Friday, 1 October 2010

Butter is Better

Over the past year we have tried numerous lotions, creams, and oils on Tommy's skin. Many have worked wonderfully, and others not at all, but I found that most of the creams that worked the best were filled with lots of chemicals that I would prefer Tommy not put on his body or in his mouth. And yes, invariably each day some lotion gets into his mouth. Many of the lotions actually have a sweet taste (yes, I've tried them because I wondered why he was so compelled to shovel them into his mouth) that encourages snacking. Yuck.

Another mom who had adopted from Uganda shared that she had been making her own lotions from raw shea butter. I figured I could do it too. But I put it off. It turns out you have to order five pounds of the stuff ($$) and then you have to get other natural ingredients and combine them, and eventually it all seemed a little too daunting to me. Finally, after months of contemplating this (and combating a recent outbreak of rash on Tommy's stomach and neck) I bit the bullet and ordered five pounds of raw shea butter. It set me back almost fifty bucks. Ouch. Especially compared to a bottle of lotion.

However, since the package arrived I have become a convert. First, it smells wonderful. Very nutty. Second, you can actually just chip off a little piece (it is a solid at room temperature) and rub it straight on skin. The body heat melts the butter, and you get moisturized. This does take longer than a lotion application though, and I don't like to waste time in the morning. So, I searched the internet and found a recipe for whipped shea body butter that did not require too many odd ingredients. Then I modified it even more to use things I had around the house. I also cut out a few of the steps, because I couldn't find my double boiler and I was feeling too lazy to search for it. I've found that most things that "require" a double boiler can actually be done in a microwave, as long as you watch very carefully and stir often. We've been using the body butter I whipped up for almost a week, with fantastic results. Tommy's skin looks great, and we've only had to apply it once a day. It is a bit oily on my skin, but with the dry air of winter coming that won't be an issue for long. This only used up about six ounces of the shea butter, so I imagine I will be making a lot more of this in the coming months. This recipe made a good amount of lotion from 6oz of raw butter. I'm not entirely sure how long it will last, but I think at least three weeks.

My recipe/technique for whipped shea body butter:

6oz raw shea butter (apparently there are different colors...mine is an off-white)

4 oz oil. I used a combo of olive, vitamin e, and another body oil (proprietary blend, now that I have intellectual property lawyer reading my blog I can't be too careful).

1 tsp cornstarch

Place the shea in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt slightly (I did 30 seconds, but my microwave is weak), stir. Repeat until the shea is liquid. Stir in the oil. Add cornstarch. Place in a chilled-mixer bowl, place in stand mixer and whip until thick and fluffy. I let mine go for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Put a small supply in an airtight container and store at room temp, place the bulk in the fridge to keep it fresh.


Heather said...

Sounds great! I almost wish we had more skin problems so I could try it.

Heather said...

P.S. You are SUCH a great mom.

mary said...

Hmmm I can't wait to smell him :)

Lara said...

Check out Alaffia products. They make unrefined shea butter and support the community of Togo where they come from. I'm a huge fan. Their soaps are amazing! But buying in bulk will save you money in the long run.

Judy said...

It would probably be a good idea to keep the shea refrigerated if making that recipe in a warmer climate (like your Mom's place). I can just imagine what that 5lb block would look like if it turned soft.

It's nice to hear about a Mom who will go the extra mile for baby's needs. I'm really impressed; a lot of moms nowadays would find it all to be nothing but a bother.

Sweet Apron said...

I want to try this!!