In theory, sandal season is on its way. I say “in theory” because right now the concept of spring seems more like a sad, mocking joke rather than the (supposedly) current season. It hasn’t been warmer than -10°C at 7am for weeks. Our highs are 10–20°C colder than is typical for this time of year. It’s still snowing nearly every day. Insert choice language expressing frustration and exasperation here. Hrmph. Anywho—in a showing of faith in the sun eventually remembering what’s up, I have whipped up this simple-yet-decadent foot butter, using just a handful of natural ingredients. It’s soft, silky, and rich without being too greasy. This Eucalyptus Mint Foot Butter leaves skin with a satiny finish and a touch of minty freshness. Lovely!
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
This foot butter was borne out of a series of experiments I worked on as part of Formula Botanica’s Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation. I had a lovely chat with Lorraine and Gemma of Formula Botanica back in September, and they generously gifted me two of their courses in exchange for honest feedback and review. I am frequently asked about how and where to learn more about natural/DIY skincare formulation, and while I was aware of Formula Botanica I had no experience with their courses—but now I do! I am not yet done the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation (as of this writing I’m in the midst of the body product section), but I’ve already created several things I’m really excited about and wanted to share! I’ll write a more comprehensive Formula Botanica review when I’m done for those of you who want to learn more 🙂
A large part of the coursework is experimenting with ingredients, ratios, and techniques, which I am loving. I know from personal experience that this is a great way to learn, but sometimes it can be hard to find the time to just plain ol’ experiment with no guaranteed end product, especially when I’m sharing two new recipes a week. As part of module two I ended up spending a couple days blending together different ratios of butters and oils, playing with whipping, mashing, melting, and more. It was awesome and so freeing to be able to come at it from an angle of “I wonder what will happen” rather than “this needs to work for X”. I filled pages of my Formula Botanica notebook with notes and observations, and used a lot of washi tape to distinguish my experiments from one another.
This particular butter blend came about after more than a dozen different experiments (many of which are still sitting on my shelves for observation… stay tuned for some lovely whipped butters if they keep holding up as they have!). I wanted something soft and rich; something I could press my thumb into easily. Something malleable and smooth, with good scoopability and slip. I wanted it to be decadent but not heavy or sticky. I played with a lot of blends of soft butters and liquid oils before hitting on this combination and these percentages. The ingredients look simple, but the results are decadent.
So, what are those ingredients? For soft butters we’re using a blend of mango and shea butters. Shea butter is a pretty classic choice for foot things as it’s very nourishing… but also rather heavy and greasy. It’s lovely for skin, and that heaviness works wonders on dry feet. Slather some on before bed, pop on some socks, and wake up to pampered feet (just be sure to wash those socks well!). I wanted to include shea for its skin softening goodness, but I also wanted to counter the greasiness with mango butter, which is pretty much the opposite of shea butter in terms of skin feel. It’s a rare butter with a dry skin finish, making it the perfect foil to shea. I also added a bit of cornstarch to the blend to further reduce the oily feel.
Our cool down phase is mostly safflower oil, though you could easily use a different light liquid oil. I’ve also included vitamin E to extend the shelf life of our concoction by slowing rancidity, and then of course our essential oils. Clean, herbaceous eucalyptus blends beautifully with bright, perky peppermint. Mmmm, foot pampering goodness.
Beyond the blend of ingredients, the technique is important, and something I learned from Formula Botanica. In order to skip the graininess that can happen with soft butters (especially shea butter), we’re cooling the whole lot in an ice bath and stirring until we reach “trace”, similar to soapmaking, before pouring. I am in love with this trick—my two month old experiments are still silky smooth with no hints of graininess!
Alright—for all that chat this Eucalyptus Mint Foot Butter is really simple and easy to make. A few plant-based butters and oils come together to create something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Enjoy!
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
Eucalyptus Mint Foot Butter
12.5g | 25% mango butter (USA / Canada)
10g | 20% refined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5g | 10% corn starch
Cool down phase
20.5g | 41% safflower oil
0.25g | 0.5% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
1.38g | 2.75% |32 drops peppermint (Mentha Piperita) essential oil
0.38g | 0.75% | 12 drops eucalyptus globulus 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 heated phase ingredients into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
While the heated phase is melting, weigh the cool down phase ingredients into a small beaker or dish. I chose a lightweight beaker so I could use a scale precise to 0.01g—heavier containers are too much for my precise scale to handle.
Prepare an ice bath in a bowl that will accommodate your heated measuring cup—you’ll want a handful of ice cubes and some cold water.
Once the heated phase ingredients have melted remove the measuring cup from the hot water bath and place it in the ice bath. Stir constantly with a flexible silicone spatula, being sure to scrape down the sides frequently. After a minute, stir in the cool down phase ingredients.
Continue stirring the mixture in the ice bath until you reach “trace”—the mixture should have enough viscosity that a small amount drizzled over the surface of the mixture leaves a “trace” for an instant. If you’re a soap maker you’ll be familiar with this—we’re looking for a rather light trace. Refer to the video to see it in action! If in doubt, stir and chill longer, giving it more time to obviously thicken up, otherwise it may not set up properly.
At that point pour the mixture into a 60mL/2oz tin. Leave it to set up for at least an hour before using—it should appear solid. The set-up time will vary depending on ambient temperature (if you’re somewhere quite hot, popping it in the fridge would be a good idea).
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this salve 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 50g (1.76oz).
- You can use all shea butter or all mango butter if you don’t have both butters. All shea butter will make for a greasier product, all mango butter will make for a drier product.
- You can use wheat starch or arrowroot starch in place of the cornstarch.
- A different lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed will work well instead of safflower oil.
- You can use eucalyptus radiata essential oil instead of globulus. I haven’t tried all the different varieties of eucalyptus; I suspect many of them would work well.
- You can also use a different blend of essential oils
- If you want a stronger minty sensation you can increase the peppermint by 1% and decrease the safflower oil by 1%.
I wept when I tossed my shelves of my experiments! I’m glad you are enjoying your program!
And yes! I love your hand towel! That is so cute!
I can feel my feet tingle from here! I really need to use my Eucalyptus Essential Oil. It will help keep my tender tootsies nice and soft! I finally got around to using something called, “Foot Baby” where you war this bootie for an hour, and five days later your skin peels all off. You actually shed. And left with awesome soft toes!
Ok…. “Foot Baby” sounds horrifying. And also oddly satisfying, like picking scabs or something else gross but… yeah… what is in that magic sock!?
It’s a chemical peel in a sock! And it is very satisfying to watch your gross cracked heel skin peel off. I do recommend this!
Here’s the list:
Aqua(Water), Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Arginine, Parfum, Butylene Glycol, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glucose, O-Cymen-5-Ol, Citric Acid, Malic Acid (Apple), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis(Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis(Grapefruit)Peel Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil(Camel Grass), Nasturtium Officinale Extract(Watercress), Arctium Lappa Root Extract(Burdock Root), Saponaria Officinalis Leaf Extract (Soapwort), Hedera Helix(Ivy) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage)Leaf Extract, Citrus (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Clematis Vitalba Leaf Extract(Clematis), Spiraea Ulmaria Extract (Meadowsweet), Equisetum Arvense Extract (Horsetail Herb), Fucus Vesiculosus Extract (Bladderwrack), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract(Chamomile), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Tea Plant), Houttuynia Cordata Extract (Chameleon), Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethyl cellulose, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Nitrate, Glyoxal, Disodium Phosphate, Linalool, Limonene
I BET! Oh my goodness. I’m tempted… but also… I like my feet to have some toughness to them for cavorting around barefoot. Hmm.
What is the purpose of the cornstarch?
From the post: “I also added a bit of cornstarch to the blend to further reduce the oily feel.” 🙂
Is your essential oils weight of 0.38g each is OK ? Because it look strange for the number of drops really different one from an another.
Ah, whoops! It is 1.38 and 0.38—fixed! Thanks for catching that 🙂
Eucalyptus and Mint are two of my most favorite scents and together they are a powerhouse! Thank you for this amazing recipe. I can’t wait to try it!!!
Thanks so much, Estelle! Happy making 🙂
I see in your video you have a small heating element. Where are those purchased?
There is no heating element in this video…?
I’ll be making this on the weekend, it looks just the thing for re-juvenating feet after a long, dry summer as well. Good to see the circle template is getting good use Marie 🙂
Thank you so much for the template, it works like a dream! I’m loving not struggling with my compass any more 😀
Hi Marie, I also attend Formula Botanica. Currently working on the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation. Can i contact you? Are you on the fb facebook classroom. I am Abena Aboagyewaa on FB classroom. Hope e-meet you
Hi there, I would like to asked about the Formula Botanica. When I wanted to sign up the course, I came across with this review at internet. Please comment something as I am confuse. Thanks in advance.
I ended up speaking with Lorraine personally about this review while I was in London. This rather defamatory review (that is mostly about Lorraine, which seems odd for a review about a course) is not from anyone who has ever actually studied at Formula Botanica. They know this because it was posted to their Trust Pilot account/page, Formula Botanica flagged it, and Trust Pilot (as per their policies) asked for proof that the review had been left by a genuine customer/student. None was provided, so the review was removed. So, rest assured that whoever wrote that review has no knowledge of the inner workings of a Formula Botanica course.
I removed the link to the review because it’s downright mean and disingenuous, and I don’t want to send any traffic there 🙂
Hey! You can email me if you want, but I can’t offer any support for FB coursework (people have asked). If you want my opinion on the full course please wait for my full review on the blog, and do know it typically takes me weeks to months to reply to emails as I get so many 🙂
Hi Marie…Oh my goodness! You’re a FB student and I’m eagerly waiting to apply for the International Enterpreneur of Organic Skincare course on the 24th of this month! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the course. I love all your recipes and I made a lot, both from your blog and from your book! This recipe looks divine. Great work and keep it up! Who knows, maybe we’ll cross paths on the Formula Botanica social platform?
Oooh, very cool! That mega-course looks amazeballs. I’m not terribly active on the Facebook group (though I do lurk and search), but I am around! 🙂
Marie, I made this over the weekend. You are so right, the texture is just lovely. And the peppermint/eucalyptus combo smells divine. Thanks for another winner!
YAY! I’m so thrilled 😀 Enjoy the creamy wonderfulness 🙂
Just made this last night after my foot cream ran out.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you’ve vetted it more thoroughly 🙂
Just wondering if you will have your full review about Formula Botanica out soon? I am very interested in it but saw some really negative reviews from 3 years ago and have started to second guess joining. As the course opens today just want to hear your opinion as I do respect it.
It won’t be out terribly soon as I’m still not done the course. That said, I think it is a good course for makers who want to learn to formulate, especially ones who want to go on to sell their products. FB does a good job of teaching how to dissect ingredient lists, create formulas, and understand what different ingredients do and why they’re in a product. They are also safety focussed and emphasize EU compliance, which I think is really important. The course work encourages experimentation, and the more you do the more you’ll get out of it. The main criticism I’ve seen levelled against the course is that it’s not a university degree in cosmetic chemistry, which I feel is fairly obvious in that it’s ~$1000 and can be completed in six months. Degrees take years and cost tens of thousands of dollars. It is also more focussed on formulation than chemistry, so if you want a deep dive into cosmetic chemistry, the course I’m doing isn’t that, though later courses may provide more detail. I hope that’s helpful!
Thanks for the information Marie. It is most helpful.
I’ve made this a few times and each time it comes out lovely, last evening I double the batch and this am it isn’t set up completely. I reviewed the recipe again. Anyway to save this batch? I’m going to try a single batch this am, I’ve read the blog 5 times now. Haha haha I see I can use Shea butter a all natural if I don’t have refined. Correct? I love your recipes my book should be here today. I’d also like to know where u purchased the biotanical course? Thanks
I’d try gently re-warming it, stirring it to trace, and then cooling in the fridge; it may be that the larger batch is keeping itself a bit too warm for too long 🙂
The course I’m taking is by Formula Botanica, as described and linked in the post above 🙂
The same thing happened to me when I made a double batch. I’ll try Marie’s suggestion of re-warming and cooling again to see if I can salvage it.
Given the constant here seems to be the larger batch size that does make me suspect the larger batch size is the “thing”. It makes sense that everything would take longer, and it could possibly be longer than it seems like it should be. I would definitely recommend experimenting with using the fridge or not. This post from Skin Chakra is also wonderful and incredibly helpful!
Hi Marie, I made this over the weekend but I think maybe I did something wrong. I left it in the fridge to set, but as soon as I take it out for a bit it starts to melt, like the oil n butter did not mix together. Do u think maybe because the ice bath part I didn’t do it long enough? Any advise? Thanks!
Hey! How hot is it where you are right now?
It is around 25-35 degree Celsius where I am.
That’ll do it—that’s a good 5–15°C warmer than the temperatures I developed the recipe in. You will likely need to adjust the recipe ratios more towards solid ingredients.
Thank you! I’ll try to adjust the ratio. Thanks!
Hi Marie, you used a high amount of perpermint essential oil here. Do you know what the maximum amount of peppermint essential oil we can use in a product? Thank you
Tisserand states the maximum dermal usage rate at 5.4%.
Thank you, I should have checked it myself (as I have his book too) before asking :).
🙂 It is a great book!
Hi Marie. I absolutely LOVE everything about this foot butter. I have made it three times and my friends keep “stealing” my jars of it. I have to admit that I also did a hybrid of the base of this butter with your essential oil blend for your eczema butter for my husband (as I love the feel of this butter). I swapped the safflower oil for olive oil with a bit of tamanu oil. It has started to help to the point where he has asked me if I could “make more of that special stuff” 🙂 I am so happy I have found your site. I have only made products with the basics in the past (I think you call them crunchy haha). You have given me the confidence to branch out to include more ingredients (my order arrives this week woo hoo!!!). Just look at all of the “special stuff” I’m going to make. Thanks again.
Thank you so much, Cindy! I’m so thrilled you are loving this recipe and I’m beyond stoked to hear you’re feeling more confident and are planning on branching out into new (and super fun!) territory 🙂 Happy making and thanks so much for DIYing with me!
Thank you so much for your perfect recipes, Marie! I am putting together a “bath bag” for my mom’s birthday and wanted to include some fuzzy socks and some kind of foot lotion for after the bath. My mom hates peppermint essential oil and wouldn’t you know it, I was not able to find a single decent looking foot cream without it. I had been trying to avoid making something so she could repurchase an item herself, but I realized that I was going to have to because no company out there is catering to her tastes 😛 I made this formula and subbed the essential oil blend here for sweet orange, lavender, and tea tree (a 2:1:1 ratio that smells amazing). I made a double batch so I could test it out and I think I may have just found the foot product I have been looking for! Everything I have made in the past has been way too greasy or waxy, but this has the perfect texture. I hope my mom ends up liking it as much as I do!
OOOh, I love the sounds of that scent blend! AND I love that you were able to create something just to your mom’s tastes 🙂 I’m stoked you’re loving it, too! I agree that most foot products are just way too greasy for my tastes—I know it’s better on feet than hands, but it still doesn’t make me a fan LOL. Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂 (And happy birthday to your mom!)
I made this for a Christmas present for what I think would be great for tired achey legs and feet. The texture was way better than my last shea butter attempt. I swapped the eucalyptus for lavender and it’s turned out great.
Troubleshooting help: I made this at Christmas time and it was perfect. This last weekend I made another batch and it hasn’t set up even after being in the fridge. What can I do to fix it? I really don’t want to waste all the ingredients…
I suspect you didn’t bring it to a heavy enough trace before pouring 🙂
Is there a way to fix it?
I would try gently re-melting it and bringing it to a thicker trace 🙂
Can you use beeswax instead of the cornstarch or would this thicken the formulation too much and at what percentage if you do recommend. Bridget TIA
You’d be in re-development territory with a change like that. I recommend referring to this post for more info 🙂
I would love to add urea, and glycerin or hyaluronic acid. Is that OK? What percentage?
Nope; all of those things are water-soluble, and there’s no water in this formulation. Please look them up in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia (https://www.humblebeeandme.com/diy-encyclopedia/) for lists of formulations that include them 🙂
I would like to try this recipe. Can Vitamin E MT-50 be replaced with Vitamin E oil? I cannot find this in South Africa.
Hey! You’ll find the answers you’re looking for in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia at https://www.humblebeeandme.com/diy-encyclopedia. Simply look up vitamin E to learn about what it is. Happy making!