DIY Whipped Body Butter: An Intoxicating Chemistry Project That Won't Land You In Jail

It's natural, it smells amazing, it makes your skin unbelievably soft, and YOU CAN TAKE ALL THE CREDIT.
Publish date:
October 7, 2013
dry skin, natural, DIY, skin, fall, body creams, organic, body butters, vanilla, autumn, spices

Hold on to your porkpie hats, ladies, because I'm about to go all Walter White on ya'll. Only this kitchen chemistry is like one part domestic (I'm using a hand beater), one part beauty, and zero parts meth.

Let's start with the ingredients list.


3/4 cup pure cocoa butter

3/4 cup raw shea butter

1/2 cup olive oil

4 tsp. vanilla (substitute vanilla some extract if you prefer)

2 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

For this recipe, I've opted for cocoa butter, shea butter and olive oil, but you can mix and match your butters and oils based on your preferences. The key is to keep the ratio of butters to oil the same. For best results, you want to use about 75% solids and 25% oils. This prevents your body butter from being excessively greasy, makes for better emulsification and also promotes a light and airy texture.

Other butters to consider: mango butter, kokum butter

Other oils to consider: avocado, argan, grapeseed, jojoba, almond

There are lots of places you can buy raw/organic butters and oils from. I went to Amazon, but I also found some at bulk retailers on the web and in my local health foods store. The prices are actually quite reasonable, especially when you consider the quality of body butter and the fact that said butter is all-natural. I paid roughly $7 for 16 oz. of the shea butter and $7 for 8 oz. of the raw cocoa butter and I didn't use anywhere near all of it.

STEP 1: Bain Marie

Once you've measured out your butters, it's time to melt them down. The fancy term for this process is bain marie, which is literally French for "Mary's bath." It's basically the cavewoman's version of microwaving. You can microwave your solid butters if you so desire, but I opted for the French route because A) I love the therapeutic process of DIY and wanted to take my time, and B) my microwave is like, abhorrently messy right now and I didn't feel like cleaning it out for a picture. WORST CHORE EVER.

To do the bain marie, fill a sauce pan about halfway with water, set to medium heat and then place a bowl on top. The bowl should rest slightly inside the water, but no water should be able to get inside the bowl. Now is the prime time to post a photo to Instagram demonstrating how fancy you are. #bainmarie

You'll notice that the shea butter melts down pretty quickly while the cocoa butter takes a little longer. That's OK. Just stir consistently to make sure the butters blend together well.

Microwave version: Place in microwave and heat in 10 second bursts until it's all liquid. The raw cocoa butter will take longer because it's a drier/harder consistency.

STEP 2: Add Olive Oil and Freeze

Once you've got a nice liquid-y bowl o' butter, turn off the heat, remove the bowl from the bain marie and transfer to a larger bowl.

Add your 1/2 cup of olive oil, stir well and then put the whole shebang in the freezer for 25 to 30 minutes. I would like to quote myself here by saying, "Waiting is SO boring!"

Important: You only want to cool the mixture down so that it becomes a mushy mix, so don't let it freeze so long that it turns into a super-hard butter again.

STEP 3: Whip it Good

Now this is the fun part: whipping. Please don't take that out of context.

Using a hand beater, start whipping the oil/butter mixture on a medium to high speed. This process essentially injects a bunch of air into your oil, creating that frothy, whipped cream texture.

STEP 4: Add Vanilla and Spices

The mixture should be firm enough to peak/hold form. Next, add your vanilla extract (or essential oil). I went with an extract because it's what I had on hand, but essential oil definitely works, too.

The 4 tsp. of vanilla I used was enough to create a faint vanilla scent, but you can play with the amount of vanilla you add.

After adding the vanilla, add your cinnamon and nutmeg. I am partial to freshly ground nutmeg, but pre-ground works, too. Whip everything together a little longer until all ingredients are evenly dispersed.


Scoop your mixture into a jar. Label and date it, then store in a cool, dark place. A place that's 65 to 80 degrees is ideal. Just don't store it in the fridge, as it'll harden and lose its fluffiness. It should keep for quite a while without going bad.


This whipped body butter is very rich, which means a little goes a long way. Also, true to the word butter, it melts once it hits your warm skin. (Not that I run around smearing actual butter on my skin.)

I recommend applying post-shower, especially after shaving, when your skin is more receptive to sucking up moisture.

It's definitely a treat whenever you apply, and I promise you this: your skin will be so much softer to the touch. I also like to apply some to my feet and then put on socks post-self-pedi.

If any of you make this, I totally expect an Instagram notification on my phone with an @wendyrgould and #bainmarie.