The harsh winds of winter can leave your legs feeling dry, itchy and scaly. And, if you’re like many, your legs are probably in need of a little TLC. So, stop hiding those legs under long skirts, pants, and leggings — it’s time to moisture-up! But instead of using an artificially-scented, chemically-laden commercial brand, use instead, a moisture-rich cream that you’ve made in your own kitchen. It’s time to go au-natural.
Let’s talk shea butter:
You’ve probably heard of shea butter, and the deep penetrating moisture it provides. But did you know that shea butter has anti-aging properties and can repair the damaged skin on your legs? A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, one compound, in particular, lupeol cinnamate, helps reduce skin inflammation and may even help prevent cells from mutating.
Meanwhile, another study published in the American Journal of Life Sciences suggests that shea butter boosts collagen. Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A, E, and F, and provides the skin with essential fatty acids.
And when it comes to the sun, shea butter has your legs covered. It’s a natural sunscreen that will absorb or reflect some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, helping protect against sunburn, erythema and reducing the risk of sun-induced skin cancer.
Adding cocoa butter into the mix:
Like shea butter, cocoa butter is extremely nourishing and moisturizing for the skin. But it too offers more than just moisture. It contains compounds called cocoa mass polyphenols, which are reported to help fight the signs of aging. In fact, a study out of France claims that polyphenols, known to promote health, also improves skin tone and elasticity.
One of the most popular uses for cocoa butter is preventing or treating stretch marks, particularly during pregnancy. But it’s important to note that cocoa butter is more of a preventative treatment, rather than a stretch mark “eraser.”
Almond oil plumps and firms skin:
Although dry skin on the legs can happen at any age, if you’re over 40, you may have noticed that your legs are even drier now than they were in the past. That’s because skin thins with age, making it more prone to dryness, flaking, and even psoriasis and eczema. Here’s how almond oil helps…
Almond oil not only moisturizes, but also has the ability to plump and firm skin, and may help relieve the inflammation, itchiness and the redness associated with psoriasis or eczema.
Coconut oil locks in moisture:
People who live in the tropics have used coconut oil as a traditional moisturizer for centuries. And there’s good reason. Research shows that coconut oil can penetrate the skin on a deeper level than other beauty products because of its low molecular weight and the way it bonds with proteins.
Coconut oil also locks in moisture — thanks to the saturated fats. So, when your legs are dry, rough and patchy, these fats will work to smooth and even the tone of your legs.
Scenting your cream:
Vanilla naturally pares well with the chocolatey scent of cocoa butter and tropical scent of coconut oil. But when using vanilla as a scenting agent, it’s important to note that vanilla absolute is not like the vanilla extract that you normally find in the grocery store. Vanilla absolute is generally used in perfumery, is far thicker and has a rich, sweet, balsamic, vanilla-like scent.
How To Make Vanilla Scented Leg Cream:
Makes: 3/4 cup
Prep: 5 minutes
- 2 tbsp cocoa butter
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- 2 tbsp sweet almond oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil – extra-virgin, unrefined
- 1/2 tsp vanilla absolute essential oil or 5 drops pure vanilla essential oil
- Clear or opaque glass jar
- Add cocoa butter to a glass measuring cup.
- Place cup in a saucepan with approximately two-inches of water. Heat water on medium low and allow the cocoa butter to melt gently.
- Add the melted cocoa butter, shea butter, almond oil and coconut oil into a food processor, and blend for about 10 seconds.
- Stop processing, and scrape down the sides of the processor. Continue to blend until the mixture is liquid.
- Pour into a glass jar, and allow to set. If using a clear jar, cover and store in a dark space because almond oil is light sensitive. Or, you may use an opaque jar.
After showering, pat your skin lightly, and then, moisturize right away. Using a natural moisturizing cream on a regular basis will give you silky, smooth, soft legs by summer.