Thursday, May 31, 2012

Handmade Shea Body Butter

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.

I took:

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Put the shea butter in the smaller pot and melt it.
  3. When the butter is melted, take the smaller pot out of the boiler and turn off the heat.
  4. Add almond oil to the melted butter.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

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