It has been far too long since I’ve made a body butter bar, and this year’s Vanilla Spice theme was absolutely begging to be body-butter-barred. I also wanted to play a bit more with some silky, lightweight cetyl alcohol to create a luxxy body bar that was a bit lighter and more satiny than some of the ones I’ve made in the past. As with all body butter bars it comes together in a flash—measure, melt, stir, and pour, and that’s it! Perfect for gifts 🙂

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

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(As a side note, the term “lotion bar” for things that are purely anhydrous has always baffled me a bit… if you combine a bunch of butters and oils and put them in a tin, that’s a body butter, bit if you make them bar form suddenly people are calling them “lotion bars” even though they are not an emulsion… silly, yes, but it’s one of those things that floats around in my brain.)

The scent blend of these bars is in keeping with our vanilla spice theme, with an added cocoa note from the cocoa butter and a touch of honey from the beeswax, which works beautifully. If you want to avoid those notes and keep things purely vanilla spice you can certainly use the deodorized versions of each ingredient with no issues. I included a touch of mica to give the bars a warm, vanilla-y hue—there’s certainly not enough there to tint your skin. I used Virgo from TKB Trading, which is a lovely antiqued bronze/gold, but any sort of bronze/cooper/gold you’ve got on hand will do the trick, or you can leave the mica out entirely.

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

Let’s talk about moulds: silicone is best, and will release the easiest, but metal will also work. I’m not a huge fan of plastic moulds because they tend to be cheap and have a limited lifespan, so I don’t recommend buying them, but if you already have some, they’ll do the trick. When you’re choosing sizes and shapes, there’s two big things to keep in mind. Thing #1: is it a good shape and size for a body butter bar? I wouldn’t recommend making utterly massive ones (>200g) as they’re hard to use up before they get gnarly, or super tiny ones (<10g) as they can get quite smooshy from the get-go, but you are obviously free to do whatever you want! In the photos I made one 50g bar and two and a half 20g bars, and the 50g bar is about the size of a muffin cup. (Remember: When it comes to yield, remember the number of bars you get is completely dependent on the size of mould you use. If you made a 200g batch of the base you could make one bar or twenty—it is entirely dependent on the mould you’re using!)

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

Thing #2 is if you have (or can purchase) a container that will hold whatever shape and size of bar you’re planning on making. I highly recommend gifting body butter bars in wide-mouthed jars or tins so the recipient already has the storage bit sorted; body butter bars that are left kicking around without a container will pick up all kinds of lint and hair and quickly become the sort of thing you do not want to rub on yourself 😝 Plastic bags are an ok alternative, but I’m not a big fan; when you’ve just used the bar the outer layer is a bit warm and soft, and I find it tends to smear onto the bag and everything starts to melt and then re-solidify together. It’s easy enough to remove the bar from the bag, but presentation-wise it’s not the greatest choice.

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

You’ll notice there’s just four main ingredients in these bars, and for that reason I really don’t recommend changing the recipe much. You can use a different lightweight to midweight liquid oil in place of the rice bran oil, but please don’t touch the cocoa butter, beeswax, or cetyl alcohol unless you are prepared to potentially re-develop the entire recipe (which can be fun, just make sure you aren’t counting on a success right off the bat if that’s the route you decide to take!).

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

The final bars are silky smooth, deliciously fragrant, and downright perfect for gifting—especially if you pair ’em with some of the other Vanilla Spice goodies we’ll be making this season!

 Want to watch this recipe instead of read it?

The recipe in video is half the size of the one listed here.

Watch Now

Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bar

9g | 0.32oz cetyl alcohol
30g | 1.06oz beeswax
33g | 1.16oz cocoa butter
27g | 0.95oz rice bran oil

1/16 tsp bronze/copper/gold mica (I use these tiny measuring spoons for tiny measurements like this)
0.5g | 0.018oz vitamin E oil
0.9g | 4 “blobs” benzoin resinoid
0.21g | 4 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
0.05g | 2 drops clove bud essential oil
0.04g | 2 drops nutmeg essential oil

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.

Weigh the cetyl alcohol, beeswax, cocoa butter, and rice bran oil into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.

After about 20–30 minutes everything should be completely melted through. Remove the water bath from the heat, remove the measuring cup from the water bath, and dry it off with a dish towel. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.

Add the mica, vitamin E, and essential oils, and stir to combine. Once the mixture is smooth, pour it into your mould(s) and leave the bar(s) to set up. You’ll know they’ve set up when they bars start to pull away from the edge of the mould as they contract.

Once they’ve set up, remove the bars from the moulds, taking care to handle them as little as possible as they are formulated to begin to melt on contact with skin. Package them up in some cute tins or jars and gift away (or enjoy for yourself 😉).

Because these body butter bars are 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, these bars should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh one if that happens.

Substitutions

  • You can use a different lightweight to midweight liquid oil in place of the rice bran oil
  • You can use deodorized cocoa butter or beeswax in place of their more fragrant siblings
  • Please don’t touch anything else
  • If you want a simpler body butter bar make this one and add the vanilla spice essential oil blend, keeping in mind that this recipe makes 100g while the alternate one makes 70g, so you will have to scale the EO blend to 70%
  • You can scale the recipe easily by doubling/tripling/etc. the weights of all the ingredients

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

How to Make Vanilla Spice Body Butter Bars

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