It’s officially that time of year again—the time of year when my skin practically screams for lotion after I climb out of a bath or shower. When I’m slathering it all over there never seems to be enough lotion in my (usually sizeable) stash, so I decided to be sort-of proactive and whip up a batch of something designed to hit cold-weather dryness right in the kisser. This cream has a larger oil part to really help lock in moisture and soften skin, featuring a lovely blend of oils and silky cetyl alcohol for a decadent, Ultra Rich Meadowfoam Body Cream that’ll leave just-shaved legs feeling all kinds of happy.
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Now, I love a good, rich cream, but I am not a fan of greasiness. I knew that if this lotion was greasy, I wasn’t going to use it—who wants to leave an oily impression of themselves on their bedsheets? Erk! You’ll be happy to hear that even though the oils part of this cream is larger than I typically work with, it sinks into the skin in a flash, leaving it feeling soft and hydrated but not slippery or oily. After I apply it I can see my skin visibly plump up and lose that chalky look my skin often takes on in the winter.
The water part of this lotion is enhanced with some great humectants; after all, water is great for our skin, but it can use some help when it comes to sticking around. There’s inexpensive, moisture-attracting vegetable glycerin; hydrating and itch-relieving panthenol; and film-forming, moisture-retaining hydrolyzed oat protein.
Our oil part stars a blend of meadowfoam seed oil and cupuacu butter. Meadowfoam seed oil is rich in antioxidants and has a crazy-long shelf life because it’s highly resistant to oxidization. It hydrates skin without leaving it feeling greasy, and doesn’t smell like much of anything. If you don’t have meadowfoam seed oil, jojoba oil is a great alternative, but you could also use any other low-scent, medium to light weight liquid carrier oil your skin loves.
Cupuacu butter has an amazing silicone-like feel—I love how rich it feels without any stickiness or super-greasiness. It is a pure fat, so saying it has no potential to be greasy wouldn’t be quite right, but compared to something like shea butter it’s amazingly silky and lightweight. Its high stearic acid content helps bring some occlusiveness to this cream, further locking in moisture. “Cupuacu’s ability to penetrate the skin quickly (transdermal penetration), and then retain moisture, is unparalleled and far superior to shea butter or lanolin”, and it can “support 440% of its weight in water” (source), which is freaking amazing. Not only does it truly help keep skin hydrated, but it also helps stabilize emulsions. It’s wonderful, and if you suffer from dry skin, you should definitely get some!
Some cetyl alcohol adds further thickening power for an extra creamy end product, and some optional Penstia™ powder adds a beautiful “oomph” in the silkiness department. I did originally intend to scent this cream with a blend of lavender and chamomile essential oils, but I found the scent of the unrefined cupuacu butter came through quite strongly, and it’s not one that meshes well with lavender or chamomile (it’s a sort of tangy cocoa-ish scent), so I opted to leave this unscented. I’m mostly planning on putting it on my legs before I go to sleep, so I’m not particularly fussed about what it smells like. You may want to choose refined cupuacu butter, though, and then add some essential oils of your choice!
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Ultra Rich Meadowfoam Body Cream
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the water, glycerin, panthenol, and hydrolyzed oat protein into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the Polawax, meadowfoam seed oil, cupuacu butter, Penstia™ powder, and cetyl alcohol into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat, and pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the lotion is thick and creamy.
Once the lotion has cooled, stir in the vitamin E oil and liquid germall plus. If you’re adding essential oils, now is the time to stir those in as well. Transfer the cream to a wide-mouthed jar; this recipe is not at all suitable for a pump-top bottle—and enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
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.
- If you don’t have panthenol you can replace it with distilled water
- If you don’t have hydrolyzed oat protein you can use hydrolyzed silk or sea kelp bioferment instead, or just replace it with more distilled water
- I used Polawax as my complete emulsifying wax, but BTMS-50 and Emulsifying Wax NF will also work
- Feel free to use a different oil your skin loves in place of the meadowfoam seed oil. I’d recommend jojoba oil (USA / Canada) as a good alternative.
- You can use shea butter or mango butter instead of cupuacu butter
- You can replace the cetyl alcohol with more cupuacu butter
- You can replace the Penstia™ powder with more water (in the water phase, not the oil phase)