It's been a while since I last posted. This is mainly because I have just been so caught up in my little pregnancy world that time just keeps whizzing by and my energy to keep up with blogging, soaping and do general business maintenance has just dwindled to nearly nothing! Thank you all for bearing with me.
Today, however, I have finally managed to get into the kitchen/workroom to make something other than food. I made me a belly balm! I wont traumatise you by adding photos of my bump, but I can assure you it's growing rapidly (I'm 25 weeks along today) and in need of some TLC.
For a few weeks now, I've noticed the skin on my bump and hips feeling itchy. I assume part of this is due to the fact that it's being stretched.
When I was expecting my first child, I used all sorts of creams, oils and lotions on my bump. All bought from high street shops of course (this was before I even knew I could make cosmetics at home!). So this time round, knowing what I know now and having a fair few oils and butters lying around due to making soap, I thought I'd try my hand at making a balm. All I needed to buy was some beeswax and pots to put the balm in.
Ok, so this is what happened...
Firstly, I did a lot of snooping on the net to find some recipe ideas for making a balm. Unfortunately, I found the majority of recipes were more along the lines of lip balms. I was thinking of making something softer than a lip balm really (a cross between a balm and a salve?!). Eventually, I found one recipe where it stated that a general balm is basically 1 part beeswax, 1 part butter and 1 part oil. Even I could manage that! So off I went to inspect my supplies to choose my ingredients.
I measured out approx 40g organic Shea butter, 40g hemp seed oil and 20-30g beeswax pellets. Yes, yes, I know that's not exactly one part of each, but like I said earlier, I didn't want to make a hard balm and the wax will set the balm quite hard.
The reason why I chose Shea butter is because I just love it. It's so versatile and I'm used to using it in my soap making, so I wanted at least one familiar ingredient in this new venture. It's also very very good for the skin and is easily absorbed.
Hemp seed oil is a new ingredient for me to use. I bought some a while ago and have been meaning to use it for ages. Again, it's super-good for the skin and contains an array of fatty acids and GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) It smells nice too :)
I melted the beeswax and Shea butter in a jug over some simmering water (ideally, one should use a double-boiler, but unfortunately I don't have one - it's on my wish list though!) and it took a very long time. To help speed things along, I gave the wax and butter a few short bursts in the microwave, being very careful not to overheat the mixture.
I then added the hemp oil. Which instantly seized up the mixture. This is because it was cooler than the melted wax and butter. I hadn't thought of that, but it seems so obvious now.
So back over the pan of hot water, just to help melt it all and mix together nicely.
I then let it cool for while I went about choosing a fragrance oil to add to the concoction. I decided to use an allergen free fragrance oil instead of an essential oil because I know that certain essential oils should be avoided in pregnancy; some even suggest that ALL essential oils should be avoided, so I thought I'd play it safe. I had a gorgeous-smelling chocolate fragrance oil that I was dying to use anyway - just to add to the pamper factor! So in it went into the mixture and once I'd stirred it in thoroughly, I poured it into a 100ml pot, like so:
I was really surprised to see it setting within minutes, in the photo below you can see the colour change starting from the bottom and sides:
Within an hour it had pretty much set. I gave it a little poke to make sure...
Woops. Still a bit warm in the middle hehe!
Later on, I tested it again and it had fully hardened. I'd say it's probably just the right consistency for applying to a baby bump, quite hard, but softens enough from the warmth from my hands to smooth over the skin with ease. A little goes a very long way and a few hours after applying, my bump still feels lovely and moisturised.
The fragrance is also divine! I made a good choice by using chocolate. With the slight whiff of the hemp oil too, it really reminds me of the scent of cocoa butter.
So, all in all, I feel quite happy about what I achieved today. Not only did I try something new, it worked as well! I'd fully recommend anyone giving balm making a go.