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    April 15, 2021 5 min read

    Body Butters For Beginners


    Body butters are super simple products that, despite their simplicity and the range of much ‘fancier’ products available, have never lost their appeal over the years. They are rich and creamy, highly moisturising for the skin and great for all skin types. Best of all they are perfect introductions to DIY for the beginner formulator!


    Let’s chat a bit about the components of a body butter: body butters consist of butters and oils. Like most DIY products you can make them as simple or as complex as you like.


    Types of Butters

    Butters are of course the key ingredient in a body butter. At EN we stock a range of  natural butters that come in organic and conventional, refined and unrefined/raw varieties. 


    Shea butter - a note on unrefined shea butter: it does have an ‘unusual’ scent! Some would describe it as earthy, smoky, or even a little poo-like. I don’t personally mind the scent but some people can’t stand it and it is a little hard to mask even with essential oils. If you don’t think you will like it, please use refined shea butter which has a neutral scent.


    Avocado butter - I love avocado butter because I find it slightly less greasy than shea butter and it sinks into my skin beautifully.


    Cocoa butter - unrefined/raw cocoa butter has the most glorious chocolate scent. Keep this in mind if you are sensitive to strong chocolatey scents, or want to add an essential oil that may clash with it. Citrus scents or vanilla go well with chocolate, but other scents may just be weird.


    Mango butter - also less greasy than shea butter.


    Fancy variation: you can use 50% of one butter and 50% of another butter for a butter blend!




    Types Of Oils

    We add an oil to the butter to make it a little more soft and whippy. Try to go for oils that are relatively light and not too greasy, although this is up to you and you are welcome to use just about any carrier oil. 


    Recommendations:

    Jojoba oilsafflower oilalmond oilapricot kernel oilgrapeseed oil, etc


    You could also try something more extravagant such as  squalane.


    Fancy variation: You are also welcome to use two or more oils instead of just one, or even use an infused oil if you are making them.



    Extras

    To cut greasiness, we always add in a bit of  arrowroot powder, or you can use cornstarch.

    Vitamin E oil is lovely to add for its skin benefits and it is also an antioxidant.

    Essential oils are great for adding a scent.



    We like to whip our body butters, because if you don’t you get a very plain balm-like consistency, and we want the result to be buttery. Whipping up adds some lightness to the texture and gives a soft fluffy appearance. It will also feel nicer.


    Basic Whipped Body Butter Formula

    59% shea butter or other  butter of choice (take note of the variations below)

    30%  oil(s) of choice

    10.5%  arrowroot powder

    0.5% vitamin E oil


    You can cold process this recipe (meaning no heating or melting of ingredients), or you can melt it and let it reset, it’s up to you.


    To cold process, weigh out your ingredients. Mash the shea butter up to make it more workable, then add the rest of the ingredients and beat with an electric beater until it is well mixed and fluffy. It will lighten in colour a bit. Once it is smooth and whipped you can decant it into a jar or tin. Apply less than you think you will need as a little goes a long way with butters!



    To hot process it, weigh out your ingredients. You will need to hot process the body butter if you are using a hard butter such as cocoa butter. Shea, avocado and mango butters should be fine to cold process but you are welcome to hot process them as well if it is easier for you. 

    Melt the shea butter by itself in a hot water bath (bowl containing the shea butter over a pot of simmering water), or in quick bursts in the microwave. Once melted, blend in the rest of the ingredients and stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes or until it just starts to solidify. Then remove it from the fridge and whip it with an electric beater until smooth and fluffy. Decant the mixture into a jar or tin and enjoy.



    Variations And Troubleshooting

    The amount of butter in the formula was based off shea butter. If you are using cocoa butter which is much harder you may want to reduce the amount used and increase the oil amount to compensate. 


    If you live in a hot climate you may want to increase the amount of butter slightly to make a more solid body butter which won’t melt. 


    Conversely, if you live in a cold climate you may want to increase the amount of oil and reduce the amount of butter to make your body butter softer (it will harden in the cold otherwise).


    Similarly if your body butter is too hard, reduce the butter component and increase the oil part. 


    If your body butter is too soft, reduce the oil and increase the butter.


    If you are still finding the body butter too greasy you are welcome to increase the amount of arrowroot powder used.


    If you would like to add in essential oils, reduce the oil amount by 0.5% and add in 0.5% essential oil.


    As this is an anhydrous (no water content) recipe, a preservative is not required.



    A note on grainy shea butter:

    Shea butter, out of all the butters, can be prone to graininess. This occurs when it goes through temperature fluctuations due to transport or weather changes, and the different fatty acids melt and solidify at different rates, creating little grains. There is nothing wrong with the shea butter itself if this does occur but it can be unsightly and feel unpleasant. To fix it you will need to gently but thoroughly melt down the shea butter until every grain has melted. Then decant the melted butter into a container and cool it gently either in a cold water bath or for short periods in the fridge, while stirring often until it reaches trace (when you can see the drizzle or ‘trace’ of the butter in the mixture if you lift a spoon of it up and drizzle it). Once it has reached a medium trace you may whip it.



    A tip for packaging:

    A piped look is quite popular for whipped body butters. You don’t even need a piping bag: simply snip off a small corner of a plastic sandwich bag, or cut an ‘x’ into the corner. Then fill the bag up with your body butter and squeeze it through the snipped corner into your jar or tin in circular motions to create the piped look.


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