Given the title – if you’re expecting a long rant about why you should throw out all your shop bought body moisturisers, you’re not going to get that. You’re getting my honest opinion here, people. Just give me a chance, okay?
For years, I’ve seen many DIY recipes floating around YouTube and Tumblr; as well as the disparaging comments about them. I was sceptical for years… like sure, it seems somewhat inexpensive; what about longevity? When there are purely natural ingredients alone in a mixture, won’t it be susceptible to leaving residue? Plus, surely preservatives would be expensive, as many of the ones found in shop-bought moisturisers and butters are chemical?
These were my doubts before I actually attempted to make one, on a regular Wednesday afternoon, in the midst of eating a Sainsbury’s pizza (it was on offer don’t judge me).
Guys. It’s a shockingly simple process.
(Slow down a sec. Before you read on, I’m only telling you what I know, people. I’m not a holistic expert! What works for me may not work for you. So I’ll try not to generalise too much.)
The ‘Get Down’:
- You first need unrefined butters – like the moisturising butters in your creams and products, that only make up a mere percentage of them. Shea, Cocoa, Mango, Aloe, Cupuacu – pick what you want, it’s up to you.
I personally wanted butters that were moisturising, but didn’t have a strong fragrance, so it wouldn’t affect the smell of the essential oils I would add later. So I used Shea Butter because it has a very subtle nutty fragrance, whilst also using Mango Butter because it is quite soft and doesn’t have much of a smell at all.
2. Then you need a carrier oil – this is basically the base oil for any essential oils you can add later; plus there are so many which have great holistic properties, why would you not include it?
Classics are Coconut Oil (I see a lot of people using Virgin Coconut Oil), Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil. I used Sweet Almond Oil because I’ve used it previously on my skin and it works a dream. It’s light, settles into my skin well and leaves it rejuvenated everyday on my face.
3. Arrowroot powder/ Tapioca starch. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about body butters is that they’re too greasy, and I mean – they are literally oil based. But I share that pet peeve; I understand how the excess oil settled on the skin can be an annoyance. Sometimes you want to have a soft and dewy look to the skin; it’s not everyday Terry Crews from White Chicks. Adding one of these ingredients should help get rid of the excess oil, so your body butter settles into your skin more.
4. Vitamin E Oil/ Wheatgerm Oil. Like I said earlier, one of my biggest concerns with all natural DIY products, is how quickly they can go rancid – especially with Shea Butter and Coconut Oil.
A airtight seal won’t be enough. Vitamin E is an antioxidant (my slight A Level Chemistry is coming through), which will improve the shelf life of your butter overall. However, when I did purchase some from Holland and Barrett the other day, I was internally weeping at the till – £11.99. Just gone, like that. So an alternative, which was recommended by my mum (she’s practised Aromatherapy before) was Wheatgerm oil. It naturally contains Vitamin E, so if you incorporate it as your carrier oil, you’re killing two birds with one stone!
5. Essential oils? Eh, these are optional. I find when you want to achieve a particular fragrance, rather than shelling out money on a fragrance oil, just get a pure essential oil instead. Plus, there’s a cesspool of essential oils that you can pick and choose from to add to your butter, with fantastic holistic properties.
I would recommend considering Geranium as it is cytophylactic (encourages cell regeneration and protects skin cells). Also Lavender, as it’s great for treating sensitive skin and inflammatory conditions (e.g eczema, acne, psoriasis). They also has great scents.
6. Equipment, of course. Make sure you have an old jar with an airtight seal. Sure, Tumblr and YouTube love fancy posh Kilner Jars, but if you have any spare jars rinsed out…. just use that. Unfortunately, I didn’t so if you do need to buy one, I got mine from Poundland. And it’s huge. Also, have a spatula handy; when you need to put your butter into a jar, it can get messy. Lastly, I would really recommend an electric whisk. I know, I know – there’s hand whisks. But honestly, to get a good consistency, you need something faster than the human hand. The best consistency is light and airy, which leads to easier application. And yes, there are inexpensive electric whisks (Wilko essentials was £4.99).
All my essential oils, Vitamin E Oil and Sweet Almond Oil were purchased from Holland and Barrett. My butters were purchased online from the eBay seller livemoor. The arrowroot powder was purchased at Sainsbury’s, however Tapioca Starch is a good alternative and is available at most supermarkets.
Please note that even though this method worked fine for my skin, it may work differently for yours! Please do a skin test before you use it, just to make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.
The method itself is variable to many. All I can do is give the bare essentials of what I did. (Considering the length of words behind me, I’ll keep it short).
- In a mixing bowl (which withstands heat) add up to 1 cup of your butter(s). This could be 1 cup Shea alone; 1/2 cup Shea and 1/2 Cocoa; your choice. Also add your cold carrier oil. I added 1/2 cup for this. Then place the bowl over boiling water (creating a double boiler) in a pot and leave it until it melts. The moment the butters have all melted take it off.
- Then place the hot mixture into the fridge. Leave it to cool for about an hour or until the mixture has gone opaque and is no longer translucent oil. Add 2 tablespoons of your arrowroot/tapioca and stir into the mixture thoroughly.
- I suggest putting this mixture into the freezer for about 10 – 20 minutes.I made the mistake of putting it in the fridge for hours and it did not set. You want it to softly solidify.
- Once it’s set, get your electric whisk out and start whipping. Put it on the highest setting, if you want it to be like delicious whipped cream. If you want it creamier, whip it on a lower setting.
- Do this for about 3 mins before adding 2 drops of Vitamin E (if you’re using it in place of Wheatgerm as a carrier) and/or your essential oils. I say the maximum drops you can use for your essential oils is about 8-10 considering the volume of your carrier oil. So this can be just one oil, or several. Choose wisely. Then whip again until you get the consistency you want!
I’ve just finished my first jar and boy oh boy, I’m definitely making some more in the New Year. It’s so easy to apply, built to last and it smells amazing. The fragrance isn’t too strong so it naturally settles throughout the day. It absorbs into the skin well and feels so moisturised throughout the day. A little goes a long way. Definitely the ultimate treat for my skin, especially in the middle of Winter right now!