My husband and I bought our first home this past August and each month we are getting more and more settled. I am especially looking forward to cozying up with the wood stove this winter and enjoying the many gifts of the season.
Our new home is over 30 minutes away from our old cabin, but we are still very much in the same forested ecosystem. Tall ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees tower over our new home and fill in the landscape as far as the eye can see.
For me, winter is a time to simmer in gratitude for the trees. Their wood keeps us warm, both from the fire in the wood stove as well as the logs used to build our house. The fresh evergreen needles make a delicious and crisp tea. The resin seeping out of the injured bark can be made into salves.
Last year for the holidays I made a evergreen lip-balm. This year I decided to use evergreen needles in another luxurious body care item – evergreen homemade body butter.
Body butters are thick mixtures that leave your skin feeling unbelievably soft. They are perfect for the winter months when dry skin can be especially prevalent.
This homemade body butter makes a great holiday gift!
You can use practically any evergreen needles (leaves) for this body butter, with a few cautions. While most evergreen needles are safe to use, the needles from the yew tree (Taxus spp.) are not. Be sure to know the identity of the tree where you are harvesting your needles to make sure they are safe. If you would like to use the needles from your Christmas tree or holiday wreath, check with your supplier to make sure the trees or boughs weren’t sprayed with any harmful chemicals or colorings.
This body butter recipe calls for both infused evergreen oil and fir needle essential oil. These are two different preparations with different benefits. By infusing the needles into a carrier oil, you extract many of their antioxidant properties, while also extracting a very mild scent. If you would like your body butter to smell strongly of evergreen, then I recommend adding the essential oil as well.
You can use any carrier oil to infuse your needles. I prefer jojoba because it is so silky soft and it is very shelf stable. It’s also expensive. Almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and grape seed oil are other possibilities. Olive oil can also be used but it may be a bit heavy and leave more of a greasy residue on the skin.
The mango and shea butters are hard butters. To accurately measure them I recommend weighing them with a kitchen scale.
Evergreen Homemade Body Butter Recipe
This decadent winter body butter recipe will leave your skin feeling soft and silky. Homemade body butter is also a 100% natural way to support skin health with natural fats and antioxidants.
What you’ll need…
- 3/4 cup carrier oil (jojoba, almond, apricot kernel oil, etc.)
- 1 cup fresh evergreen needles, chopped finely
- 100 grams shea butter
- 100 grams mango butter
- 1 teaspoon rosemary antioxidant extract (optional, has preservative action)
- 40 drops fir needle essential oil (optional)
- 10 drops clary sage essential oil (optional)
Place the carrier oil and evergreen needles into the top of a double boiler or into a metal bowl perched atop a small saucepan. Place a few inches of water into the bottom half of the double boiler or saucepan or crockpot.
Heat the ingredients until they are fairly warm to the touch. Turn off heat and let stand. Every couple of hours, re-heat the oil, and then let stand. Continue this for 24 to 48 hours. Be sure to heat the oil slowly and avoid letting the temperature get overly hot.
Strain off the evergreen needles from the warm oil using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Compost the needles. The oil should have a light citrusy evergreen scent. You will need 1/2 cup of the oil for this recipe. Any extra oil can be used as a simple body oil or for another recipe.
Place the shea and mango butters in a double boiler and heat until melted. Remove from heat.
Add 1/2 cup of the infused evergreen oil and the optional rosemary antioxidant extract and essential oils. Stir well.
Set aside in a cool location until the mixture begins to harden and looks opaque. Don’t let it get too hard.
Whip the mixture vigorously using a cake mixer, immersion wand, or other immersion-type blender. It should be light and fluffy when done.
Transfer the mixture to jars. Store in a cool place. If it gets too warm the mixture will decrease in volume but will still be fine to use.
Yields: Approximately 2 cups.
How to Use and Shelf Life
Spread the body butter on warm skin, preferably just out of the shower or bath. It may feel oily when you initially apply it, but let it soak in for a few minutes. You’ll know you’ve used the right amount for your skin when, after a few minutes, your skin feels soft but not greasy.
The mixture should last for at least a year, especially if kept in a cool location. The optional rosemary extract will help prevent the oils from going rancid and can prolong shelf life.