Monday, September 29, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet Loves... Silky Soft Skin: Nourishing Body Oil Recipe

Your skin knows it’s fall and worst of all, it shows. Sun exposure in the previous months, the cold winds that are starting to blow ever chillier with each day that passes and the dry indoors climate created by central heating leaves our skin looking... well, slightly reptilian. Not a good look. Left alone to its own devices, the skin of my legs and arms has the propensity to start looking as dry and arid as the Sahara desert and only industrial strength moisturizers of the highest quality manage to produce any sort of results worthy to speak of. Like any beauty junky, I fail to form monogamous, faithful relationships with almost any beauty product, but that is especially true when it comes to body moisturizers: I am always looking for the next best thing, that elusive holy grail product that will transform the surface of my appendages to the baby-soft ideal I have in my head. During the summer however, I concocted a little cocktail of nourishing oils whose results are so impressive I just have to share the recipe with you. Is this my HG of body moisturizers, the one for which I forsake all others now and forever? Well... yes and no. Considering I am rather lazy, the fact that I have to make this product myself every time I run out definitely counts against it. Too, I am not always in the mood for a product with an oily texture (nor do I feel inclined to use an oil when I am about to wear clothes), so for the occasions I need something that sinks in faster I fall back on my regular favorite body butters, lotions and serums. However, there’s nothing else I’ve ever tried that even remotely comes close to matching the results of this little homemade preparation. For the first time in my life I’ve (rather ridiculously perhaps) invited people to touch my skin just to see how incredibly, unbelievably soft it is. For the first time in my life, I’ve caught myself touching my legs each night just to get that little thrill, coupled with the disbelief of one who has suffered dry skin for years and has suddenly found that things needn’t be so. “Is this my skin??? ... This is my skin!!!” The best part? The results are long lasting. Most moisturizers leave the skin supple and soft for some hours but the results are soon reversed as many of us who moisturize at night and find our skin feeling dry in the morning know. Using this oil regularly, I’ve found that even when I skip a night or two my skin retains its elasticity, moisture and softness.

Now, for the recipe. It’s simple really. You need to use equal parts of the following oils:

1 part Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet Almond oil is obtained from the edible seed of sweet almond trees (Almond Dulcis), and it has been used as a skin-softening agent for centuries. One of the key words in beauty and health in the past few years is of course Omega-3 fatty acids; Almond oil is indeed extremely rich in those, as well as in a variety of minerals and vitamins including D & E. It is calming, nourishing, balances the loss and absorption of moisture, and is of course, as already mentioned, softening.

1 part Jojoba Oil: Jojoba is a fruiting shrub whose mature seeds produce a liquid wax, Jojoba oil, one of nature’s own miracle cosmetic products. It is an absolutely fantastic moisturizer that is chemically very similar to human sebum meaning it has great affinity with our skin. Jojoba oil reduces the skin’s water loss while still allowing it to breathe and it improves elasticity. It speeds and aids the healing process of the skin and it is also a fungicide.

1 part Avocado Oil: Avocado Oil, yet another miracle worker, is pressed from the flesh of the Avocado fruit. It is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, amino acids, lecithin, sterolins, potassium, proteins and unsaturated fatty acids. It helps heal sun damage, reduce age spots and heal skin that has been exposed to climate damage. Extremely nourishing, moisturizing, regenerating, collagen increasing and deeply penetrating, this is probably THE best oil for dry skin.

1 part Calendula Oil: Calendula Officinalis is a flowering plant, also known as Pot Marigold. No oil can be obtained from the flowers of course, so the Calendula Oil bought in health stores is a result of maceration of the flower in another oil. I suggest Calendula which has been macerated in Soya Oil, which is itself a great oil for the skin, rich in antioxidants and vitamins and wonderful in its own right for its nourishing and moisturizing properties. (Check the ingredients list and make sure that what you are getting only lists two ingredients: Calendula Officinalis and Clycine Soya, or Soybean Oil). Now on to Calendula, which is yet another all natural magical ingredient. Extremely calming and soothing, Calendula will soothe red, itchy and irritated skin and is a natural anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic. It is absolutely excellent for the skin, acting in a regenerative manner, healing dry and even cracked and wounded skin. I have been using calendula for many years and for various little problems and I simply cannot sing its praises enough!

Okay, so now you know why all these oils work! Is there more to know? Well, while three out of four of these oils have no or almost no scent (jojoba oil has a very light scent even when unrefined), unrefined avocado oil, (the only type which I can find around here) unfortunately really does smell vegetal and it will probably make your skin smell sort of like a used salad bowl. Yeah, not very pleasant. If you can find refined avocado oil (I’ve no doubt that the North American readers will be able to in their excellent health and food stores) then you’re very lucky indeed. For the rest of us, but also for those that wish to add some scent to this recipe, the solution is a mixture of essential oils that pleases your senses. Please be aware that essential oils have to be used with care and dilution instructions have to be followed. Go for high quality oils (found in dark blue or brown bottles to prevent exposure to light). Most importantly my advice for everyone with not sufficient knowledge of essential oils is to use those that are generally very safe for skin even when dosage is accidentally exceeded. Such very safe, non-skin sensitizing oils are rose, sandalwood, myrrh, patchouli, and ylang ylang. Another good solution is to use perfumed oils of your preference that are already prepared for direct skin use. However, only the pure, non-perfumed preparation is safe for use on areas that are suffering from severe skin conditions such as eczema. Lastly, make sure to scrub well before using this oil mixture for the first time: A clean, free of dead cells canvas will allow you to experience the fastest results.

Container: My favorite containers for this oil mixture are Sephora’s “Express” bottles, sold in threes together with two little jars in a little beauty bag. These are meant to be filled with your cosmetics of choice for travel I believe. They hold a good amount and the product is dispensed through a little hole, which provides me with adequate control.

Warnings: Do not use if you have a nut allergy. Remember to do a skin-patch test before using to test for sensitivity.

Images: Flickr by: guivax, monstershaq2000 and preciouskhyatt,


Jenavira13 said...

I'm a big fan of Aveeno products in the summer, but find they are too light for winter use. Right now I am trying out Neutrogena's Norwegian formula body creme which is okay (although I will attest to the hand cream; that stuff can save your hands). I'll have to try this concoction of yours out.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Thanks for the recipe! I will love to try this out as I have really dry skin too...

A great product for you to try is Kiehl's Creme de Corps- it is a little expensive but I find it is GREAT for nourishing dry skin...

Anita said...

Thanks for this, darling Divina! I have just started using calendula soap on my dry and touchy face and I love it. Look forward to trying your blend!

ScentScelf said...

How wonderful of you to share your recipe!

Calendula was magic for my young children, and me, not so long ago. Boiron made a wonderful calendula lotion that worked wonders on my winter cracked hands AND the somewhat eczema prone sensitive skin of a just-toddler. I have also used the oil in preparations, and essential oil.

Other usually safe essential oils are chamomile, neroli and lavender, and all carry soothing benefits. Do check precautions before blending...

Happy winter skin to all!

Ines said...

Ha,ha. How I agree with your statement that you cannot form a monogamous relationship with body products. :) I'm always looking and trying new stuff even when I find sth good. I just have to know if there is something better. This summer I tried Akamuti oils (grapeseed, macadamia and apricot kernel) and I loved them - they are of really good quality.
And I agree with scentscelf - I usually put lavander and chamomile into my oils since they have soothing benefits.


Dear Div, I don´t know if I told you but I was into aromatherapy, cosmetics and massage for a couple of years.
So I leave here some tips:
Careful with these oils, because they are natural, they run bad very fast.
If you use at night, choose old clothes/pj´s because they leave a very bad smell after a while, and even if you put them into boiling water you will not get rid of the smell.
Trust me on this one.
Specially the almond oil.
So never use before going out with fancy clothes or the ones you really love.
Try to make quicker baths (I know....nobody likes it...)or lower the temperature of the water of your bath.
Light scrubing during the shower helps you to get rid of the dead cells.
Avocado should be use in the proportion of 3 to 6% -and seems to me that avocado+ jojoba leads to a very think recipe...
If I may, dear, I would suggest you try 2 lighter oils, such sunflower+grapeseed or almond oil+sunflower or almond oil+grapeseed and than add one of the heavy oils, such as avocado or jojoba.
Or, take your recipe and reduce the heavy oils quantity and increase the light one.
Otherwise you might get cloths in the pores of your legs after a while. If you shave, scrub the legs afterwards to avoid it.
About the essential oils: Do remember that they really have therapeutical effects.
If you are in slow motion don´t put lavander or other oils that relaxes too much or you will start missing classes.
Maybe a few drops of mentha arvensis would be nice and refreshing...
If you are a speedy one, than use relaxing oils.
But the best oils above all for the skin is grapefruit.
And as funny as it may sound, I used these oils for a long time and what really helped was Johnson´s cammomile and lavander lotion. Cheap and simple. No high tech or expensive brands...

kissy simone.

Anonymous said...

Divina how fab that you shared this! I am going to go oil shopping this weekend and I am gonna give it a go! :o)


Divina said...

Jen, what a coincidence: I tried Neutrogena's body creme this summer as well. As you say, it's not bad, but it's not the best one I've used either. Their hand cream is indeed a wonderful product though.. I remember being a little kid and my poor hands were so weatherbeaten they were actually bleeding. This one was the only cream that would help. That and glycerine, which hurt like hell by the way since my mom would dilute it with lemon juice. I don't use the hand-cream on a regular basis because I found it too sticky. However I WOULD use it if I was able to find the SPF variant here, which I think is only sold in the states unfortunately. We don't get any Neutrogena sunscreen products around here... By the way, have you tried Bliss' unscented "naked body butter"? It is my favorite moisturizer for daytime since it sinks in quite fast, doesn't stain clothes and most importantly doesn't interfere with perfume :)

Divina said...

Daily, I recently (well, some months ago!) discovered that we have a Kiehl's shop here so I will definitely give it a try! Wasn't the scrub from the same line feautured in this month's Allure's favorite picks? I want to check out both!

Divina said...

Anita dearest, I hope it works for you! I have never heard of Calendula soap by the way. Is it good?

Divina said...

Scentself, I didn't know about Neroli - this is great news since I love its scent! I tend to avoid using citrus fruits in my own blends because I thought they were the main skin sensitizers. It's great to know neroli is safe :)

Divina said...

Ines yes, there are so few products I remain faithful to! My Fekkai hairproducts have been a staple for about 2 years now and the same goes for the Kanebo products I use on my face. However, I still get antsy from time to time even with those ;)

Divina said...

Hi Simone dear! I make sure to keep them somewhere dark and only keep each bottle for a few months (I go through them anyway :P) so as to avoid oxidization and so I have been lucky to not have had problems with any smells so far. If anything, my sheets smell really good from the Essential Oils, lol! But I didn't know you used to work with aromatherapy! I was hoping someone who actually knows more would chime in and here you are, thank you! It is true what you say, that these things are personal. Because this recipe is the only thing that has saved my legs, I am not yet inclined to add less avocado oil or change to a lighter formula. But I am really grateful to have your advice and will follow it if I get any clogged pores problems. Happy to say though that after 4 months of use (Since beginning June) I haven't had any problems so far. Would you be interested in providing the Fragrance Bouquet readers with a couple of recipes for essential oil blends they could use with this preparation? I would love that, dear! Let me know :)

Divina said...

Christine, some of these oils can be pricey (the avocado and calendula are quite expensive here about 6 to 8 euro each bottle) but they are worth it! I hope you get good results too.

maisqueperfume said...

I would love to.
Just tell me how you would like to do it.

Divina said...

Just sent you a message, thank you so much, Simone, you're a star!