Natural butters are expeller-pressed from the seeds and kernels of trees, and are solid at room temperature. Butters are employed extensively in beauty recipes to impart a creamy, smooth, and dense consistency to lotions, creams, lip balms, and even soaps. Butters are truly splendid and fantastically pampering, and frequently used alone to condition and care for the skin.
Naturally sourced butters vary in hue from white, through off-white, creamy colored, and pale yellow, and even to tan or a grayish color. They can be purchased refined or unrefined, with consistencies ranging from soft to semi-hard to very hard. “Unrefined” means that the butter did not pass through a filtering system and/or was not treated with any chemical or solvent to alter its color, texture, aroma, vitamin content, or natural properties. It is common to find “refined,” “ultra-refined,” and “deodorized” butters for sale. If you truly desire the butter in its natural form, choose a raw or unrefined version.
Natural butters are recommended if you are making lotions, creams, body butters, lip balms, lotion bars, and conditioners.
Choosing the best butter for different recipes
A creamy to pale-yellow colored semi-hard butter that is expeller pressed from the seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). Cocoa butter imparts a delectable chocolate aroma to your skincare product. It is a magnificent ingredient to use if you want to reduce dryness and improve the elasticity of your skin. Cocoa butter is frequently used in formulas that support a reduction in the appearance of stretch marks. You can purchase it in convenient small wafers to assist with easier melting.
A white-colored hard butter that is expeller-pressed from the seeds of the Garcinia indica tree. It is superbly soothing to the skin and regularly enjoyed in creams and lotions.
Kokum butter will melt effortlessly at body temperature and is a terrific ingredient in lip-balm recipes.
A creamy or white hard butter that is expeller-pressed from illipe nuts from the Shorea stenoptera tree. Illipe butter is an extraordinary conditioning ingredient and an ideal addition to lotions and creams that will be used to rejuvenate and refresh dehydrated and thirsty skin.
An off-white-colored semi-hard butter that is expeller-pressed from the seed kernels of the mango tree (Mangifera indica). Mango butter has a substantial amount of both antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It is frequently used when preparing recipes for nourishing and soothing dry skin, as well as smoothing wrinkles. Mango butter is a superb ingredient in lotions, creams, body balms, lip balms, and soaps.
An off-white colored hard butter that is expeller pressed from the fruits of the Astrocaryum murumuru tree. It contains an extraordinary amount of essential fatty acids and is used in beauty products to rejuvenate and recondition dry and mature skin.
A creamy tan to pale yellowish- colored, velvety soft butter that is expeller-pressed from the nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradooxa, formerly
Butyrospermum parkii). It is one of the most commonly used butters in skincare recipes. It has a remarkable capacity to protect and soothe the skin, and is regularly used in lotions, creams, body balms, and lip balms.
Using natural butters
This chart shows the shelf-life of the most commonly used natural butters if they are stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. Also provided is the melting point of the butters, which is important to know if you are creating lip balms, which may warm up and potentially melt if kept close to the body.
If your butter is too hard to incorporate into recipes, then melt it in a double boiler over a low heat.
Make lemony whipped Body butter
This body butter instantly penetrates the skin to provide long-lasting protection and moisture. See pages 94–95 and 112–113 for some more great face and body moisturizer recipes.
- 1⁄4 cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoons cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
- 1⁄4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 40 drops lemon essential oil
Makes 4 ounces
- Measure out the shea butter, cocoa butter, and jojoba oil into a double boiler set over a low heat.
- Melt the butters and oil together, and remove from the heat.
- Cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Using a hand-held mixer, with a whisk attachment, whisk for 10 minutes. Return the mixture to the refrigerator to chill for 5 minutes. Whisk again for 10 minutes and repeat the whisk/chill process until you have the consistency of whipped cream. Add the vitamin E oil and lemon essential oil, and whisk to combine.
- Transfer the body butter to an air-tight container and store in a cool, dark place. Use within six months.
Tips and tricks for buying and storing butters
- Always store butters in air-tight containers.
- Keep butters in a cool, dark place.
- Use clean utensils when removing butters from their containers.
- Both unrefined shea and natural cocoa butter have a distinct aroma that will affect the fragrance of your finished product. You can use deodorized cocoa butter and refined shea butter if you wish to add a signature essential oil blend to your product.
- Only buy 100% natural butters that not have hydrogenated or mixed with preservatives, fragrances, or any other ingredient.
Source: 200 Tips, Techniques & Recipes for Natural Beauty by Shannon Buck