The Art of Darkness

Absinthe Body Bar

January 6th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Here’s an easy recipe for a solid “lotion” body bar with a light absinthe scent. This melts a bit more readily than some other varieties, so it might make a nice massage bar as well.

All of these ingredients are readily available at soap supply retailers like Snowdrift Farm and From Nature with Love. You might also be able to find them at well-stocked health food stores.

3 oz. beeswax
3 oz. shea butter
3 oz. oil (your choice of coconut, sweet almond, sunflower, jojoba, etc.)
2 to 3 drops from a vitamin E capsule (optional)
Essential oils or fragrance oils:
     7 drops wormwood*
     4 drops anise or fennel (or 2 drops each)
     2 drops juniper
     3 drops peppermint
     2 drops lemon
A few drops of green food coloring (optional)

Double boiler
Wooden spoon
Lotion bar tubes or other molds (little gelatin molds are kind of festive, but you can use just about anything that won’t absorb oil–even a cardboard box lined with plastic wrap)

Melt beeswax and shea butter together in top of double boiler (not directly over a burner) until completely melted. Remove from heat, add oil, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Let mixture cool slightly, stirring occasionally, then add vitamin E, coloring, and essential oils. Pour into molds and let harden. Imminent moral collapse not included.

You can mess around with the fragrance oils, as long as you wind up with about a teaspoon total. Wormwood (artemisia), anise, and fennel were the “big three” of traditional absinthe, but lots of other herbs and spices were used as flavoring agents. Some others to try are hyssop, angelica, coriander, cardamom, different mints (spearmint, bergamot mint), and different citrus oils (lime, sweet orange).

You can also use cocoa butter in place of the shea butter, but it tends to add a chocolatey aroma which might interfere with your scent profile.

Obviously, if you don’t want an absinthe scent you can play around with whatever scent and color combinations strike your fancy. A good rule of thumb is to use equal parts heavy base notes (patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss), lighter middle notes (geranium, ylang-ylang), and ephemeral top notes (rose, jasmine, lavender). So (for instance) equal parts patchouli, lemongrass, and neroli might give you an interesting “Far East” scent. Follow your nose, and don’t be afraid to play.

*Big Fat Cautionary Note:
Pure wormwood essential oil is poisonous. Relatively small doses may cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia, nightmares, and other nasty symptoms. Don’t go swigging the stuff, and if you’re pregnant stay away from it entirely. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and very potent. Proceed with caution. Egad.

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