Whipped Delights: DIY Body Butter Recipes for Luxurious Skin
Updated: Dec 1
I love making body butters! They are so easy to make which makes them a great project for beginner DIYers. This is because there is no heating involved to make an emulsion. We also don’t have to worry about preservatives as body butter does not have any water. When there is water in a formulation, preservatives are needed as bacteria love water. In this case, there is no water so no need for a preservative. So, in this case, all we have to do is just measure all our gorgeous ingredients and whip them all together to make our whipped body butter.
What is body butter?
Body butter is a thick deeply hydrating skin moisturizer. It is usually made of natural butter like cocoa butter, shea butter, and or mango butter. However, it can be both a hydrogenous or an anhydrogenous cream. Meaning some versions contain water while there are also versions that don’t contain any water. Because of its thickness, it is usually recommended for people with dry skin. This is because body butter has a very high oil content. In the case of an anhydrogenous body butter, this is 100% oil content. Oils are occlusives for our skin meaning they form a protective layer between our skin and the environment to prevent moisture loss from our skin (trans-epidermal water loss).
What is the difference between body butter and body lotion?
Both body lotions and body butters moisturize our skin. Usually, both are thicker than a face moisturizer so these are only used on our bodies. Hence the words body butter and body lotion. Both are designed to be hydrating for your skin by minimizing dryness and making the skin feel softer. However, body lotion and body butter are not the same things.
The main difference between body butter and body lotion is texture. A body lotion always contains a rather large part of water. Our skin consists of a lot of water and a lotion can replenish some of this water when you apply it making your skin appear less dry. Body butter has a much lower water content or no water content at all making it much thicker and richer in consistency (almost like butter).
Where for body lotion often lightweight oils are used like jojoba oil or argan oil, for body butter more heavyweight oils are used (butters) like mango butter, babassu oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter.
Which one is best for you depends on both your skin type and personal preference. I use a body lotion almost daily while I use a body butter about once a week when I really want to deeply nourish my skin. I use it like I would use a face mask but then for my body without washing it off.
What are the benefits of body butter?
Body butter is great to deeply moisturize your skin
It forms a protective layer on your skin to prevent further water loss.
Its richness makes it great for people with dry or eczema-prone skin
It is a great full-body overnight skin mask
How to use a body butter?
A body butter may sound more complicated compared to a body lotion but luckily, this is not the case. I use mine the same way I would use my body lotion I just need to take a little more time applying it because of its thickness. So even though there is no exact manual I have some tips to enjoy your body butter even more.
Use body butter directly after your shower when your skin is still a little damp. This is ‘lock in’ the moisture that is still present on your skin, hydrating it even more.
Do you want to pamper your feet after a day with a lot of walking? Apply a generous amount of body butter on your feet and put on socks that are not too tight. Leave them on overnight and you will have super soft feet in the morning. This is obviously also possible to do with your hands.
When you apply body butter, give your skin a couple of minutes to absorb. So you don’t brush off all the body butter when you get dressed.
Apply body butter daily on those dry patches on your elbows or knees to give this skin some extra nourishment.
Shea butter is the main ingredient of the body butter we will be making. It is a fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. It’s solid at moderate temperatures but will become liquid around body temperature. It has an off-white or ivory color and has a slight nutty smell. Some people like it, some people really dislike it (refined shea butter is pure white and has no scent). Shea trees are native to Western Africa (usually Ghana or Burkina Faso) where most shea butters will come from.
Shea butter has been used in cosmetics for centuries. Its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids makes it a great ingredient for smoothing, soothing and conditioning your skin.
Squalene is naturally present in our skin as it is a natural moisturizer. This used to be an animal-derived ingredient but luckily, it no longer is. Nowadays it comes from olive, rice, or sugarcane. But the plant-derived version is very unstable so it needs to be hydrogenated to form a stable ingredient we can work with. By hydrogenating squalene, it is turned into squalane which has the same awesome benefits for our skin but is much easier to work with.
The use of squalane has a lot of benefits for our skin. According to research, squalane is also a detoxifier for your skin.
It can also boost hydration making your skin look more vibrant and it can help with collagen production to help with firmer skin.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and beneficial skincare ingredient. Research has shown that it can help protect our skin from environmental damage.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in lots of plant-derived oils like argan oil. However, the version we will be using here is a refined and very concentrated form of vitamin E.
It is important to note that vitamin E is not a preservative. Even though it can help extend the shelf life of our formulations by delaying the onset of rancidity of the oils, it does nothing to prevent microbial growth in your product.
Please don’t use vitamin E capsules or oils that are designed for direct application to the skin. These are not cosmetic ingredients, but cosmetic products.
How to make body butter less greasy?
The last ingredient we will be using in this whipped body butter is cornstarch. Often when we use body butter, your skin remains feeling sticky or oily, and don’t want to put get dressed yet as you want to avoid your clothes getting dirty. Meaning the body butter is much heavier than you want it to be. Adding starch to your formulation will help to reduce the oiliness of the body butter. This helps to give your body butter a more dry touch feeling without adding a white sheen to your skin.
Whipped body butter
The recipe I will give you is whipped body butter. This means that the ingredients will not be melted. This ensures that the ingredients will remain it highest quality and will also prevent shea butter from going grainy. Shea butter is rather sensitive when it needs to become solid again (after melting) and if this is not done fast enough, the resulting product will be grainy (feeling like sand). To avoid this, we will be making whipped body butter. This way there is no risk of creating a grainy end product because we will not melt the shea but mix it directly.
Whipped Body Butter Recipe
Storage & Shelf-life
This body butter is 100% oil-based, which means it doesn't need a broad-spectrum preservative. Preservatives keep microbial growth at bay but microbes require water to live in - no water, no microbes). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; throw it out and make a fresh batch or body butter.
Be aware that making substitutions will change the end product. While these changes won’t break the recipe, you will get a different product than I did.