DIY Intermediate, Hands & Feet, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Foot & Ankle Massage Gel

The more you know about oil to wax ratios the more your mind spins and spins with all the various ideas you can come up with. Lip glosses, lip glosses, lip glosses and more lip glosses, knock off type of vapour rub, lip glosses, a weird sorts of goo and lip glosses. Did I mention lip glosses?

By adding your shea and cocoa butter to your liquid oil after the beeswax has melted and off the heat source can help you to prevent “crystals” from forming.

This idea came to me years and years ago one day while I was getting a foot wash. However; I never acted on this thought till a few weeks ago. Now a foot wash in China is fantastic. You pay a few kuai (our version of quid or buck) and you get your toes washed, all the dead skin is removed and then you get a foot massage. How awesome is that! And, to make it even more awesome? It is socially acceptable for social activity for men and women to do together. Just if a Chinese man says a foot wash at a hotel? Run away. It means more than just a foot wash.


Continue stirring until your shea and cocoa butter are melted. If you find that you need to reheat, grand. Place into your warm water bath and don’t turn on the heat.

For any sort of massage oil, you want to make sure that your base is not going to be absorbed by the skin all that quick. You want to make sure that the oils stay on the skin and are slowly absorbed. You also want to make sure that friction doesn’t present a problem, that hands can glide and slip over your skin. You also want to make sure that the oils are good oils for their intended purpose. And that it smells delightful! I also really hate it when I spend all that money on a pretty bottle and spend my time figuring out which liquid oils and fragrance oils to add only to have the bottle ruined because people can’t pour without spillage! So a massage oil based sort of gel like product was born! It is a clean mess. In a pot. I was also looking to make a product that is solid in the tin, but melts almost immediately in contact with the skin.

One of my new favourite photos!

For this here Foot & Ankle Massage Gel, we are using sweet orange essential oil only because I want to use up our essential oil stock. So feel free to sub in any fragrance oil you like or another essential oil and be sure to check out the recommended safety amounts. Clove is an awesome essential oil as is cinnamon, but good golly, a .5% usage of either has the potential to BURN. And speaking of orange essential oil, I truly and madly love the way it smells. I’d love to live in an orange and have that scent around me the whole day. Orange or red grapefruit. I’d never be sad again! The world would always be a bright and cheery place!

img_8602.jpgSo to make a “gel” based concoction from oils, butters, and waxes, it’s important to know your ingredients and how they interact and work together. If we have too much liquid oil, we just have a thick liquid. If we have too many butters and waxes, we have a balm. We want to dance on that perfect amount for what we want. AND we want to dance the jig. Knowing your weather is also an important for this type of recipe and also how warm or cool where you will store it. So this product is awesome, but very tricky.

IMG_8645We’ve used sweet almond oil in this recipe for it meets all our guidelines for what we are looking for. It is great for the skin, and according to my massage lady, the skin seems to absorb sweet almond oil on its own a little too quickly for her liking. Which is part of the reason I am trying this new massage goop so I can keep her happy. Almond oil does contain emollient properties which is why many use it to improve skin tone. And emollient is usually an oil that softens the skin by filling in the spaces between the skin flakes and creating a smoother skin surface. It is also said that almond oil can help hydrate the skin and that many massage therapists prefer to use almond oil for giving massages as it meets the criteria they look for in that it provides great glide for your hands, and doesn’t sink in so quickly that you have to reapply often. But then again, my massage lady claims otherwise. So once again in this wonderful age of information at my fingertips, I’m going to have to side with her.

Shea butter is another one of those oils that is slowly peeking it’s head more often in things I make in The Scrub Me Down Kitchen. I stayed far away from the “shea crazy” when I first started DIY’ing as everyone and their knees used it in everything. And I wanted to try lots of other things. Like macadamia nut oil. Sigh. Moringa oil how I love you! And sea buckthorn oil, you’ve been my super skin secret for years long before the western world really knew about you. But I digress.

What I think I like most about this blogging thing? Is I can always be the first one to stick my finger into a product.

Shea is great in this recipe. I find shea butter has a much heavier feel than cocoa butter and since this is for a massage gel, we are using both the shea and the cocoa butter to impart their awesome higher melt point to help keep this as a gel and not a liquid. Shea butter melts at about 40-45C and cocoa butter at 34-38C. BUT I hear you. “Barb, you’ve added cocoa butter, shea butter AND beeswax! How will this gel you speak of be possible!” And to that I say dance said jig I told you about before! When you play with the ratios of solids to liquids in an anhydrous product (anhydrous= without water), you can then control the consistency of your final product. Like magic. Take that Harry Potter!

I wanted this to be a gel. So I made it a gel. To make a balm, usually you would add 80ish% liquid and about 20% wax to make yourself a nice solid body balm, but I wanted a gel. So rather than using all wax, I used a hard butter (cocoa) and a soft butter (shea) and decided to drastically reduced the beeswax to help it maintain some form.

Solid on the finger, melting on the skin. SUCCESS!

If you live in a cooler climate or are approaching winter, this is a very good recipe. If you live in a warmer climate, I’d suggest first upping the beeswax to 8-10%, while reducing the sweet almond oil.

I dragged Sonia to the massage place across the way and we got ourselves some massages. The massage ladies were bombarded by questions asking about how they liked it, how they found it glided and slipped over skin. We also asked if they had a choice which would they prefer to use to massage their customers, all agreed this recipe was bangarang. They loved the way it sank in once they stopped massaging so that made their clean up easier, they liked the way that this gel didn’t need to be reapplied for the whole hour long massage. They also thought it wonderful how much use they’d get out of one 50g tin. They estimated that they would get ten back or ten foot massages from this size of tin.

How neat is that!

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  1. Prepare your water bath/double boiler, keeping your water at a barely there simmer.
  2. Weigh out your sweet almond oil and beeswax into a heat resistant beaker or glass measuring cup and place in your water bath and wait until the beeswax is melted
  3. Weigh out your cocoa butter and shea butter into a separate container.
  4. Remove the melted beeswax and almond oil beaker from the water bath.
  5. Add in your cocoa butter and shea butter and stir to melt.
  6. If you need to, place your beaker back into the water bath to continue melting.
  7. Once your beaker has reached hand temperature ( you can wrap and hold your hand around the base of the beaker without it feeling uncomfortable), measure in your fragrance or essential oils.
  8. Stir and decant into a 100g pot.
  9. Allow to cool. Cap and then run away for a massage!

Because this product contains no water, you do not need a preservative, but don’t go sticking your wet or dirty fingers into this!

Shelf life will be the life of your shortest lifespan oil or butter used.

Yup. I love me my farmers tan.
Do you see where I am going with this?

Now my pretties! Get your tender tootsies rubbed and tell me how it goes!

Face, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Bee Happy Toner smells like….

Let me first start off by saying, Happy Skin Toner smells pretty rank. And rather than try to cover the smell or hide that fact, let just set the record. It stinks.

Like vinegar.

Because that’s one of the ingredients!

IMG_2742When I first went about looking at more natural ways to get rid of my acne, but not dry the skin, or make the skin feel shiny and tight… it was at a time during the initial hype of Apple Cider Vinegar from Braggs. At the time it was one of those magical “cure alls” that I sadly fell into. But I have to say, it did and still works like a charm on the occasional bout of acid reflux and in my toner. For the rest of it? Meh. Who knows these days about all the fads.

The one thing that science seems to be agreement on, apple cider vinegar does have some keratolytic effects: this helps break the bond between dead skin cells which helps the pores on the skin open. And that makes my skin smile!

Another great ingredient in our toner is bee pollen. Bee pollen is amazing on the skin. There is a plethora of information on the benefits of these tiny granules on the skin. They are jam packed full of stuff to help like zinc and silica (I could stop right here I mean silicia!!!!), lots of B vitamins, vitamins c, f, d, e, h and even vitamins K and P! I know, should just have listed the alphabet. Studies done on bee pollen have shown it to have anti- inflammatory properties and helps to promote skin health by encouraging healing.

And then there is the honey and glycerine which are both humectants. A humectant is something that attracts moisture from the air and deposits it into the skin. And here is where I really get my panties into a twist. Some commercial products use synthetic humectants like; silicones, urea and proplyene glycol to name a few. The synthetic humectants are just cheaper than natural ones like aloe, glycerine and honey. The commercial companies are being cheapos!

Shake before use!
Shake before every use!

And just when you think I’m done? There’s more! Dead Sea Salt and Himalayan Salt! Studies have actually shown that applying salt to the skin can actually help improve the function of the skin barrier.

And to round it all off? There is silk, vitamin b5, vitamin b3 and allantoin!

You see allantoin a lot in the Scrub Me Down Kitchen. It is a fantastic and brilliant ingredient. It is reported to heal wounds and skin irritation and stimulate growth of healthy tissue. Can you see why I add it to everything I can that goes on my face?

I really love my B Vitamins on my face. They are the heroes of vitamins for the skin! And while everyone talks about vitamin E, don’t get me wrong, vitamin E is grand for the skin. It truly is. Think of it like, Vitamin E is the Tony Stark and Vitamin B’s are the Thor. Both are great, but you’ve the charismatic Tony Stark, confident, everyone knows your name, powerful, full of himself and arrogant. Doesn’t quite work well with anyone else because he thinks he knows best. Then you’ve got Thor. Confident, quiet, powerful, works well with others, and is ok to let Tony Stark have his limelight. Vitamin E and The B’s, they are like that. Everyone knows about Vitamin E. But very few know about Vitamin B and what they do for the skin. We use Vitamins B3 and B5*. B3 helps the skins elasticity, the barrier, and revive the skin’s healthy texture and tone. While Vitamin B5 helps to soothe and moisturise and regenerate the skin.

So what makes this toner special you might be asking. Well, it is jam packed full of goodies to help hydrate the skin, protect the skin barrier, and drop a vitamin bomb on your face. Not to mention, you will be falling in love with the scent of vinegar once you’ve seen the beautifying effects of this toner!
How to use:

  2. Afternoon Refresher: apply a small amount to a cotton pad and wipe face
  3. After washing your face: apply toner to a clean face and suck it up! That smell is good! It goes away quickly and you get used to it! Apply lotion and serums as needed. Serums, lotions may or may not be needed depending on your skin type

Ingredients: Aqua (water), Acetic Acid (Apple Cider Vinegar), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Bee Pollen Extract, Honey, Glycerine (Glycerine), Sodium Chloride (Himalayan Salt), Maris Sal (Dead Sea Salt), Allantoin, Niacinamide (vitamin b3), Panthenol (vitamin b5), Hydrolyzed Silk, preservative. May contain: essential oils/fragrance oils

Size: 100mL

Shelf Life: 5 months

Notes: it might smell like vinegar, you might be put off the scent, but truly, give it a go! The scent dissipates quite quickly.

Warnings: Not to be used by anyone with bee allergies. Keep out of reach of small children, avoid contact with eyes, do not consume. Not suitable in internal use.



*Notes on Vitamin B. Topically applying vitamins to the skin is all well and grand, the best way to have all these skin benefits we’ve listed is to eat foods high in these vitamins.