A few weeks ago an email lobbed into my inbox. An email from a Spanish girl now living in Australia. Turns out, we’d swapped sides of the world at almost the same time, back in 2013.
Naturally, I had to find out more.
I was instantly captivated by Sonia Orts‘s work. She’s an organic skincare specialist, an alchemist drawing from ancient women’s wisdom handed down from generation to generation.
Says Sonia: “I grew up in a family devoted to natural living. My great granny and her sisters made their own soaps, scrubs, creams and beauty oils. My grandmother was a herbal tea lover and her medicines were based on herb infusions and balms. My mum is a passionate gardener and raised me on a diet centred on fruits and veggies. So I belong to a long lineage of women who had ancient knowledge of alchemic beauty and health and who gifted me this wisdom, one generation at a time, over many years.”
Pretty cool, huh?
Though she’s crazy busy preparing for her upcoming wedding, Sonia kindly put her knowledge to work and came up with a richly scented healing homemade face and body butter, just for us.
Sonia says this body butter is perfect to slather across your whole body, including your face. However, it is very nourishing and healing and may a little too heavy for some skin types. You can combat this by thinning it down with a little rose water or toner in the palm of your hand just before applying it to your face.
“When making body butter at home, your attitude is important,” Sonia says. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, get creative and try new things. Follow your instincts and you won’t go wrong. You’re working with beautiful things, it’s all goodness, and even if the texture doesn’t work out you can still use the body butter – next time you’ll do it better.”
Here’s a few words from Sonia on this body butter’s main ingredients, and why they’re all so damn good for your skin.
+ Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a little wonder worker. It nourishes and hydrates your skin by replenishing natural skin oils. And it contains medium chain fatty acids, which are naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Coconut oil can help clear skin problems and dehydration by cleansing and neutralising toxins, fungi and bacteria that build up on the outer layers of your skin, causing skin problems. It also helps to build your skin’s natural protection and immune system.
Using coconut oil topically can even help some forms of eczema and psoriasis that are actually skin infections caused by a fungus.
(Not a fan of coconut oil? Try our coconut oil-free three-ingredient whipped organic chocolate body butter.)
+ Cacao butter
Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals – the cause of skin stressers and signs of aging. It’s high fatty acids content deeply hydrates the skin and it can also help skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis.
Cocoa butter is also great for helping reduce stretch marks – making this body butter a great gift for your pregnant friends (though skip the essential oils in that case).
+ Mango butter
Mango butter is a natural emollient so it helps to soften and smooth scarring. Plus, it’s packed full of antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C and E to aid healing.
+ Almond oil
Almond oil is anti-inflammatory and can help soften and smooth scarring. It leaves your skin soft and adds elasticity.
+ Calendula oil
Calendula oil is very healing and especially good for sunburnt skin in summertime.
Makes 450ml or 2 cups of whipped body butter.
150ml (½ cup) cacao butter
150ml (½ cup) mango butter
50ml (⅙ cup) coconut oil
50m (⅙ cup) almond oil or calendula oil
Up to 5ml (about 80 to 100 drops) of your favourite essential oils. For face butter: decrease to 2.5ml (about 40 to 50 drops drops)
Note: You can play around with different butter and oil quantities, as long as you maintain a ratio of 75 per cent butter to 25 per cent oil. So you could use only cacao butter, or combine cacao butter with mango and shea butters, as long as the total amount of butter is 300ml or 1 cup.
Essential oil blends:
Really, you can mix together any scents that take your fancy. Or try these:
+ For a Christmassy scent: blending to a maximum of 5ml, add 50 drops orange, 10 drops cardamom, 10 drops cinnamon and 5 drops clove.
+ For a happy mood: blend 1ml (about 20 drops) each of orange, lemon, mandarin, lavender and marjoram.
Place some water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Sit a bowl over the top of the saucepan of water. Make sure that the bowl is deep enough to hold your butters but not so deep that it touches the water. You want the steam from the water to melt the butters.
Place the cacao butter, mango butter and coconut oil into the bowl and melt down completely. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for around half an hour (or a little longer in hot weather). In order to guarantee a thick and creamy texture, it’s important that the mixture cools to room temperature before you begin whipping.
Stir in the almond oil or calendula oil and your essential oil blend.
Place the oil mixture in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes. This step is crucial, as if the mixture isn’t chilled properly, the body butter won’t whip or stay whipped. Keep an eye on it and remove it once the mixture start to begin to go slightly solid again and turns a whitish colour.
Whip the mixture with a hand beater until it turns a smooth, butter-like consistency. Place the body butter in a clean glass jar and enjoy!
12 steps to cosmetics so natural you can eat the ingredients
This little how-to is the tenth instalment in our series on how to green your bathroom by swapping to completely natural and cruelty-free cosmetics.
We’re also volunteering to be your human guinea pigs, so if there’s something natural cosmetics-related that you’ve been a-ponderin’, hit us up in the comments.
Check out the other steps via the links below:
- Step 1: Bathroom stocktake – get our handy free worksheet to help you work out how naughty or nice your current cosmetic brands are.
- Step 2: Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap – how to recycle used coffee grounds into a luxuriously exfoliating and all-natural homemade soap.
- Step 3: How to cleanse your face with nothing more than oil (and a little apple cider vinegar) plus tips on dealing with adult acne.
- Step 4: Whipped organic chocolate body butter – how to create an intensely moisturising body butter using only three-ingredients.
- Step 5: How to go no ‘poo – ditch store-bought shampoo and wash your hair using only bicarbonate soda and apple cider vinegar.
- Step 6: Menstrual cups – less wastage, less stink, less toxins. The better alternative to pads and tampons.
- Step 7: Natural homemade toothpaste – whip up your own toothpaste using everyday ingredients you probably already have floating around your pantry.
- Step 8: Oil pulling – swill a little oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes each day to improve dental health and a whole heap more.
- Step 9: Dry body brushing – get healthy, glowing, soft skin using this simple exfoliating technique.
- Step 10: Healing face and body butter – how to make your own naturally-scented and powerfully healing face and body moisturiser.