Benefits of After Bath Body Oils
I shall begin with a few seemingly unrelated facts:
• I LOVE attending certain classes in college – so much so that I’m always on time for an 8 am lecture taken by a teacher I admire (I secretly want to be like her when I “grow up”). Before you pelt me with rotten eggs for cracking a very premature All Fools Day joke, I want to plead my case and yell, “Yeh sab sach hai, judge sahib!”
• My skin is as dry as that leaf on the road in autumn which you go out of your way to step on so as to hear it “crunch”. On days that I skip moisturising myself, I look like this:
• I never skip on my morning showers unless I’m lying-on-deathbed-with-sobbing-mother-by-side kind of ill.
• I have only lived in places with harsh winters where people spend several months every year shivering 24X7, moving shower hours to night time, skipping early morning classes/routine, eating too many peanuts, bloating up like Dolly Bindra, and updating pretty winter wardrobes.
Despite that, I STILL want my morning shower and I STILL want to attend my classes on time. More importantly, I STILL want my skin to sing the “utterly butterly delicious” jingle for itself and marvel at its own softness. The last bit used to be possible only when I drowned it in litres of body lotions and wasted 10-15 precious winter minutes of my life every day on this nonsensical routine while humming dumb 90’s songs like “Neela Dupatta! Peela Suit!” or “Bhangra Pa Le! Aa Ja, Aa Ja!” (that’s my only vice, I swear). I’ve always ended up being late all because of this necessary evil of keeping my skin from looking like barren land in the Gobi desert.
Then, I moved to Europe for sometime and discovered my saviour in fancy-looking after-bath body oils that I am actually going to nominate for the Nobel Prize in Awesomeness when I become the Dictator of the World. I am pretty sure that they existed in India too at that time but in Europe, it seems that they are marketed much more vigorously.
So, what exactly does an after-bath body oil do? Let’s just say that it has the same effect on your body as lots of gold has on Scrooge McDuck. It’ll go bonkers with delight and will stay happy for hours altogether AND it makes you smell sweet as a Disney princess. Your damp body absorbs the skin-plumping nutrients with better ease immediately after a bath. The oil helps seal the moisture in your skin and nourishes it far more than any fancy-pansy cream with half a million harmful chemicals. It also saves you oodles of time that you normally waste in applying silly little lotions and that you can employ in better pursuits instead – learning the steps to a Govinda song, for example. For lazy bums, this is as close to slacker Nirvana as they can get.
The Smartass Guide to Soft Skin:
Step out of the shower/bath and draw cheeky tongue-displaying faces on the steam-covered mirror (this is optional and only for the ohmygodaciously awesome). On your wet body, pat in generous amounts of the after-bath oil, especially on extra dry areas like knees and elbows. Wait for 10-15 seconds to let it soak in and meanwhile, pout into the mirror just like you’ve seen crazy 16-year olds do on Facebook (again optional). Then, pat yourself dry. The oil won’t soak completely in and you’ll towel some off, but if you’re left feeling like a wet seal, then you used too much. Finally, aim a kick at your loser of a body lotion, yell “Haaa yeeeeeeeeeah!” and with such a fine Kung Fu start, get ready for a super-soft-skin day.
When I moved back to India nearly three years ago, I could only find a measly excuse for an after bath oil in the form of Biotique Carrot Seed Oil or something. Later, I discovered the wonderful FabIndia Seabuckthorn Bath Oil and sang paeans to it for sometime. Then, I got bored and decided to blow up big money on the same oils that I had started with and started ordering them online. Finally, I grew up and realised that I could –ahem– “invest” the money that I spend on these oils in shopping for other things and making poor little me very happy. So, to solve my problem, I decided to make my own after-bath oil instead. It’s one of the easiest DIY home recipes and does not take longer than a Hero Honda advertisement.
You will need:
Coconut oil – 2 parts
Sweet almond oil – 1 part
Olive oil – 1 part
Vitamin E capsules – 3-4
Store them all in a plastic/glass bottle in your bathroom and when they go all frozen and dead on you, just plunge the bottle in boiling hot water straight from the geyser. These are the basic ingredients. You can mix and match anything else according to your whim.
Here are a few variations that I use:
Aroma Magic Happiness Essential Oil.
I add about 4-5 drops of it. It is a happy, wake-me-up kind of oil mix and it preps up your whole day with its effects. Since I’m normally quite hyperactive anyway (with coffee adding to it), this oil makes me feel like I’ve consumed what our athletes take in order to win (and after an enquiry, eventually lose) their medals.
Vanilla oil or plain vanilla essence (the kind you use in cakes):
This is what goes into my regular oil mix. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession for vanilla but I could never find its oil. So, I stole my mum’s stock of vanilla extract (that has made her hide all her bakery-related items), added a teaspoon of it to my mix and it works just as well. It smells so marvellous sometimes that I’m afraid I’ll end up licking my arms someday and then I’ll be shunned by society as a weirdo – or be invited into the Bigg Boss house (this is more likely these days).
Cinnamon Essential Oil:
I got a complementary bottle from somewhere and I had no idea what to do with a spicy scent like that. Apparently, even the smell of cinnamon warms you up in winter. So, I decided to mix it up in the bath oil once. It’s apparently very potent and needs to be heavily diluted. The rumours all true. Cinnamon makes you warm and fuzzy and gives you a superhero-like power to face winter. I save it for the teeth-chattering-cold month of January when I can’t see my own hand outside in the fog and the city looks like a set from some seedy old-time Bollywood horror flick.
Lavender Essential Oil:
Lavender is a great way to battle insomnia and if you’re one of those lazy bums who shower at night instead of in the morning, you could add plain lavender essential oil to your mix. It’ll end all your reverse-sheep-counting nights and will effect a remarkable transition in you from a sleep-deprived zombie into a fresh well-rested superhuman.
I put in just a pinch or two of the spice and make this variety in October when I want to get rid of my swimming tan. It is a great way to brighten up the skin a little. However, this one takes time to prepare because I heat the oil after mixing saffron it in and leave it aside for a few hours. Only use a dark glass bottle for this purpose and heat the oil in it in a pan of boiling water (don’t let the bottle touch the pan unless you want it to break with a loud crunch).
At the risk of being attacked by zombies, vampires, ghosts and other sinister forces, I sneak out into my backyard late at night and nick a rose or two (I’ve been forbidden to pluck the flowers by my gardening-obsessed parents), and use the dry leaves in the oil mix for the fragrance. It needs to be heated just like the saffron mix and it smells divine. In case you need to steal roses too, mail me for advice on fox-like craftiness.
For Blotting Paper-Obsessed Beauties:
I know a lot of oily-skinned people will be wary of trying this idea but it works wonderfully well for any kind of skin. If almond, coconut and olive oils sound “too heavy”, substitute them with lighter stuff like grapeseed, sesame or jojoba oils. You can be as creative as you like with this and add dried herbs like chamomile, neem or mint (you would need to heat the oil for this) or an essential oil like tea tree oil. You could also try wiping the oil off immediately after applying it instead of waiting for 10-15 seconds. It would mean giving up on mirror drawings but c’est la vie. You have to make certain sacrifices.
Some tips to make it successful:
• Make it in small batches. I make mine just enough to last me a fortnight. That way, it is always fresh.
• Oil in the bathroom is a clumsy girl’s nightmare. Always be careful when you use it and don’t drop it around too much. More importantly, keep the bathroom dance routines to a bare minimum. I, for one, only hum a little ditty and jiggle from side to side. Complicated jumping jacks are to be performed only on dry floors.
• Keep separate towels for your body and face. You do not want your face to sprout painful little volcanoes thanks to the comedogenic coconut oil on the towel.
• If your skin is as dry as mine, I’d also suggest massaging a little lotion/petroleum jelly late at night (don’t bother with it in the mornings) on your dryness-prone areas to further lock in that elusive moisture.
• Make sure that you wash the bottles properly before pouring out each new batch of oil. If you use a shower oil in the morning from a bottle which previously housed lavender-infused oil, nothing (no, not even Popeye’s spinach power) can save you from snoring on your desk by noon.
Try this for a week and see how wonderfully it works. Then, send me a cheesecake and a cheque for $1 million along with a video of you dancing with joy, preferably to the tune of some godawful early Britney Spears song.
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