Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back to basics: Balms - tweaking the new recipe idea.

As we know, a balm is a product intended to help with a condition of some sort intended to be rubbed in, so we need to modify these recipes to help with some condition. What condition could we choose here? How about sun exposure?

Let's say you've been in the sun a little too long and forgot to re-apply your sun screen. (Yep, that was me on our camping trip! I applied it twice during our visit to the beach, but I guess my shoulders are just too accustomed to being hidden under layers of fabric!) I'll want to use ingredients that offer anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits.  Olive oil is a great oil for post-sun exposure and anti-inflammation, so let's include that. Ideally, I'd include aloe, but I can't use that in an anhydrous product, so that's out. But wait! I have aloe oil and aloe butter (with coconut oil) so I could use either as the oil in this recipe. I think I'll go with the aloe and coconut oil as it will offer additional anti-inflammatory properties. I think I'll go with mango butter in this application as it offers some good anti-inflammatory properties as well - plus, it's a little drier with these greasy oils.

What essential oils could I include for soothing and anti-inflammatory properties? Lavender would be a great inclusion and I have a ton of it in the house but there's one small problem...I can't handle the smell of it on my skin (it's fine in a rinse off product), so that won't work. Chamomile is also suggested, but it tends to be kinda expensive. So for the purposes of this balm, let's pretend that I can use lavender essential oil on my skin...

20% beeswax
25% mango butter
30% olive oil
19% aloe butter (made with coconut oil)
5% cetyl alcohol
1% lavender essential oil

This will be quite a heavy feeling balm courtesy of the olive oil (medium to heavy), coconut oil (heavy) and the mango butter (heavy). You can adjust the balm to feel lighter by using lighter oils. 

If I wanted to use fancier oils and butters here, I think babassu would feel just lovely and would offer moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter contains allantoin, which would help with healing and occlusive, and pomegranate oil could offer increased burn and wound healing. The Vitamin E and phytosterol levels of sea buckthorn would make this a great addition to a post-sun exposure balm! And I could use my aloe oil here at up to 10%!

20% beeswax
25% shea butter
19% babassu oil
10% pomegranate oil
10% sea buckthorn oil
10% aloe oil
5% cetyl alcohol
1% lavender essential oil

This balm will feel much lighter than the balm above thanks to the lighter feeling oils. It will not feel as greasy as these oils - apart from the aloe oil - are a lot drier than the shea butter. If you wanted to use mango, you would get quite a dry feeling balm! 

You could adapt these recipes to use the essential oil blend I mentioned in the first post on balms to include 3% menthol, 0.5% cinnamon, 0.5% ginger, 0.5% clove, and 1% eucalyptus to create a sore muscle blend or the 3% menthol, 1% eucalyptus, and 1% camphor blend to make a Vicks type blend for your feet or sinuses. 

As usual, I'm just a girl who likes to play in the workshop, so join me tomorrow for a more complicated balm!


Sharondjohnson said...

Is there a reason why you use Cetyl Alcohol in your Balms?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sharondjohnson! If you click "older post" or check out this post on making more complicated balms. you'll see I added it to see what it would feel like! Check out that post to get more explanation!