28 June 2010

slathered yourself in a good body buttah lately? ;)

like i mentioned in my first disillusionment post, being natural is incredibly hands-on. you start experimenting with shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil... then maybe upgrade to other butters, castor oils, essential oils, and before you know it, you've got yourself a tidy little arsenal of natural products. and trust me, you will, eventually, try making your own body butter. even before i went natural, i was trying to mix up products. my first attempt ended in a hard, dusty-feeling square of shea butter and who knows what else.

i was slightly disappointed, but at the same time, i went into that experiment blind, so didn't really know what to expect. from there, i tried a few more times, started watching youtube videos and reading the ingredients on my products from online vendors. my last attempt left me with 16 ounces of a body butter that was closer to a body tar. it hardened (though was quite the improvement over what i've affectionately termed my "newbie brick"), though did soften when i left it in the bathroom during my shower. but the consistency and scent wasn't quite was i was looking for. this was back in february, during that wicked snowstorm and i just threw out what was left of the mixture this past weekend.

but just last week, i decided to try again. a group of my friends are really into the whole natural, foodie smelling goodies (thanks to oyin's whipped pudding) and i really wanted to seem cool and hip by whipping something up for them. i was confident this time around, especially after seeing naptural85's video on her homemade treats. she mentions that the oils should be a compliment to the butters. this really resounded with me (although i can't remember if i previously doused my mixtures in oil), so i decided to try to keep the oils light.

i started by listing out all the products i had on hand and then selecting what i wanted in my butter. i think this really helped to get me organized. if i wasn't freeforming it, there would be less margin for error. here's what i used:
  • avocado butter (remember, all avocado butter is refined)
  • hemp seed butter
  • raw, unrefined shea butter
  • avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • jamaican black castor oil
  • vitamin e oil

i used a small amount of everything this time, lest i be left with 16 ounces of gunk i wouldn't want to use or gift away. i used roughly 6 ounces of shea butter, 2-3 tablespoons of avocado butter, and a tiny spoonful of hemp seed butter (the smell on this is fairly strong, and i wanted to scent mine later, so i only used a little). i started with a single tablespoon of each of each of the oils, finishing with a teaspoon of vitamin e. from there, i began whipping and added more oils as i felt i needed.

i added my fragrance last (dulce de leche!) and continued whipping.

the result?

perfection! it wasn't exactly thick enough to be a butter (i may freeze my shea butter next time, or find a thickener to get that custardy texture i want), but it was a whipped dream. it was light and fluffy and spread beautifully without being greasy. it was scented just enough without being overpowering (although there's a a definite undertone of the unmistakable smell of shea butter, it doesn't clash). and even better yet, i had just enough to perfectly fill four 4-oz jars.

i am especially happy to report that i think i've learned the secret to keeping your shea butter smooth, soft, and fluffy. the first time i tried to whip shea, i did the melt-whip-freeze-whip-freeze-whip technique and found that the texture hardens up the next day. if you don't melt it down the first time, it'll remain how it is the day you first whipped it. i'm waiting to give another jar away, so i've been monitoring it and my butter hasn't fallen, melted, separated, or anything! i am sooo happy.

i dished them out the next day, and so far the feedback has been wonderful. i am so proud! i'm still waiting to hear from two others who i gave my butter to, but i wish i had made enough for myself. :P i'm really hoping that i'll be able to recreate this again.

i am so happy. i wish i had taken pictures for you all. next time i mix something, maybe i'll make a vid out of it - that'd be fun. :)

and before i end this post, an important note! as with anything, don't give up! i've never followed a youtube video exactly, so of course there's some variation. but i feel as though even if i did follow a recipe perfectly, mine would never come out exactly like someone else's. there's just too much variation in everything - measurements, whipping tools, temperature, and shea butter especially. so don't be disappointed if something doesn't come out perfectly. feel free to tweak and experiment as you like!

have you tried to make a body butter? how did it turn out? i would love to hear some more mixtures and recipes!


Steph {aka Hermine} said...

Hiya. So did you melt the shea butter before whipping it? I'm thinking of making myself a shea butter mix but i want to add joboba oil and some monoi taire oil for fragrance. and maybe i might make another batch just for my hair.

Melyssa said...

hi! no, i didn't melt it beforehand. the last time i tried that, my shea butter hardened. :(

i hope this helps!