Who me? Vain?

While it is true that I sometime tease my leg-shaving friends about…well, shaving their legs, or stressing over what to wear, let it not be said that I am without vanity. I don’t shave my legs or buy new shoes for a date, but I do spend money and time on other things. Hair and skin. Yes, it’s true that today my hair is about an eighth of an inch long – so we’ll leave that for another day.

You may think that this means I spend a lot of money on product – and that was once true. I used to use 4 different kinds of conditioner on my hair – at a time. I got very exclusive about which conditioners I used. For my skin I was just as vigilant. I always pat dry – never rub my skin with the towel. I was always on the hunt for a great product. I used oils and gentle soaps, and I bought body butters from the Body Shop. This was my favorite:

Cocoa butter

Smells a little like candy

A few years ago, everything changed. My mom sent me a great product (from QVC, of course) that I found delightful. It said it was 100% shea butter and I really liked it. When it was gone, I decided to give up my longtime favorite from the Body Shop and buy some more from (gasp) QVC. Then I looked it up. I admit, I balked at the price. I kind of always felt like Body Butter was expensive at $15. $39 for even fewer ounces seemed crazy to me.

I thought, surely I can find shea butter for less money! And I looked online and, in fact, found some. I bought it and hey! It smelled really bad. Like goat shit. No, I mean it, not speaking metaphorically. Of course, I don’t really know what goat shit smells like, but this stuff really smelled like barnyard shit. I tried a number of places till I found a site where the butter smelled better. While hunting around I found an entire world online that was all about making your own product. I started looking at all the crazy chemicals that are in most products and how to avoid them. I experimented with different recipes and methods, and for a while also tried to add scent (never did get that candy smell I like so much).

That was 4 or 5 years ago. Now I buy fair trade, organic (sometimes) ingredients and mix them up in my own kitchen one or two times a year. I don’t add scent any more, but I usually use some cocoa butter that adds a light chocolaty smell I love. I have used a number of different suppliers, but right now I like Mountain Rose Herbs for the oils and butters and Bath Body Supply for jars and such. There is a highly technical and secret process that makes the ingredients really soft and silky (freezing and blending).

Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?

It takes a little time, but it is worth it. I make lotion bars, too, that I put in little push-up containers so I can keep one with me, in my backpack, my desk or my car. Let me tell you, nothing is too much for my skin. Except paying $39 for 5.6 ounces. And no one has ever complained that I don’t shave.

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