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Friday, March 28, 2014

whipped body butters

I first found this basic recipe for Whipped Body Butter on Wellness Mama. We fell in love with the stuff instantly. My husband, in classic form true to the reactions of all the other men in my life, doesn't like lotion. Doesn't lotion. Will put on sunscreen as needed. Doesn't lotion. And yet my husband likes this stuff! He even uses it on himself!! (Deserving of the sacrilegious double exclamation point, I think.) It's proven the easiest, fastest thing to smear all over a wiggling toddler. My favorite nightly eye cream. And if my house grows warm and it melts a bit, I can just whip it back up again. Fabulous.

Of course, I had to improve upon perfection! Here is the basic recipe and my photos, followed by some of my own variations on the theme for other scents and healing butters. Not everybody likes smelling of chocolate, after all.

  • 3 oz shea butter
  • 3 oz cocoa butter
  • 3 oz coconut oil

    Or, just equal weights of each... You can make as much as you like! My size of stand mixer bowl won't properly whip up too small a batch, though, so this is as small as I recommend making at one time. It does keep.

    Wellness Mama suggests using an additional part of liquid base oil, such as olive, grapeseed, apricot kernel, avocado, almond... You can simply double your coconut oil instead. You can add the extra oil for texture softness if you live in a cooler climate, but I find that central Arizona, despite our AC ia for nine months of the year warm enough that my butter doesn't actually require more liquid oil to the recipe. It stands up more stiffly whipped without the liquid oil. However, I took some of a basic batch of shea, cocoa and coconut oil butter, without anything else added, to England with us a couple of months ago. The temperature in Mum's house was consistently much cooler, especially in the bathrooms upstairs, and my usually silky butter became somewhat crumbly in the cold. It still melted on the skin, and when we returned home to AZ the texture righted itself, but crumbly butter just isn't as decadent to scoop up.
  • optional essential oils 20-30 drops

    I suggest essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, geranium, rose, lavender, ylang ylang, rosemary, thyme, oregano, clary sage, tea tree, cinnamon, clove. Most things that would blend well with chocolate for eating will blend well with this basic whipped butter. It's not so strongly chocolatey, either, so while delightful plain, if you add more astringent oils such as rosemary and lavender, the edible scent wafting from you all day will be considerably more hidden than if you decide to smell like an exotic chocolate box. Personally, I like smelling edible! Kinda sexy. ;)

    I do not recommend adding any citrus oils, such as orange or lemon. They do smell fabulous. (Terry's Chocolate Orange, anyone?) However, citrus oils are photosensitive, and when used all over the skin and exposed to sunlight can make a body hypersensitive, itchy, more prone to sunburn, or at the very least just sunspot. I may think grey hair is cool, but I have no ambitions for more sunspots than I already got on the backs of my hands when I was pregnant. After all, I won't even be 30 for a few months yet!

Measure your equal weights of raw ingredients: cocoa butter (dark yellow on the left, the highest melting point), shea butter (the creamy lumps on the right), and coconut oil (the white shiny mound at the back, the lowest melting point).


Prepare your double boiler. A bowl over or in a pot of water does fine for me.


Melt sloooowwwwwllly. Really. This should take about 30 minutes, and the water never simmers. The coconut oil melts first. Just give the lumps of butters a poke around every so often as they melt down. It is really, really important not to rush this step. Raw butters, especially cocoa, need to be tempered when melted for the first time: they need to be very slowly melted down with not too great a heat. Otherwise, they will be unstable.


See this pic? The grainy stuff on my finger? That was a cocoa, shea and apricot kernel oil mix I melted down, in a very small batch just enough to fill two tubs of lipbalm/eye cream. I melted too quickly, in part because the batch was so small, and after the 2nd month the cocoa butter decided to clam up and form little grains through the texture. It still melts on the skin, but again, not desirable. This is what you do not want in your whipped body butter. So melt slooowly.


After everything has melted, set it somewhere to cool for an hour (or several, if you have other places to be) until room temperature. Just throw a cloth over the top in case of dust or bugs. Pour into the mixer bowl. Add your essential oils. The "Baby Skin" blend by Native American Nutritionals is really yummy, and fab for sensitive skin.


Start whipping. The liquid won't whip up properly in this step, but it will take on a yellow more akin to solid butter, instead of the melted butter it was before. (I'm talking about butter from cows.)

Now, transfer the bowl to the fridge. Let it set up for about an hour. Let me explain why.

You know when you make chocolate chip cookies and the butter shouldn't be melty, but it needs to be softer than it comes fully chilled from the fridge? Then in the bowl when you fluff it up before adding the sugar and eggs, the butter takes on a paler color, becomes smooth and almost frosting-like? You want that. But you are trying to get your melted body-butter butter back to a soft, whippable solid, like cookie-making butter that has come from the fridge and been softened for 12 seconds in the microwave. Hence, only chill for about an hour. It shouldn't be totally firm but a little indentable. 


When the butter is at a sensible softness (check with your finger), pop it back on the mixing stand and go at it full blast. Now you are whipping up the butter as if you were making buttercream frosting. It becomes soft, spreadable, light with air pumped into it. Coconut oil will do this all by itself most times of the year here, but since it is sensitive to temperature changes it makes for an unstable spread. The cocoa and shea provide stability in the way that icing sugar stiffens up buttercream frosting.


And there you have it! Whipped body butter! Looks edible, right? You probably would be fine having a lick, especially without essential oils added, but don't do it. Frost yourself, instead. This stuff is...divine. It must be. It smooths in like, well, like butter! And leaves your skin softer than silk, and stronger and healthier than before.

So now you have the basic method. Would you like some additional recipes? Same process, but changing up the ingredients for some fun varieties of body butters.

Avocado Butter:

  • Avocado butter 
  • Shea butter 
  • Coconut oil  

Green Goddess Butter: (my favorite one -- ultra healing, anti-acne, heals the mozzie bites that inevitably happen each summer, and the essential oils promote lymph drainage for smoother legs) 

  • Avocado butter
  • Shea butter  
  • Avocado oil infused with plantain for bug bite soothing, and add 1/2 oz beeswax pastilles per 4 oz oil  
  • Rosemary, lavender and pine essential oils 

After Eight Butter:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut oil 
  • Peppermint essential oil

Tropical Touch Butter:


Cafe Latte Butter:

  • Coffee butter
  • Shea butter  
  • Grapeseed oil, and add 1/2 oz beeswax pastilles per 4 oz oil  

Coffee Truffle Butter:

  • Coffee butter 
  • Cocoa butter 
  • Apricot kernel oil, and add 1/2 oz beeswax pastilles per 4 oz oil 
  • Rose and geranium essential oils 

This Brambleberry Supplies list of butters can get you started with high quality and affordable raw butters for inclusion in your home beauty products.

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