About a year ago, I posted a recipe for a DIY anti-chafing balm that was simply carrier oils and cornstarch. It worked like a charm and left behind a powdery finish, after the oils would sink in. The bad part was that it separated badly and always needed to be remixed before using, which was messy and greasy, but it was such a great item that I used it up and then went on a quest to make it into a balm.
I debated using beeswax to thicken it but I really didn’t want to lose that powdery finish and I was afraid beeswax would make it sticky. I decided to try using BTMS 225, an emulsifying wax I bought in error when I meant to order BTMS 50. Since then, I’ve made use of the cationic properties of the BTMS 225 for hair conditioner and used it to make things like solid perfumes and solid bug repellent (my recipe for a solid perfume or bug repellent is 33% olive oil, 33% beeswax, and 33% BTMS 225 plus whatever essential oils you’re planning to use for fragrance or bug repellent-this makes a balm you can easily scoop up with your finger that’s resistant to heat and doesn’t leave too much oily residue on the skin…but I digress). I’ve been very happy with the results of using BTMS 225 in things as an almost “substitute” for beeswax, and in this recipe, where the emulsifier is known for its powdery finish on the skin, and the corn starch and arrowroot powders leave a powdery and silky feel as well, it’s perfect.
The balm gets kind of hard in the winter months in the jar and I have to use the back of my fingernail to scrape some up and the heat of my palm to soften it before applying it to my inner thighs or under my bra wires where I get the worst chafing when I work out. But this stuff works great. And it never separates! The oil and powder stay “emulsified”, trapped and blended together no matter what. I think if you remelted it back down completely it would separate, but that’s it. Otherwise, it’s been fantastic! Mine is in a wide mouth Mason jar, so I can get my hand in there and scoop it out easily. In the past I’ve used various essential oil blends like rosemary, lavender, and tea tree (all skin friendly oils) but this time I chose a fun fragrance oil from Brambleberry that’s a dupe of Juicy Couture, and smells amazing. Because it’s summer, I’m slathering this stuff on pretty heavy on days I wear sundresses and I’ve gotten a few compliments on the scent now. I probably put too much fragrance oil in the balm, so keep that in mind when you make yours. Perhaps start with one gram of fragrance oil or essential oils totalling one gram and work up from there instead of two grams.
Here’s the recipe:
35g Emulsifying wax (you can use any complete emulsifying wax, Emulsifying Wax NF, Ecomulse, Polawax, etc. I chose BTMS 225 and I’m very happy with it, and I definitely think it has perks as a cationic conditioning product that adheres to our skin and makes it softer).
35g Mango butter (I definitely suggest you use mango butter and NOT shea butter or cocoa butter. Cocoa butter will be too hard. Shea butter will be too greasy)
35 g fractionated coconut oil (also known as medium chain triglyceride oil. You can substitute any lightweight, fast absorbing, and ideally “dry” oil. Good choices would be hazelnut, hemp, camellia, grapeseed, or rosehip).
35g arrowroot powder
35g cornstarch. (You can definitely use all one or the other. I hope they bring different properties to the final product so I keep using both, but I suspect that is just my wishful thinking and it really doesn’t matter)
2g essential oils (Once again I suggest you start at 1g and test the scent, then add more if you need to. When I did the essential oil blends, I needed the full 2g, but I probably could have gotten by with just 1g of this fragrance oil this time).
Melt your mango butter and emulsifying wax together in a double boiler or in the microwave on half power (a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl works well in the microwave). Once everything is melted, whisk in the fractionated coconut oil briskly. It should solidify reasonably quickly. It will set up faster if you move it to a fresh bowl. Whisk in the corn starch and arrowroot powder. Whisk until smooth. Add essential oils or fragrance oil of choice. Whisk til incorporated. Scoop into wide mouth Mason jar or other container and allow to set up a few hours before using.
Because this is a anhydrous product-doesn’t contain water-and is in no risk of becoming contaminated with water, there’s no need to use a preservative. You can add 10 drops of vitamin E oil or rosemary antioxidant if you want to extend the shelf life and retard rancidity, but honestly it’s quite stable as is and should last a year. If it begins to smell like rotten nuts or antique crayons, or anything else weird, it’s gone off and you should chuck it and make a fresh batch. If it gives you peace of mind to include a preservative, I recommend Optiphen ND or Phenonip and the suppliers suggested rate.