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.


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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{ 746 comments… read them below or add one }

April February 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I’ve made two batches and both turned out great texture-wise. The first I used coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil with lavender and grapefruit EOs (smells delicious). But something about it was making me itchy even after using it for 3 weeks. So last night I made a new batch with shea, mango butter, olive oil, a touch of vitamin E, sandalwood and orange EOs plus helichrysum (I stayed in a 5-star hotel 9 years ago that had a sandalwood orange lotion that was so yummy). This new one feels so wonderful. I have found coconut oil to be drying in the past, so I think that might have been the problem. Anyway, I love it. I use it on my face as well. I’ve been really suffering with painful dry skin since we left the humid South, and it finally feels better. Thanks!

Hilary February 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

I made this yesterday only subbed olive oil for the almond oil bc that’s what I had on hand. This stuff is awesome! I may have whipped it too long but I was fascinated by how it changed from a liquidy substance to a cream and then something kind of chunky. I’ll reduce whip-time by about 30 seconds when I make the next batch but I’d say this was a success. Bye bye dry winter skin :)

Kay February 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I have super super dry skin to the point that i get prickly and itchy sensations. I made this recipe, initially did not see much difference, but with time I must admit things are looking quiet good! My question is I have dry skin throughout the year (but nothing beats winter!) and I was wandering if I made it during summer is there a chance that it will partially liquefy?

Tish February 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I just made my second batch of body butter. The first batch turned out really well. I used shea butter, grapeseed oil and almond oil and added lime and geranium essential oils. The whipped butter turned out really well and smells delicious. It absorbs into the skin quite quickly and makes a difference.
The second batch I used 1/2 shea butter, 1/2 cup avacado butter and 1/2 of coconut oil. Melted them and immediately added almond oil and the essential oils. I put the glass bowl on top of a bed of ice and put it outside for 30 minutes. I whipped for a minute or two and perfect body butter appeared

Jeanette February 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm


Your recipe for Sandalwood/Orange sounds amazing! If you don’t mind, approximately how many drops each of Sandalwood, Orange, Helichrysum, VitaminE; as well how many drops for your recipe of Lavendar & Grapefruit did you use?

Can’t wait to try it…thank you!

noemi February 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm

just have a question. Do you use unrefined coconut oil or refined one. I noticed the refined one is neutral in flavor and odor and the pure extra virgin one smells like coconut. Please let me know wich one is best. Thks

Susan February 10, 2013 at 11:36 am

I use what I keep in the kitchen which is Organic, extra virgin.

Stacey February 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

Can I use cocoa butter instead of Shea? Do you think the texture and cooling time would work out/be the same?

Alexandra @ Creative Simple Life February 16, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for this amazing recipe! I recently tried making a batch of my own and was so happy with how it turned out. I tried adding a bit of cocoa butter, which turned out great, and used rosemary and tea tree essential oils. Thanks again!

Kristen February 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Did you have any trouble melting the shea butter or it becoming “grainy”? I’m excited to give this a try!

Susan February 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I did not have any trouble. I heated it very slowly.

Justin February 19, 2013 at 4:59 am

Is it possible to make this raw? (I mean without heating it over 115 degrees) Just curious because I want to maintain as much off the natural plant make up as possible.

Angie February 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

If you’re having trouble with the shea butter getting grainy, try melting the solid oil over heat first (i.e., the coconut oil or cocoa butter), taking it off the heat, then adding the shea butter and allowing it to melt in the residual heat. If the shea butter is your major solid oil, heat the liquid oil-avocado, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, whatever you’ve got-removing it from heat, adding the shea butter to the liquid oil and using its residual heat to melt the shea butter. Use this method for any of the tender butters-shea, avocado, mango, coffee.

Susan February 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm

If you get raw shea butter and raw coconut oil, you can melt them in the dehydrator and keep the temps down.

joanna February 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

i cant wait to make it.. my skin is very very dry…. i love this site so glad it came up on my fb page..

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!

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?

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!

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?

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!!!!

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!

Susan February 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm

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

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…

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.

Diana March 2, 2013 at 11:13 am

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

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?

Susan March 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm

It doesn’t quite work that way. :-)

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!

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. :-)

Donna March 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Great Body Butter recipe!

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!

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.

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.

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!!!

Susan March 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm

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

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?

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!

Susan March 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Yes, exactly like the picture above. :-)

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.

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?

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!

Jenny March 28, 2013 at 8:12 am

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

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. :-)

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.

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. :-)

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?

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

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?

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!

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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