Saturday, October 6, 2012

Homemade Herbal Face & Body Butter

Fall Blessings To All!  There's a slight chill in the air during the evenings, the maples are nearing their peak of red, orange, and yellow vibrancy, and "summer's bright light" has dimmed.  Fall is indeed here.  I'm so glad.  It's my favorite season.  Along with the fall season comes less humidity and a tendency for skin to become drier, thus the need for the application of a more intense moisturizer for your face and body.

Today, I will share one of my favorite homemade recipes that can be used to moisturize normal-to-dry and dry skin on both the face and body, or just used on the body if your face tends to be on the normal-to-oily or oily side.  Some people prefer to use it only on their "dry patches" such as knees, elbows, shins, feet, and hands.  It also makes a terrific nail and cuticle conditioning cream, cleansing cream for removal of heavy makeup, diaper rash prevention cream, after-sun treatment cream, and anti-frizz cream when sparingly scrunched into very curly hair after the hair has dried. I modify the formulation every few years as I continue to learn how to improve the texture and stability of homemade creams.  The recipe is the best ever!  Hope you enjoy it.

Herbal Face & Body Butter

This herbal butter deeply feeds your skin from the outside and smells so amazingly fresh.  It's chock-full skin-nourishing vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, plus acts as a potent anti-inflammatory.  Your skin will feel velvety soft with regular application.  It may become your favorite fall and winter cream like it has mine.


- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive or almond base oil
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin, unrefined coconut base oil
- 4 tablespoons beeswax
- 1 teaspoon soybean lecithin granules
- 2 teaspoons shea butter, unrefined or refined
- 1 cup distilled water or lavender or chamomile hydrosol
- 60 drops German chamomile or lavender essential oil (the chamomile will make the formula greenish-blue and is highly recommended if you have inflamed, environmentally damaged, or chapped skin)
- 1,000 IU Vitamin E oil

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 to 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to completely cool and set

Blending Tools:  Blender; long, slender spatula

Store In:  Plastic or glass jars (sterilize and dry them before pouring in cream)

Yield:  Approximately 2+ cups


HEAT:  In a saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the base oils, beeswax, shea butter, soybean lecithin granules, and vitamin E oil until the wax is just melted.  In another pan, warm the water or hydrosol.

COOL:  Remove both pans from heat and allow their contents to cool almost to body temperature which may take 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  Make sure the oil/wax mixture doesn't begin to thicken, it must remain liquid.  Stir a few times to blend.  Important:  the watery solution and oil/wax mixture must be approximately the same temperature when blending so that they don't separate.

BLEND:  Immediately pour the water or hydrosol into the blender.  Place the lid on the blender and remove the lid's plastic piece.  Turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle the oil/wax mixture through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling water below.  Closely watch what happens:  Almost immediately, the body butter will begin to thicken.  Blend for 5 to 10 seconds more, turn off the blender, and check the consistency of the butter.  It should have a smooth texture.  If the water isn't combining thoroughly with the fat mixture, turn off the blender and give the mixture a few stirs with a spatula to free up the blender blades.  Then replace the lid and blend on medium for another 5 to10 seconds.  Repeat if necessary.  The body butter will be thick.

Turn off the blender and add the essential oils, manually stirring a few times to incorporate them, then blend completely on medium for another 5 to 10 seconds.

Note:  If the temperature of your kitchen is above 76 degrees F., the body butter will remain a softer consistency.  If the temperature is below 76 degrees F., the body butter will be firmer.

PACKAGE & COOL:  Either by pouring or using a spoon, fill your storage containers.  Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the blend to cool for 30 minutes before capping.  If you notice, after a few hours or days, that water begins to separate from your body butter, don't worry.  The mixture can separate if the temperature of the fats and temperature of the water were not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended.  Keep trying - making perfect creams is an art!

No refrigeration is required if used within 60-90 days.  If refrigerated, please use within 6 months.  Refrigeration may change the texture of the product, but potency will not be affected.

Application Tips:  Immediately following a bath or shower, slather this butter onto your damp skin - really massage it in.  Because it's very concentrated, begin with 1 teaspoon at a time.  If skin has an oily residue after 5 minutes, you've used too much.  Simply wipe off the excess with a coarse towel and use less the next time around.  To use as a face cream, cleanse face first, pat damp-dry, then place a tiny, pea-size amount into your palm.  Rub palms together to warm and soften the cream, then press into face, neck, and chest.  Wait 5 minutes before applying makeup.

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Herbalist, and Aromatherapist, and author of Organic Body Care Recipes, Storey Publishing, 2007.   The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.