If you're like me and you've been researching how to make your own lotions and body creams, then you know it really is all about the butter that you choose. Everything needs a solid foundation and lotions are no different. Many of us are wanting to keep our skin moisturized, but we rarely consider the science that backs the various products that we are using on a day to day basis. According to the hype cocoa butter is amazing and it can cure stretch marks... this is not found to be true. In fact, coca butter is found to be no more effective than a placebo lotion. Because cocoa butter clogs your pores, it is not a butter I opt to use as a base for lotions. I also do not tell my pregnant friends to use to for stretch marks. If you want to have a portion of your base as cocoa butter, I would suggest using 3/5 shea butter and 2/5 cocoa butter. This ways it doesn't clog your pores as much. You might be reading this wondering why I would suggest any cocoa butter if it clogs pores, but it also contains a chemical called 'cocoa mass polyphenol' (CMP), which helps ease symptoms of dermatitis or rashes. A LiveStrong.com article also suggests that the CMP chemical helps inhibit the growth of cancerous cells and tumors. So depending on your individual skin care needs, some cocoa butter may still be needed even if it clogs pores. Just be mindful of that.
I can appreciate shea butter for it's various qualities and the fact that it does not clog pores. I use it in combination with 100% organic aloe vera gel as a base for face lotions and acne solutions. Using the two together also makes for more of a lotion consistency than a butter or a cream that depends on your body heat to melt it down slightly before application to skin.
A Little About Shea Butter
Shea butter is a non-comedoenic, so your pores will stay clear when using this as a base for any lotion, cream or butter recipe. If you have acne prone skin or have issues with stretchmarks or scars that you are trying to work on shea butter is a much better solution than cocoa butter. Also, as the mother of a toddler ANYTHING that can help fight off infections is a good thing because children get into absolutely everything. Shea butter has antimicrobial properties so... know this is how I start off each recipe.
Every once in a while I might splice in some mango butter using the same 3/5 shea butter and 2/5 mango butter combination. Mango butter has vitamins A, C & E and can help protect skin from UV rays as well as calm sunburned skin. It also has a very soft consistency that helps leave skin feeling silky smooth.
Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties which is amazing, but it also protects against sunburn, moisturizes and helps heal cuts and abrasions. The selling point to me was when I also learned it helps with insect bites, eczema, frostbite, dermatitis and WRINKLES! Hello there! There's nothing like being a mom in her 30's to make you start to worry more about wrinkles. Obviously, I had found a base for my body butter. Happy that it isn't to oily and doesn't leave my skin looking greasy. So when I came across this tutorial for a DIY Shea Butter body butter, I had to try it out.
However, the recipe calls for a carrier oil and I didn't have the same kind used in the tutorial, so I opted for coconut oil. I'm sure if you're reading this blog than you're already aware of how wonderful coconut oil can be, but just in case you don't I'm going to list a few of the benefits here. It's antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and it blocks about 20% of UV rays. It has a tendency to be oily, but the recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons of it. When you have a toddler running around, the natural antibacterial and antiviral properties are a blessing... anything that helps him not get sick from all the little germs he comes across, I am so excited about it. Keep in mind, this is the carrier oil I chose and you can choose a different one if you have different needs.
Vegetable glycerin is clear and odorless. It helps the skin absorb the moisture provided by the body butter. It draws the moisture into the lower layers of the skin helping skin retain moisture longer. It also pulls water from the air (there isn't much in Nevada) then creates a hydrogen bond with it. This plus the jojoba oil retains moisture and with consistent usage there will be a noticeable difference in how dry your skin gets. I can wash my hands several times before it is dried out making me need to reapply lotions after using the body butter for a week.
The next ingredient is Vitamin E Oil. This acts as a preservative making sure that the body butter does not go rancid. Just a little goes a long way and makes the butter last for about 6-7 months. Aside from that Vitamin E Oil also helps with scars and skin irritation. Makes for a wonderful combination. The arrow root helps with the consistency of the body butter, although it will be hard at first. The very last ingredient is the optional essential oils. I used lavender and chamomile to help elevate moods, add to the antibacterial properties of the body butter and sooth skin irritation. Be careful with the essential oils as using too much can result in rashes and discontinuing the usage of the product you just made.
Bella Eiko is a single mother of a 5 year old boy, freelance journalist, foodie and Civil Rights activist that is dedicated to building a better world by increasing communication & applying positive changes to her everyday life. This endeavor includes educating both herself as well as her son about sustainable living and healthy alternatives to everyday products using practical application.