Butter me up


Lately my skin has been sandpaper rough and lizard scaly. Dry as a desert. I’ve tried lotion a few times but decided what I really wanted was a good body butter, something rich and emollient, to use after showers and lock in lingering moisture.

I hadn’t worked with cupuacu butter before, but I wanted my butter to be silky and light, not heavy and greasy so shea butter was out of the question and cupuacu is described as having a satiny, almost silicone feel. It’s expensive, so I didn’t use a lot but it really is awesome. I also used lanolin and fractionated coconut oil to round out the “emollient, but non-greasy” finish. You could use grapeseed or hemp and get great results, too.

The one ingredient you can’t substitute is the stearic acid. I’m afraid it’s non-negotiable. The combo of stearic acid and liquid oil comes from experiments done by Marie over at Humblebee and Me. It had a creaminess that I associated with beeswax, but without any of the tackiness or waxiness that can come with wax. It was just… creamy. Buttery, but not greasy, and with more staying power than plain butters.

Winter Body Butter
24g stearic acid
20g lanolin
20g cupuacu butter
22g fractionated coconut oil  
10g hempseed oil
4 drops vitamin E oil Or 1g rosemary oleoresin
8 drops each lavender, helichrysum, and chamomile OR 20 drops Honey I Washed the Kids fragrance oil are my choices


Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
Weigh the stearic acid, lanolin, cupuacu butter, fractionated coconut oil, and grapeseed oil into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through. You can also use a double boiler or even a thick saucepan on very low heat, but watch carefully so you don’t scorch the oils. Voice of experience here; the measuring cup method is best.


Once everything has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat and set it aside. Let it come to room temperature about 10 min. This is important so it doesn’t crack during the next step! Prepare an ice bath by placing a couple ice cubes and some cold water in a shallow bowl. Place the measuring cup of the melted oils in the ice bath for short spurts, stirring continuously—it will start to get a bit cloudy and then start to thicken up. Keep stirring to ensure you get a nice, creamy final consistency.
When the mixture is cool, thick, and creamy, add the vitamin E and essential oil or fragrance oil, and stir to combine. Transfer to a small jar or tin—I used a wide mouth glass Mason jar, and later when I made it a plastic jar from Bulk Apothecary. Enjoy!

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Tallow on my lips? But why…?!?

Lard and tallow are actually fabulous for your skin. I plan to invest in a small amount of pre-made tallow (instead of rendering it myself) and while the bulk of it is for soap, I plan to scoop out some for this project. Still to come, but worthy of discussion! This recipe is untested, but I haven’t posted in awhile so I thought I would share. It seems like a great recipe and I look forward to trying it soon!  

Meat fats may seem like odd ingredients to use in lip balm, but as far as fats go, it’s the closest to our natural sebum as we can find, making it a great substitute when we have dry or chapped skin and lips. In addition, tallow especially is a deeply nourishing ingredient. It contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. Both are intrinsically balanced  by nature, with no further improvements or enrichment necessary. So there are many reasons to give tallow and lard a try. 

I plan to round out the tallow out with coconut oil, avocado oil (although you can substitute any medium weight carrier oil of your choice), beeswax, and cocoa butter. It should be firm but melt and glide after a few swipes across the skin. I am using my favorite combo of lavender and cardamom but of course you can use peppermint essential oil or any other lip safe oil of your choice. Check with Tisserand for safety. 

Here’s the recipe (still needs to be weighed in grams)

4 Tbsp beeswax

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp avocado oil

3 Tbsp cocoa butter 

4 Tbsp tallow (you can also use lard)

8 drops lavender

8 drops cardamom 

or 10-15 drops essential oil of your choice

4-5 empty lip balm tubes or pots. Temper coconut oil for 20 minutes, then add remaining ingredients except essential oils and melt through. Add cocoa butter last and remove from heat as soon as it’s melted. Remove from heat, add essential oils, pour into lip balm tubes or pots. Cool completely and label. 

For better results, measure each ingredient in grams or ounces and note for next time. This makes accuracy when scaling up or down easier.  

2016 Lessons

Things I learned in 2016

I would like to do this yearly or have reflections every six months or so. We’ll see. 

1) Having a personal crisis will show you who your friends are. You’ll never know how many people will stab you in the back until push comes to shove, or how many people will adamantly stay by your side in a jam no matter what. I’ve been incredibly thankful for everyone who stood by me this year. I remain cautious about trusting after being burned by so many people who I thought would at least ask my side of the situation, but instead jumped on the hate bandwagon. So sad for them that hating on someone is second nature.

2)Despite all that, it’s awesome to be Mimi. Tatum and Poots keep me going. Watching Tatum grow up this past year from tiny baby to independent one year old has been a treat. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Poots continues to thrive and become more independent. We babied her a little too much and she’s outgrown that, but she’s still very much in need of cuddle time sitting beside me and just hugging.

3) I learned that while I can’t live without coffee, I’m meh about alcohol. The last booze I bought was to make aftershave with. Not even joking. 

4) I learned that soapmakers fall into two categories: those of us who are anti palm products and who generally use lard and tallow (and other animal based products like honey, beeswax, and lanolin), and anti-animal products users who will use palm and palm kernel oils, and their by products. There’s a tiny subset which eschews it all and only uses oils and I’m still learning how to make soap like they do for my vegan friends. Hot process seems to be the answer, but it’s a skill I’m still learning.

5) I learned that creating your own successful skin care or make up line is about as hard as breaking into Hollywood. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on the idea yet. I’m just being more realistic.

6) I learned easy stuff this year. How to make cold process soap. How to make hot process soap. How to make CPOP soap. How to make liquid soap. How to make a coconut free recipe. How to make a lotion, a cream, a body butter, a lotion bar, a pain relief stick, a muscle cramp roll on, an anti acne roll on, a migraine essential oil roll on, a calm balm, beard balms, beard oils, shaving oil, aftershave, deoderant, and of course, body and face wash. I’m sure there’s more. 

7) I learned -am learning – to write tutorials. I kind of suck at it, but I hope to get better. 

8) I learned that you don’t have to see someone daily, weekly, or even monthly to feel like they are an integral part of your life. Even if you only see them a few times a year, for a few days at a time, that’s enough to have a solid connection with them. How many people do we just say hi to online all winter long and then see semi regularly from May-Sept? It’s a goodish amount. It works for us. The winter months are long, but we survive. 

9) I learned I can survive a month at a time without my husband. I don’t like it, and after a few days I stop sleeping well, but the house stays together, animals get fed, kids stay together, and I can even handle a crisis without him (gotta give my ex credit and thanks for muscle power, though).  

10) I really wanted to get to ten, although I am having trouble thinking of a tenth item that is positive. Oh, I know. This year I donated several bags of clothes I wasn’t wearing and scaled my wardrobe way back. If I hadn’t worn it more then once the past year it got tossed. A lot of clothing went into three large garden trashbags. I learned over the course of the year I didnt miss any of it, and I even was able to add items to the bag that was left. It was a great experience and I plan to continue to downsize, although probably less dramatically from here on out, and also donate a lot of my costume pieces to the clothes swaps at the events I go to. I don’t dress up often anymore and would like to see someone else get some use out of these pieces (mostly corsets and tutus, a few neat hats).