Massage lovers everywhere: prepare to fall in love. This silky, glide-y Coconut Massage Butter gives you eons of working time on the skin for a luxurious, satiny massage. It isn’t oily or greasy, but you’ll find your hands gliding over skin with a wonderful, soft slip. When you’re done the massage, this butter settles down to a soft, velvety finish that’s light and luxurious—the sort of thing you’re happy to leave on your skin. Swoon.
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Up until now, my go-to for massages has been massage oil, and I’ve made some lovely ones over the years. Massage oils are super simple to make and work well, but they have one major downfall—they’re liquid. This means you’re left dispensing and steering a palmful of liquid oil, and often above sheets that you’d prefer not to soak in oil. I’ve thought about making solid massage butters in the past, in my pre-cetyl-alcohol-days, and always dismissed the idea as true waxes give products a tack and grab that is undesirable in massage products. However, as I’ve worked with cetyl alcohol and fallen in love with its silky, glidey goodness, the massage butter idea re-surfaced.
Predictably, the majority of the thickening of this Coconut Massage Butter comes from cetyl alcohol, with a bit more coming from the inclusion of some BTMS-50. BTMS-50 is a cationic emulsifying wax, and it’s a wonderful inclusion in this massage butter. The cationic, conditioning contribution leaves the skin feeling utterly wonderful—silky and a bit powdery. It’s divine. The emulsifying element means this massage butter washes out of sheets and other fabrics better than pure oils. You could also apply this massage butter to damp skin, and it will self-emulsify with any water on the skin, transforming into lotion.
I’ve always loved coconut oil in massage oils because it’s thin and really oily (this is the same reason I don’t typically love it in body butters, at least in high concentrations). I find coconut oil melts down to a thin liquid and sits on the skin, providing great, long-lasting lubrication for massages. At 40% it contributes a huge amount of the slip in this massage butter, as well as a subtle (and delicious) coconut scent.
We get even more slip from the inclusion of a small amount of dimethicone 350. Dimethicone is a silicone oil, derived from silica (sand is chiefly comprised of silica), and the 350 is the viscosity designation. 350 is considered medium viscosity. Dimethicone contributes amazing slip, reduces tack, and helps protect the skin. You don’t have to use it (see the substitutions list for alternatives), but it really is amazing, especially in a massage product. It’s inexpensive (30mL is just over $2 at Windy Point), has a long shelf life, and is very versatile—you can include it in lotions, hair products, cosmetics, and more.
This massage butter is rounded off with some lightweight, glidey liquid oils and a touch of vitamin E oil to extend the shelf life. We’ll melt everything together, cool it in an ice bath while stirring, and then let it set up. You’ll be rewarded with a decadently soft, slippy massage butter that smells wonderfully of coconuts. I hope you love it as much as I do.
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Coconut Massage Butter
2.8g | 7% BTMS-50 (USA / Canada)
3.8g | 9.50% cetyl alcohol
6g | 15% fractionated coconut oil
10g | 25% safflower oil
16g | 40% virgin coconut oil
1.2g | 3% dimethicone 350 (USA / Canada)
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 heated phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through. Depending on where you live, you may need to microwave it to get the BTMS-50 to fully melt; mine never wants to melt in a water bath, so I used a few 15 second bursts in the microwave.
While the mixture melts, prepare an ice bath by combining some cold water and ice cubes in a bowl large enough to accommodate whatever you’re melting the heated phase in.
Once everything has melted, remove the mixture from the heat. Cool it in the ice bath, stirring constantly. Once it has turned milky white, remove it from the ice bath and stir in the vitamin E. Pour the mixture into a wide-mouthed jar (I used one of these 50mL plastic jars from YellowBee) and leave it to set up for about an hour before using.
To use, scoop up a small amount of massage butter and warm it between your hands before applying to bare skin and massaging away. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this massage butter is 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, it 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 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 40g.
- BTMS-25 will work in place of BTMS-50, though the end result will be less conditioning.
- Please don’t substitute the cetyl alcohol with anything else.
- You can choose different lightweight, inexpensive, glidey liquid oils in place of the fractionated coconut oil and/or safflower oil. You can also use all of one or the other.
- You can use refined babassu oil or babassu oil in place of the virgin coconut oil, but you will lose the wonderful coconut scent.
- You can replace the dimethicone with more liquid oil or coconut oil.