Homemade Body Butter Recipe

by Susan on January 17, 2012

 

*Because of the popularity of this recipe on pinterest, I am getting many, many questions that are more suited for an expert. This is a raw food site, this was my first attempt at body butter, it worked better than I could have hoped for and if you make this recipe as stated, it will work great for you too!! I am sorry but I can’t answer the technical questions. Cheers!*

I made my first batch of body butter today. I think my life has changed forever. Delightful, decadent and easy, I have wanted to try making it for a long time. I was convinced that it would be difficult and not work the way I wanted. Boy, was I wrong. 

I love creamy body butters. Living in a climate that gets quite cold and dry in the winter, they are a must in my house. But two things have always bothered me. They can be quite expensive and also, full of ingredients that are less than desirable for your skin and health. 

We often forget that our skin is the largest organ on our body and absorbs what we put on it. If you are using lotions and body butters with chemicals in them (fragrances, preservatives, color additives, etc.) be aware that your skin absorbs the chemicals, too. Not exactly desirable. I often just use almond oil on my skin after a shower but sometimes I want something a little more decadent. Body butters, made with pure oils and essential oils for fragrance are just the thing. 

I called my friend Jen Vertanen, who writes the blog, “The Wholehearted Life”, knowing that she has spent years playing with recipes for home made soaps and lotions and asked her opinion on ingredients. She told me to use 75% solid to 25% liquid oil. Sounded easy enough.

I measured out shea butter (I use this shea butter: organic raw shea butter and coconut oil for the solid, and melted them in my home-made double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, make sure there is space for the steam to escape and you are using heat proof glass.)

I wanted to use rosemary as one of my scents. I didn’t have any rosemary essential oil so I added fresh rosemary as the oils were cooling. I also stirred in the almond oil at this point. Once the oil was cool, I strained out the rosemary, added peppermint (just a few drops, it is strong) and sweet orange essential oils and tried to whip the butter as instructed in other body recipes that I had researched. Nothing happened. I was about to give up and just let the oil harden when I had an idea.

I placed the oil mixture outside (it’s cold…it’s Minnesota) and let it partially set up. At that point, I tried whipping it again in the kitchen aid mixer and, success! A beautiful body butter, so simple to make, smelling delicious and with a texture that was like clouds of silk.

IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR BODY BUTTER WHIPPING: you probably rushed this step. It needs to be cooled significantly….like in the picture.

I have to admit, I am pretty excited at how easy it is to make. I used sweet orange, lemon and lavender in my second batch. Heavenly. You can just use the basic recipe and add your favorite essential oils. Just make sure they are skin friendly!

A few people have asked about jars. I use these: Weck jars

Don’t want to make your own? We highly recommend Just the Goods!

 

Body Butter

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups whipped butter.

1. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. 

2. Stir in almond oil and essential oils of your choosing.*

3, Place oil mixture in freezer or outside to chill.

4. Wait until oils start to partially solidify (see photo) then whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved. 

4. Place in clean, glass jar and enjoy! A little goes a long way.

*Not all essential oils are skin friendly or child friendly. Please do your research before adding.

TIPS: PLEASE READ!

1. You can use what ever oils you wish, just make sure you keep the ratio 75% solid to 25% liquid. SO IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO ANY OF THE ABOVE LISTED OILS, JUST REPLACE THEM WITH AN OIL THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLERGIC TO. Just make sure you replace a solid for a solid and a liquid for a liquid. 

2. The chilling step is crucial. If you don’t chill it properly, it won’t whip or stay whipped. About 20 minutes in the freezer usually does the trick for this batch. Make sure you scrape down the sides before mixing.

3. Since this recipe does not contain any water, it will not mould. You should keep in a cool place but it does not have to be refrigerated. 

4. I do not know the exact shelf life but I know it will keep at least a few months, plus. 

5. The body butter melts as it goes on and gets a little oily but absorbs beautifully, quickly and leaves your skin very soft.

6. You can order the shea butter here: Raw Shea Butter

     You can order the coconut oil here: Coconut Oil

     You can order the almond oil here:  Almond Oil

     You can order the Weck Jars here:  Weck Jars

Alternatively, coconut oil and almond oil are quite easy to locate at your local coop, Whole Foods or health food store. 

7. This recipe has been tested many times. If you don’t follow the recipe, you will not get the same results. 

8. Many people ask for exact amounts of essential oils. I start with at least 20 drops of what ever oil I want to use and just increase slowly until I am happy with how it smells. So…be free! Use your own creativity here. 

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{ 783 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle February 21, 2013 at 7:18 am

Thank you so much for this post. I was following a recipe from a book to make a body butter, and was whipping it while the oils were still warm. I gave up trying to make it resemble anything like a cream and poured it into a jar. I just read this post and ran upstairs to get the jar, scoop the now solidified mixture into a mixing jug and whipped it. It’s creamy and gorgeous now! Thanks again!

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Mary-Beth February 21, 2013 at 10:23 am

I bought the Shea butter you recommended and it just arrived. It is very yellow. Is this normal?

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Kristen February 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm

How many drops of the lemon, sweet orange and lavendar did you use? It sounds amazing and I want to try this recipe!

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newbie February 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

Thanks for this great recipe. I cannot wait to try it out. Just one question: is it safe to add powdered food coloring? Or will it cause stains?

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Susan February 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I am sorry, I don’t have any experience with using any color in this recipe. :-)

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Olivia February 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Thank you! I am making this right now. I’ve got it in my kitchenaid and don’t see any “whipping” happening. I was wondering if it needed to cool. I am going to put this put this outside pronto. Grateful Hugs!!!!

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Susan February 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Olivia…if you read the post, you will see how to cool, and how much to cool the oil mixture before whipping. Thanks for asking!

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andrew February 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

@ Mary-Beth ‘I bought the Shea butter you recommended and it just arrived. It is very yellow. Is this normal?’

Shea butter that is yellow has Palm oil added to it. I prefer the pure white Shea butter…

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Susan February 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

100% organic, unrefined shea butter (what I use and link to) does have a yellowish tint to it and DOES NOT have palm oil added. When the body butter is made it is the color in the picture.

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Diana March 2, 2013 at 11:13 am

Can you use something else in place of the coconut oil?

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Tammy March 4, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I was just wondering, why would you have to melt the solid oils, wouldn’t it just whip up together anyway?

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Susan March 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm

It doesn’t quite work that way. :-)

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Kristen March 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I made this using unrefined shea butter, unrefined coconut oil and unrefined avocado oil. I used the lavender, sweet orange, and lemon EOs to fragrance. I used it a few days ago for the first time, and the next day I started noticing small, red, itchy bumps in random places on my legs, arms, and hands. I think I’m allergic to an ingredient…coconut oil maybe? I’ve used lotions with shea butter in the past but to my knowledge I don’t remember ever using anything with coconut oil. Has anyone else experienced anythinng like this before? I really want to be able to use natural body butter!

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Amanda March 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I don’t buy the yellow Shea because I was told by a friend from Ghana that when it is made it should be an ivory to very light yellow color. If it is very bright yellow it is from a different tree or has been dyed. I did notice though that when I use FO (haven’t tried EO yet) that the Shea smell is still present. My supplier told me that if I wanted the mixture to not have a smell of Shea to get refined. Are you able to smell the Shea when you use the EO you mentioned ?

& to Kristen, I had that happen to me in the past & my reaction was due to using too much fragrance. Once I reduced the amount I was using I didn’t have a issue with my skin anymore. :-)

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Donna March 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Great Body Butter recipe!

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Debbie March 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm

This is a fabulous recipe. The directions worked like a charm. I cannot wait to try some other essential,oils for scent. And I don’t have to skimp …..I can just slather it all,over. Love, love, love it!

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Kristen March 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Thanks Amanda! I have a batch without fragrance. I’m going to do a patch test once my skin clears up.

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Karen March 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Am allergic to shea butter, so I used 1/2 cup cocoa butter and 1/2 cup kokum butter from Mt Rose Herbs (http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/butter/butter.html) along with equal parts macadamia nut, avocado and coconut oils. No EO’s. Came out amazing!!! Kokum butter has no fragrance, has a very smooth texture, and great skin healing properties. I’ve also used their mango butter with equal success. Mine has a slight cocoa butter fragrance, but I’ve never objected to the smell of chocolate and the fragrance goes away after it’s rubbed in. I rub it in when I get out of the shower while I’m slightly damp and just let it soak in. Everyone, even the men, I’ve given it to are raving about it and claims it’s cleared up eczema, psoriasis, dry scaly feet, and such. Will make this again and again.

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clarissa March 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Susan, can you open a store or market and I can come work for you? I love your style and you embody everything I believe in! I love all your stuff!!!

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Susan March 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Lol…that probably isn’t going to happen any time soon… :-)

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jenn March 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I know that your not supposed to boil liquids in glass in the microwave, Im pretty sure it applied to stove top as well, did you have any issues with heating it in the glass?

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Susan March 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Pyrex is made to withstand heat. You could also use a double boiler. It works just fine. There are glass double boilers, too.

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Evette March 16, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Jenn- I just used my Pyrex glass measuring cup and put it inside a pot on the stove on low. It worked just fine that way!

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Susan March 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Yes, exactly like the picture above. :-)

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reinier March 17, 2013 at 7:38 am

Heating the oils ‘au bain marie’ heats the oils very slowly and evenly.
Can you add tea tree oil to the batch?

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Alli March 27, 2013 at 6:40 am

I made this body butter recipe last night, and it was absolutely fantastic! I work at a job where I’m constantly on my feet, and there are few things that feel better than coming home and rubbing them with this body butter recipe. Thank you so much!

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Jenny March 28, 2013 at 8:12 am

How many drops of essential oils would be sufficient for this recipe?

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Susan March 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

You could start with 10 and go up a little from there. Use your nose and see what you like. :-)

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kim March 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

I find it is a little greasy Do you have a recipe for one that wouldn’t be as greasy? Love the texture and everything else about it.

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Susan March 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

It does absorb quite quickly. This is my only body butter recipe as my main focus is raw food. :-)

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Carolyn April 2, 2013 at 4:15 am

I finally made this last night, I used mango butter instead of coconut oil. It is kind of greasy and took a little while to soak in, but it did so beautifully! I added some fragrance oil but didn’t get much scent from it, will have to experiment more with that. Any ideas for getting a nice almond scent?

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Amber April 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Someone please help me. I have no idea what i did wrong, but my body butter came out horrible. I have a hand mixer, that i crank with my hand that i used, but the butter was yellow instead a cream/white color. I used 1cup of shea butter, 1/2 cup of extra virgin coconut oil from trader joes, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. I removed from heat for 20 minutes, then added tea tree oil, but that coconut oil scent was still over powering it, and i didnt like the smell. I then placed it in the freezer for 30 minutes, when i tried to whip it with my crank hand mixer, it was still sunshine yellow, and the coconut smell was still over powering. Someone PLEASE HELP, I REALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS RECEIPE WORK FOR ME

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Susan April 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

What color was the shea butter that you used? Some are very yellow and shouldn’t be used.

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AJ April 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hi Susan,
I was thinking of making one now and since winter is kind of gone now, want to know how many days we can keep this? Do I need to add any preservative? I also want to know in what case there is a need to add preservatives?
Thanks

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Susan April 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I have kept it for a couple of months but I usually go through it pretty fast. I don’t know how it will keep until next winter. I would think the essential oils would degrade a bit.

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Amy Williams April 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

This might surprise you but I found out about this because of it’s versatile use for dry hair! It works so well on my daughter who is white and African American! She needs way more moisture in her hair than I do so this has been a leaning experience for me and my hushand! My question is have you ever tried to melt down your already made up batch and go through the cooling and whipping process? I didn’t like how it smelled in her hair with no essential oils so I got some coconut essential oil to add to it. Thanks!

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Ka April 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Where can I get raw shea butter? I tried whole foods but it’s not raw. I also like rose scent. I saw a rose aroma perfume oil at whole foods, can i use that? If not do you know how toake rose essential oil.

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Amber Nicole April 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Please help me, my body butter is yellow, idk know why i followed all the directions perfectly, but i don’t know what the problem is. But it’s really disappointing because the body butter pictured above is so white/cream and beautiful and i want mine that way too

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Amber Nicole April 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

yea it was super sunshine yellow

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Billie April 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

What a lovely recipe and I’ve made my first batch today and would like to share my result. 50% shea butter; 25% cocoa butter; 25% sweet almond oil ; 1% mandarin essential oil. (All percentage measurements in grams) It whipped perfectly, however, it came out quite hard, not spreadable like butter, but more like shea butter at room temperature. I suspect I might hv used too much cocoa butter, and would adjust it accordingly in my second batch. Even though it’s a bit hard to apply, the cream leaves my skin lovely and soft. My whole family love the smell too! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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Susan April 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

You actually did 75% hard oil and 25% soft. And cacao butter is very hard. That would explain what happened.

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Billie April 9, 2013 at 4:42 am

Exciting news and a bit of info for anyone who might be thinking of remelting a bad attempt ! (bit silly I find this really exciting) I re-melted the whipped butter, added more sweet almond oil, cooled it down and re-whipped! Voila! Perfect consistency!

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Tami April 9, 2013 at 11:14 am

do you have a suggested replacement for the almond oil? My son is allergic to tree nuts so I’d like to try a nut-free version. Thanks!

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Susan April 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

Any liquid oil will work. :-)

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Kristen April 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Is there another solid that I can substitute for coconut oil? I have been using some in a body scrub, but midway through the day I am itchy and dry. Maybe the combo of the shea and almond will counteract the coconut? Or can I use all shea butter? Thanks (itchy in seattle)

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kim April 10, 2013 at 8:35 am

i just wanted you to know that i LOVE your recipe and the photos to help along the way! I posted a blog about shea butter and linked your recipe to it this morning on my blog. hope you don’t mind… :)
have a super day!!!!
kim

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Melissa April 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

Amber Nicole: I received bright yellow shea butter the 2nd time I ordered it. I used the link Susan provided from Amazon both times. The first time, it was beautiful shea, but not the 2nd. I called Amazon (after returning it) and found out I ordered from a different vendor the 2nd time. My first order shipped from Halaleveryday. Make sure when you order from Susan’s link that this is the vendor who is shipping it to you….I did not know realize other vendors shipped or that the shea would be different. Also, it comes in a plastic bag, but I store the rest in an airtight container in addition to the bag to keep it fresh. Hope that helps.

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Susan April 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

Why can’t you use yellow shea butter? I used African Sheas Butter form the Coop and my final results were a bit yellow but I don’t mind.

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Amber April 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Could raw raspberry juice be used as a way to add scents to my body butter? I have recently developed sensitivities to manufactured fragrances so trying to make all natural.

Thank you,
Amber

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Susan April 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm

I wouldn’t do that. First, raw raspberry juice doesn’t have enough fragrance to scent the body butter. Second, it will go bad quickly. Have you tried essential oils?

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Amber April 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

Where do I pick them up n are they all natural?

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Gaylene April 15, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I just received all the stuff to make this wonderful looking body butter. I am so excited to try it. I did order my shea butter from the site that was suggested and it smells wonderful and is a very pale yellow. I will make sure when I order more that I used the same person so the quality is not compromised. I love it when people actually give us a link to what products they actually order. Thank you Susan for sharing this with us. Will post a pic once mine is made! :)

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Nicci April 16, 2013 at 8:56 am

Do I have to add essential oils?i might have to pick some up today. I have everything but that.

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Susan April 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

No, you don’t have to add the essential oils but they are good for skin and smell nice.

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irene April 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

i ve made this recipe and its lovely.

i used though unrefined organic shea butter instead of the refined, and the unrefined one is bit yello indeed,
is that a problem? should we use refined shea butter???

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Susan April 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I used raw, organic shea butter. It is unrefined. :-)

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Aidan April 19, 2013 at 10:09 am

I have three questions!

1) If I wanted to substitute cocoa butter instead of shea butter, would I still use the same ratios? I love the smell of raw cocoa butter but I noticed it is a much harder solid than shea.
2) The coconut oil I found isn’t exactly a liquid–it’s more of a semi-solid that melts quickly in your hand. Is this ok to use?
3) Can I use all coconut oil or is the almond oil necessary?

Thanks!

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Susan April 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

have only made the recipe with the stated ingredients. You would have to experiment. The coconut oil is solid at room temp and considered a solid. A liquid oil is necessary. I have not tried it with coco butter.

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Aidan April 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

Susan,

Thanks for the quick response. I will follow your recipe as stated but substitute grapeseed for almond oil (I hope that is alright, they are both liquids)… I picked up some Jasmine oil as it smells great. Thank you for the recipe. Hopefully it will turn out well.

Aidan

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Aidan April 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm

*Update*

I just made a batch of this at home and it is AMAZING. It turned out perfectly! Thanks so much for the recipe.
I used 1 cup raw shea butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, and 1/2 cup grapeseed oil. It was super easy to make. My only gripe is that I used 1/2 teaspoon (half a bottle) of rather expensive jasmine oil and the lotion still turned out smelling mostly like shae butter–I can’t really smell the jasmine at all. I guess I’d have to use the whole bottle next time. But–you are totally right, a little bit of this goes a /long/ way.

Do you have any other oil suggestions? Thanks!

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Rashonda April 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

How much of each of the essential oils did you use in your sweet orange, lavender, lemon body butter? Thanks

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Susan April 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I didn’t count. I just added until it smelled nice. :-)

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DJ April 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

This was my first attempt at body butter. I was bold and used
1 cup shea butter ( yellow unrefined)
1/2 cup unrefined cocoa butter
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
A few drops of peppermint essential oil

So it came out really good and smells like mint chocolate. It dissolves in your hand quickly and will be less whipped appearing than the original recipe.

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Niva April 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Hi, thanks for the recipe! Can you please tell me what is the best way to measure the solids like Shea butter and coconut oil? Can you convert it to grams please?

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Susan April 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I soften the butters and measure that way. I believe there are quite a few converters online. Cheers!

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Christine April 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Any advice on what to do if you don’t have a mixer? Can the butter still be used if it isn’t whipped/can I whip it by hand?

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Susan April 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I believe someone has success with a hand mixer.

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Teresa Jones April 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Hi Susan,
I’ve been trying my own version of body butter that I actually got off You-tube, I’m still trying to perfect it and it’as getting worst, I have attached my formula and would love your insight before I give up.
March 30, 2013
I doubled this recipe, it’ original formula was 1/3 cups each, I used 2/3 cups each

1. 2/3 cups each cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil
2. 2 oz. pure olive oil
3. 2TBLS. Jojoba oil
4. 1TBLS. Vitamin E Oil
My skin using this formula is ashy dry and itchy. Please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Susan April 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I can’t comment on someone else’s recipe as I have no idea why they are using those ingredients. Why don’t you try this recipe? It works beautifully.

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Diane January April 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I love the addition of the other oils! I make a whipped raw shea butter, but I do not heat or melt my butter. I whip mine until it’s smooth and creamy using my Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment. I’m going to try adding some of those oils to my next whipped batch of butter.

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