I’m generally not someone to look at skin care and think “I could totally make that!” I’m more of the “Omg take all of my money you beautiful bottle you.” sort. I’m discovering a recent love of indie skincare, and I’m more than happy to support these small businesses and companies.
That being said, sometimes I just can’t find what I want. I’m currently obsessed with the idea of sea buckthorn in everything, serums, toners, lotions, you name it and I want that beautiful orange oil on my face and body. It’s becoming a more prevalent ingredient as it’s popularity grows, but there are still a few things I can’t find it in such as lip balms.
When Zenful Official (all links in post are non-affiliate) offered to send me their newly launched 100% pure butters and oils I immediately started planning. The Zenful line up includes shea butter, mango butter, argan oil, and tea tree oil. For 15% off any Zenful products on Amazon use the code woodnote15, good through next Monday 04/09. I get nothing from this, you just save some money.
Shea butter is one of my all time favorite moisturizing ingredients. It contains linoleic and stearic fatty acids and is rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins A and E. It’s easily useable in its pure form and makes a wonderful addition to creams, toners, lotions, you name it. For years I used the L’Occitane pure shea butter as a lip balm, and during all my pregnancies I used this twice a day all over my stomach. After three pregnancies I have no stretch marks and anecdotally feel that I have shea butter to thank. So I have a lot of love for this nourishing butter. The Zenful pure shea butter has a grainy appearance but melts down to a creamy oil texture very quickly.
Mango butter is made from the seed pod of mangos and is just as full of rich fatty acids and antioxidants as shea butter, as well as containing vitamins A and C. The texture of the Zenful mango butter is thicker and more grainy then the shea, and seems to have a slightly higher melting point. It doesn’t melt down in my hands, but does quickly liquify when heated in a double broiler.
Argan oil contains vitamins A and E, squalene, fatty acids, phenols, and carotenes. It’s a medium weight oil that can take a bit longer then some to absorb, but is worth the wait. It’s wonderfully nourishing, and is perfect for dry and irritated skin. This can also be used on dry hair, either daily or as a weekly treatment. Personally I find argan oil to be a bit too heavy for my face, but love it on my body.
Tea tree oil is derived from a plant native to Australia, Melaleuca. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s well-loved by many people who suffer from acne as it can clear up breakouts quite well, though it can be drying and irritating in concentrated doses. Unfortunately for me I tend to react badly to it and avoid it at all costs. So I have this unopened bottle and am not sure what to do with it.
Shortly before receiving my package from Zenful the lovely Graceful Face posted her own DIY lip balm tutorial I was motivated to give it a try myself. I quickly hopped on Amazon to order Leven Rose sea buckthorn oil, lip balm tubes, and beeswax pellets. For my own lip balm I substituted a few ingredients but I stuck to the original measurements. I used the Zenful shea and mango butters, argan oil, and the sea buckthorn oil. Next time I make this I’ll probably add in some vitamin E oil as well, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with my version. Unfortunately I took no pictures of this but trust me, it was incredibly easy.
I ended up with 12 tubes of lip balm and a single small pot. I’ve kept three for myself but have given the rest away. As they don’t have any sort of preservation system I don’t know how long they would be good for, and there’s no way I could get through a full dozen quickly. The end result was a rich and nourishing lip balm with a smooth finish and no stickiness.
Since I had such a success with my first recipe I was super motivated to try something else and settled on a body butter. I wasn’t able to find a recipe I really liked so I ended up cobbling together my own from a few other blogs. Many of them called for coconut oil and I’m just not a fan of how that feels on my skin. In my first attempt I used a bit too much oil in relation to the butters, and used lavender oil for the fragrance. This ended up being more of a solid butter texture with a heavy oil finish, and the lavender smelled a bit weird with the other ingredients. The body butter was still usable and I finished all of it up, but I decided to give it another go with a slightly modified recipe. And! I actually took pictures of the process!
My own recipe is by no means perfect as I have NO idea what I’m actually doing, but it turned out pretty ok. I was lucky enough to have the amazing The Library Apothecary to talk me through some of what went wrong the first time, and she suggested a 30% ratio of oils to butter. So I imprecisely tried to stick to that.
1/2 cup mango butter
1/2 cup shea butter
Something short of 1/4 cup of argan oil
1-2 tbl sea buckthorn oil
Essential Oils of your choosing, add to preferences
Start by mixing everything in a double boiler or a glass or metal heat-safe bowl that can fit over a pot of water. I don’t have a double boiler so I always use this metal bowl that fits perfectly in one of my pots. Once the water in the pan boils place your bowl over the water and stir gently until everything is melted together, this took me less then 5 minutes. I ended up with this gorgeous golden liquid because of the sea buckthorn. Oh, word of warning if you use sea buckthorn oil. It is naturally VERY orange so use a light hand. You can actually dye your skin orange if you use too much.
Once you’ve removed this from heat add in your essential oils of choice. For the citrus I chose I just added a few drops of each until I reached the fragrance level I wanted, and I would test that by massaging a bit of it onto the back of my hand.
Place the bowl in the fridge to cool for somewhere around 20 minutes. You want it to have cooled down but not completely solidify. Mine was still a bit runny but was no longer a liquid when I took it out.
Using a hand blender whip this until it starts to look like a really glossy meringue, or a nice buttercream frosting. From what I know you can’t over whip this so go to town.
Now ideally I would have then placed this in several fancy looking hexagonal glass jars, but for the life of me I couldn’t find them. They’re in the house somewhere, but who the hell knows where. Instead I put all of it in a glass tupperware and am low-key annoyed at it. BUT! The final product is pretty nice. It still has a thicker consistency that takes a bit of massaging to melt down, but it isn’t as greasy as my last formula was. The citrus fragrance is much nicer then the lavender, and I think will be a nice scent for the upcoming warmer months.
So after all of this I can say I’m definitely interested in DIYing some stuff in the future, but I’m not at all ready to take my skincare into my own hands. This is however a lot of fun, could make some fancy gifts that will impress people, and you have a feeling of accomplishment that is pretty damn nice.
If you want to give your own a try I’d definitely recommend the Zenful products (use code woodnote15 for the 15% off) If you do try my recipe let me know how it turns out, or if you have any suggestions to improve on it.