Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

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 lotion, which is really a body butter, but I used it as a body lotion–hence the name. Then, just last week, we returned to the kitchen to make a quick and simple shea butter cream moisturizer, which is also a body butter–or a face butter since that’s my preferred way to use it.

Think of today’s post as a crash course in body butter. My goal is to give you practical and simple tools to create a homemade body butter that works for your skin, budget, and scent preferences.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

What is Body Butter?

I had never heard of body butter until just a few years ago, when a friend introduced me to her favorite skincare butter. I remember thinking, Body butter? Why in the world would you want to slather butter on your body?  My curiosity was piqued, so I began to research this new-to-me product.

After some research, I discovered that body butter is a rich and 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.

So why not call this product “lotion”? Well, that’s all about a few technicalities…

Lotion is made with water and oil (and possibly butters) so it’s light and silky smooth. Body butter, on the other hand, is made exclusively with butter(s) and oil(s), so it’s very thick. The final products are used in the same way, to moisturize the skin, but they’re made with different ingredients, using different methods.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

From a do-it-yourself standpoint, homemade body butter will last for months without the use of a preservative. Homemade lotion needs to be used within a short time frame or a preservative should be used (thanks to the water), and it requires an emulsifier to properly blend the oil and water together.

Technically, body butter is recommended for folks who need intense moisture, but I’ve personally found that it’s a great lotion alternative–no super dry skin needed.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Body Butter Basics

The beauty of body butter is that once you have a simple formula/recipe, it’s easy to customize a butter to your liking.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Main Ingredient: Butter

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Homemade body butter starts with butter. I’ve found that shea butter is the perfect base butter, since it’s soft and easy to work with. My homemade formula calls for a 1/4 cup of shea butter as the base 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), or mix the shea with a different butter: 1/4 cup of cocoa butter or 1/4 cup of mango butter.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Let’s take a look at each 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/crude shea butter in recipes (including body butter), but if you don’t care for the (natural) fragrance, I recommend using refined shea butter. Since shea butter is naturally soft, it can be used as the main ingredient in body butter, or it may be combined with another butter–cocoa or mango butter–to create a custom body butter.

Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean, so it smells like chocolate. Cocoa butter is hard, at room temperature, and it melts easily. I don’t recommend making a 100% cocoa butter body butter because you’ll end up with a final product that’s solid as a rock. Cocoa butter must be mixed with a softer butter, like shea or mango butter, to yield a soft and spreadable final product.

Mango Butter: Mango butter comes from the seed of mango fruit. It’s a soft butter, similar to shea butter, that can have a bit of a gritty texture before it’s melted down to create body butter. If you don’t want to use shea butter to make body butter, then mango butter is the best replacement. Mango butter may be combined with shea or cocoa butter to create a custom body butter.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Main Ingredient: Carrier Oil

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. For my body, I usually stick with almond or jojoba oil, and just started playing around with grapeseed oil. Virgin coconut oil may also be used; it’s just not my personal preference.

Another option is to use a carrier oil blend. I particularly like this option for making a butter used on my face. I’ve been using Clear Complex with shea butter (find the recipe here), and absolutely love it. Other carrier oil blends, include: Near Perfection and Younger Glo.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Optional Ingredients: Arrowroot and Essential Oils

Some folks find that body butter is a bit too greasy to apply all over the body. The good news is that there’s a simple solution for this issue…arrowroot flour/starch. A small amount of arrowroot flour/starch may be added to the liquid oil before pouring the oil into the melted butter(s).

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Finally, an essential oil may be added for scent and additional skincare benefits. At the moment, my personal favorites are: lavender, geranium, and frankincense (Carteri).

I use a 1% dilution in my body butter. Before using any essential oil, I recommend reading the back of the bottle for specific dilution recommendations–just to be safe.

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

Now that we’ve touched on the basics of body butter, let’s take a look at my formula for making your own custom body butter.

How to Make Homemade Body Butter
4.78 from 44 votes

Homemade Body Butter

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.
Kristin Marr
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course DIY
Cuisine Body
Servings 6 ounces

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place a glass bowl on top of a saucepan partially filled with water over medium heat. Place the butters in the glass bowl, and allow them to fully melt. 
  • If you're planning to use arrowroot flour in your body butter, 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. 
  • Carefully remove the bowl (and melted butters) from the heat source. Add the oil (with the arrowroot flour, if using), and stir to combine the ingredients. 
  • At this point, the oil mixture should be cooler (along with the 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). 
  • 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 in your body butter, then whisk the mixture with a fork until it appears "whipped." If you used shea and/or mango butters in your body butter, then you can use the same technique with a fork, or use a stand mixer to "whip" the mixture. 
  • Scoop the body butter into a jar with a lid. Place the lid on the jar. Store the body butter at room temperature (out of sunlight). This mixture should last about six months, if bacteria isn't introduced to the mixture via dirty hands.

To Use:

  • After bathing, apply a small amount of body butter to your fingertips, and then massage the butter on your skin/body. Apply as needed. 

Video

Notes

*Mango butter will yield a softer body butter. Cocoa butter will yield a thicker body butter that smells a bit like chocolate. You can also use shea butter again, if desired, instead of using mango or cocoa butter. 
**I like sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or grapeseed oil
***If you're concerned about the final product feeling too greasy, then I recommend adding this optional ingredient. The arrowroot cuts through the greasy feel that's often associated with body butter. 
****My personal favorites: lavender, geranium (Egyptian), frankincense (Carteri). Another option is to use a pre-blended synergy, like: Love Vanilla (my favorite), Soft Skin, or Tranquil. I use a 1% dilution in my body butter. Before using any essential oil, I recommend reading the back of the bottle for specific dilution recommendations--just to be safe.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Simple, homemade, and customizable body butter that leaves the skin naturally-nourished and moisturized.

164 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I tried the 6 oz recipe and love it!! I want to make a larger size. When I change the ounces, the grams in the recipe stays the same as 6 oz. The cup amount changes, but not the grams. What am I missing?

    1. Hey Shandra, I apologize for the delayed response, I’ve been out of the country without internet the past few weeks. I think there is an issue with our recipe card and not adjusting accordingly. I’ll look into that! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. You can double of triple the amounts as needed.

  2. Can kids above the age of 8 years use this body butter??… would beeswax prevent it from melting in extreme hot temperatures, as the temperature in summer here goes upto 38 degrees Celsius,??.. if I have to add beeswax can you let me know the amount please..thank you.

    1. Hey Rachana, This body butter should hold up just find in the summer. If you want to add beeswax, it will make it very hard. I would use just a couple of teaspoons. It is safe to use on kids, just skip the essential oil or use a kid-safe essential oil.

  3. Just wondering if I can substitute cornstarch for the arrowroot? Don’t know if this was asked already, but there are so many comments, which I love to read, but didn’t want to scroll through all. Great recipe. I am making today!

  4. Has anyone done the math to find out the cost analysis of making the body butter? Like how much it costs per ounce or container of 6 ounces?

    1. Hey Stephanie, I haven’t done a specific breakdown. It will depend on the brands you use for the shea butter, etc. I do know it’s much cheaper than any of the truly natural body butters in the store which can cost about $12.99 upward. There is also the time factor, too. So it really comes down to if you enjoy making it and is it worth the extra time to save a few dollars, IMO. Maybe someone else can chime in with how much it’s costing them.

  5. Hi. I have been making besrd oils and facial serums for a while. I now expanded to bodybutters. Your advice and suggestions came in really handy. I mostly use shea butter as a base. But one issue is I cannot seem to get my mixture as fluffy and creamy like your pictures. Am I mixing too long or perhaps the wrong speed. I have one of those hand held mixers. Could you pleasy advise? Many thanks

    1. Hey, I’ve found over mixing can cause that issue or mixing it too fast. Keep in mind, most body butters will harden up, so they won’t stay “whipped” like whipped topping.

  6. Dear Kerstin. I have also read similar recipes and made a few myself. I also saw one where the use the shea butter without melting it. Only using a hand blender mixing the shea butter and carrier oils with tapioca powder snd then whisking in the essential oils. What are your thoughts about this method? Also, what would your recommended ratio of shea butter to carrier oil be? 80% shea to 20% oil? Thanks for all the tips.

    1. You can try that—not melting the butter. Not sure how it will turn out. You can play around with the ratio that works best for you. The amounts provided in the recipe are what I like best.

      LS Team

  7. hey. I have started prepping to make this recipe, only question I have is what volume is produced from the whipped product?
    I have a 230 ml container will that do?

  8. 5 stars
    Hey again! Quick question since this is u.s measurement can I use the same measurements but uk version instead of converting them so for example it is 42g instead of finding out how many grams that would be in uk can I just use 42g in uk measurement or would that effect the batch sorry kinda over explained !

  9. Hi there would you kindly send me your lip balm recipe please, i have made this many times and given it to many of my friends who keep asking for more, i have misplaced the lip balm recipe and cannot find it anywhere.
    Kind Regards Terry

  10. 5 stars
    When it says 42g of plant carrier oil does it mean since your using two oils 42g each or alltogether so 14g each if your using three oils

  11. Hi all,
    please need an advice, while I was making the body butter, after melting shea butter and coconut oil at the bottom of the bowl I saw lots of black dirts floating about, how can I filter the dirt out, the product cannot be used, before I started to make the product I washed everything throughly and let it dry. I believe the dirts is in the product itself like shea butter or coconut oil.
    Please advise many thanks …

    1. Hi there,
      I’m not sure what the black dirt would be. I would contact the brand for the oil or butter and ask them what they think.

      LS Team

  12. How many grams is 1/2 cup shea butter please? We don’t use cup measurements here in the UK. Thank you! Looking forward to trying this as my first homemade body butter!

  13. I’m a newbie so I’m a little confused about how much essential oil to add. The recipe says 36 drops of essential oil but there is a note that mentions you do a 1% dilution. I’m not understanding what you mean by that. I want to make sure I do this correctly so it is safe to use on my skin. Is it 36 drops straight from the essential oil bottle or are you diluting it with something? Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like I’m stupid but I have never made my own bath and body products and the essential oil part is intimidating I’m scared to add the essential oils. I’m concerned that I may add too much essential oil and cause a skin irritation. Am I making this harder than it actually is??? (LOL) Your advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you! 🙂

    1. Hey Leigh, Great question! Dilution can be tricky to figure out at first. This is drops from the EO bottle into the mixture. This is based on how much carrier oil you’re using (what the essential oil is being diluted with/in) and also how much of an essential oil is considered safe to use (some essential oils can be used at a higher or lower dilution percentage). The 36 drops is based on this recipe, so I just add a note to let people know how much this is (1% dilution rate). This post explains more about dilution: https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/09/11/how-to-dilute-essential-oils-a-comprehensive-guide/

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