Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Relief Update

I originally posted a recipe for Whipped Shea Butter over a year ago, and we've been using it quite religiously ever since.  I've made a few changes, though, which I find quite effective.  So here's the updated recipe.

  • 10 oz Shea butter (preferably unrefined, cold pressed or however the equivalent works for it)
  • 4 oz carrier oil (I used grapeseed oil or calendula-infused sunflower oil, if I've got it on hand)
  • 1 oz unrefined beeswax
  • 1 oz unrefined cocoa butter
  • essential oils - I use about 20 drops each French Alp lavender, tea tree and grapefruit seed extract to help with K's eczema, but a nice smelling combination is peru balsam & cinnamon oils.
  • 10 capsules of vitamin E - just the oil inside, I discard the capsules

Prepare your mixing bowl (i.e. if you've got a stand mixer, use that bowl, otherwise get a different bowl to whip the ingredients) by placing in the freezer.  Best not to use a glass or ceramic one, so that it doesn't shatter when you pour the hot liquid into it.

Melt the shea butter, beeswax and cocoa butter in a double burner (I use a ceramic bowl over a pot of almost boiling water, careful that the water doesn't touch the bowl).  Let the temperature of the mixture reach 180F, and keep it there for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the melted mixture into your chilled bowl, add your carrier oil, and place in freezer for about 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your freezer.  Just long enough to start to resolidify the mix, which will make it a little creamy but not solid.

Use stand mixer (if you've got one) or an electric beater to whip the mixture until it forms really thick peaks.  About half way through the process (i.e. it's getting more stiff but still quite creamy and soft), add the essential oils and vitamin E capsule contents, then finish beating.  Scrape the bowl often, because the mixture will solidify at different rates.

When the mixture has reached a nice stiff consistency and holds very strong peaks:

scoop into clean and preferably sterilized containers.  I haven't yet tried, but I bet using a parchment paper icing bag with a big icing nozzle would work really well.  Place the lids on the containers and put away.  Make sure to use up all the extra loveliness stuck to the bowl & mixer parts!

When you go to apply the cream, it will be stiff and hard-ish in the container, but the heat from your hands will melt it really quickly, so as you apply it to your skin, it will soak in beautifully.  Enjoy!

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