Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Homemade Christmas: Bay Rum Aftershave Balm

Homemade personal care products are so much fun to make and give, but usually it's the women on your gift list who benefit from your efforts. So I'm pretty excited that I've finally made something that the men in my life should appreciate!

Quite a few years back I had bought my hubby a Bay Rum gift set from Burt's Bees and I really loved the smell of it. Unfortunately, they stopped making this line a few years ago - but maybe that ended up being a good thing in the end, since it forced me to get creative and see what I could come up with on my own. Joe has taken to using my hard lotion bars on his skin after shaving, and I thought it would be nice to make him something that's a bit easier to apply with a special masculine scent to it.

While it's probably not even close to an exact match for the Burt's Bees products, I did manage to create a satisfyingly manly scent, nice and spicy and fresh smelling with a hint of orange. Best of all, there's nothing too exotic in this balm, so you should be able to find nearly everything you need to make it (except for the beeswax and essential oil) at the grocery store!

Here's what you'll need:
11 oz coconut oil
3 tbsp olive oil
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
zest of 1 orange
1 oz beeswax
10 drops sweet orange essential oil
1/2 tsp rum extract

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and olive oil together over low heat (you can do this over a double boiler if you've got one). Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange zest. Leave the spices infusing in the oil over low heat for 1-2 hours (check periodically to make sure that the oil is not boiling).

Once the spices are done infusing, strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into a heatproof bowl or another small saucepan. Add the beeswax and heat over low heat (if using a saucepan) or set the bowl over a pot of boiling water (you can also pour into a Mason jar and set it on top of a washcloth in a pot of simmering water). Stir occasionally until beeswax is completely melted.

Once beeswax is melted, remove from heat and add essential oil and rum extract. Place bowl in fridge for about half an hour, then transfer to freezer for about 10 minutes. There should be some solid areas starting to form around the edges (if not, just give it a few more minutes). Beat the balm with an electric mixer for a minute or two so the solids are broken up and it has a uniform texture. Return to the freezer for another 5 minutes or so, then beat with mixer again (if the solids are really stuck to the sides, use a knife to scrape them off before beating). Return to the freezer for about 5 more minutes and beat one final time (at this point it should be light and fluffy and look like the balm in the photo).

Transfer the balm to clean jars (try not to touch it with your fingers as it will melt on body contact - I used a spatula/spoon combo to get the job done).

This recipe will make about 2 cups of balm, enough to fill 4 jars as shown in the photo.

Do you have a homemade gift you love to make for the menfolk?

If you missed the earlier installments of my Homemade Christmas series, check out Create Your Own Tea Blends, this super-luxurious Chocolate Orange Whipped Body Butter and a lovely Lavender & Calendula Face Scrub. For even more holiday ideas, you can find my whole Christmas on a Dime series HERE. 

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  1. What a neat idea. Thank you for sharing! I loe homemade gifts.

    1. Thanks Sarah! I'm pretty excited to finally have a nice homemade potion to give to the guys :)

  2. Hi there. Are the ounces in this recipe by weight? Thanks!

  3. Could this be modified to use shea butter? If so, would it be a simple add, or would there be something replaced? And if shea butter would work, does it have to be unrefined or just a plain, simple butter? Thanks!

    1. If you'd like to include shea butter, I'd sub it for part of the coconut oil (so if you want to use 4 oz of shea butter, reduce the coconut oil to 7 oz). I've not used shea butter myself, but if you have one you like, I'm sure it would work well in this recipe based on other recipes I've seen around the internet.


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