This idea came to me in yoga class. I’d already cycled 25km that day and was now lying on my mat, awaiting the start of a butt-kicking yoga class, and I was still a bit sore from previous athletic-type shenanigans. All of these things came together to make ice in a tube sound like a great idea.
While this bar isn’t a substitute for actually icing an injury, it is a nice burst of chilly goodness and pain relief that doesn’t require you to strap a dripping bag of ice to yourself. It’s also a rather pretty shade of coral, and it smells minty and fresh (a bonus if you’re halfway through a day of sweating and have hours to go before a shower).
The carrier oils I’ve chosen as a base for this bar are all about healing and pain relief. Andiroba oil is a great carrier oil I bought ages ago, but haven’t used much since, and for no good reason. It’s endemic to Brazil, and has been used by natives there for centuries to heal wounds. It promotes circulation and relieves pain, and absorbs into the skin easily.
Up next is some arnica infused olive oil. Arnica is great for healing up bruises and relieving pain, but it shouldn’t be applied to broken skin, so keep this bar reserved for sore muscles, not cuts. Carnauba wax wraps up the base, thickening up the entire concoction in its characteristic smooth, glassy way, giving us a bar that’s super smooth and spreads easily into a thin layer.
The essential oils are focused on cooling, increasing circulation, and pain relief. Menthol and peppermint essential oils bring the cooling sensation to the party. 20 drops of menthol will give you a cooling sensation that will last 5–10 minutes, and adding more menthol with increase the strength and the duration of the cooling effect.
Wintergreen essential oil adds to the painkilling effects of the menthol, lending a bit of a numbing sensation. And last but not least, chili and cassia essential oils help boost circulation to the area and give the bar its fantastic colour.
The final bar glides on like glass, leaving a quickly-absorbed layer of oils that bring a quick chill to tired muscles.
Ice in a Tube
20–40 drops menthol essential oil or 3–4 menthol crystals
20 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops wintergreen essential oil (optional)
10 drops chili seed essential oil
5 drops cassia essential oil
Weigh the andiroba oil, arnica oil, and carnauba wax into a small heat resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup into a small saucepan with about 3cm/1″ of water in it to create a double boiler, and put that saucepan on the stove top over medium heat to melt everything together.
Once melted, remove the oils mixture from the heat and stir in the essential oils. Decant into a 30mL/1oz push tube or deodorant tube.
Let solidify before using. This body butter bar should last for at least a year if kept somewhere relatively cool and dry.