beauty

I Tried Making Homemade Body Butter To Quench My Extremely Dry Skin

by Kim Wong-Shing

It’s winter, and my skin is SO DRY. Somebody call the police!

What’s that, you say? Dry winter skin is one of the most common skin ailments in all of humanity? Ah, OK. Then I must not be the only one who will appreciate this rich homemade body butter for the winter.

This homemade body butter uses nourishing all-natural oils, butters, and essential oils to soothe and hydrate winter skin. I made it because, frankly, I’m tired of being ashy from head to toe. I don’t live in a particularly cold climate, nor am I prone to dry skin, but for some reason, this year has just been brutal. Like, moisturize-twice-a-day type of brutal.

All I wanted, really, was a thick (but not too thick) moisturizer that would actually satiate my skin’s endless thirst. But I’m not a huge fan of actual moisturizers from the store, mostly because they smell way too strong. Do I want to smell like Hot Raindrop Syrup or some such scent from head to toe? No offense, but no, not particularly.

Instead of using store-bought lotion, I usually employ the “slather some type of natural oil all over my skin and call it a day” method. But being covered in coconut oil gets old, and it wasn’t quite doing the trick anymore.

So naturally, the next logical step was to whip up my own thick (but not too thick) body butter using those natural oils.

I’ll be honest — when I first looked up some body butter recipes, I couldn’t help but notice that they were very similar to the DIY shaving cream that I made a few months back, which makes sense. Both recipes are basically just oil and butter whipped together, and I did sometimes use that shaving cream to moisturize my skin. But! This body butter is different, I promise. It’s, dare I say, much better.

In making this body butter, I had a few hopes. First was that it would be moisturizing, obviously. Second was that it would smell nice, but not like overpowering Hot Raindrop Syrup from the store. And third was that it wouldn’t be too greasy to be practical.

With that in mind, here’s how it panned out — and how you can make your own.

Homemade Body Butter: The Equipment

Homemade Body Butter: The Equipment
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This body butter is relatively simple in terms of equipment and ingredients.

In terms of kitchen equipment, you need a double boiler, measuring cups, and a hand mixer or stand mixer. You’ll also need a glass jar or container to put the body butter into; I used a 14 oz. glass jar.

If you don’t own a double boiler, join the club. You can put together a makeshift one by using a large pot and a glass or Pyrex bowl.

Homemade Body Butter: Ingredients

Homemade Body Butter: Ingredients
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This body butter has five basic components:

Butter. Shea butter and cocoa butter are both very thick and moisturizing. They also help treat and prevent itchiness, peeling, and irritation. Another popular option is mango butter.

Oil. Coconut oil repairs and moisturizes the skin at the same time. It’s naturally antibacterial and antifungal, and it contains vitamin E. If you want a more lightweight body butter, you can always skip the coconut oil, but I wanted something thick, so I included it.

Carrier oil. I used sweet almond oil, a current favorite of mine because it’s cheap and easily available. It protects your skin from damage, heals, and moisturizes. You can also use a ton of other oils instead, though — jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, calendula oil, olive oil, rosehip oil, or safflower oil, to name a few. Whatever you can get easily will work.

Essential oils. These are mainly used for scent and aromatherapeutic purposes. I usually moisturize at night, when I want to chill out, so I used a relaxing blend called “Balance” that contains geranium, orange, patchouli, sage, and ylang-ylang. You can use whatever essential oils you like based on the mood you want to invoke.

Arrowroot powder. This is optional, but I decided to add arrowroot powder because it naturally reduces the greasiness.

Step 1: Heat Some Water

Step 1: Heat Some Water
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First, I filled a large pot with water and put it on the stove. I put the heat on medium-high.

While waiting for the water to boil, I moved on to the next step.

Step 2: Combine Coconut Oil and Butters

Step 2: Combine Coconut Oil and Butters
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I combined 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup shea butter, and 1/3 cup cocoa butter. Basically, you want an even ratio of each butter and oil.

I added the ingredients to a large Pyrex measuring cup. 

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You can also use a large glass bowl — something that will be able to float inside of the large pot of water.

Step 3: Add to (Makeshift) Double Boiler

Step 3: Add to (Makeshift) Double Boiler
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After the water began to boil, I turned it down to a simmer and put the Pyrex cup into the water.

As the butters began to melt, I moved onto step 4.

Step 4: Combine Carrier Oil and Arrowroot Powder

Step 4: Combine Carrier Oil and Arrowroot Powder
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I combined 1/3 cup almond oil with 1 1/2 tbsps. arrowroot powder.

I stirred it with a fork, and then set it aside in a bowl for a bit later.

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Meanwhile, I kept stirring the melting butters.

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When the butter was completely melted, I took the cup out of the water and turned off the heat.

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Mmm, hot melted butter!

Ready for the next step.

Step 5: Harden Butters in Freezer or Fridge

Step 5: Harden Butters in Freezer or Fridge
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I put the melted butter mix into the freezer to get solid again. I’m not sure how long it took because I lost track of time, but it’s a pretty quick process — under 30 minutes.

Step 6: Add the Rest of the Ingredients

Step 6: Add the Rest of the Ingredients
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I removed the butter from the freezer when it was mostly hard, then transferred it to a large mixing bowl.

I added the almond oil and arrowroot powder concoction to the bowl. Then I added about 10 drops of essential oils — a blend of geranium, orange, patchouli, sage, and ylang-ylang.

(In retrospect, the recipe said to add the essential oil later, after whipping the butter and putting it into jars. Whoops! I did it at this step, and it turned out fine. However, if you want to try making multiple scents, you can skip the essential oil for now, dispense the butter into smaller containers, and then add the essential oils at the very end.)

Step 7: WHIP IT

Step 7: WHIP IT
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I used a hand mixer on the “low” setting to whip the butter until it reached a creamy, smooth, firm consistency. 

At one point, I had to put the mixture back into the freezer to reharden, then start whipping again.

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The rule of thumb I saw is that if it stays on a spoon when held upside down, it’s firm enough.

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Looking good!

Step 8: Dispense Into Container(s)

Step 8: Dispense Into Container(s)
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After my butter was nice and whipped, I transferred it into a 14 oz. glass jar — one that, conveniently, used to hold coconut oil.

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The body butter looked and smelled promising. I was excited to try it out!

Homemade Body Butter: The Test

Homemade Body Butter: The Test
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So how did my body butter live up to my expectations?

I wanted it to be ultra-moisturizing. That one is a no-brainer — it’s moisturizing as heck. I slather it on before bed and wake up to super-soft, smooth skin.

I also wanted it to smell good, and it does! This butter smells so soothing and relaxing — the perfect thing to put on my skin before bed. I swear I sleep better after applying it. I’m glad I opted for a premade essential oil blend rather than trying to build my own scent, which is harder than I thought.

Lastly, I wanted the butter to be nongreasy. I didn’t really expect to accomplish this — it’s butter and oil mixed together, so of course it’ll be greasy. But somehow, IT’S NOT. It’s surprisingly firm and fast-absorbing. (It’s a million times better than the DIY shaving cream, which just slid around my skin in a greasy puddle.)

It firmed up even more overnight, resulting in a texture that is just like whipped butter from the grocery store.

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The body butter melts easily in my hands. After melting, I do notice a bit of grit, which I hear is normal for these recipes. But the chunks quickly melt away, too, and they don’t negatively affect the butter at all.

A little of this body butter goes a long way. I’m really amped to put it on every night until spring comes and my skin stops being… like this. Thank goodness for moisturizer!