Cassie Middleton is the main female lead in my book, DEMONS. She’s a little bit of me, and a whole lot of who I would love to be. Over the years, I’ve read many books that incorporated recipes, or even patterns, for things written into said books. One day, while I was writing DEMONS, I had the brilliant idea (or possibly not so brilliant idea) to incorporate my love of my home-made body products into my story line. After all, Cassie had the means to market her own product line at her very own farm stand.
My mom’s death from lymphoma shook me since we had no history of cancer in our family. Once I realized that our skin is our largest organ, I decided I wanted to ditch all the chemicals I was putting onto mine. I found recipes to replace my body wash, my face wash, my hand soap, and my body lotion. In another brilliant move, I decided to use the lotion from the book as part of my author swag. I’m not sure I’ll be doing this for every event I attend – or in this case, an event that only my swag is attending – but I guess that will all depend on the feedback I get from readers!
My basic recipe is actually pretty darn simple:
8 oz Shea Butter
4 oz Coconut oil (unrefined)
4 oz Sweet Almond oil
A few drops of Vitamin E oil (a natural preservative) and the Essential oils of your choosing (I prefer Lavender & Sweet Orange or Spearmint & Lime)
***You can use any kind of ‘butters’ or oils that you like. Just make sure you keep the ratio 75% solid to 25% liquid (coconut oil is a solid at colder temps, so it is considered a solid here). You could use Shea butter and Cocoa Butter (a very solid butter, so the final product will be hard), or try olive oil, avocado oil, or apricot oil. I have found the combination in the recipe works wonders on my skin, without being overly greasy.
-Melt 8 oz of Shea Butter with 4 oz of Coconut oil in a double boiler. Cool until you can handle the bowl, then refrigerate until firm (the golden liquid turns into an opaque, creamy solid).
-Next, get out your trusty hand mixer (bonus if yours happens to have a whisk attachment!). However, I usually break the solid mass up a bit with a fork before I begin to mix it, which allows for a smoother finished product. I switch to my whisk attachment here, but regular beaters work fine too. Slowly drizzle in the Sweet Almond oil and mix until you have a nice, fluffy body butter. Add the Vitamin E oil, and your essential oils if you use them and mix a final time. The container you use is up to you, but I find canning jars, or jelly jars, work well.
Since I always like to cite my sources, I found this recipe at: http://www.rawmazing.com/homemade-body-butter-recipe/. There are also pictures here to show you what to expect.
Cassie, now Cassie MacLane, returns in Justin and Mary’s book, DAMAGES. She’s still concocting new body products and creates a body butter for another MacLane couple, Josh and Kylie (because yup, the whole darn family is back in book two). The MacLane men like their chocolate- after all, Jase was enamored with Cassie’s cocoa butter body butter in DEMONS. If you have never smelled pure cocoa butter (not that pre-made stuff you find in the beauty isle), be ready to have your mind blown.
It. Smells. Just. Like. Chocolate. Seriously. See, mind blown.
Using pure cocoa butter in a body butter makes the user smell a little like chocolate, and since Josh is particularly fond of mint chocolate, I decided to share my Mint Chocolate Body Butter recipe. It is very similar to my original body butter recipe, but I tweaked it just a tad:
4 oz Shea Butter
4 oz Cocoa butter
4 oz Coconut oil (unrefined will add a hint of coconut; refined has no scent – use either)
4 oz Sweet Almond oil
Vitamin E oil
Spearmint and Peppermint Essential oils (or choose one – I favor the sweeter Spearmint)
Follow the steps for making the original body butter, but be warned – the addition of the cocoa butter will make this solid harder to work with after it’s been chilled! Mixing and whipping it is a bit harder, so a stand mixer works great here. However, I hate to drag mine out for such a small amount because mine weighs a ton (hubby was kind enough to buy me the ‘professional’ Kitchen Aid stand mixer). It takes a bit more patience and old-fashioned elbow grease to mix this one, but the end result is SO worth it!
I had originally come across the idea here: http://holisticsquid.com/whipped-body-butter-homemade-lotion/, but using a full 8 oz of (rock hard) cocoa butter was a huge pain in the arse!
Hmmm, now I just need to think of a recipe to use in DECEPTIONS, Jake & Natalie’s book…
Now that DECEPTIONS is completed, I have another recipe! This one is not for the faint of heart! It’s homemade Tiger Balm™, for sore muscles, and general aches and pains. Natalie, my female lead, is a dancer so this just felt right to use for her.
I fell in love with the Tiger Balm Muscle Rub™ that comes in a tube. I suffer from sinus migraines, and that stuff works wonders on my headaches. However, Tiger Balm™ has petroleum in it (part of the things I avoid now), and usually comes in little pots (labeled red or white). This recipe is a closer match to the pots than the muscle rub in the tube. Also, I used a mish-mash of many different recipes, so I do not have one direct link to include this time…
Homemade Tiger Balm™ Base:
1 oz Beeswax
2 oz Shea Butter
2 oz Sweet Almond oil (this doesn’t irritate my skin or cause breakouts)
Melt ingredients in a double boiler just until the beeswax is ALMOST totally melted. Pour into a glass jar (such as a canning/jelly jar) and add essential oils. **Note – I divided this into two 4oz canning jars as I wanted to try both the white and the red versions, so my final was 2.5 oz each.
This is where things get tricky! According to information I found on the Tiger Balm™ website, the red and white balms have slightly different essential oils and in different percentages. I have done my best to figure out the ounces/drops ratios for each 2.5 oz jar of the base, and the amounts below are what I used.
In 2.5oz Red has:
11% camphor (0.275oz; approx. 38 drops)
8% menthol (0.2oz approx. 28 drops)
7% cajaput (0.175oz; approx. 27 drops)
6% mint (0.15oz; approx. 26 drops)
5% clove (0.125oz; approx. 25 drops)
5% cassia (0.125oz; approx. 25 drops)
In 2.5oz White has:
16% wintergreen (0.4oz; approx. 55 drops)
13% cajaput (0.325oz; approx. 45 drops)
11% camphor (0.275oz; approx. 38 drops)
8% menthol (0.2oz; approx. 28 drops)
1.5% clove (0.0375oz; approx. 5 drops)
Once the essential oils have been added, mix the bases thoroughly, and let cool completely before using. They will harden into a thick balm that melts quickly. Please note that all of the essential oils used may cause skin flushing or irritation. I found the amounts I used only caused a very mild tingling sensation when rubbed onto my skin, which is not the case with the real deal. The red is supposed to be the stronger of the two, due to the addition of the cajaput and the cassia, but both felt similar to me!