DIY all-natural skin care: Orange-coconut body butter

My make-the-best-of-the-sour-orange-harvest extravaganza continues.  Today the recipe is for a body lotion that’s so natural you can eat it.  And that’s a good thing since what you put on your skin goes into your body the same as if you swallowed it.  It requires just two ingredients that you may already have in the kitchen: coconut oil and an orange.  Here’s the story behind it and the instructions for making it yourself.

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Several years ago I vowed to clean up the body products we use in our home (e.g., shampoo, lotion, etc…).  I favor paraben-free, sulfate-free, etc….  But last year I went one step further and started making lotion out of edible oils, namely coconut, shea and olive.  The blend was nice: gentle, soothing, and with a texture ranging between kefir and whipped butter, depending on the room temperature.  It was fine, but not really worth the trouble, as I didn’t really care for the scent (think suntan oil and antipasto mixed) unless I added a ton (and I mean a ton) of essential oils.

This summer, rather than make a new batch of the blend, I just cut to the chase and started slathering on straight-up coconut oil.  It’s divine.  (And after using an almond oil body wash I smell like an Almond Joy!)  In the summer it was pure liquid, and now that it’s winter the oil is solid.  I just dig out a chunk and rub it on.  It melts like an ice cube on a sunburn.  Very nice indeed.  (And btw, Costco sells giant jars of organic coconut oil for $21.49.  At $0.28/oz it’s the cheapest I’ve found by far.)

As much as I love the pure coconut oil treatment, I was ready for a change.  Enter a glut of oranges, and it got me thinking… could I scent the oil with orange peel instead of drops of essential oils?  Turns out the answer is yes!

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It only requires the peel of one orange, so it doesn’t help much in terms of using up the sour oranges weighing down our frost-bitten tree, but that’s okay.  It still brings a bit of sunshine to the start of my day.  The scent reminds me of the cranberry-orange bread I made the other day (better than an Almond Joy, I’d say!), and unlike perfumed lotions, it doesn’t give me a headache.  Win-win!

If you have some coconut oil and a spare orange (lemon or grapefruit) lying around, give it a try.  For that matter, I don’t see why the same technique wouldn’t work with herbs, too.  Rosemary, lavender, and mint should all work.  As would basil, cinnamon, star anise….  You get the idea.  Anything you can steep, you could use to scent  the coconut oil.

This “recipe” yields a delicious-smelling, totally natural, lightweight and very moisturizing body butter.  Here’s how I made it:

1. Heat roughly one cup of (organic) coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat.

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2.  Meanwhile, remove the peel of one organic (a must here) orange with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.  No need to be super careful to avoid the pith as you would with a recipe calling for orange zest.

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3.  When the coconut oil is warm and completely clear, turn the heat to low and add the orange peel.  Swirl the pot occasionally and cook gently for 10 minutes.  Shut off the heat and let it steep a bit longer.

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4. While it’s still liquid, remove the peel and pour the scented oil into a container.  (I prefer a glass jar with a plastic snap-on lid because it’s faster and easier to negotiate than a screw-top lid.  Every little bit helps in the morning.  I couldn’t, however, find one in my cupboard, so a jam jar will have to suffice.)

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5. Use right away or let it cool further.  Depending on the ambient temperature, it will either be liquid or solid when you use it.   Enjoy the natural hydration and delicate scent!

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Do you have a favorite DIY body treatment?  Share the love!  Leave a comment with your tip for natural body care.

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday at My Humble Kitchen and Simply Natural Saturdays at the Pistachio Project , Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party and Thank Goodness it’s Monday at Nourishing Joy.

One thought on “DIY all-natural skin care: Orange-coconut body butter

  1. Oh yum. I think I would drink it before it ever got to harden. Will you please share this with my readers on my linky Oil me up Wednesday at my lamp is full? We will all love you for it!

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