Recipe for Herbal-Infused Body Butter

If only you could have seen the mess I made while making up this homemade body butter/moisturizing cream. And not because it’s difficult, but because I am an idiot. So when I share this recipe with you, do as I say and not as I do, OK? I promise you will love this stuff and you might love even more that it’s all natural, homemade and money-saving*. With other moisturizers, I felt like I needed to apply and reapply constantly, especially on my hands which get pretty roughed up from jewelry making and gardening. Not this stuff! If I might toot my own horn, this cream will leave your skin feeling moisturized for hours, but not greasy. My picky husband and even pickier teenage daughter raved about it (I know, right?) and I just basked in the glow of success, primly keeping to myself all the silly mistakes which I’ll share with you so you don’t make them, too (just look for the asterisk* and scroll down to the end for my tips). This recipe makes a lightly honey-scented (nope, you won’t smell the olive oil), very rich, very emollient moisturizing cream with the consistency of whipped butter. I found most of my ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs but I’m sure a health-food store would also carry these. This is my first attempt at creating a moisturizing cream recipe from scratch and I hope you like it!

RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE MOISTURIZING CREAM/BODY BUTTER

(makes about 24 ounces**)

1 cup herbal-infused distilled water

1/2 cup beeswax

1/2 cup sweet almond oil

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract (a natural preservative)

1 teaspoon evening primrose oil

1/4 teaspoon cosmetic-grade borax

essential oil (optional–I skipped this)

Step 1: Gather your botanicals to make an herbal infusion. This is totally optional to add herbs to your water first, but the distilled water part is a necessary ingredient. Steeping the herbs made our house smell fantastic, and I found it gave my body butter a light, herbal scent in the finished product. I poured about 2-3 cups of  water into a saucepan, added lavender, rosemary, calendula and rosehips, and steeped on low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until it looked like dark tea.  Use a cheesecloth to remove the herbs from your infusion leaving just 1 cup of the liquid behind. NEXT, ADD YOUR BORAX AND MAKE SURE IT IS DISSOLVED COMPLETELY IN THE WATER.***

Step 2: While your herbs are steeping, in another large**** saucepot, slowly melt your beeswax skimming any dirt or dust particles that may rise to the surface so it’s completely clear. Turn off heat. 

Step 3: Add the remaining oils in with your melted beeswax and stir in gently using a wire whisk. 

Step 4: While whisking, slowly add your herbal infusion (water) to your oils and begin blending. See further blending instructions below.

Step 5: Whip the oils and water into submission. You may want to switch to an electric hand mixer at this point because you will be mixing for a while. (The photo was taken before I came to my senses and plugged in the mixer.) To break it down for you, you want to start mixing at the lowest speed, blending and scraping sides of pot. As the cream thickens, continue to increase the speed while always scraping sides of the bowl. This would be a good time to add your essential oils if you choose to. I skipped this step because I didn’t want a heavy scent. After about 20 minutes my body butter started to have the consistency of mousse which was when I glopped it into the storage containers I had clean and waiting.*****

Step 6/Cleanup: Your body butter will initially look like mousse but will firm up as it cools to have the consistency of whipped butter or cookie dough. Leave the lids off of the storage containers until it has completely cooled and perhaps consider putting the jars you are not using into the fridge to extend their shelf life. When cleaning up, I recommend wiping down surfaces first with a paper towel to get as much of the oils off of the utensils and saucepots before washing.******

Homemade moisturizing body butter: Looks & smells almost good enough to eat!

This body butter will go a long way as a little dab is all you need. I find it’s best to scoop some out and then let the heat of your body warm the oils so that it melts right into your skin. You can probably make this recipe less thick, if that’s your cup of tea, by dialing back the beeswax. If you do, I’d love to hear how it works out!

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* Money-saving is a relative term because I’m not sure what you spend on moisturizers. Personally, I prefer the all-natural products which are great but usually more expensive. Although the initial expense of purchasing oils and such was a chunk of change, there is enough for many batches so making this myself will definitely save us money in the long run.

** In hindsight, I should have made much less as it’s going to take us a long while to go through 32 ounces. Maybe you could halve the recipe, or get in on this with a friend and share the costs of the materials?

*** I FORGOT MY BORAX! Borax is necessary to help prevent the oils and water from separating in the finished product. Our body butter is still perfectly fine to use, but is a bit messy and may not have as long a shelf life.

**** My saucepot wasn’t large enough so when I started mixing, well, you can probably guess what happened. (Mess the first.)

***** I recommend using small, wide-mouth containers for storage. It will make it easier to spoon your body-butter, which will have a mousse-like consistency at this point, without spilling everywhere. (Mess the second.)

****** A good grease-cutter dishwashing soap will help clean your utensils, but best to wipe everything down first so you don’t leave clumps of body butter in your sink. (Mess the third.)

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Messes yes, but what fun you have had with this new adventure! That’s the spice of life! It sounds like your pretty happy with the resulting body butter. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. The most difficult part of the project sounds like finding and assembling the ingredients.

    • 2

      Hedgerow Rose says

      Marion you are so right! Half the fun was the adventure and subsequent mess-making. Honestly, finding the materials wasn’t hard at all. Chances are you already have olive oil on hand, the distilled water can be purchased at your grocery store, and the rest of the supplies (oils and beeswax) can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs. Good luck!!

      http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

  2. 5

    Kay says

    This looks fantastic! I’ve been looking for a veganizable recipe for something body-butter-ish, none of the vegan moisturizers I’m willing to pony up for are cutting it this winter. I just have one question: I have atopic dermatitis, which comes with amazingly dry skin, so most skincare authorities recommend something moisturizing enough that it leaves your skin feeling just a little greasy afterward. Could I achieve that effect by adjusting ingredient ratios in the recipe as given, or would you recommend adding some other ingredient?

    Thanks for your time and consideration :)

    • 6

      Hedgerow Rose says

      Hi Kay! I’m certainly no expert, but I have ridiculously dry skin in winter and this body butter worked wonders just as is. (I had to keep it in the fridge, though, because if not the oils and water would separate and it started to look icky. I’m not sure if that was because I forgot to add the borax or if it’s because there aren’t any preservatives in it.) If you decide to try this recipe, I would recommend making a tiny sample batch to see how your skin reacts to it. Best of luck and let me know how everything works out! :)

      • 7

        Kay says

        Awesome! Before I actually buy supplies (I’ve been comparing prices in my free time — I can’t help it, I’m an accountant!), I was wondering, how do I know whether borax is cosmetic-grade or not? For instance, could I use the 20 Mule Team borax you find at the grocery store?

        • 8

          Hedgerow Rose says

          This is a very good question. According to Mountain Rose Herbs which sells cosmetic grade Borax, “natural source cosmetic grade Sodium Borate does not contain surfactants and detergents which are commonly found in commercial Borax products.” But you know, you can skip the borax step as I did if you want to. The only thing is, you will need to keep it in the fridge otherwise I noticed that the oils and waters (probably due to warm air temps) separated and the cream would start to get moldy after a couple of days. I kept a jar in the fridge and didn’t have that problem. It was just more inconvenient. I have yet to make mine with borax since I accidentally skipped this step, but I will try it next time to see if it really does prevent the separation of the ingredients. Hope this helps!

          • 9

            Kay says

            Thanks so much for your help! I just made a small sample batch (quartered the recipe), with a few modifications: I used aloe vera juice instead of water, skipped the herbs (but still heated it up enough to dissolve the borax), and substituted candelilla wax for beeswax. I also added about half a tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice as a preservative and about the same amount of Vitamin E oil as evening primrose oil — I read somewhere that antioxidants were good things to have in recipes with evening primrose oil, and it was cheap, so I figured what the heck.

            I’m not sure candelilla wax + borax worked as well as I would expect beeswax + borax to, I can see clear liquid pooling at the bottom of the jar. Or possibly aloe vera juice doesn’t emulsify as well as plain water would, I’m not sure… more experimentation may be required.

            Anyway, from initial results I think you were right about how moisturizing it is — it feels like it’s about as potent as Eucerin cream. My hands are loving this stuff! Thanks again!

            • 10

              Hedgerow Rose says

              That is fantastic! Thank you for sharing this…your comments and tips have been invaluable to myself and other readers. :)

  3. 11

    Sherry Davis says

    Hey I have a question. I have most of the ingredients to do this at home with the exception of the herbs. I have read over your recipe and wanted to know how much of each of the herbs do you steep in the distilled water? Is there a certain amount you suggest that I use? Will placing too many herbs in the water cause the herb infusion to be too strong? Thanks :)

    • 12

      Hedgerow Rose says

      Hi Sherry…I’m probably going to be no help to you because I didn’t measure the amount of dried lavender I used. But I am guessing it was about 1/2 cup dried lavender to about 3 cups water (some of the water evaporates and then you reserve 1 cup for the recipe). I don’t think you could make this “too strong” in an unpleasant way, but it may change the color of the cream (my infusion was a tea color and it made my cream sort of beige in color). The next time I make this, I am going to be infusing some comfrey leaves and again, probably put in about 1/2 cup to about 3 cups of water keeping 1 cup for the recipe. I hope this helps and be sure to let me know how yours comes out! :)

  4. 13

    Sherry Davis says

    Okay, Lara. I was so excited to try this that I bought the herbs this weekend to attempt to create your recipe. I already had most of the ingredients at home with the exception of the borax. So I instead of using Borax I used Emulsifying wax. You’re right my home smelled great! The end result was not quite what I expected. The mixture was like a mousse when I finally got through whipping it together. Although it’s not a problem, I felt like it should have been alot smoother when applying it. It’s not oily which is a plus. Do you think the reason it was not smooth was because of the emulsifying wax? I also don’t like using beeswax because it’s a pain to deal with because it doesn’t remain in its liquid state after becoming slightly cool. Is there something I can use to substitute for beeswax?

    • 14

      Hedgerow Rose says

      Hi Sherry, sounds like you had a fun experiment! I’m not sure about the emulsifying wax. This recipe was my first attempt at making a body butter, so I’m afraid I don’t have any expert advice for you. I recommend you check out the book I used to adapt my recipe from, The Soapmakers Companion by Susan Cavitch. Perhaps you can find what you’re looking for in there as far as substitutions go. Good luck!