This is our second Sugar Plum recipe for holidays 2018 making, and it makes for a delightful gift (or, you know… keep it for yourself!). It’s easy to make, can be dressed up with a pretty bottle, and feels really quite expensive and posh. The recipe is easy to scale, so you can make a big batch, bottle it up, and have yourself half a dozen or more gifts in well under half and hour. Booyah!
This gorgeous body oil contains a new-to-me ingredient that is going to play a starring role in the remainder of this series: plum oil. This silky, golden yellow oil has stolen my heart in a way few carrier oils have. Back when I visited Portland in August I was lucky enough to be invited to tour the Essential Wholesale & Labs offices, and when I left Lauren sent me home with a gift box that included a tall bottle of plum oil. As per her directions I popped it in my fridge when I got home, and then rather forgot about it for about a month.
Then, in September, I finally cracked that bottle open. The oil itself is a rich yellow with an incredible skin feel—silky, with an almost powdery finish that is downright divine. The extra-super-special thing, though, is the scent. It smells of marzipan and preserved fruits—tangy and a bit sweet and utterly lovely. It is probably the most unique carrier oil I’ve ever smelled (perhaps tied with neem, but plum wins hands-down in the pleasantness category), and that scent carries through to end products which is just… divine. In September I’m already thinking about all things Christmas and something Nutcracker fused with this bottle of golden liquid, and now here we are in sugar plum land!
I also have a sample of plum oil from From Nature With Love and it doesn’t smell anything like the awesome oil I have from Essential Wholesale & Labs, so I wouldn’t recommend buying your plum oil from From Nature With Love.
As soon as I tried neat plum oil on my skin I knew I needed to make it into a body oil. To be honest, it takes a lot for me to get excited about body oil—I make so many things, and when I take the time to spread something over more than just my hands, it is usually lotion. Plum oil gets me excited, though! Our oil oil blend today is simple; sweet almond and plum, with a touch of Olivem300 to add a bit of water-soluble tech. The inclusion of Olivem300 means this body oil will emulsify with any water you have left on your skin after a bath or shower, transforming into a body milk right on your skin. You definitely don’t need to apply this oil with damp skin, but it works beautifully if you choose to!
Since plum oil is on the pricier side, I’ve kept the amount low enough to get the gorgeous scent without breaking the bank, letting less expensive sweet almond make up the bulk of the blend. I’ve complimented the marzipan and cherries scent of the plum oil with a touch of vanilla-like benzoin and some bright, spicy cardamom. The end result is a golden oil that smells of Christmassy desserts and leaves your skin unbelievably soft. Swoon.
As with all body oils, this one comes together in a jiffy; simply combine everything in a beaker and stir. Make sure you take a few moments to get acquainted with the plum oil all on its own, though—its worth it!
Sugar Plum Body Oil
27.5g | 68.75% sweet almond oil (USA / Canada)
8g | 20% plum oil
4g | 10% Olivem300 (USA / Canada)
0.2g | 0.50% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
0.2g | 0.50% benzoin resinoid
0.10g | 0.25% cardamom essential oil
Weigh everything into a beaker and stir to combine before transferring to your bottle(s); 40g (1.41oz) will make approximately 50mL (1.69 fl oz) of body oil. I recommend using a bottle with a treatment pump top or a disc top. I used a 50mL frosted glass bottle from New Directions Aromatics with their dispensing pump top.
Alternatively, you can weigh everything directly into the bottle if you’re making just one, and cap and shake to combine.
Shelf Life & Storage
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.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 40g, which is approximately 50mL by volume.
- You could replace the sweet almond oil with another lightweight liquid oil like sunflower seed oil or safflower oil.
- If you don’t have the plum oil (I haven’t found it in Canada yet—I’m sorry!) I think your best alternatives would be apricot kernel oil (USA / Canada) or cherry kernel oil—oils that are also pressed from the kernels of similar stone fruits. You will lose the marzipan/cherry note; if you aren’t a fan of the scent you might prefer that! Otherwise, you can look for a fragrance oil with a similar scent and incorporate it (I’d start at 0.1–0.2% as it’s a pretty subtle scent). I haven’t found this scent anywhere else in the realm of natural ingredients, sadly.
- You can use more sweet almond oil in place of the Olivem300. If you want to keep the water soluble element, try water soluble shea butter. I do not recommend using a polysorbate as they’re quite sticky in leave-on applications.
- You can use a different essential oil blend if you prefer, just be sure you’re choosing something that plays nicely with the scent of the plum oil. I kept the amounts very low to allow everything to mingle nicely.
The plum oil was gifted by Essential Wholesale & Labs.