From the blog of EtsyVeg member, Erin of KrugsEcoLogic, creator of richly nurturing and natural vegan bath and body products. Shared with permission.
Making soaps, lotions, and bath and body products isn't rocket science... but it does take time, research, money, and patience to come up with your own unique and fabulous recipes. Finding the perfect ratio of your desired ingredients can become time consuming... but worth it!
Here's my general approach to making body butters ....
As far as body butter recipes go, they are usually approximately 50-100% butters/oils. The more solids you have, the thicker the emulsion. I like mine thick, but not greasy. So my butters and oils are approximately 65-70% of the total mixture. The added water makes the body butter non-greasy and more easily spreadable.
I think of the recipe in three sections - the butters/solids, oils, and water/water soluble items. To each of these categories you can add whatever ingredients you feel would bring the best qualities to your body butter. I absolutely love shea, cocoa and sal butters (shown below) and use all three in this formulation. I melt these butters down so that they may be equally incorporated to make a lovely, smooth emulsion.
If you've ever made salad dressing before and tried to mix water and vinegar, you know they just don't stay together. This would happen with lotions if you did not add a binding ingredient that holds water and oil together- an emulsifier. Add this to your solid ingredients and gently melt.
I also use some oils for their skin loving properties, and add olive, almond, and vitamin E (shown below) to the melted butter blend.
Next comes the water phase. As in any concoction that employs the use of water, you need to have a preservative. Imagine drinking from the same water bottle for a year without ever washing it or getting new, fresh water. Gross, right? A preservative is essential in water-based lotions/body butters in order to prohibit the growth of bacteria. I use a paraben-free preservative that I like to call "the lesser of all the preservative evils". It gets the job done without the harshness of some of the other preservatives.
Along with the water-preservative mixture, I add some vegetable based glycerin. This ingredient has so many uses! I incorporate this valuable ingredient to aid in attracting moisture from the air to your skin. I also use a touch of citric acid to help balance the pH of the body butter mixture.
Each 'phase' of the mixture should be warm... and about the same temperature. Too hot, and it will ruin the properties of the oils/butters and destroy the preservative system. Too cool, and the mixture will have lumps, bumps, and will not incorporate correctly. I use a stick blender (a bath and body maker's #1 piece of equipment) to blend, and add the scenting oils last. I then quickly transfer the body butter to containers.
And here's the result:
You simply can't get any better bath and body products than those that are made from scratch utilizing the absolute best, natural ingredients.
Happy Blending !!
(*** If you desire to make your own, please be sure to thoroughly read any material you can get your hands on, and wash and sterilize equipment before use. *** )
For more great information about natural bath and body products, visit Erin's blog, Krug's Eco-Logic.