DIY Beauty Bar: Body Butter

queer-beauty-bar-graphicNot to be confused with Boy Butter (seriously you guys, oils don’t mix well with sex toys or condoms), this body butter is an excellent alternative to lotion. Why isn’t it lotion? Well, lotion is technically an emulsion of water and oils. Emulsions are really cool; they’re mixtures of two substances that aren’t technically supposed to mix created by adding a third (and something fourth or fifth) ingredient that lets them come together. Beeswax and borax are two emulsifiers that people like to use when making homemade lotion because they’re relative cheap and natural (technically the jury’s still out on borax, but hey! the more you know!).

Unfortunately, there’s that whole downside to water when making body stuff. I like my stuff to last and I have no access or desire to procure preservative, so I try to avoid water when I can. It’s pretty easy most of the time. This body butter uses a zillion oils that I already have lying around the house from other DIY projects, but you can simplify it for whatever you already have at home or feel like buying. In fact, some body whips only use one ingredient like mango, shea or coconut butter. I’ve added directions for substitutions in the recipe.

Because this is oil-based, you’ll need a lot less than you’re used to using with lotions. To help you get used to it, we’re going to whip some air into it to make it look like you have more than you really do and to help you smooth a small amount onto bigger bits of your body.


brought to you by boy butter

Price breakdown:

4T of cocoa butter @ $30/pound (whole foods) or $14/pound (mountain rose herbs) = $3.60 or $1.68
4T of shea butter @ $18/pound (whole foods) or $14/pound (mountain rose herbs) = $2.16 or $1.58
4T of coconut oil @ $6/pound (trader joe’s) = $0.80
4T of grapeseed oil @ $8/pound (mountain rose herbs) or light olive oil @ $5/17oz bottle = $1.00 or $0.59
2T vitamin e oil @ $3/bottle (trader joe’s) = $0.76
2t of honey @ $6/pound (trader joe’s) = $0.09
2t of beeswax @ $12.50/pound (mountain rose herbs) = $0.20

Total = $5.70 – $8.61

Body Butter



4 T of cocoa butter – Moisture! Smells like chocolate! Yum!

4 T of shea butter – Also awesome for moisture.

if you don’t have or want to buy both of the above, double the quantity of the one you’re using

4 T of coconut oil – More moisture. That’s what this stuff is for, anyway.

if you don’t have or want to buy coconut oil, you can achieve a similar consistency by substituting it for any liquid oil and adding an additional 1 T of beeswax

4 T of grapeseed oil or light olive oil – Honestly you can use any oil in this step; check out this article to help you choose the liquid oil that’s right for you. I’d recommend staying away from sesame oil as it will leaving you smelling like a wok.

2 T of vitamin E oil

if you don’t have or want to buy all of the above, substitute the oil you do have for the other

2 t of honey – Honey’s a natural humectant, which means it keeps the moisture in.

2 t of beeswax – Beeswax doesn’t do a whole lot for your body, but it’ll keep the lotion hard if you live somewhere hot.


1. Add all the ingredients into a heat-proof glass bowl.

2. Create a double boiler by placing the bowl on a washcloth in a pan full of water.

3. Bring the water to a boil and stir stir stir to get all the ingredients incorporated. The beeswax has the highest melting point and will be the most resistent to melting, but wait until it all melts and you’ve got a uniform clear liquid.


4. Take the glass bowl out of the pan and let it cool. If you want to speed up cooling by refrigerating it, let it cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before putting it in the fridge to avoid cracking the glass shelves in your fridge. Glass has a tendency to do that when it goes from cold to hot really fast.

5. Once the mixture is back to room temperature, it should be semi-solidified. It’s also going to be kind of ugly and greasy looking. We’re going to give it some life by pumping air into it. Get out your mixer and whip it until it starts to look like whipped cream. Unlike whipped cream, you can’t over-beat this butter.

6. Transfer it into a clean container. The oils we’re using are all shelf-stable, but it’s still a good idea to put it in a container that can be sealed. You’ll also want to keep it out of direct sunlight. It won’t go bad in heat, but it will melt. If at any point your butter melts, you can use it regularly, or whip it up again.

Resources: Herb Mentor, Rebecca’s Soap Deli, Wellness Mama, Bloom Bake and Create, One Good Thing

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. “Once I discovered that, it was like, *OONZE-OONZE-OONZE-OONZE* – let’s get this party started.”

  2. Oh, I’ve been using only coconut butter as moisturizer. This adds a whole new level of smelling like things I want to eat. Mm, awesome.

  3. remember when i said i couldn’t decide if i needed to make my own deodorant right away or if i never wanted to make it?

    i am 900% positive that i NEED to make my own body butter RIGHT AWAY. thanks laura!

  4. Any alternatives to shea butter and coconut oil in this? Allergic to both. Bought a shea based moisturizer for both body and face recently and after slathering it everywhere, ended up with a face rash and a butt rash (only God can judge me).

    Twice as much cocoa butter in lieu of shea, maybe? No idea what replaces coconut.

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