This formulation is incredibly simple, with just three (or four) ingredients and an almond-y theme. 99.5% of this formulation is almond-derived ingredients; you don’t have to keep to the almond theme if it doesn’t appeal to you, but you might want to re-name your creation if you start switching things up! This Simple Creamy Almond Body Butter has a really lovely, rich, creamy consistency, but it doesn’t use any creamy butters like shea butter or mango butter. It’s really easy to make, and can easily serve as a base for all kinds of further experiments and customizations so you can create something uniquely yours!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
The inspiration for this formulation was pseudo butters. Pseudo butters are fairly easy to identify as the INCI will include some sort of hydrogenated vegetable oil in combination with an on-theme oil and/or extract. If you’ve ever been browsing a supplier website and thought “hey, I didn’t know there was such a thing as coffee/avocado/lavender butter”, chances are good that those ingredients are actually pseudo butters. True cosmetic butters come from sources that have a fatty acid composition that makes for a solid fat rather than a liquid one. Shea butter and cocoa butter, for instance, contain high concentrations of saturated fatty acids like palmitic acid and stearic acid, and that’s what makes them solid and buttery. Pseudo butters are thick and buttery because of hydrogenation (which artificially saturates the fat) not inherent fatty acid content. Watch this cool video to learn more!
Pseudo waxes have similar INCIs; depending on the wax, it can be the star ingredient (almond oil or olive oil, for instance) that has been hydrogenated, or it can be a blend of the star ingredient and hydrogenated vegetable oil. When I started experimenting with the two pseudo waxes I have (almond and olive) I quickly discovered these waxes created really lovely, slippy, smooth rich concoctions when combined with liquid oils. The consistency brought to mind the pseudo butters I’ve tried in the past, and got me thinking… can we use pseudo waxes to create our very own pseudo butters? It turns out that we can!
The bulk of this body butter is sweet almond oil. You can use a different liquid oil (or blend of liquid oils) if you like, but make sure you choose something you like. As the liquid oil makes up close to 70% of the formulation, it plays a big role in the skin feel of the finished body butter. If you use something like thick and heavy castor oil the end product will be really shiny and sticky; if you use ultra-light rosehip oil the finished product will be noticeably lighter.
The almond oil is thickened with almond wax, though if you don’t have it you could try a different pseudo wax. I didn’t find olive wax to be all that different from almond wax, but those two ingredients are the limits of my experiences with pseudo waxes. It’s important to use a pseudo wax, not a true wax, for this formulation. The pseudo wax is what makes this formulation soft, slippy, and creamy but not waxy.
I included a small amount of vitamin E to help extend the shelf life of this Simple Creamy Almond Body Butter by delaying rancidity. You could also include some sort of essential oil or fragrance oil if you wanted to. I opted not to as I was enjoying the almond theme and didn’t have any almond-y essential oils or fragrance oils to include. If you do decide to include something that smells nice, be sure you are following the maximum allowable usage rate for whatever that nice-smelling ingredient is. If you’re looking at getting bitter almond essential oil you’ll probably notice you can only find “rectified” or “FFPA” (free from prussic acid) almond essential oil—that’s because unrectified almond essential oil is really poisonous due to its prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid) content. If you already have plum oil you could get that marzipan scent by swapping ~30% of the almond oil for plum oil.
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Making this is very easy; melt, pour, chill, voila! I do recommend chilling this in the fridge to set up; I found leaving it on the counter to cool resulted in a mealy finished product. If you live somewhere really hot you may find you need to shift the balance of the wax and oil; I’d start with 5% increments (+5% wax, -5% oil), making 10g batches and seeing what you like before you scale it up. Enjoy & happy making!
- A Quick Guide to Almond Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios
- A Quick Guide to Olive Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios
- How can I incorporate X ingredient into a formulation?
- Can I use an essential oil or fragrance oil instead of a carrier oil?
- How much essential oil can I add to this recipe?
- A Guide to Carrier Oil Substitutions
- 5 Common Questions on Body Butter (“Can I whip this body butter?” and more)
Simple Creamy Almond Body Butter
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.
Quickly add the cool down phase, stir to incorporate, and pour the product into its container. Carefully transfer it to the fridge to set. Once it has set up, remove it from the fridge to come to room temperature. That’s it!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this body 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 25g.
- 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.
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like grapeseed, or sunflower seed instead of sweet almond oil.
- You could try olive wax instead of almond wax. Whatever you use, it needs to be a pseudo-wax, not a true wax like beeswax or candelilla wax.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- If you’d like to use a fragrance oil instead of the essential oil, please read this.
- You don’t have to use the vitamin E oil; replace it with more almond oil if you don’t want to use it. This will shorten the shelf life of the product, but it should last at least a year.
The paperboard jar was gifted by YellowBee.