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


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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{ 856 comments… read them below or add one }

Anca M November 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

If you add some beeswax,the composition will stay stabile…10 procents will be perfect,but you can use less with good results also


Beth November 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I just want to share.
So as I stated above I made 2 separate batches.
They whipped easily then seemed to lose whipped texture. Almost thinning. Well about 20 hours later, I melted more solid and then added a batch into the additional solid. Froze and whipped. Bam! Nice and fluffy. Then what the heck? Pure liquid.
The original batch # 2 set up beautifully after 24 hours.
So I guess for me I need to let it sit for 24 hours and never try to remelt it.
Weird. Anyone else try to remelt it? I don’t understand why it didn’t work. But now I have body whip and thin lotion and I had fun along the way. Hanks for sharing the recipe.


pamela November 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the great recipe.


Didi November 26, 2013 at 2:38 am

I live in South Africa, so not sure where I can get Shea butter- what can I use as a substitute? Any suggestions?


Rita November 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

How much of an essential oil would you add? How many drops?


Jessica November 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

Try using Sal butter & babassu oil. Sal butter is not as gray as Shea butter & babassu oil absorbs very quickly into the skin. I add coconut oil and vitamin e oil, too. Less coconut oil will make it firmer and less”melty”.


Shirley November 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

Can you give me some suggestions on what essential oil combination you have used?


Madison November 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

For those of you asking about essential oils, it doesn’t really matter what kind or combination you use. It just depends on your preferences. Tea tree oil would be good to add for someone that has psoriasis or eczema, as it has strong anti-microbial properties. Lavender is a nice scent that most people like. Peppermint oil would be nice if you were giving it for a Christmas gift. I would suggest looking up a chart of essential oils and what they are used for. I know Pinterest has a bunch of charts like this. As for how much to add, that is also just a matter of preference. Add a little, stir and then smell. If you want a stronger scent, add more oil 5 drops at a time. I used peppermint oil and put in 20 drops. It smells great!


Outdoors November 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I’ve made similar recipes before and while coconut oil is solid it is also very oily when applied. Does this body butter make your skin oily/greasy?


Beth November 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Outdoors… It is a little slight initially. But is soaks right in just enough so the skin still has a nice healthy glow but not blinding with shine.

Has anyone out here used Palmers Cocoa butter? I bought it and used it in the batch that didn’t turn out. After looking closely it has mineral oil in it.


Mary November 27, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Are the oil measurement by weight or by volume? Thanks.


Ash November 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Didi, you can get Shea butter from an online store called Faithful to Nature, it is based in Cape Town. If you are out of the area, your parcel will be delivered to you by courier. I’ve just placed my order now, want to try out this recipe. Sounds great.


Kachina Grimm November 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm

If you make it too solid, you could pour it into candy molds and make body bars instead of body butter! Those are just as nice to give as presents, you just rub the whole bar on yourself and it melts as you rub it on! If you add a little powder sparkle, it is even prettier!


Veronica November 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I use organic cocoa butter and it smells like chocolate! I love it! I have been using my own formula of body butter for the last three years and nothing else. Thank you for this version too.


Lesley December 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm

trying my first batch now! how long does it need to be “whipped”. it’s currently in my kitchen aid on high. :) it’s getting thicker, but not exactly whipped like the photo. it’s been going almost 5 minutes.


Susan December 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm

If you chill it properly, it will whip very quickly. It sounds like you need to re-chill.


Lesley December 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm

that worked perfectly! thanks so much for your quick reply.


Teresa December 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

To make it less greasy, you might try a teaspoon of pure cornstarch. “like argo or clabber girl”. I just found this recipe tonight so I’ve not tried it out yet. But I’ve seen videos that suggest adding cornstarch for a less greasy feel. Though I do not know if it will affect the fluffy texture of the creme. If anyone tries this recipe with the cornstarch PLEASE let me know how it went.


Susan December 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I have used cornstarch. I didn’t notice much difference.


shaina December 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I just attempted my first batch. Fail! I chilled it and tried to whip it and it turned to a solid again and got stuck in my whisk. What did i do wrong?


Susan December 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Without being in your kitchen, it is hard for me to know. It is possible that you chilled it too much. Did it look like the photo? Did you use the same ingredients?


Shaina December 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

it was a little more solid than your picture I didn’t use the exact same ingredients because I just wanted to start very basic and see if I was able to do it. I started with 75 percent cocoa butter and 25 percent grapeseed oil. I am trying to re chill as we speak and maybe leave it in for a little less time. Do I have to leave it out for a little while or can I put it right in the freezer after it is melted?


Susan December 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Using that much cocoa butter could also be the problem. It is a very hard oil. You can put it in the freezer right away.


Susan December 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I would try the actual recipe above. It is easy and it works. :-)


Shaina December 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

okay I will try that then. after remelting and rechilling I found that I left in for 5 minutes less and it whipped up nicely but putting it in a container its semi harden a little bit and comes out kind of chunky. I guess I’ll have to keep experimenting. Thanks!


Susan December 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

It is getting harder because you used all coco butter. Think of the difference between coco butter and coconut oil.


hillie December 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Just made a batch of this and (as I don’t have a big enough freezer or an outside area) I sat the top of double boiler in a bowl of water with ice cubes in – chilled perfectly :)
Thank you so much for this recipe – it’s fab!


Nha December 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi, I just made this recipe. Haven’t used it yet but I’m pretty excited. Does ur hand feel stick after rubbing this lotion on? Is that normal ? Thanks for the recipe!


Charlotte December 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hi guys, I’ve looked through the comments but haven’t found an answer how much essential oil you should use. I don’t want to ruin the batch by using too much. Thanks!


Susan December 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Essential oils: It is completely up to you. I started with about 10 drops of each and then adjusted until I liked how it smelled. :-)


Genevieve December 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm

This looks awesome! I’m very excited to try :) Thanks for the recipe!


Donna December 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I just made this…it is fantastic! Gonna make some more! LOL


Teresa December 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm

You say let cool for 30 mins but in the tips you say 20mins. which is it?


Susan December 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

There are two steps that you are referring to. The first one is to let it cool for 30 minutes after you melt the ingredients. The chilling step is 20 or so minutes. So Both. :-)


Teresa December 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm

My first batch is taking forever to solidify. My shea butter is unrefined organic shea butter. My coconut oil is unrefined organic extra virgin. what did I do wrong?


Susan December 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Did you let it cool…and then put it in the freezer? Are you talking about the whipping stage or the cooling stage?


Teresa December 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Okay finished first batch ever. It got frothy like expected but when it melts when on you it’s like you put on crisco. Is it really supposed to be that greasy? I even put two heeping half teaspoons of cornstarch so it made it kinda thick but still frothy. I didn’t follow the recipe exact I put 1/3 almond rather than 1/2 cup. You would think it I used too much oil. I did put some on my hands and arms you can feel it but I don’t quite feel like a greased monkey. At least not nearly as bad as just using coconut oil alone.


Teresa December 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm

No I put it straight into the freezer. When you say cool, perhaps you should distinguish cool as in setting it out before you put it in the freezer.


Teresa December 4, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I say that because some may not know you mean cooling by setting it out and cooling it by sticking it in the freezer. It feels good as it absorbs. I guess I’m not use to body butter. Do you have a recipe just for lotion? I’ve been using coconut oil straight. I just wanted to have it in a lotion/cream so that I can wear it during the day without staining my clothes.


Susan December 5, 2013 at 12:06 am

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.

Two distinct steps.


Teresa December 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Susan, sorry if I came across as being a bit thick. I am VERY new to this… What brands of shea butter do you recommend ? The one I bought at Whole Foods was a Fair Trade one. It was unscented and does not smell good. I bought it thinking the essential oil would fix that. Can organic unrefined shea butter go bad?


Mrs G December 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

Great recipe!
I just made it and it feels very nice on my skin! I halved the recipe and it worked just fine.

@ teresa: shea butter has its own distinct scent. Essential oils will not cover it. Personally I don’t mind it. However, if you don’t like it, then you should purchase deodorized shea butter. It’s refined in order to remove the smell.


Michelle noel December 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I made this today, thank you so much for the recipe!


Alex December 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm


I’m really excited to try this! Is there a difference between almond oil and sweet almond oil, and which did you use? I’ve seen sweet almond oil but have never seen plain almond oil and don’t know where I would get that.


Terry December 10, 2013 at 3:44 am

Just made this Beautiful Body Butter! Magnificent!!! It feels wonderful on my skin!!! Will have to make more for Christmas gifts for my daughters and friends!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!


Selina December 10, 2013 at 9:47 am

Do you know where I can get esesential oils at? and which do I use sweet almond oil or do they sale just almond oil?


Selina December 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

Do you know where I can get essential oils at? and which do I use sweet almond oil or do they sale just almond oil?


Donna December 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I just made this (2nd batch) and forgot to let it cool 30 min. before adding the almond oil and essential oils. How will this effect my butter? The first batch I made is amazing!


Stephanie December 11, 2013 at 12:52 am

Hi. I am wondering what you would suggest using if I did not want to use the coconut oil (I may be sensitive/allergic to coconut)?


Karla December 11, 2013 at 2:58 am

I used a similar recipe recently (with magnesium oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter) and had a heck of a time getting it “butterize.” Chilling is very important.

You used 1 cup shea butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, and 1/2 cup almond oil, but your notes say used 75% solid to 25% liquid. Your recipe is really 50/50 in Texas, where the coconut oil is liquid about 9 months of the year. I bought some twisting dispensers like you would use for deodorant and I’m going to put my body butter in that since it’s hard. Then it can melt on my skin as I apply it. When the weather warms back up, I’ll have to keep it in the fridge, though.


Susan December 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Karla, the melting point of coconut oil is 97 to 104 degrees. Unless you are keeping the oil in a hot place, it shouldn’t be liquid for 9 months out of the year. I made this through out hot summers in California and as long as the coconut oil was kept in a cool place, I never had a problem. Cheers!


Edel December 11, 2013 at 5:07 am

@ Selena and Alex – almond oil and sweet almond oil are the same thing. Or so I was told when looking for it. I’m looking for something for my dad’s skin because his skin is so fragile and dry. This sounds like a good option.


diane clifford December 11, 2013 at 8:16 am

What can I substitute for coconut oil? I am allergic. Thanks.


Sunny December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am

I`m very new at this, also. I accidentally bought coconut butter instead of coconut oil.. Will that work?


Cynthia December 11, 2013 at 10:48 am

Is there a substitute for Shea Butter? I think I’m allergic to Shea Butter, whenever I use a lotion with shea butter in it I have a reaction.


Susan December 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Just stick with the ratios, 75% solid to 25% liquid. Solid can be mango butter, coco butter, etc. Each butter will have it’s own characteristics and may change the consistency of the final product.


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