As cooler weather arrives, there’s nothing I like better than a hot bath at the end of the day to warm my extremities and wind down stress. If the bath happens to smell like my favorite flower while also hydrating and refreshing my skin, all the better!
I’m all about recipes that are multi-purpose. Not only does it mean I can kill two birds with one stone, it also means I can get to relaxing sooner and enjoy my languorous bath.
Recently, I’ve been delving into some pretty interesting ingredients in order to make recipes that would otherwise be somewhat impossible to pull off. Granted, said ingredients aren’t something you’re going to find out in nature as is, but they are still derived from plant sources, are free of toxic chemicals, and are for all intents and purposes – “natural”.
If you’re ready to jump on that bandwagon, then I think you’ll like some of the recipes I have in store!
Today, I decided to get my feet wet (well, I suppose I rather dove in!) by making rose and spearmint exfoliant cubes that melt and emulsify readily when they come into contact with hot water, or even just the body heat for that matter, without feeling sticky or skiddy on the skin.
They glide over the skin while also exfoliating away rough patches because they contain granulated sugar for some scrubby goodness. Plus, they smell rosy and refreshing with that little hint of spearmint. I love them, and I think you will too!
How to Make Rose and Spearmint Exfoliating Cubes
Alrighty, so let’s dive into the strange and exotic ingredients, shall we?
Here’s what you’re going to need to make my rose and spearmint exfoliating cubes:
Phase One – Melt
• And silicone ice cube tray or other silicone mold
• An accurate kitchen scale like this one
• Two pyrex measuring cups
• A flexible spatula
• 20g emulsimulse (you can use emulsifying was NF but it’s slightly less natural)
• 16g turkey red oil
• 108g carrier oil of choice (I used sweet almond oil, but for more moisture use a heavier oil)
• 36g stearic acid
• 10g cetyl alcohol
• 6g dry facial clay (like French green, white kaolin, or red rhassoul clay)
Phase Two – Mix and Pour
• A few drops of pure vitamin E
• 140g granulated sugar
• 40 drops spearmint essential oil (you can use less if desired)
• 2-4 drops rose absolute (or 40-50 drops rose absolute in jojoba oil)
• Dried rose petals (optional but pretty!)
Depending on the mold you use, you will most likely get a different number of cubes. I used a typical silicon ice cube tray like this one and filled about half the spaces in it to give you a rough idea.
Feel free to multiply the recipe as needed.
Loving Preparation – Rose and Spearmint Exfoliating Cubes
There’s two simple phases for making these little cubes, so follow along below:
Phase One – Melt
1. Prepare a water bath by bringing an inch of water to a gentle simmer in a saucepan.
2. Weigh out your emulsifying wax, turkey red oil, carrier oil, stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, and clay of choice into a heat-resistant pyrex measuring cup.
3. Place the measuring cup in the water bath and allow all the ingredients to melt through, stirring on occasion to combine.
4. Once everything’s melted, carefully remove the measuring cup from the water bath, wipe the bottom of it with a kitchen towel, and place it on the counter to cool a bit.
5. Get your silicon mold prepared by placing it on a plate so it doesn’t flop around when you put it in the freezer for setting. If using dried rose petals, start adding a small pinch to each pocket in the mold now.
Phase Two – Mix and Pour
6. Stir the melted ingredients occasionally as they cool. Once the mixture develops a bit of viscosity, it’s time to add the essential oils, the vitamin e, and the granulated sugar. If you add the sugar too soon, it will start to dissolve. What we want is to keep that scubby grittiness!
7. Stir to combine using the flexible spatula and see how you like the consistency. You can add a smidge more sugar if you like at this stage to make them a bit scrubbier.
8. Now pour the mixture into your silicon mold, tap to level, and pop the mold in the freezer for a good 20 minutes to set.
9. Once set, you can carefully pop them out into a mason jar for storing. I don’t recommend storing these in baggies or cellophane as they melt quite readily when in contact with heat, even body heat! In fact, if you live in warmer climates, it would be a good idea to store them in the fridge.
Why These Ingredients Work and are They Really Okay to Use?
I’m a huge advocate for using non-toxic ingredients in homemade skincare, and it’s no different with these ingredients. Sure, they’re definitely more processed than say shea butter or beeswax, but I do try to source the them as best I can. I encourage you to do the same if you decide to try them out!
Emulsifying wax is a waxy substance that is carefully blended with emulsifiers and fatty acids that thicken and emulsify oil and water into a lotion. They are essential for making lotions and creams in order to keep all of the ingredients from separating by binding and holding oil and water together. This is what actually helps the oil in your recipe penetrate and moisturize the skin.
Emulsimulse is a natural source self-emulsifier that is ECOCERT approved for use in Certified organic products.
I chose to use emulsimulse because it gives the exfoliating cubes a lovely lotion-like feel when used.
Turkey Red Oil
I really don’t know where the name came from, but turkey red oil is actually sulfated castor oil and is considered one of the most natural emulsifiers out there.
It’s the only carrier oil that dissolves in both oil and water and makes for a great addition to bath bombs, bath oils, exfoliating cubes, sugar scrubs, cleansing milks, and most other bath related concoctions that need to be emulsified into bath water. It’s super handy because it prevents said concoctions from leaving a greasy slippery residue in your bathtub!
I use it in this recipe to help further emulsify oils into bath water.
Stearic acid sounds dangerous, but it really isn’t! In fact, it’s rated as a “1” for toxicity on EWG’s Skin Deep database. I highly recommend you check out EWG for all skincare products and ingredients.
Stearic acid is a white, waxy, natural acid found both animal and vegetable fats. For use in cosmetics and skincare, it is almost always derived from palm and is used as an emulsifying agent in creams, lotions, deodorants, and other natural body care recipes to give the end product a pearly feel.
Stearic acid can also be used to harden a recipe, and that’s how it’s being used for the exfoliating bath cubes. They need to emulsify but also need to hold their shape when not being used. That’s where the stearic acid comes into play.
Here’s another ingredient that sounds weird but really isn’t. In fact, it’s also rates as a “1” on EWG. That’s pretty awesome!
Cetyl alcohol is a saturated fatty acid that’s derived from coconuts. It’s used most often in creamy recipes like lotions, butters, and creams to help improve slip and glide while also thickening the recipe. Subbing it with a wax (as most people try to do) will only result in a thick and very tacky/skiddy result. I don’t recommend it!
Cetyl alcohol gives the finished product a wonderful silicon-like glide that’s hard to achieve with other ingredients. It can also harden a recipe when used in the right ratios which is how it is used with the stearic acid in this recipe.
So, there you have it! Weird, new, but ultimately “natural” ingredients to play around with. I’m pretty excited to try them out in different ways and I hope you give them a try by making my delightfully floral but fresh smelling rose and spearmint exfoliating cubes.
Have you ever experimented with these ingredients before? How do you like them?
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