I love my lotion bars. Not only do they look adorable, I love the convenience of throwing one in a tin to carry around in my purse and there’s a lavish feeling in running a lotion bar over my arms and legs after a shower. However, there are days when I have neither the time nor the patience to slowly run a bar of lotion over my body waiting for my body heat to melt it slightly so that it can glide along! For these days, especially in summer when I want something lighter, I have my backup whipped body butter.
Now, I say body butter, but I actually prefer not to add any cocoa/shea/mango or any other kind of butter to my recipe because I want a lighter, softer butter. In fact, the original recipe I found recommended using liquid oil, coconut oil and beeswax in a 2:1:1 ratio; however, I find that I prefer a slightly larger amount of the liquid oil just so that the final product is more runny and therefore, easier to apply and to absorb. By runny, I mean roughly the consistency of icecream that has just softened. That’s a delectable thought, isn’t it? 😀
You will need:
- Almond, avocado, olive or other liquid oil of your choosing — 1¼-1½ cups (I prefer mostly almond oil with a couple of tablespoons of castor oil*)
- Coconut oil — ½ cup
- Beeswax, small pieces** — ½ cup
- Essential oils of your choosing (optional) — about 20-30 drops in total***
* Castor oil, while great for the skin, is a rather drying oil, meaning your skin will feel kind of stretchy after you use it. Do not add too much of this, especially if you have dry skin.
** Read more about beeswax in my DIY lotion bars post
*** See suggestions for essential oils blends later in this article
1. Warm a pot of water until it starts to simmer. Pour the beeswax pellets or pieces into a container — I use a clean metal can — and place the container in the warm water, making sure that no water can get in. Do not melt beeswax in a microwave or over a direct flame; the melting point of beeswax is just under 65ºC and it can catch on fire if overheated! Always use the double boiler method.
2. Once almost all the beeswax has melted (it will turn clear), add in the coconut oil. Stir with a craft stick to ensure even heating. Take off the stove once all the oils have melted & blended.
3. Add in the liquid oil and stir the mixture to ensure even distribution. Once the mixture has cooled very slightly (the sides will start to get a little cloudy), add in the essential oils and stir the mixture. Essential oils tend to evaporate faster at high temperatures, and waiting a couple of minutes retains as much of the oils as possible. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let set until the top is cloudy and looks solid, about 10-15 minutes (top left picture below).
4. Once it looks set, use a whisk to stir up the mixture, mixing well. The butter will be harder on the surface and around the edges of the bowl, so make sure to incorporate these and break them up. If you do not break up the chunks, the final product will be chunky or grainy rather than smooth; not so buttery.
The butter will be very runny after the first round of whisking, as shown in the top right picture above. Let it set for another 10 minutes, and whisk it again. Repeat this process a couple of times until the butter is the consistency you want. My final product is pictured in the bottom right picture above. Be aggressive with the whisk to incorporate more air into the mixture. As you can see in the pictures, the butter gets lighter each time you whisk because it is getting aerated (just like egg yolks!).
If you want to cut down on waiting time, place the bowl in the fridge between rounds of whisking. You can also use an egg beater, mixer or hand blender to do this to incorporate even more air for a fluffier product.
Spoon the butter into a container and you are set! A little of this goes a long, long way, so apply conservatively. As the butter sits on your skin, the beeswax and coconut oil melt, leaving a slightly greasy & shiny look/feel for a couple of minutes. I find that it usually takes about 5-10 minutes to absorb completely, after which my skin is baby soft!
Oils typically do not add moisture to your skin; they only retain what moisture is already present. Therefore, the best time to apply this is immediately after a shower. I also like to apply this at night for some intense overnight moisturizing. This might take some getting used to because it is slightly more greasy than commercial lotion; just give the oils 10 minutes or so to absorb and you should be good to go. Once absorbed, they leave your skin feeling soft and supple for 24 hours or more. There really is a world of difference between this body butter and commercial ones. Give this a try & I am quite sure you won’t be disappointed!
To read more about beeswax — including how to process a block and benefits — read this post. As always, a final warning about essential oil safety: EOs are extremely potent and cannot be used straight on the skin without diluting in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, jojoba, etc.). Certain oils, such as cinnamon, are infamously tricky and must be used with special care. Citrus oils may burn the skin if exposed to sunlight within a couple of hours of use. Please read up about essential oil use before adding them; I am very wary of most EOs and always try to err on the safe side, and I bear no responsibility if you over- or misuse your EOs! Essential oils, while useful in many ways, are serious business and must always be handled responsibly. I add no more than 20-30 drops in total to the amounts specified in this recipe.
Some Essential Oil Blend Suggestions
Here are some of my favourite combinations of essential oils (EO):
- Energizing citrus blast: 10 drops grapefruit + 10 drops tangerine + 5 drops lemon
- Rosemary-citrus: 15 drops citrus EO (any or blend of grapefruit, tangerine, orange, lemon, bergamot) + 10 drops rosemary
- Orange creamsicle: 15 drops tangerine/orange + 7-10 drops vanilla (technically, vanilla is not an EO, just a concentrated solution)
- Peppermint cream: 15-20 drops peppermint + 5 drops vanilla
- Relaxing blend: 10 drops lavender + 5 drops rosemary + 5 drops lemon
- Oriental spice blend (my absolute favourite!): 10 drops star anise + 5 drops cinnamon
- Antifungal/healing blend: 10 drops tea tree + 10 drops lavender
- Decongestant blend (smells just like VapoRub): 10 drops lavender + 10 drops eucalyptus + 10 drops rosemary