All too soon, the workshop ended. I honestly wished it would last longer. The workshop left me feeling empowered in a way – if I can’t be a domestic goddess in the kitchen, at least I can be a domestic goddess of another kind. Now, excuse me while I go hunt for more recipes to feed my new-found obsession.
Mahota Commune regularly holds workshops promoting healthy lifestyle and holistic living. Refer to their website for more details.
809 French Road
Kitchener Complex, Level 3