Today’s DIY is part of our ongoing Cocoa Coconut theme—we’re melting up some stunning Cocoa Coconut Vegan Body Butter Bars that put silky cocoa butter and mouthwatering coconut oil on a pedestal so they can shine. You’ll only need six or seven ingredients to make these Cocoa Coconut Vegan Body Butter Bars, and they’re really easy to scale up for big-batch gift making. Let’s dive in!
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The bulk of these gorgeous body butter bars is fragrant and silky cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is a great ingredient for body butter bars because it’s brittle at room temperature, but melts right around body temperature (34°C/93°F)—meaning products made with lots of cocoa butter tend to be solid when stored, but melt nicely on contact with the skin. The cocoa butter I’ve used is from Baraka Shea Butter and it smells amazeballs—you don’t have to use that specific cocoa butter, but make sure whatever cocoa butter you do use smells fantastically chocolatey!
Since these are Coconut Cocoa Vegan Body Butter Bars, I’ve also included some mouthwatering coconut oil. Since coconut oil is much softer than cocoa butter and has a much lower melting point (24°C/75°F), including it in a body butter bar formulation necessitates the inclusion of some hardening ingredients to counter its softening effects. That lower melting point does give these bars quite lovely glide on the skin, though.
I ended up using three ingredients to harden these bars up. I started with just silky cetyl alcohol and creamy stearic acid, but they weren’t resulting in a high enough melting point without including enough that I’d have to reduce the coconut oil and cocoa butter more than I wanted to. So, I tipped in just 3% candelilla wax, and that did the trick 🙂 We get all the lightness of a wax-free body butter bar along with some pretty good thermal stability. If you live somewhere dramatically warmer than I do I’d try trading 1–3% cocoa butter for some more candelilla wax as a starting point for raising the melting point of these Coconut Cocoa Vegan Body Butter Bars.
When it comes to moulding these bars, you’ve got a few options. I used a new-to-me silicone honeycomb mold (USA / Canada) in the bars for the blog, and I love how those bars turned out! The video uses one half of a spherical silicone ice cube mould (USA / Canada) to create four half-dome bars (both the honeycomb and half dome moulds hold about 15g per cavity). I sprinkled some bronze mica into the moulds before pouring; the honeycomb one created a bit of an abstract accent, while the half-domes took on a very cool streaked/poured-over look.
The finished bars are lovely; ultra-fragrant, with a slow but silky melt when massaged into the skin. The body butter absorbs into the skin fairly quickly, leaving it soft and smelling wonderfully of cocoa and coconut. Yum!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Cocoa Coconut Vegan Body Butter Bars
Bronze mica, as needed (optional)
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.
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 dishtowel. Set the measuring cup on a towel or hot pad to insulate it from the counter and stir the mixture with a flexible silicone spatula to combine everything.
If using, sprinkle some bronze mica into your mould. If your mould is quite floppy I’d also recommend putting it on a plate or tray so you can easily carry it to the freezer (you can make things even easier by pouring the bars as close to the freeer as possible). You’ll also want to make sure there’s room for the mould in your freezer (you could also use your porch if it’s below freezing outdoors!).
Quickly add the cool down phase to the heated phase, stir to incorporate, and pour the product into your mould. Carefully transfer the mould to your freezer to solidify.
Once the bars have frozen solid you can gently unmould them, and that’s it! I do recommend storing/gifting these bars in an appropriately sized tin or jar so the end user has somewhere to keep it between uses. A body butter bar that’s left out on a table or counter tends to pick up lots of hair and lint over time, and that’s kind of gross. I prefer tins over plastic bags as they do a better job of protecting the bar and the bar doesn’t get lamintated to a tin in quite the same way as it does with a plastic bag. You could also pour these bars into a push-up stick/tube type package, and then freeze those.
To use, smooth some body butter over bits of skin that need some extra love. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because these body butter bars are 100% oil-based, they 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 the bar out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 60g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- I do not recommend substituting much of anything in this formulation—it’s very carefully balanced to create the desired melting point. Most changes are likely to result in needing to re-develop the formulation to some degree.
- You should be able to use refined versions of the cocoa butter and/or coconut oil instead of unrefined.
- Babassu oil should work instead of coconut oil.
- Carnauba wax should work instead of candelilla wax.
- If you live somewhere substantially hotter than I do, please read this re: melting.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.