Butter Therapy - The Basics of Body Butter

Butter therapy. It sounds a little like nuturing care, love, and mamma's gentle touch all rolled into one, don't you think?

In keeping with this years 'back to basics' theme, we're going to be taking an up-close and personal look at body butter.

By dissecting its components and and getting acquainted with what each ingredient brings to the mix, it actually becomes quite easy to create your own body butter formulas.  By the time we're finished, you're going to be a veritable body-butter making whiz!

Butter - Say the Name

Speaking from an ingredients standpoint, a body butter is a mere hop, skip, and jump away from a lotion bar. If you've ever made a lotion bar, you'll feel right at home making body butter. The ingredients are pretty much the same – it's just a question of proportions.

And speaking of ingredients...

There are a many companies out there selling 'body butter', but when you look at the ingredients list, the very first listed ingredient is water.



It would appear a few companies have missed the memo.

By the very nature of its name, body butter is anhydrous.


Sans liquid.

I mean, check the name: Body BUTTER.

Is there even the slightest indication that water, hydrosol, or anything else water-based belongs in there?

I rest my case.

So, What's in Body Butter?

There are 3 basic ingredients in body butter
  • wax 
  • butter
  • oil

And if you really want to get minimalistic, you can even cut back to 2 ingredients:
  • oil & wax 
  • oil & butter 

Even with only 2 ingredients, a body butter can be the most fabulous moisturiser you've ever used - melting in easily and leaving your skin silky smooth without the slightest trace of greasy feel. (yes, really)

Because there are so many wonderful butters and oils to choose from, the possibilities are truly vast.

As for waxes: most of my experimenting with waxes has been limited to the various types of beeswax (filtered, unfiltered, organic etc etc), but maybe we will try out a few alternative waxes by the time we're finished with this series.

Is That It?

Yup, that's pretty much it. You can keep it simple or get as fancy as you like. It is easy to add actives, scents and other extras – as long as they are oil based.

A couple of examples of extras:
  • e-vitamin (retards rancidity)
  • essential oils for scent and for special purposes (like a calming, relaxing massage butter)
  • macerated herb oil for special purposes (like a soothing balm to aid healing)
  • spice-infused oil for scent and special purposes (like a muscle-warming mix)

What's Next?

We're going to take a quick look at some different butters and their melting points in preparation for our first body butter how-to.

Stay tuned!

A Bit More Butter

Lotion Bars with Local Beeswax
Marina's (from Saponifier Magazine) body balm
10 uses for Body Butter
Check for Butter under TOPICS to read up on some of the butters you might want to use


María said…
Body butters, so simple and versatile from head to toes... I only wish there were more recipes without shea butter. I don't like it. I hate it.
I'm currently working in using just what I have in my inventory, but sometimes I find hard to formulate using coconut + cocoa + oil (maybe with a hint of beeswax).
I think this is a matter of temperature (I mean the exterior temperature), it's too cold. I have a formula that works pretty good for lip balms for the summer (equal parts of the four above) but it could be too hard for winter, not to say for a body butter.
More research is needed... ;)
Anonymous said…
I have trouble getting it whipped so it doesn't get really hard. Any suggestions? Also, did you once talk about purifying/rendering bees wax? It is stuck in my head that there may be impurities in beeswax that affect the outcome of products. I can't rcall were I read this.
LisaLise said…
HI María - absolutely spot on - I love body butters for the exact same reason. I think I know why you're not crazy about shea. It's a bit of a bucket of worms to work with.

Hej there JNC- I think you're thinking about filtering the beeswax I did in an earlier post. I got beeswax from a local bee farmer that was 'raw' and needed to be filtered. I made lotion bars with it.

As for whipping to get the right texture, that is indeed a challenge and very dependent upon the butters, production method and even climate. We might look at whipping body butters at one point as well.
alicyn said…
ooh, i can't wait to read about this! aside from the urtegaarden mascara, i still haven't made anything that wasn't from eyeballed "measurements" and immediately used (mainly sugar scrubs and clay masks). a 2-3 ingredient body butter sounds perfect!
LisaLise said…
Hi Alicyn - oooh you can look forward to these how-to's then! All you'll need is a good scale and you'll be set to go. :)
LisaLise said…
Thank you kindly, Nad Law :)