This Shea Body Butter is a tried and true recipe for me. Quick and simple to make and always works wonderfully. Shea butter is a wonderful skin nourishing and inexpensive base for making body butters. To give an idea, this body butter is what I would call a heavy butter. It is great during winter months as it forms a barrier against the harsh drying wind. This shea body butter is also great for individuals with dry or difficult skin. If you are looking for a lighter butter, something for summer; I recommend using mango or other lighter weight butters.
I have opted to use ratios instead of exact weights. The rationale, this recipe scales well and you can make as little as one jar or as many as a hundred all depending upon your needs. The basic ratio for this shea body butter is 3 parts shea butter to 1 part lightweight oil. To reduce oiliness and give a powdery type feel add 1 teaspoon tapioca starch for each 4 ounces of oil/butter blend.
- 3 oz (85 grams) unrefined shea butter
- 1 oz (28.3 grams) liquid or low-melt point oil [I use Argan oil.]
- See below for suggestions and considerations regarding other oils
- Approximately 1 teaspoon (2.53 grams) tapioca starch/powder
- Also can use arrowroot powder or corn starch – this helps to reduce the oily feel and enhances the powdery feel of the butter
- optional Vitamin E (a few drops personal preference)
- optional Essential oils for fragrance/additional benefits (a few drops personal preference)
- optional Preservative (I use Optiphen at 0.75% of total oil weight – Optiphen is usually used at 0.5% to 1.5% total weight)
- see below for considerations and why I include a preservative
Combine Shea butter and Argan oil in missing bowl. Blend slowly until fully incorporated. Once fully incorporated increase mixer speed and whip oils until light and fluffy. (They will fluff much like making a meringue.) Once butter is whipped; slow mixer, slowly add tapioca starch and blend until fully incorporated. Add fragrance oils/essential oils; preservative if desired.
Potential negatives of method 1 – oils tend not to whip as fluffy and can take a while to fully incorporate
Method 2 (the version I use):
- Measure Shea butter and Argan oil in separate measuring containers.
- Melt Shea Butter using microwave or double boiler. Filter melted Shea Butter through cheese cloth to filter any impurities that may be present (pure unrefined Shea butter often has organic bits present that may be undesired in final product).
- Add Argan oil to the melted Shea Butter, lightly stir/blend until fully incorporated.
- Refrigerate oil blend until oil blend is partially solidified.
- Once solid, remove and add to mixing bowl. Add fragrance/essential oils and preservative. Blend slowly at first to break and blend mixture. Increase speed and whip oil blend until light and fluffy.
- Once oil blend is whipped, slow mixer and add tapioca starch. Allow starch to incorporate. Once incorporated, increase mixer speed and continue whipping until starch is well distributed and mixture forms peaks.
- Spoon, pipe, or dispense body butter into appropriate sterile containers. Seal and label appropriately.
What do we mean by lightweight oil?
You can utilize any number of liquid or low-melt point oils depending upon your preferences. I utilize this simple body butter during the winter months and may not use a whole container, so I select an oil with a long shelf life. A few examples: Coconut oil (2+ years), Argan oil (2+ years), or Meadowfoam oil (~5 years). If on the other hand, you believe you will utilize the body butter quickly, you may want to go with something like Sweet Almond oil, Apricot Kernel oil, or Avocado oil – all of which have a shelf life of about one year.
The sample picture was made with Argan oil. I tend to favor Argan oil because it is high in Vitamin E and antioxidants, thus saving me from adding additional Vitamin E. It also tends to be good in helping dry skin recover. Some people do not like using Argan oil because they think it has an odd smell. This isn’t the case, quality Argan oil has a slight nutty smell and is unnoticeable in this body butter. If you have an Argan oil that smells foul (I have heard it described as ‘manure’ smelling) it is spoiled/rancid.
Do I really need a preservative?
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Personally I do use a preservative in my body butter. I can already hear some of you saying, ‘but you only need a preservative when there is water in a product’. Generally speaking, this is true. As you saw by my recipe, there is no water in this mix. So, why on earth would I feel the need to use a preservative?
For me the answer is quite simple. Think about when you or others may use your body butter, where are you? Think about where you will store your body butter when not in use, where is that? In many cases, the answer is going to be the same – the bathroom. What can be found in abundance in most bathrooms, water and moisture (think about the steamed up bathroom mirror after you shower).
While our recipe may not have any water in it, that doesn’t mean that water will not find it’s way into the product. I often apply mine immediately after a shower, and yes I double dip (egad the horror. Lol). My skin was moist when I got some of the body butter out the first and probably the second time. All while using it in a very moist humid environment (right after showering). Water is being introduced even if we didn’t intend it to.
Sample Ingredient Listing (Eucalyptus Spearmint Shea Body Butter)
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Argania Spinosa Kernel (Argan) Oil, Tapioca Starch, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol