Homemade Body Butter to Die For

If today had a theme, it would have to be timing. As Leslie over at Crunchy Betty posted some improvements to my scrub candy recipes, she talked about the perfect timing with Valentine’s just around the corner. Now here’s my so-timely-I-can’t-beleive-it-story: this delicious body butter!

Also, do check out the bath candy thingies over at crunchy betty. I’m sort of proud of them, and Leslie has only improved them.

For a good while, I’ve been longing for a creamy, soft, nice smelling, chemical free body butter. I’ve been both drooling for and disgusted by the ones that Body Shop makes – they look and smell so incredibly fantastic, but then you turn to the ingredient list and find silicones, perfume, PEG and all kinds of nasties. But if you have to make something right, you have to make it yourself, I suppose.

So a few days back, just as I was going to start experimenting with nothing to go after, somebody in the best no ‘poo-group on facebook (it’s in swedish though, sorry!) posted a link to this recipe at Rawmazing. Just what I needed!

So what is a body butter anyway? Unlike body lotion and body cream, body butter contains no water, only fats (and silicones, perfume and PEG, apparently….) Body butters are great to use on any skin type but they come especially in handy now in the cold winter time when your skin gets really dry.

So now I had something to go by. I made some alterations to the recipe, and I ended up with a recipe that looked like this:

  • 2 tbs solid shea butter
  • 1 tbs mint infused coconut oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • dried rose petals, fresh rosemary
  • 1 ml vitamin E (or 1 capsule)
  • about 7 drops each of lime essential oil and lavender essential oil

Variations: You don’t need the vitamin E but it increases the shelf life and is great for dry skin. Instead of olive oil you can use any other vegetable oil that you like. In Rawmazing’s recipe they used almond oil, I can imagine that avocado, jojoba or apricot oil would be divine! For essential oils and herbs, take anything you like the smell of (and they are completely optional)

Some months back, I prepared a mint infused coconut oil that I was planning on using for a hair mask. I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet, so I figured I could just as well use some of it for this body butter. Making a herbal oil is very simple. You can follow the instructions here.Or you can just leave this step out as it takes some preparation.

Here’s how you make the body butter:

  1. start by melting the shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler. The coconut oil can be solid or runny, it’s all the same, just try to find some unraffined coconut oil/fat.
  2. Add in the vegetable oil and if you like, some fresh or dried herbs. If you are using herbs, heat the mixture for about 20 minutes, then strain carefully and don’t forget to squeeze out the last of the oil from the herbs. If not, move on to the next step as soon as the butters have melted.
    homemade body butter lime essential oil
  3. Remove from heat, and let cool. When the mixture is 30C or cooler, you can add the essential oils and vitamin E.
  4. Whip the butter until it gets thick and fluffy. You’ll need to do this for at least 5-10 minutes. If it’s feeling hopeless, let the batch cool for a bit longer until it’s starting to solidify, then try again.whipping homemade body butter
  5. Use a spatula to put the body butter in jars.

Et voilà! Nothing left to do but to use and adore this body butter! Creamy, decadent and just fantastic. And so easy to make! The consistency is still very thick, I think next time I’ll experiment with adding a wee bit more oil and less shea butter, but that’s mostly just my own taste.

Homemade mint-rose body butter

Next time, I’ll try to make something like the Body Shop’s candied ginger body butter, the smell is just fantastic! Until then, I have this gorgeous lime-lavender smelling body butter with rose and rosemary!
If you’d make a body butter, what smells would you like to use?

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    1. hilda

      I’m sorry, but there’s no perfect substitute for coconut oil that I know of. The best thing in this recipe is actually to substitute it simply with shea butter! It won’t be exactly the same thing but actually quite close. So that means 3 tbs shea butter to 1 tbs vegetable oil. Other wise you follow the recipe like it is. I haven’t made this exact recipe with only shea butter, but my guess is that it will be slightly more solid than with coconut (if you find it too solid, add more vegetable oil next time you make it).
      Another option would be cocoa butter. I haven’t tried it so I don’t know if it works though. But even though the result won’t be as fluffy as this body butter, it’s definitely going to be nourishing for your skin in any case! You might want to use a bit less cocoa butter…. Maybe start off with 2,5 tbs shea butter, 0,5 tbs cocoa butter and 1 tbs oil. But this is just a wild guess, you’ll have to try and see how it turns out. Let me know if you find anything that works for you!

      1. Misty

        Yes! Adding cocoa butter would be a great addition. I make a body butter with shea and cocoa butters, coconut and apricot oils. It’s WONDERFUL!

        (this makes a big batch, great for gift giving 🙂

        3/4 c shea butter
        1/4 c cocoa butter
        6 tbsp coconut oil
        4 tbsp apricot oil

        blend using the above instructions. It will firm up a bit as it sits. It’s fun to add some exfoliators like ground oatmeal, coffee, brown sugar etc.

        1. hilda

          Thanks so much! It still contains coconut oil though, so kari who posed the original question about substitute from cocnut oil might not get much help from this. Still, looks like a great recipe 🙂 I have a whole bunch of cocoa butter that I bought cheaply a while back that I still haven’t done anything with… Maybe this would be it 🙂

        1. hilda

          Hi Heather!
          I would never use palm oil for anything, due to it’s grave environmental impact such as deforestation of the rain forest and death of endangered species. Health wise I think it should be fine to use on the skin but I haven’t looked it up since it’s never been an option for me. I always take the environmental impact into consideration just as much as how the products affect myself personally.

          1. randye

            I found an organic palm oil that is non-gmo & sustainably harvested form It is a bit more expensive but better for the environment if you are going to use it.

          2. jackie mosselle

            I use red palm oil from Africa which is where it originated. Doesn’t have the negative environmental impact as the stuff from South East Asia.

      1. hilda

        I’ve actually never even seen mango butter but I’ve many times thought about buying some and my mental image of it is something creamy and soft and smelling fantastic. I assume mango butter would be a great substitute 🙂

    2. Susanna

      Yes, there is a substitute for coconut oil for those who are allergic to it – raw cocoa butter, which just happens to be great for people who suffer from eczema and dehydrated skin. It’s occlusive, too, meaning it will provide a protective barrier over your skin.

      You might want to blend more soft oils with it though, for instance, organic avocado, grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil, otherwise, if you live in a cold climate, it will soon end turn rock hard (raw cocoa butter is ‘rock hard’ at room temperature).

      For example, you could play around with different percentages of cocoa butter to soft oils, like 30% raw cocoa butter and 70% other oils, to help keep it soft and fluffy. Experimenting to find what works best for you is what it’s all about – and it’s fun, too!

    3. Halli

      I made a wonderful similar body butter recently (after reading a ton of sites) with 2 parts shea butter to 1 part cocoa butter to 1 part oils (I used a combination of almond and jojoba oil). I melted the shea and cocoa butter in a makeshift double boiler, removed it from the heat and stirred in the oils, put it in the freezer for 5 minutes, whipped it, and put it back in the freezer for 5 minutes a few more times with whipping in between. It’s cold in NY so it’s been very hard since it hardened in the jars, but it melts easily on your skin as you rub it in, and I LOVE it. And the cocoa butter makes it smell wonderful!

      I only have a balance beam scale so I weighed/massed the ingredients on that.

      1. hilda

        It’s great, isn’t it? Glad you like it! I’m also using an old balance beam scale at the moment, it’s not quite as accurate as an electric scale but in this recipe it works fine. When it comes to lotions and other recipes that require mixing of waters and oils it’s more important with the measures.

    1. hilda

      Coconut oil can be found in larger supermarkets, or organic/health shops. I would avoid the cheap coconut fat which is refined and not very good for you (if you want to be 100% sure, buy organic). Shea butter can also be found in shops focusing on helath or organic food.
      Although it’s usually a lot cheaper to buy online. I don’t know where you’re based but if in Europe, I recommend this german site: (shea butter is the same and coconut oil is called kokos öl).

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    1. hilda

      Hi! You can keep the body butter in room temperature for months without it going off, probably up to a year or so. Although mine always runs out well before that so I’ve never had that problem 🙂

  2. Becky

    This is amazing, thank you so much! I have been making skin salves lately, but I LOVE that this is a whipped cream instead of a hard butter. The only problem is I’m having trouble whipping it up…thinking I may have done something wrong. Any tips for helping it whip/get fluffier? (Aside from waiting for it to solidify a bit?)

    1. hilda

      Hm, I don’t know what the problem is, but I doubt you have done anything totally wrong. I’m afraid the only advice I can give you is let it cool some more, and/or whip for a longer time. I guess different shea butters might react differently as well, some taking longer to become fluffy than others. When I made this for the first time, I got really impatient and what I actually did was that I took some ice and put it in a larger bowl, and then put my bowl of body butter into that one to make it cool really quickly, then I whipped while it was cooling. I found that helped a bit. If you want to experiment, you could even try using a bit more oil to shea butter to see if it gets fluffier that way (though I can’t vouch for that). And remember that however it looks or feels, it’s going to be fantastic on your skin so don’t throw it out 🙂
      Good luck! 🙂 and let me know if I can help in any other way.

    1. hilda

      You can use metal or plastic, however I prefer glass jars. Plastic jars can let out some chamicals that are potentially harmful for your body, and metal might as well let out something which might change the smell of the product. It’s no big deal, I’ve used plastic containes many times, but I always try to use glass when possible.

        1. hilda

          Yeah, they are different. An essential oil is pure oil extracted from an herb, flower or similar, so it is very concentrated and you often need only a few drops to get the benefits of it. A herb oil is a vegetable oil (that is, olive oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil….) wherein you have steeped the herbs for a few weeks. This releases some essential oils from the herbs into the vegetable oil, but as you can guess, it’s much more diluted and you can use it as a base for any recipe which calls for a vegetable oil. It’s more or less the same thing as if you would take a vegetable oil and mix a few drops of essential oil into it. Hope this helps!

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  4. Barbara Samples

    Is it supposed to be whipped until it is like fluffy icing? I have it almost there but it is closer to the consistancy of pudding. LOL Thanks for the recipe!

    1. hilda

      Most important is that it isn’t runny. You can let it stand for a while, put it away in a slightly cooler place, to see how it looks. Sometimes it’s just a bit runnier because it’s still a bit warm.

  5. Pat

    Hi Hilda,

    I got my butter made, but it melted in when I put it in a jar. It’s been so hot here. Anyway, I put it in the fridge and later tried to whip it with my electric beater, but it never whipped back up. Did I do something really wrong with it? I’m using it and really like it, but its not creamy.


    1. hilda

      Hey Pat,
      Sorry to hear it melted! I live up in Sweden so I don’t usually have that problem. It sounds like you did everything right, I don’t know if it doesn’t work or is harder to beat it back up once it’s melted, might be… Don’t know why that would be though. Good thing you can still use it though, the only difference is the consistency.
      If you try making it again, I’d suggest putting it in the fridge, at least for a little while, once you’ve whipped it. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination but I have the impression that if you chill something down completely it won’t melt as easily.

  6. Vivi

    Hi Hilda! I’ve been dying to try this out and I’ve everything I need ‘cept for shea butter which I can’t seem to find anywhere in Ireland. Do you have a site that you could recommend for buying online? Any other products you recommend I should get while I’m at it?

    1. hilda

      Hi Andrea,
      I’ve never tried this specific recipe without whipping the butter, but I’m certain it will be less fluffy and, like you say, more of a balm in consistency. It won’t make a difference with how well it moisturizes your skin, but it feels sooo nice with this buttery consistency!

  7. Woman

    I love to mix some coconut oil with some cedarwood essential oil after a really hot shower, lather myself up in it, then jump into a cozy bed smelling like a cedar grove.

    I am trying to get my hands on some amber essential oils so I can use a homemade lotion for day wear.

  8. Gabrielle

    I find I can make a much quicker job of it by whipping the dickens out of it, then put it in the freezer for 5 minutes or so, rinse, repeat, until it’s lovely, white, and fluffy.

    Although if using cocoa butter, I’d skip the freezer part entirely and pop it in and out of a cold water bath while whipping – otherwise, it hardens far too quickly, making it a pain to package into jars. (Ask me how I know…)

    1. hilda

      Hi Kathy, sorry for the late reply. It’s about 4 tablespoons in volume as I’m sure you can calculate. However it does get pretty fluffy and I think this batch filled three jar like the one you can see in the last picture. It’s no problem to double or tripple the recipe if you want more. It doesn’t really ever get rancid so you can definitely make a bigger batch.

    1. hilda

      Sorry, the point of this recipe is the shea butter, that’s what makes it fluffy. You could use beeswax but then there’s no point in whipping it, and it’ll be more of a salve than a body butter.

  9. Linn Alice

    Jag undrar också hur mycket det blir av dethär receptet? Några matskedar låter inte som om det skulle räcka jättelänge, och mängderna i Rawmazings recept är ju i koppar :]
    Sen undrar jag om essential oils är detsamma som eteriska oljor? Jag har nämligen en liten flaska ruusupuu som är tänkt för bastubruk, som är !100 % eteeristä ruusupuuöljyä ja etanolia”, och tänkte jag skulle använda det 🙂

    1. hilda

      Ja, det är ganska lite, rent volymmässigt är det ju som du säkert kan räkna ut bara lite på fyra matskedar. Men det blir ju fluffigt och jag vill minnas att det blev tre burkar som den sista bilden (är de kanske 50 ml…). Tyckte det räckte ganska länge. Men det blir ju inte gammalt så det är bara att dubbla eller tredubbla receptet så har du framöver 🙂
      Eterisk olja och essential oil är samma sak ja. Om det står 100% essential oil / eterisk olja på så ska det vara okej, helst ska det också stå växtens latinska namn. Jag undrar lite över den flaska du har, om det innehåller etanol också så är det ju inte 100%? Låter som om de blandat ren eterisk olja med etanol …? Jag har nog haft såna eteriska oljor som säljs i bastuavdelningen och som görs med tanke på att användas i bastun men det lönar sig att kolla en extra gång så det faktiskt är ren eterisk olja.

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