How to make the best homemade body butter with simple, natural ingredients. This DIY whipped body butter feels luxurious and delivers maximum moisture to the skin. Let me show you how to make body butter that’s non-greasy and works for any skin type.
Body butters are no stranger to Live Simply. Together, we’ve made a couple of body butters before, although I didn’t call them “butters.”
First, we made this ultra-moisturizing shea butter lotion. Then we made a simple shea butter cream facial moisturizer. And, today, we’re making a silky smooth body butter for the whole body: face, arms, legs, feet…wherever you need moisture.
What Readers Say
“I have never made any kind of beauty product before and this recipe made me feel like a CHAMP. Super easy to make with great results. I used mango butter, sweet almond oil as a carrier, arrowroot and lavender oil and it absorbs nicely into my skin after about 10 minutes. .”
What is Body Butter?
Body butter is a rich, moisturizing skincare product that’s generally made with skincare butters, like shea butter and cocoa butter. Body butter can be used as an alternative to lotion, since its primary job is to moisturize the skin. It may be used on the entire body, from the face to the feet.
Lotion vs. Body Butter: What’s the Difference?
- Lotion is made with water and oil (and possibly butters) so it’s light, airy, and silky smooth. Homemade lotion needs to be used within a short time or a preservative should be used (due to the water and bacterial growth). It also requires an emulsifier to properly blend the oil and water.
- Body butter is made exclusively with butter(s) and oil(s), so it’s very thick and dense. Homemade body butter will last for up to 6 months without a preservative.
Both a body butter and lotion are used in the same way: to moisturize the skin. Body butter does deliver more moisture, since it’s not cut with water. So it’s ideal for all skin types, particularly dry skin or during the winter months.
Ingredients Needed to Make Whipped Body Butter
DIY body butter is easy to customize to your liking. You’ll need just 2 natural ingredients. From there, you’re welcome to add 2 additional ingredients, if desired, to make a non-greasy product or add a custom scent.
- 1/2 cup butter: shea butter, mango butter, and/or cocoa butter (I always use at least 1/4 cup shea butter)
- 1/4 cup carrier oil: sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, coconut, or even olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot flour starch (optional)
- 36 drops favorite essential oils (optional)
The ingredients may be found online, some craft stores, or health food stores. I’ve included Amazon links in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- small saucepan
- glass or metal bowl (large enough to fit on top of the saucepan)
- fork or hand-mixer
- glass storage jar
Learn More About Each Ingredient
Homemade body butter starts with a moisturizing skincare butter. Shea butter is the perfect base butter, since it’s soft and easy to work with and easy melts into your skin. My recipe calls for at least a 1/4 cup of shea butter.
From there, it’s up to you, the maker, to customize the body butter. You’ll need a total of 1/2 cup butter, so you can either double the shea (for a total of 1/2 cup shea butter), or mix the shea with a different butter: 1/4 cup of cocoa butter or 1/4 cup of mango butter.
- Shea Butter: Shea butter comes from the “nut” (or pit) of the fruit found on the Karite Tree. It has a strong scent when it’s purchased in an unrefined state. I use unrefined shea butter in recipes (including body butter), but if you don’t care for the strong (natural) fragrance, use refined shea butter instead. Since shea butter is naturally soft and makes a wonderfully soft whipped body butter. It may be used on its own with a carrier oil, or combined with another butter like cocoa butter or mango butter. See all the ways you can use shea butter to make your own body products.
- Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter comes from cocoa beans, so it has a strong scent and smells like chocolate. Cocoa butter is hard, at room temperature, and it melts easily. Cocoa butter is naturally a very hard butter, so if you choose to use it, you need to mix it with shea butter or mango butter to make a softer body butter. See other ways to use cocoa butter to make your own body products.
- Mango Butter: Mango butter comes from the seed of mango fruit. It’s naturally soft, similar to shea butter, and can have a gritty texture before it’s melted down. It yields a soft, airy body butter when mixed with shea butter. If you don’t want to use shea butter (due to allergies) in my recipe, then mango butter is the best replacement.
A liquid oil is the second main ingredient used to make body butter. The oils used in skincare recipes are typically referred to as carrier oils, although I usually call them nourishing oils. The oil used is completely up to you.
See all the ways to use carrier oils to make your own body products.
Best Carrier Oils
- Sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or grapeseed oil are best for making a non-greasy body butter that is easily absorbed by the skin. Great for all skin types.
- Virgin coconut oil may be used, but it can be very greasy and clog pores. Avoid if you have body acne or sensitive skin.
- Olive oil is another option; however, olive oil can be extremely heavy and feel greasy. Just like with coconut oil, this is not an option for all skin types and you may not love the results.
(Optional) Arrowroot Powder
Whipped body butter recipes can be very greasy!
The good news is that there’s a simple solution for this issue: add arrowroot flour/starch. Arrowroot is a natural starch (used in cooking to thicken soups, sauces, and stir-fry) that will absorb the greasy feel of the butters and oils, without drying out your skin.
Substitution: Some folks use tapioca starch and cornstarch (which are similar to arrowroot starch); however, I haven’t used these ingredients so I can’t speak to their success.
(Optional) Essential Oils of Your Choice
An essential oil may be added for scent and additional skincare benefits. Use just one essential oil, or mix a few different essential oils to create different scents, or an essential oil blend (a pre-blended bottle of different essential oils). At the moment, my personal favorite essential oils for body butter are: lavender, geranium, and frankincense (carteri).
I use a 1% dilution in my body butter recipe. Before using any essential oil, read the back of the bottle for specific dilution recommendations.
How to Make: Step by Step Instructions & Video
Step 1: Melt the butter in a double boiler.
Partially fill a saucepan with water (about 1/4 the way full). Then place a glass (or metal) bowl on top of the saucepan.
Place the butter(s) in the glass bowl. Turn the stove-top to medium heat, placing the double boiler on top of the heat. Allow the butter(s) to fully melt (about 3-5 minutes).
Why Use a Double Boiler? The double boiler protects the butter from direct heat, which could easily burn the fragile butter.
Step 2: Mix arrowroot powder with carrier oil (optional).
If you’re planning to use arrowroot flour, in a small bowl, whisk the flour into the carrier oil. Set the mixture aside. If you’re not using arrowroot flour, skip this step.
Step 3: Combine the melted butter and carrier oil.
Carefully remove the bowl (with the melted butter inside) from the double boiler set up. Add the oil (with the arrowroot flour, if using) to the melted butters, and use a spoon to stir and combine the ingredients.
Step 4: Chill the mixture in the fridge.
At this point, the oil mixture should be cooler (along with the glass bowl). If not, allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then place the mixture in the fridge and allow it to solidify (about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on location in the fridge and fridge temperature).
Step 5: Add Essential Oils (optional).
Once the mixture is opaque and a bit firm (not solid as a rock), remove the bowl from the fridge. Add the essential oil of choice, if desired.
It’s important that the essential oils are added when the mixture is cool, as heat will cause the fragile essential oils to evaporate.
Step 6: Whip the Body Butter
If you used cocoa butter, whisk the mixture with a fork until it appears “whipped.”
If you used shea and/or mango butters, you can use the same technique with a fork, or use a hand mixer to “whip” the body butter. Just be careful not to over-whip the mixture.
Step 7: Spoon into a Storage Jar
Scoop the mixture into a jar and place the lid on the jar. Now it’s ready to use!
Store at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) in a sealed jar for up to 6 months.
What about a preservative? Since water is not used to make this product, you don’t need to worry about mold or bacterial growth. Do not incorporate water into the product when scooping the butter from the jar with your hands (i.e. after a shower or washing your hands, etc.)
How to Use This Product In Your Skincare Routine
Use this product anytime your skin needs moisturizing. Scoop a small amount from the jar, then massage onto the skin. As you massage, the butter will melt into your skin. You only need a small amount at a time.
I love to use this product after bathing when my skin is still moist. I apply a small amount of product to my fingertips, then massage on my skin: arms, legs, feet, neck, chest.
This product may also be used on your face as a homemade shea butter moisturizer. Just avoid using coconut oil or olive oil in your formula if you plan to use it on your face. Or check out my homemade shea butter facial cream recipe.
How to Soften Body Butter Before Use: The body butter will soften or harden depending on the temperature in your home. To soften a hard body butter (which is normal and happens), place the butter in the bathroom while showering (not in direct contact with water). The hot steam of the shower will soften the body butter and make it easier to scoop out and spread on your skin.
How to Make Homemade Body Butter (Non-Greasy)
- 1 small-medium saucepan to create a double boiler and melt the butter(s)
- 1 medium glass or metal bowl big enough to rest on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler and melt the butter(s)
- 1 small bowl if using arrowroot starch to mix with the carrier oil
- 1 fork or hand-mixer to whip the body butter
- 1 glass storage jar to store the final product
- 1/4 cup shea butter unrefined or refined (41 grams)
- 1/4 cup mango butter or cocoa butter (41 grams mango butter or 34 grams cocoa butter or use 41 grams additional shea butter if using all shea butter)
- 1/4 cup carrier oil of choice: grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or coconut oil (42 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot flour starch optional (5 grams)
- 36 drops essential oil of choice optional
- First, make a double boiler: Partially fill a saucepan with water (about 1/4 the way full). Then place a glass (or metal) bowl on top of the saucepan. Place the butter(s) in the glass bowl. Turn the stove-top to medium heat, placing the double boiler on top of the heat. Allow the butter(s) to fully melt (about 3-5 minutes).
- If you're planning to use arrowroot starch/flour, in a small bowl, whisk the starch into the carrier oil of choice. Set the mixture aside. If you're not using arrowroot flour, skip this step.
- Carefully remove the glass bowl (and melted butters) from the heat source. Add the oil (with the arrowroot flour mixed in, if using), and stir to combine the ingredients.
- At this point, the mixture should be cooler (along with the bowl). If not, allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then place the bowl in the fridge and allow the mixture to solidify (about 30-60 minutes, depending on location in the fridge and fridge temperature).
- Once the mixture is opaque and a bit firm (not solid as a rock), remove the bowl from the fridge. Add the essential oil of choice, if desired.
- If you used cocoa butter, whisk the mixture with a fork until it appears "whipped." If you used shea and/or mango butters, you can use the same technique with a fork, or use a hand-mixer to "whip" the mixture. Don't over-whip!
- Spoon the whipped body butter into a glass storage jar with a lid. Place the lid on the jar. It's now ready to use. Store at room temperature (out of sunlight) for up to 6 months.
How to Use:
- Use this product anytime your skin needs moisturizing. Scoop a small amount from the jar, then massage onto the skin. As you massage, the butter will melt into your skin. You only need a small amount at a time.
- I love to use this product after bathing when my skin is still moist. I apply a small amount of product to my fingertips, then massage on my skin: arms, legs, feet, neck, chest.
Free Natural Skincare Starter Guide
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About how long do you mix the product for, so as to not “over-whip”?
How do you know if you’ve overdone it, and will it be fixable if so?
Hey, This will depend on the method used. If you’re using a mixer, just a few seconds is all that’s needed, 30-60 seconds. Just pay attention to the mixture as you’re mixing it, as soon as it looks “whipped” stop mixing.
It’s still usable if over-mixed. If you want to redo it, you can just melt the mixture again and start over with chilling and mixing.
Hi I was wondering can you add castor oil to cream , if so how much? Thank you
Hey Lisa, You could if you wanted. I don’t have much experience with using castor oil for skincare, so can’t speak to the oiliness of the body butter with this oil. I would most likely use about 2 tablespoons.
Hey !! Do I need to use a carrier oil or would it be fine with just 100% cocoa butter melted down ?
Hey Jade, You’ll need to use a carrier oil. 100% cocoa butter is going to be very, very hard. Difficult to scoop out. I would not use 100%. I would definitely add some other butter, too.