Monty’s “You’re Welcome” Beaver Balm – Montana Wildhack

Alright, so, my parents gave me a lot of really awesome genetic gifts, but giving me not-great skin & body hair was not one of them. If I go one week without shaving, I’m back to full growth on everything. Everything. If I don’t shave my arms, “happy trail,” upper thighs, and even my back, you can tell. Most drugstore shaving creams just irritate me. I’m prone to razor burn and acne. Wan wan wan woe is me.

So all this talk about “beaver balm” made me wonder: is there a go-to way to protect my skin during shaving, to prevent razor burn & bumps, and to moisturize without clogging my pores? A bit of fun with my food processor, and I see that there is:

Monty’s “You’re Welcome” Beaver Balm!

Ingredients:

1 bar of castile soap

1 & 1/2 cups water

1/4th cup Vaseline* with cocoa butter

2 tbsp grape seed oil**

(optional) essential oils either for healing (may I suggest lavender?) or scent (may I again suggest lavender?)

(optional) extracts for scent (in my first batch, I used raspberry & rum)

(optional) food coloring (you bet your sweet ass I used red) (it turns pastel in the end)

(optional) 6 crushed aspirin***

You’ll also need a food processor, hand-mixer, or whatever else you use to mix whipping creams & body butters. You’ll need a whatever you use to whip stuff.

Before we get started, here’s some notes:

* So I get that a lot of people aren’t really interested in putting petroleum on their skin. Hey that’s okay. This life comes with decision-making. I’ve got some ideas:

  1. If you know that you personally break out by using Vaseline, skip on down to #3. That said, the shaving balm is to be used before washing & exfoliating the skin, not to be left on for long periods of time. Vaseline makes me break out on the face, but not the body. YMMV.
  2. If the concern is about carcinogens in petroleum, I can direct you to the links at the bottom of this recipe to learn more about specifically Vaseline and potential PAHS contamination. The risk of contamination by carcinogens in Vaseline pure petroleum is very low. I am personally unconcerned. However, I understand if you still are. Moving on…
  3. We can divide the 1/4th cup of Vaseline with cocoa butter into two parts: a very thick oil barrier, and a nourishing butter. This means that, as an alternative to the Vaseline, you may mix…
    • 1/8th cup shea butter (which is non-comedogenic) or 1/8th cup cocoa butter (which is very comedogenic) with…
    • 1/8th cup coconut oil (very comedogenic) or 1/8th cup hemp seed oil (non-comedogenic)
  1. Finally, if you’re worried about using Vaseline on your sensitive areas, I will speak from experience that I have used pure petroleum Vaseline as a protective salve on my sensitive areas to prevent chafing from biking 60 miles/day. This is what prompted me to think that maybe Vaseline would make an okay “beaver balm.” Again, YMMV, but if you don’t know don’t let fear stop you from finding out.

** Grape seed oil is my go-to oil when I need a simple liquid oil for skin products. It is relatively non-comedogenic but absorbs quickly into the skin. Other good oils for these purposes might be hazelnut oil, jojoba oil, or rose hip oil.

*** Aspirin is often used to alleviate redness & swelling in acne, blemishes, and razor bumps. If you add aspirin, remember not to sell it. This makes the product a drug which makes it a huge pain in the ass. Also, please don’t add aspirin if you’ve got Reye’s syndrome, or if this balm is going to be used by a child or teenager, or if you’ve got any other condition which might contraindicate you from using aspirin. Also, also, please don’t hold me accountable for any illnesses use of aspirin may bring you. You are an adult.

Instructions:

Step 1: Grate, process, or otherwise crush your castile soap into tiny li’l pieces. Same for your aspirin if you should choose to add aspirin.

Step 2: Mix the grated soap with the water and put it on the stove, cover it, and set the heat to low-medium (think like 3 or 4). We want the soap to dissolve evenly but not burn or froth over the pot. Warning: do not leave your soap unattended. You do not want to fuck up and let the soap froth over the pot. (If you do just chill out and try your best, it’s not the end of the world.)

Step 3: While you’re waiting on the soap to dissolve, take your Vaseline and your grape seed oil (or alternatives) and put them in a double-burner pot. If you don’t have a double-burner pot, you can put them in a bowl or a cup that fits over a single pot of water. Set the stove to 3 or 4 again and melt the oils together, blending them, and stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Your soap & water will be ready when all the soap is dissolved and you’re left with just soapy water. If you have any extracts or food coloring, add them in the soap & water. Take it off the burner and let it cool down.

Step 5: Your oil is ready when the thicker oil has melted completely and the oils are blended. If you have any essential oils, add them to the oil mixture. Again, once it’s ready, take it off the burner and let it cool.

Step 6: Wait for both the oil and the soap & water mixture to cool to a temperature of about 100F. When the water is kind of thicker but the soap is still dissolved, and the oil is still pretty loose but starting to solidify again, you’ve got the right viscosities for the job.

Step 7: Add your water mixture to your food processor, or the bowl where you’re going to be whipping it or whatever. Then, slowly begin whipping or processing the water mixture, in short quick bursts. While you’re whipping the water mixture, add the oil to it slowly. Once the oil is all done, go ahead and process it another minute or two, to ensure that everything is well-mixed. The result should look frothy, light, and a little thin—like when you leave a milkshake in your car for too long to drink it again.

Step 8: Put this weird frothy shit in a mason jar—a quart should do it, you might have excess, I don’t know, I’m really bad at measuring—and cover it. Then put the mason jar in the fridge for maybe a half-hour or 45 minutes.

Step 9: When you return to the mason jar, the froth should have thickened & solidified quite a bit. We’re talking like it should be the consistency of a foam shaving cream. Go ahead and get you a fork, then whip the foam like you’re hand-whipping eggs to make scrambled eggs. That way, all the chunks break down and you’re left with this nice, smooth, creamy consistency. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Review/Using your Beaver Balm:

  1. I went ahead and shaved literally everything using the Beaver Balm. (Again, “You’re Welcome”.) I was pleased but not stoked with how my arms & legs turned out; they’re definitely softer and definitely have less razor bumps than usual, but meh, it ain’t like the entire world flipped upside down over it or anything. I shaved my back with it and it was not-great, there was definitely some leftover oil going on, I would not advise you to shave the back or the face with this balm. However…

  2. As desired, the Beaver Balm worked great on my bikini area. There was no redness, no irritation, no unsightly cuts, no nothing that usually happens when I shave my bikini area. The bikini area is nice & soft with this one.

  3. This stuff is meant for use before washing & exfoliating. This means that if you wash your body before you shave it—who even are you? No really does anyone do that—you either gotta switch that up or you can’t use the Beaver Balm.

Conclusion: Are you prone to razor bumps & shaving burn? Do you have skin that breaks out easily and often gets nicked while shaving? Is the weight of the world on your shoulders because you have to choose between being pretty, having a successful career, and raising your kids—and you can only choose two of those three at a time and some days you cry yourself to sleep at night, surrendering to the crushing guilt of Never Being Good Enough? Do you? Because I fucking do.

And that’s why I made Beaver Balm.

[1] http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/468258/Vaseline_Rich_Conditioning_Petroleum_Jelly%2C_Cocoa_Butter/

[2] http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/515875/Vaseline_Petroleum_Jelly/

[3] http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/tips/a26530/vaseline-for-skincare/

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