This is Little Debbie. She recently left us for the next life.
Little Debbie was a friend of mine IRL, a sweet, sweet, kind and caring soul, and a fan of my writing. She credited me for teaching her how to make a lotion, among other things. In July, I packaged up all my tiny 15 ml vials of essential oils and shipped them to her with warnings about the phototoxicity of citrus oils and how patchouli gets better if you age it. She seemed to be delighted. It would be the last time we would talk before she would die.
When I wrote today’s post, all I could think was how much Little Debbie would appreciate it. It’s really nothing but a thick, super thick, lotion, so thick it’s now a body butter. It beats anhydrous or oil only butters because it contains water, and the combination of oil and water on your skin is magical at moisturizing. So without further ado: today’s post.
I’ve been in the mood lately to formulate a good, extremely moisturizing body butter. Not something anhydrous and greasy, but a rich emulsion that sinks in and delivers a power packed punch of oils and butters. In addition, I’ve loaded it with humectants. The oils are rich in linoleic acid and GLV, phytosterols, anti-oxidants, and vitamins A and E. These things help with moisturization and damaged skin, inflammation and can have anti-itch properties.
Humectants: We need as many humectants as possible! I’m thinking a minimum of 3% glycerin because it helps with skin hydration and restoring skin’s barrier functions. We could increase this to 5% if you have really dry skin, but you might find it a bit sticky. I also like using sodium lactate and either hydrolyzed silk protein or just plain silk peptides. As a humectant, sodium lactate is a great inclusion because it has been shown not only to increase ceramide synthesis and increase desquamation rates, but it also increases skin’s plasticity (which is sadly lacking in dry skin) and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. The down side is that it can make you more sun sensitive, so you want to use this at 2.5% or lower. I include it at 2%.
I also we recommend and use honeyquat, which is a skin conditioner and great humectant. You can use it at up to 5% according to my supplier, but I find it smells a little fishy at times and at 3% it’s easy to cover with your fragrance oil or essential oils and you still get the benefits.
Hydrolyzed proteins: I do love my hydrolyzed proteins, and a little goes a long way. All of the proteins or amino acids form a film on your skin and moisturize. Something like oat protein won’t penetrate your skin, but will form a film.Vegekeratin, which is a blend of various proteins will form a film and will penetrate your skin. Let’s add them at 3% in our water phase.
Oils: There are far too many choices here, but we want to emphasize something with GLA or linoleic aci, so that narrows it down a bit. We could choose something like apricot kernel oil (good linoleic acid, good ß-sitosterol, but a little light) or macadamia nut oil (great ß-sitosterol, not enough linoleic acid, a little drying) or rice bran oil (good phytosterols in general, good linoleic acid levels), but I like avocado oil and hemp oil for maximum moisturizing. Great levels of linoleic acid and high levels of ß-sitosterol make this the ideal choice for a dry skin moisturizer. Avocado doesn’t feel dry on your skin, it’s inexpensive, and easy to find. Hemp absorbs quickly and leaves a great afterfeel.
Butters: Okay, butters are vital for this recipe as they offer maximum occlusion and emolliency. They have oleic acid and stearic acid, both of which are great! Mango butter is generally my first choice for a moisturizing butter as it contains a lot of stearic acid, and it isn’t as greasy as shea, which is also a great ingredient. If you don’t have shea or butter or are allergic to it, then cocoa butter is a great choice as it is an approved barrier ingredient. It will, however, make your butter very stiff, so it’s not usually my first choice. Occasionally you’ll see me use 2/3 mango butter and 1/3 cocoa butter to get the benefits of both.
Emulsifier and thickener: BTMS can be a very dry feeling emulsifier, so although it is conditioning to skin, it might feel too dry for someone with very dry skin. Emulsifying wax would be my first choice – Ecomulse to be exact – because I don’t have access to other emulsifiers at the moment. So I’d suggest Ecomulse. Because we aren’t changing the oil phase amount, 6% is just fine. And I’m using cetyl alcohol because it is more glidy than stearic acid. You can use stearic or cetearyl alcohol or any other thickener you like. Heck, you can leave the thickener out if you really want because the butters contain stearic acid, so they will thicken. I like the emolliency and glide of cetyl alcohol, so it stays in. Btw, you’ll notice I recommend either Ecomulse OR 50/50 Ecomulse And BTMS. I like the conditioning benefits of BTMS but the powdery finish of Ecomulse. I’ve been criticised as one Is anionic and one is cationic, but this doesnt seem to effect their emulsifying properties.
As a note, combining BTMS and cetyl alcohol together is a great idea – it will be substantive to your skin, meaning it will actually form a film on your skin. This is a great idea for people who want to reduce TEWL.
Cool down phase – extracts and other additives: Leaving out the preservative is not an option, so I’ll use my liquid Germall Plus at 0.5% in the cool down phase. I like adding fragrance or essential oils at 1%, but you can reduce this to 0.5% or 0% if you want. Choose something you really like or an essential oil that offers some qualities you want in this body butter (I am using Meyers Lemon Fragrance Oil, because it allows me to haves a citrus body butter without the phototoxic results of true citrus essential oils.
This has already gotten very long, so rather than explain how to actually make the body butter I’m going to refer you to my lotion making post here.
Happy making, and here’s a recipe for body butter!
BODY BUTTER RECIPE
HEATED WATER PHASE
60g water, Freshly Boiled (oat milk?) Make oat milk with 100g water and 1 Tbsp Oats. Bring water To hard boil,add oats, Let Sit Til Cool, Strain. Use 60g For Recipe. I
3g Oat Protein (hydrolyzed protein of your choice-wheat, baobob, etc or use vegekeretin)
1/4 tsp allantoin
1/8 tsp powdered (not concentrated) aloe vera (or sub 25g of the water for aloe vera juice)
1/4 tsp silk peptides (or 2g hydrolyzed silk protein)
1/4 tsp niacinamide
Mix Well, keep warm
HEATED OIL PHASE
5g avocado oil
5g hemp oil
12g mango butter
3g cocoa butter
3g cetyl alcohol
6g Ecomulse OR
3g Ecomulse With
3g BTMS 50 OR
6g BTMS 50
Melt Together in Double Boiler. Remove From Heat. Whisk in Water Based Contents. Heat Through. Remove from heat and place in bowl. Keep whisking as cools. Once reaches room temperature and thickens slightly, add COOL down phase.
COOL DOWN PHASE
1g Liquid Germall Plus preservative (you can use 0.5g if you leave out the Oat Milk and aloe vera)
1g Meyers lemon so you can have a citrus balm. Maybe with 10 drops coconut.
0.5g Chamomile Extract
2g Green Tea Extract
Whisk in thoroughly. Decant to 4 oz jar. Label and keep in dry environment. Best not to store in bathroom. Even with preservative our kitchens are less then sterile so watch for signs of contamination and toss if looks or smells weird. Take no chances; your health is important!