If you find you often like the idea of body butter more than the reality of it, I think you might just love this formulation. It’s creamy and silky with a gorgeous dry-touch finish that’s surprisingly powdery (in a good way!). You (and your giftees!) will be delighted with how light yet moisturizing this Frosted Cranberry Butter Balm is. Swoon 😄
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
The two starring oils in this butter balm are ultra-light mango butter and fragrant, fruity cranberry seed oil. The mango butter helps sure this butter balm feels ultra-light on the skin, while the cranberry seed oil contributes a gorgeous fruity scent (and is obviously a big part of the “frosted cranberry” theme!).
I wanted this to be formulation to be firm, but still creamy, so I included cetearyl alcohol to thicken it. I did try cetyl alcohol in an earlier version, but I found the cetyl alcohol made the melt feel thinner than cetearyl alcohol did, making the formulation lean more towards light + oily rather than light + creamy. The firmness of this formulation is another characteristic that helps it feel non-greasy on the skin as the hard-ness makes it difficult to over-apply. Learn more with this post!
For a surprising and extra-lovely skin feel I’ve included some BTMS-25. BTMS-25 is a blend of 25% behentrimonium methosulfate and 75% cetearyl alcohol, so at 20% in the overall formulation, we’ve got 5% behentrimonium methosulfate and 23% cetearyl alcohol (15% from the BTMS-25 + 8% straight cetearyl alcohol). Behentrimonium methosulfate is cationic—positively charged—and brings the most wonderful, powdery, silky feel to this butter balm. The feel is unlike anything you might’ve experienced in a body butter or balm that didn’t include a cationic ingredient, and I love it. I made my first conditioning body butter back in 2018 (my Conditioning Earl Grey Body Butter). My Patron Windy made it and said “Marie, you’ve truly outdone yourself! This body butter is AH-Mazing! It’s soft, non greasy, and feels sooooo good on my skin. I’m going to need to make a lot more so that I don’t ever run out!” So… yeah. Cationic goodness in anhydrous body products is great and I think you’ll love it ❤️
A wee bit of a cranberry-coloured mica gives this balm some colour and shimmer in the tin, but it isn’t noticeable on the skin. You don’t have to use mica if you don’t have it—simply replace it with more mango butter if you decide to eliminate it. You could also replace it with a fragrance oil or essential oil if you wanted to, just be sure to add that with the vitamin E rather than directly after removing the product from the heat (and be sure to confirm that 0.5% is a safe usage rate!).
I packaged my Frosted Cranberry Butter Balm in a rather fun and seasonally-appropriate red screw-top tin from YellowBee (gifted), but you could easily use any sort of wide-mouthed jar or tin. I think a push-up tube would work, too!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Relevant links & further reading
- BTMS-25 in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Cetearyl Alcohol in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Mango Butter in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Cranberry Seed Oil in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Coloured Mica in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Why is my body butter grainy?
- Why is my body butter melting?
- Why is my body butter greasy?
- How long will ______ last? What is its shelf life?
- Other Frosted Cranberry formulations:
Frosted Cranberry Butter Balm
0.225g | 0.5% cranberry red mica
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 (if the BTMS needs a bit of extra encouragement to melt you can zap the whole mixture in the microwave for 20–30 seconds). 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.
Add the mica and stir to combine. The mixture will come to trace fairly quickly; once it has gained enough viscosity that you can drizzle the mixture onto itself and see a “trace” left behind, quickly add the cool down phase, stir to incorporate, and pour the product into its container. I used a red screw-top tin from YellowBee (gifted). A 60g (2 fl oz) tin works well for this 45g batch. I think a push-up tube would work well, too. Quickly transfer the product to the freezer to set up. Once it’s solid, move it to the counter to come to room temperature. That’s it!
Use as you’d use any body butter; a little goes a long way, so start small. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this product 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 or two 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 formulation 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 formulation will make 45g, which fills a 60mL (2 fl oz) container well, leaving enough room to carry it to the freezer without spilling.
- 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 don’t recommend substituting the BTMS-25 or cetearyl alcohol. If you do, you will be in re-development territory.
- I don’t recommend substituting the cranberry seed oil as it’s a key part of the theme and the source of the scent of the formulation. You could substitute it with another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed, but that will be a big loss for the formulation in terms of scent and theme.
- You could try a different soft butter like cupuacu butter or shea butter. Refined would be preferred; you may have to re-develop to ensure a desirable melting point, and the skin feel will definitely change.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- If you’d like to incorporate a fragrance oil, please read this.