Homemade Coconut Body & Lip Butters
There is a certain pleasure to be had from walking into an expensive department store and perusing the extensive range of beauty products available. Helpful and “qualified” staff will assess your skin’s needs and talk you through the benefits of their range. (“Qualified” in this instance generally means they’ve been trained on their company’s product range and how best to sell them.) You leave with a bag of products carefully wrapped in tissue paper and a gorgeous (branded) bag, promises of bright, wrinkle-free skin within days and a significantly lighter wallet.
For the past few years we have been slowly banishing industrially processed foods from our diet. We are making more and more of our food from scratch, using local ingredients from known sources where possible. We do this because we want to know and choose what we put into our bodies, limiting unnaturally, chemically derived additives or foods that are so denatured from their original form that they are barely recognisable.
But what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our mouths. The skin is the body’s largest organ and it absorbs particles from its environment. If there are man-made chemicals in our beauty products these will be absorbed and passed through to the bloodstream & endocrine system, meaning they can impact our organs & interfere with our hormones. Limiting chemicals in our skincare products is just as important as limiting chemicals in what we eat.
Reading the labels on some skincare products would make your eyes water. Since I’m providing a recipe for body butter I decided to take a look at the ingredients for the body butter I used to buy – and that I used to love. It comes from a store that promises “naturally-inspired” skincare products. Their coconut body butter contains a whopping 20 ingredients. While some of these are natural, and just look man-made because they are listed with their chemical names, many of the ingredients are man-made, including chemically produced perfumes and colours. This is not stuff I want to put on my skin.
As a qualified masseuse I have studied the benefits of various oils when applied to the skin. Coconut oil has always been one of my favourites. As well as numerous skin benefits it has a glorious smell, plus it has the added advantage of being solid at room temperature, so it is less messy to apply than liquid oils. It is still not solid enough for the type of body butter I had in mind, so I researched natural products that could be mixed with coconut to make a rich, non-greasy butter. I discovered that beeswax is often used as an emulsifier in cosmetic products and that it, too, has many skin benefits. Since Lithuania has a thriving bee-keeping culture, beeswax is readily and cheaply available. I found some 100% beeswax candles in my local supermarket and started experimenting. My first attempt yielded a product that was too hard to use as a body butter, but perfect as a lip balm. I gradually added more coconut oil until I got the texture I wanted.
This body butter can be made with just those two ingredients – raw organic coconut oil and natural beeswax. However, I like to add some essential oils for fragrance and for their individual benefits. My current favourite combination is Ylang Ylang and Cedarwood. Cedarwood (Atlas) is supposedly useful in treating skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Ylang Ylang is also useful for general skin conditioning as well as having a gloriously floral fragrance. I use both at low concentration so they don’t overpower the gentle scents of the coconut and beeswax. The combination is pleasant and soothing but not heady or overpowering.
I’ve been using this butter on my body and lips for over a year and I love it. It is rich without being greasy. While it looks a little hard in the tub, the heat of your finger will melt it enough to remove a small amount for use. It’s fantastic as a hand cream as the beeswax acts as a barrier to keep out water, which can be very drying. (I wash my hands constantly when I’m cooking and my hands are very dry as a result.) Arūnas has a few patches of eczema and finds this is the only cream that soothes the itch and reduces redness. It’s even better than the specialist creams he bought from the pharmacy. As an added benefit, the two butters (lip & body) cost me about €2.50 (US$2.85) for a fully organic, natural product. The “one I used to buy” currently sells for over €20.
Homemade Body Butter
40 g |1.5 oz natural beeswax (typically from a 100% beeswax candle or pellets)
80-130 g | 3-4½ oz raw organic coconut oil
10 drops cedarwood (atlas) essential oil (optional)
10 drops ylang ylang essential oil (optional)
Scrape of your favourite lipstick (optional for lip balm)
- If you wish to make lip balm, start by melting 80 g (3 oz) of coconut oil with the beeswax in a saucepan over a very low heat. The oil will melt quickly, which will in turn melt the wax.
- Remove from the heat. Pour a small amount into a very small container*. If you like, scrap off a tiny amount of your favourite lipstick with the tip of a sharp knife and stir it into the hot oil (using a cocktail stick or the handle of a teaspoon) to add a hint of colour. Allow to cool fully before using.
*Empty lip balm containers are available in many beauty stores and pharmacies.
- For the body butter, add the remaining coconut oil and essential oils (if using), stir with a metal spoon. Pour into a suitable container*. Allow to cool fully before using.
*I use the recycled tub from the commercial body butter I used to love! You can also use a small mason jar – just make sure the neck is wide enough to get your hand into.
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a qualified aromatherapist or medical practitioner. My suggested use of essential oils is based on my own knowledge and experience. Please consult an authoritative guide to essential oils to confirm that any oils used are suitable for your particular needs and circumstances. Essential oils should only ever be used in low concentrations. If you experience any adverse reactions discontinue use immediately and consult a medical practitioner if symptoms persist. I accept no liability related to use of essential oils.
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way. It does contain links to products that I have personally selected and recommend. If you purchase products via the links in this post I receive a teeny, tiny commission.