The only thing I knew I was going to miss during my natural skincare kick was my Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula, you know, the solid stuff that comes in a jar and smells like straight-up chocolate. I only use it in the winter. Over the years, it’s become my little way of dealing with seasonal affective disorder. But, for the sake of experimentation, I had to give it up.
I ditched my delicious-smelling balm and got to work making one of my own. I picked up a 16 oz. jar (about the size of a takeout soup container) of raw shea butter instead (about $8, available on Amazon). According to the label, it can be used to treat dry skin, eczema and burns; applied as a sunscreen, hair conditioner or stretch-mark cream; and even help with pain from swelling.
While that’s quite a list, I was only using it for dry skin, particularly on my body (the texture was too heavy for my face, and I usually felt pretty hydrated after my new oil treatment, at least at first). The formula is rock hard, difficult to get out of the bin and a bit of a nuisance to rub in. It also has a rubbery smell I didn’t like — some people don’t mind it, but I wasn’t about to put up with it for an entire month. Something needed to be done. My roommate suggested that I tweak the shea a little to alleviate my concerns.
The routine: I got to work making my new formula. I removed about half the shea butter from the jar into a bowl, and added about 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil ($10 at The Vitamin Shoppe) and two teaspoons of lavender oil ($8 at Walgreens) for scent. I mashed the shea butter down, which made it creamier and easier to manage, and it smelled a heck of a lot better when I was done. After I rubbed the mixture into my skin, all anyone could smell was lavender. Score.
Did it work?: Of course it did. It was a good replacement for my cocoa butter, performance-wise. Plus, making my own moisturizer proved to be quite economical, which was great. I made another batch with the rest of the shea and all said, it lasted me the whole month.