Do you find photos of handmade soaps yummy? I do. They’re like eye candy to me. I almost drool over them and handmade body butters; and have been wanting to try my hand at them for a very long time. My visits to Body Shop convinced me that it was time I give body butters a try. Not only are they expensive but full of chemicals!
(Doesn’t that look yummy?!?!?)
The best part is it’s so simple and needs so few ingredients! I followed this recipe. It calls for 60% Shea butter and 40% natural oils.
- 6 oz Shea Butter (I got my fair trade shea butter from Agbanga Karite)
- 4 oz Sweet Almond Oil
- .05 Sweet Orange essential oil (you can use any EO you like or even fragrance oil)
Then what I did:
- Setup a double boiler. What that means is take a big pot and fill some water in it and then put a smaller pot on top of the water. Put this apparatus on heat. The heat of the water will heat what is inside the smaller pot. I initially put it on high heat and when the water was sufficiently heated up, reduced it to medium heat.
- Put the shea butter in the smaller pot and melt it.
- When the butter is melted, take the smaller pot out of the boiler and turn off the heat.
- Add almond oil to the melted butter.
- I then added the essential oil. I later read that it’s better to add the EO after the mixture has cooled down a little.
- Next we need to cool the mixture. One way is to put it in the freezer for sometime but if you’re as impatient as me then in a big pot prepare an ice bath (lots of ice in water). Put the small pot on the water. Let the mixture cool a lilttle bit.
- When the mixture is of a soft consistency beat it with a hand mixer. If it has reached your desired consistency then you can stop otherwise let it cool a little bit more and beat again. Repeat till satisfied.
- I’d read that shea butter if heated at a high temperature turns grainy so I was quite conservative about the heat; and I found that shea butter melts pretty easily. So you don’t need high heat for the double boiler.
- I started beating even when it was liquid. No harm done – there’s not much that can happen if you beat a liquid! Duh!
- When you beat the mixture let it still sit in top of the ice bath.
- Unrefined shea butter has a nutty smell of it’s own which may not be very pleasing to you. However after applying it on the body it disappears.
- 0.5% (or 0.05 fl oz) EO didn’t seem enough to suppress the smell of shea butter so next time I would up it to 1.5% (or 0.15 fl oz)
- The body butter solidifies some more after you keep it in a cool place.
- I didn’t use the corn starch as specified in the original recipe, so the butter is a little greasy but it gets absorbed by the body in a few minutes.
Sources for ingredients:
- I got my fair trade shea butter from Agbanga Karite. I think they’re quite reasonably priced.
- Essential oils can be found in natural food stores like Whole Foods Market. They’re in the Aromatherapy section mostly.
- Natural oils can be found at amazon or your local supplements store like Super Supplements.
My one step towards a more natural me! Oh and just for fun here’s a cost analysis: $2.50 for almond oil, $8 for shea butter and $0.50 for EO. So that’s $11 for 10 oz (as compared to the $18 for 6.5oz or $25 for 13.5 oz at Body Shop!) and not to forget you’re getting an all natural product!