I’m pretty excited about this lovely Luminous Summer Body Oil—it’s got some pretty neat stuff going for it. While one certainly can make (and I definitely have) a super-simple body oil by simply combining mica and oil, I wanted to make an extra lovely body oil. I wanted a body oil that had amazing, silky slip, a beautiful dry-touch finish, and some seriously great-for-skin oils. If you want to keep it simple and leave out the extras you definitely can, but if you like body oils and want to try an extra-awesome one I can’t recommend this Luminous Summer Body Oil enough ✨
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The majority of this body oil is a blend of apricot kernel oil and meadowfoam seed oil. Apricot kernel oil is rich in vitamins A and E, it has a relatively long shelf life (up to two years), and absorbs into the skin quickly. Meadowfoam seed oil has a lot in common with jojoba, but it’s made in Canada, which I think is pretty neat! If you don’t have apricot kernel oil you can use safflower, sunflower, sweet almond, or grapeseed instead (or any relatively inexpensive, lightweight oil your skin loves). Unsurprisingly, jojoba makes a good alternative to meadowfoam seed oil, but you could also use another more premium oil like argan, abyssinian, avocado, or pomegranate. Just keep in mind that if you’re choosing something with a slower absorption speed (like avocado), that will slightly impact the absorption speed of the final product.
Looking at other shimmery body oil recipes, the first thing I wanted to improve on was the consistency. Most body oils are very thin—the consistency of oil. To be expected, of course! That means that when you add mica or other powdery ingredients (which we’re doing for shimmer), they settle out over time. That thin texture is also a bit tricky to “steer”; you tend to end up with a slippery palmful of thin liquid that can be a bit tricky to apply to the right bit of your body. So, I made it thicker! In keeping my new newfound love of super silky cetyl alcohol, I used a bit of that to get a slightly thickened, oh-so-lovely feeling body oil. It’s pretty great.
Next up on the improvement list: feel! I’ve already chosen some lovely, silky, lightweight oils for our base, so that’s a great starting point, but I decided to amp it up even more with the inclusion of some silica microspheres. Silica microspheres are basically skin feel magic: they contribute an incredibly luxxy dry-touch finish to everything. You don’t need much to seriously amp up your products. If you don’t have ’em, you can use sericite mica instead for a sort-of-similar effect.
Improvement #3: Some added emulsifying properties! I didn’t design this strictly as a shower oil, but when I started to think about when I’d actually apply such a thing, I figured chances were fairly high it’d be after a shower. With that in mind, I added a bit of Olivem 300. Olivem 300 is a lovely, lightweight, water soluble ester of oleic acid, so not only does it help contribute to the lightweight feel of the oil, it means that if you apply the oil with damp skin, it’ll self-emulsify with the water on your skin, turning into lotion! Groovy, eh?
I chose a lovely citrussy essential oil blend that doesn’t contain any actual citrus, so you don’t have to worry about photo sensitization (always a good thing in the summer!). You are certainly more than welcome to choose something else, though—whatever makes you feel summery and happy is a great choice 🙂
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Luminous Summer Body Oil
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.
Put on your dust mask. Weigh the apricot kernel oil into a small beaker, the silica microspheres into a small glass prep cup, and the micas into another glass prep cup. Add about a third of the apricot kernel oil to the silica microspheres, and another third to the micas. Using a flexible silicone spatula, stir the silica and mica mixtures until smooth.
Weigh everything else (including the remaining apricot kernel oil) except the vitamin E and essential oils into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or beaker. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
Once the cetyl alcohol has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat and dry off the outside of it. Stir in the mica and silica mixtures. Leave it to cool, stirring occasionally as it does to ensure even, smooth cooling.
When the mixture has thickened enough to hold the micas in suspension (runny honey territory), add your vitamin E oil and essential oils. Stir to combine, and decant into a 120ml/4oz squeeze bottle. It might not seem like it now, but it will thicken up enough that you’ll need to be able to squeeze it out, so a stiffer plastic or glass bottle is not a good idea. A pump bottle would likely work, too, but I’m pretty smitten with squeezy bottles with flip tops right now!
Makes 100g (3.5oz), which ends up being around 110mL (3.72 fl oz).
If you want to make the simplest version of this possible, just mix 75g apricot kernel oil, 19g meadowfoam seed oil, 5g mica, the vitamin E, and the essential oils.
Because this body oil is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.