I’ve spent the past year gathering recipes and perfecting them so that I can share the best of the best with you.
As always we’ll be featuring some herbal gift ideas, some fun herbal culinary recipes and some herbal recipes for your health.
This recipe starts with a decadent herbal gift that has become one of my favorite herbal creations. I know I am a little late to the party when it comes to appreciating herbal body butter. Honestly, I never understood why someone would want to rub a thick cream on their entire body. I thought the end result was to inevitably feel like a greased up french fry!
But I was wrong, soooo wrong! What I learned is that besides needing a high quality body butter, you also need to apply it at the right time (more on that later).
I fell in love with body butter after a friend gave me an incredible body butter from a great company. After I went through the jar I went to buy more but was immediately stopped by the high price. Yikes!
So, I did what I always do – went in search of body butter recipes to create my own version at a better price. I searched and searched online but couldn’t find anything that was even close to the body butter I had fallen in love with. So I started experimenting. I had several batches turn out poorly before getting closer and closer to that perfect consistency.
Before we get to how to make body butter, let’s take a closer look at our ingredients.
Shea butter is processed from a nut that grows in Africa. Most of the shea butter you buy has been hand processed by African women – be sure to buy from a good source that pays these artisans a fair wage!
Shea butter is incredibly nourishing to the skin. It can be used to heal damaged skin as well as further support healthy skin.
Shea Butter is an intense moisturizer for dry skin, and is a wonderful product for revitalizing dull or dry skin on the body or scalp. It promotes skin renewal, increases the circulation, and accelerates wound healing.
Mountain Rose Herbs
Mango butter is a semi-hard butter that is wonderfully rejuvenating. It is often recommended to revitalize damaged and rough skin. I often include it in pregnant belly balms to help the skin stretch without causing lasting marks.
Coconut oil, as with the butters, forms a protective thin layer on the skin to keep moisture in. This light oil is also wonderfully soothing to the skin.
You can use any liquid oil for this. My favorites are grape seed oil, almond oil, jojoba oil and apricot kernel oil. You don’t need to infuse herbs into the oil. However, if you would like to try an herbally infused oil you can see instructions on how to do that here. I love using Calendula-infused oils for my body butters.
Olive oil can also be used, but the end result will be a heavier body butter that may be a bit greasy.
Hydrosols are made from steam-distilled herbs. They have a mild but wonderful scent and they contain all the health benefits of the herb they were distilled from. Rose hydrosol, calendula hydrosol and lavender hydrosol are some of my favorite hydrosols to use in body butters.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is wonderfully nourishing to the skin. It can help soothe dry and inflamed skin as well as add elasticity to healthy skin. It is often used for acute skin problems such as sunburns and bug bites.
Borax powder is added to help emulsify the oils and the waters together and it also serves as a mild preservative.
Phew! I just feel like I’ve tried to say rejuvenating, soothing and healthy skin in twenty different ways! You can see from the ingredients that this blend combines all sorts of butters and oils that are wonderfully nourishing and supportive to the skin!
I’ve been making this body butter all year and giving it out to friends and family to see what they think of it. The feedback has been super positive with many friends repeatedly asking for more. Here’s what my friend Rebecca said:
Your body butter has THE most beautiful consistency. It’s like rubbing on a cloud.
– Rebecca Altman
How to Make Body Butter
The following recipe is the basic recipe. You can experiment with using different hydrosols, essential oils, and herb-infused oils. This year I’ve made a Calendula body butter with Calendula-infused oil and Calendula hydrosol; rose body butter with rose petal infused oil and rose hydrosol; and lavender body butter with lavender essential oils, lavender hydrosols and lavender-infused oil. You can mix and match any of these, use different herbs, etc. So many possibilities! Experiment and then send some to me (only kidding!).
Note: Solid ingredients are measured by weight using a scale. Liquid ingredients are measured by volume using a measuring cup.
What you’ll need…
The butters, oil, and wax
- 3 ounces shea butter
- 2 ounces mango butter
- 1 ounce coconut oil
- 1/2 ounce beeswax
- 3 ounces herb-infused oil
The water portion
- 2 ounces hydrosol
- 1 ounce aloe vera gel
- Essential oils of your choice (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon borax powder
Begin by melting the shea butter, mango butter, coconut oil, and beeswax in a double boiler or in a pan on very low heat.
Once it has all melted, turn off the heat and slowly add the herb-infused oil. When you add the oil, you might notice parts of the liquid become solid again. Sometimes you can just give it a little stir and everything will melt again. If not, it may need a tiny bit more heat to be sure that it all melts together.
Once the butters, oils, and wax are combined, pour it into the container you are going to mix it in. If you are using a blender, pour the mixture in the blender and set it aside until it is room temperature. If you are using a handheld mixer, stand mixer, or immersion blender, place it in the bowl you will use to whip it up.
While waiting for the butter mixture to cool, mix together the hydrosol, aloe vera gel, essential oils, and borax powder.
Once the butter mixture has cooled, use a blender or mixer to begin to mix it. Slowly add the hydrosol mixture.
(See how the mixture has changed in appearance as it cooled?)
When all the hydrosol mixture has been mixed in, the body butter can be poured into jars and labeled.
Storage and Shelf Life
I store my body butter at room temperature and have never had a batch go bad. If you think you are going to have a batch last longer than six months, you may want to store it in the fridge for prolonged preservation.
How to Use Body Butter
Now here’s the trick about body butter. It’s best to rub in a light layer of the body butter just after a hot shower while the pores of your skin are still open. It may feel a little greasy just after application, but within minutes it will soak into your skin. The result is soft and glowing skin (not greasy!). Remember that body butter is thick and luscious. A little bit goes a long way!
When I apply body butter just after a shower, my skin feels moisturized and softened for the entire day. Also my skin feels like, well, my skin! Not like I’ve just rubbed some greasy potion over it.
Your friends and family will love this luxurious present. The best part is that it was made by you!
I sure hope this inspires your gift making ideas for the holidays!