I really do like lotions. I have usually thought of body butters as winter products, for those especially cold, dry, itchy-skin days. However, after doing some tinkering on my own, I have learned to appreciate both. To be honest, this post originally started as a resource for homemade lotion recipes, read about my post “Homemade Lotion Recipes – What You Need to Know“, but it soon turned into an article about homemade body butter recipes.
Body Butter is Better – Butter Me Up Baby!
Homemade body butter recipes lack one ingredient that makes them the better choice – water.
Lotions usually contain water, or aloe vera or even goat’s milk, and these ingredients breed bacteria, mold, and yeast. So. If you want to whip up these types of recipes that will last more than a few days, then you will have to consider adding in preservatives. And lotions are the result of combining oil and water, so you need an emulsifier to make that magic happen.
As a result of learning these important rules of safety in making my own homemade lotions, I realized that I would have to buy these additional ingredients online simply to try out a recipe. At the time, I was not willing to purchase all natural preservatives and emulsifiers, so I went looking for body butters instead, after all this was supposed to be fun, not a science experiment!
When I switched over to looking for homemade body butter recipes, I was relieved. Trust me, the hardest part is picking out a butter or two and an oil or two, easy peasy!
Slather It On and Make Your Skin Giggle
Homemade body butter recipes are better suited to a longer shelf life because they are anhydrous (without water). But because of this quality, they are harder to distribute evenly across your skin. But don’t worry, I’ve got the solution.
The key to using body butters is to start with damp skin, like right out of the shower. If you don’t, then it tends to cling to one spot. When I step out of the shower, I simply leave some areas that I do not dry off with the towel so there is still some water on my skin. Then I scoop out some body butter (with a dry hand or scoop—remember, no water should get into the container), rub in all over my hands, pat it all over my damp skin, then just start rubbing it in as you would with lotion. It takes a couple of passes to distribute evenly, certainly a little more “work” than using a lotion, but definitely worth the effort. Your skin will giggle and you will feel pampered [insert sigh here…aaaaaahh].
For those times you need to moisturize during the day, just swipe your hands through running warm water and dampen your skin before using the body butter. And if you are looking for a way to lightly moisturize but still use body butter, just use less butter and more water, no problem!
Now let’s get into basic recipe ingredients for making your own. All you are going to need are one or two solid butters and one or two oils, you can also add essential oils if you prefer to add fragrance with therapeutic benefits (I highly recommend this extravagance).
Wait. No emulsifiers? Nope!
No preservatives? Nope! Like I said, easy peasy.
First I will explain the possible butters and oils and their many unique benefits so you can decide which ones are right for you. Then I’ll give you some links to recipes so you can get started on one that works for you.
Butters Worth Spreading
Raw Shea Butter is one my favorite ingredients for body butters or just straight out of the jar. Why? Because as you can read from one of my previous posts “Shea Butter In Lotion“, it has some amazing properties. Shea butter contains Vitamins A and E, and fatty acids, and research has shown it can reduce inflammation, minimize wrinkles, hold in moisture, help with blemishes, and the list goes on. The only downside is that it has a definite earthy scent that some people do not like, however, like most scents, it dissipates over a few minutes so I find it does not bother me. You can buy refined shea butter, but the advocates of raw shea butter will tell you that the refining process will remove many of the healing properties.
Cocoa Butter has been used many years as a great moisturizer, and it, too, has many proven health benefits. Cocoa butter comes from the very same cocoa beans used to make chocolate (now you are speaking my language!!). I found a great resource explaining the benefits of cocoa butter from Dr. Axe’s website as well as research articles on PubMed. Cocoa butter has been proven to heal and soothe damaged skin, it can be used to heal burns and rashes, and it can fight the signs of aging by improving skin elasticity. Cocoa butter is a very solid substance, so it is often mixed with other butters so that the end result is a smoother product that is easier to spread. Though I have not yet tried making my own body butter with cocoa butter, I can promise you this one is on my to-do list.
Mango Butter, is a “newcomer” to the body butter party. The butter is extracted from the pod of the fruit and is fast becoming a popular ingredient for the skin care industry. Why? Several research articles I found on PubMed state that due to the high demand and low production of cocoa from aging plantations and crop disease, they began looking for alternatives to cocoa butter with similar healing properties. Mango butter has proven to be a great choice because of its antimicrobial activity and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Research has shown it is an excellent alternative because it contains properties that are proven to heal and protect the skin, significantly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, stop itching, and reduce inflammation. Again, this one is on my to-do list. So many options, so little time.
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Oils to Smooth and Soothe
The Solid (but Slippery) Truth About Coconut Oil
One of the homemade recipes I tried included coconut oil, and you should give it serious consideration as one of your ingredients, but it will make the end result greasier. Don’t worry, it will still be absorbed into your skin, just give a few minutes. I am a huge fan of its healing properties, so much that I wrote a post that details its wonderful benefits “The Benefits of Coconut Oil on the Skin“. In a (coco)nutshell, coconut oil helps provide a protective barrier on the skin, moisturizes, heals atopic dermatitis, promotes wound healing, displays antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal activities, and protects the skin from UV radiation. Yeah, it’s special. I’ve been told that if you add about a tablespoon of arrowroot powder to a recipe that includes coconut oil, it will cut down on the grease-factor. Hey, it’s worth a try!
Next up are oils. You can choose one or more oils to add to your body butter. It’s all a matter of what you have on hand, and of course, your personal preference. These are the most popular ones recommended in homemade body butter recipes…and (of course) they come with benefits!!
- Almond – has anti-aging properties, acts as a skin barrier/repair
- Argan – acts as a skin barrier, improves elasticity, works as an anti-inflammatory, aids in wound healing, possibly helps with skin cancer
- Avocado – aids in wound healing, has possible anti-inflammatory effects
- Jojoba – acts as a skin barrier/repair, works as an anti-inflammatory, performs as an antioxidant, aids in wound healing, has anti-aging properties, has possible anti-bacterial effects
I think the shining stars are Argan and Jojoba, don’t you?
Homemade Body Butter Recipes – Let’s Whip It Up
You can pick from the Basic Recipe or browse the websites from the links below to choose one of the homemade body butter recipes that speak to you.
THE BASIC RECIPE
½ cup of one butter – Shea, Cocoa, Mango
½ cup Coconut Oil…or…2+ Tbl of any oil
10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil(s)
(See “Directions” below the links for instructions)
- Non-Greasy Moisturizing Homemade Lotion from Life from the Ground Up
- Homemade Lotion Recipe from Wellness Mama
- Homemade Moisturizing Lotion Recipe With No Coconut Oil from Live Simply
- Good Night Lotion from Modern Alternative Mama
- White Chocolate Body Butter Recipe from Back to the Book Nutrition
Most of these recipes are made the same way – the secret is using a double boiler. First add the solid butter(s) and any beeswax pastilles (if any), stir until it becomes liquid, then add in the oil(s) and essential oils (if any), and mix with a spoon. Next, pour the mixture into a shallow pan and let it cool (you can add the mixture to the freezer to speed up the process, about 15 minutes should do it). You want the mixture to almost harden around the edges and become soft but “set” in the middle. Then scoop it out and put into a bowl, and whip it up with a mixer (hand held or counter top) to the desired consistency.
Final Notes for Body Butter Success
- Body Butters should be stored in a container with a lid, most people recommend a glass jar with a screw top lid.
- Make sure you do not allow water to get into the jar or at any time when you enjoy using your body butter to avoid bacterial growth.
- Once you get the hang of making your own homemade body butters using the above recipes as a guide, you can swap out the butters to mix things up. For example, instead of ½ cup of shea butter, you can try ¼ cup shea butter and ¼ cup cocoa butter, and try making similar changes to the oils.
- If you want less greasy body butter, choose one without coconut oil, or consider adding 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder to the recipe (some people use 1 tablespoon of beeswax pastilles instead).
Ready? Let me know how you do and if you have perfected your own special recipe that you’d like to share. Now go out there and whip up your own amazing jar of body butter heaven!