16 March 2011

frugal & green | homemade body butter

homemade body butter

OK, truth be told, the term "body butter" kinda gives me the hee-bee-jee-bees. I don't know... it just sounds... tacky or kinky or something. Right?

But, to be fair, it's not my name for the stuff, and this body cream (ah, better) is so thick and rich that the name might be warranted. But, let me tell you: it's all natural, and it works. It conquers The Winter, as I said before. Dry winter skin--body or face--be gone. Good for Mama, Dada and baby.

So. Want to make some? It's my riff on a recipe from a book that's been hanging around my nightstand lately: Organic Body Care Recipes, by Stephanie Tourles.

First thing: make some lavender- and chamomile-infused olive oil. Let me tell you, this alone is truly wonderful stuff.

How to: Stuff a pint or quart (go big if you can) mason jar totally full with 2/3 dried chamomile flowers + 1/3 dried lavender flowers. Slowly drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the jar, soaking all the flowers (they will mat down quite a bit) and filling jar to the top with oil. Cover open jar top with plastic wrap, then tightly screw on the lid. Set it in a sunny window for a month (yep), giving it a shake once a day. Sounds a little involved, but totally worth it.

lavender + chamomile olive oil

lavender & chamomile olive oil

After a month of sitting, soaking and shaking, it's time to strain. Take good care to get all the schmutz out. I used a clean, tightly-woven dish towel (which is the same thing I use for straining chicken stock. really works). You could also use coffee filters.

Once strained, pour oil into a storage vessel and add the essential oils, to really heighten the scent: 25 drops lavender and 25 drops Roman chamomile. Stir to combine.

lavender & chamomile olive oil

Once your oil is all purified and beautiful, it's ready for anything: Stephanie Tourles recommends adding it to baths, massaging sore muscles, rubbing it on the chest of an anxious child, soothe diaper rash and other skin irritations. Me, I like all the above, but especially like to rub it on my arms, chest and face before bed. It's the scent of happy sleep.

If you make the larger quantity of oil, you'll have quite a bit of leftovers for all this soothing and smoothing. A good thing in my book.

For the body cream, if you've ever made mayonnaise (or vinaigrette) from scratch, this will be super familiar. Basically, lotions, creams and butters are fats plus water/other liquid, mixed together vigorously (i.e., in a blender) to form an emulsion.


Chamomile & Olive Oil Body Butter
Adapted from All Natural Face and Body Care Recipes | Stephanie Tourles

My only nit: I think for my next batch, I'm going to try reducing the lanolin quantity, to cut down on the wool-ish scent, to smell the scented oil more. One of the purposes of the lanolin is to help make a strong emulsion, so the texture might loosen up a little, which I think I'm OK with. This is serious, frosting-like stuff.

For ingredients, I love Mountain Rose Herbs. It's like a wonderland of herbs, oils and supplies.

Makes 2-3 cups

3/4 c. infused chamomile & lavender olive oil (from method above)
1/3 c. extra virgin, unrefined coconut base oil
4 T. beeswax
2 t. anhydrous lanolin
1 c. lavender hydrosol
30 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
30 drops lavender essential oil

To make:
1. In a heavy saucepan, warm base oils, beeswax and lanolin until just melted (don't overdo this, go slow). In another saucepan, heat the lavender hydrosol. Remove both pans from the heat and allow to cool to body temperature (~5-10 minutes; the fats will start to go opaque). You want them to be roughly the same temperature, so they combine nicely.
2. Immediately pour the fats mixture into a blender, scraping it all in with a spatula. Attach the lid, but remove the center plastic piece. Turn the blender on (medium or so) and then immediately drizzle in the warm hydrosol. The emulsion should immediately thicken and lighten in color. If it's not combining thoroughly, turn off the machine, give it a few stirs with a spatula and blend some more.
3. When the mixture is evenly combined, turn off the machine and add the essential oils. Gently stir with a spatula, then blend again for a few seconds.
4. Spoon finished body butter into storage vessels. Lightly cover each container with a paper towel for 30 minutes, until cool. Then, cap and store for 30 days without refrigeration. If chilled, you can keep for 3-6 months.

When you use the butter, just scoop out a little a time and work it into the skin. You don't need too much! And, it works best when applied right after showers or baths.

If you make a batch, let me know how it goes!


homemade body butter


  1. wow this is excellent! I never thought about making my own body butter (Im such a big fan!). It looks so simple and I love that you know what natural ingredients are in there. You def had me at dried chamomile and lavender :P

  2. My mom makes her own body butter. I will be sending this along to her.

    Body butter does sound gross. It's sounds more like something you would scrape off than put on.

  3. what's the difference between t and T? is one tablespoon and one teaspoon?? cant wait to try this!!!

  4. Hi Anon: Yes, big "T" is tablespoon, little "t" is teaspoon. Let me know how it goes!

  5. this sounds incredible! perhaps a summer project pour moi?

  6. UGH! For some reason a bunch of my comments from the past two weeks aren't on here. Anyway, I love this idea and definitely will have to try this.

  7. Where did you purchase the beeswax & the lavender hydrosol?? Thanks! I'm setting up to make the initial oil this afternoon. I bought the dried chamomile flowers and lavender flowers at our local spice shop. I'll let you know how the rest of it goes.

  8. Hi cspurlock, I bought them online: Mountain Rose Herbs. They're fantastic!

  9. Hi, a few more questions...
    1. Is the unrefined coconut oil base the same as something like this -
    2. Did you use white or unrefined beeswax?
    3. Did the infused chamomile & lavender olive oil still smell like olive oil after it's month long steep? I had to separate the flower mixture after I had added the oil, into two containers, so that I could gain the maximum amount of oil present in the jar. I'm thinking I might have to re-add more of the chamomile flowers.

    Thanks for all the help.

  10. 1. Yes, that's the same type of thing. If it smells like coconuts it's what you want; unscented means its been refined/processed.
    2. Unrefined golden-colored beeswax (also smells great)
    3. I would add more if your flower to oil ratio is now too low. After steeping, mine smelled like the flowers, not too much like oil. Just be sure you don't add too many flowers (to the point that they don't all stay in the oil), as the author of the original recipe says they could mold. As long as your flowers stay saturated it should be fine.

  11. When you mixed the fats with the hydrosol, did you experience a separation of the hydrosol after the mixture cooled? This happened after the mixture cooled. I wonder if I should add some emulsifying wax to the mixture?? Thoughts?

  12. Looking very effective. I must make it on this weekend for my own family. Thanks for the recipe. I'll be back later for some great tips..:)
    Skin Repair

  13. This lovely, light, crisp lotion is also infused with Shea butter and Vitamin C and E.I use body butter. It's the best fareness in the

    market.Relay, it is won my mind.I am satisfied.

  14. Oops, when I saw the jar I thought they were bees. I was like, Wahhhhh! and my daughter was like what the? Anyway, could I use something other than lanolin because I don't have it? Where can I get it? Thanks !


  15. I love the recipe - I just don't know why the word 'kinky' has to be used in such a negative sense. I am a homesteader and total DIYer, have been using my own homemade cleaners, makeup, and body products for years and, guess what, I happen to be kinky. I just hope future posts don't allude to certain lifestyles as being negative - I understand the prejudice, but that doesn't mean I won't point it out.
    I wish you the best regardless, and thank you for the (very involved) recipe!


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