This Conditioning Earl Grey Body Butter ended up being one of those things that sounded like a good idea, and then turned out to be a great idea in practice. Don’t you love it when that happens? In abstract, adding some conditioning, cationic goodness to a body butter sounded like a thing that would be nice, but once I actually made it—whoa! Guys; this stuff is amazing. It’s silky smooth and fast absorbing, and leaves your skin feeling soft and protected and silky and wonderful and just… I’m utterly besotted.
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The bulk of this body butter is a carefully selected blend of butters and oil. Mango butter is the bulk of it, and I’ve chosen mango butter because it absorbs into the skin beautifully, leaving skin soft but not greasy. It has a consistency similar to shea butter, but in terms of absorption speed it couldn’t be more different. If you like shea butter, but find it heavy, greasy, and/or sticky, get yourself some mango butter!
Cupuacu butter is another soft, creamy butter with a very unique and lovely silicone-like finish to it that’s utterly lovely. I used refined cupuacu butter for this project to really allow our essential oil blend to shine. Apricot kernel oil is lightweight and rich in vitamin A and oleic acid, though it’s also easily substituted for other lightweight oils.
That blend of soft butters and liquid oil is thickened up with silky cetyl alcohol and conditioning BTMS-50. BTMS-50 is what gives our body butter that something special—that oooooooooh feeling that has me so excited about this recipe! If you only have BTMS-25 you can use that instead, though it has half the conditioning power of BTMS-50. To get the same amount of conditioning power you’d have to double the amount of BTMS-25 you use, but that will throw off the rest of the recipe, so I am hesitant to recommend that.
In addition to bringing conditioning wonderfulness to our body butter, the BTMS-50 is also a complete emulsifying wax. This means that if you apply this body butter to damp skin it’ll self emulsifying with the water left on your skin, transforming into a rich, lovely lotion right on your skin, just like magic!
Our essential oil blend is reminiscent of an Earl Grey tea latte. Sweet palmarosa essential oil smells quite a lot like black tea, bergapatene-free bergamot adds the classic citrus note without any photosensitization worries, and warm benzoin brings it all together with a sweet vanilla-like note. Watch for this theme in upcoming projects—I’ve got plans for it!
Because I had lattes on the brain I opted to fancy up this body butter with a fun mica swirl on the top, inspired by the fancy patterns you’ll often see in the foamy topping on an expertly made latte at a nice café. This part is optional, but fun. Now—let’s go get our Conditioning Earl Grey Body Butter on!
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Conditioning Earl Grey Body Butter
Brown mica, as needed, pre-distributed in a few drops of apricot kernel oil (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.
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. In the video I melt it together using 15–20 second blasts in the microwave as I found melting it in the water bath never got it all the way transparent—it remained cloudy no longer how long I left it in the bath & I ended up needing to “top it up” with a quick blast in the microwave.
Once everything has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat. Add the cool down ingredients and stir to combine. Pour about 85% of the melted mixture into a 50mL jar or tin (I used this one), and then, working quickly, stir small amount of brown mica into the remaining body butter that’s still in the measuring cup, and drizzle that over top top of the body butter in the jar. Using a toothpick, swirl the brown mica part around a bit to create a pretty design, and leave to set up.
When the body butter has solidified it’s ready to use—enjoy!
Because this body butter does not contain any water, 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.
- You can use BTMS-25 instead of BTMS-50
- You can use different soft butters instead of the cupuacu and/or mango. Sal, shea, and mowrah would all be good choices, but remember than mango butter is a rare, dry butter with a really light, non-greasy finish. Using a different butter in place of the mango butter will make for a greasier, heavier, slower-absorbing final product.
- Feel free to use a different oil your skin loves in place of the apricot kernel oil. I’d recommend sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed as good alternatives.
- I don’t recommend swapping out the cetyl alcohol, but if you must I’d recommend stearic acid first and one of the c-waxes (candelilla or carnauba) after that