There’s been a line that reads “fir and cypress body lotion with sweet undertones (vanilla, floral?)” in my long list of project ideas for quite some time. It’s been there for long enough that I’m not entirely certain where the idea came from. Perhaps I tried a hand soap at a restaurant that bragged about fir and cypress on the label. Maybe I just love fir trees and vanilla. Perhaps Siri sneakily added it to the list (she is surprisingly insightful at times). Anyhow, with chilly winter days and Christmastime upon us, a light, hydrating lotion that smells of fir and vanilla sounded like just the thing, and so off the list and into the kitchen that idea went.
The day I made this lotion was an odd, ice-foggy day. The air was full of frozen mist, and the skyscrapers of downtown Calgary quickly faded into nothingness, enveloped in a shifting veil of winter chill. When I woke up in the morning the tree branches were coated in the finest sheaths of diamonds, and the mist was so thick it was as if the sky had come down from the atmosphere to join us. It was a great day to stay in, drink tea, and make lotion.
Like all lotions, this one is an emulsion; a stable blend of oil and water. It’s more water than oil, giving us a body lotion that absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving behind soft, hydrated skin but no greasy paw prints. The oil bit is a blend of antioxidant rich mango butter and high-in-vitamins A, C, D, and E sunflower seed oil.
The water part is quite simple; plain ol’ water is blended with moisturizing vegetable glycerin and healing, protective silk to deliver a fast dose of topical moisture that will stick around. The oil and water parts are brought together with a complete emulsifying wax to create a stable, creamy emulsion.
My favourite part of this lotion is the essential oil blend. A base of sweet, vanilla-like benzoin is accented with fresh fir balsam, spicy Australian cypress, and bright michelia alba. The final scent is hard to pin down. When you first apply the lotion you’ll notice the sweetness of the benzoin and the bright floral note of the michelia alba, but in a few minutes that will fade and you’ll catch a note of fir as the dry spice of the cypress starts to emerge. The lingering scent is warm and a bit sweet, with a complex dry, woody note that’s utterly fantastic (I may or may not have spent twenty minutes smelling my hands whilst lounging on the sofa to write this bit).
The final body lotion is utterly lovely. Light and smooth, it absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving your hands and other bits wonderfully soft and completely ignorant of the dry winter air. The scent blend is mellow, yet lovely, and will have you snatching happy whiffs of your skin for hours. Give it a go, I think you’ll love it.
Fir, Cypress, and Silk Body Lotion
While the emulsifying wax mixture is melting, combine the water, glycerin, and silk in a small measuring cup and gently warm.
Once the emulsifying wax mixture has melted, add the water mixture. Heat through to ensure everything is melted before removing the pan from the heat.
Whisk the mixture as it cools—it will thicken into a nice white cream (the thickening may take a few days if you are using a different emulsifying wax than emulsimulse/ritamulse). I love these tiny wire whisks, I use them all the time for DIY projects 🙂
Whisk in the essential oils. Add your preservative (though do check the instructions for your specific preservative—some have special instructions for adding to concoctions) and decant the mixture to a 120mL/4oz pump-top bottle or wide-mouthed jar. Enjoy!
If you don’t have sunflower seed oil you can use safflower oil, grapeseed oil, or apricot kernel oil instead. If you don’t have mango butter, shea butter and capuacu butter are both great alternatives. For more information on substitutions, read this.
The black screw-lid pot you see the lotion in is from YellowBee.
New to lotion making? Watch my basic lotion how to video!