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How to formulate dry body butters (+ Mandarin & Cinnamon Dry Body Butter formula)

Soft, silky body butter with a powdery finish that feels light and luxurious and does not leave your skin feeling heavy, greasy or oily.


Make this formula with me and enjoy the wonders and magic of personalized skincare formulation. :)


The product I'll share today is super simple to make, with only 7 ingredients and an easy manufacturing method that you can customize to your preferences to get the desired product texture. Before we check out the formula, I will share general guidelines for making your body butters light(er) and silky, so you will be fully equipped to experiment on your own.


Let the fun begin! ;)


OIL PHASE SELECTION AND "DRY" BUTTERS


The secret to making this formula anhydrous without the obvious feel of being anhydrous is the selection of a base butter that is not too heavy and oily on the skin. Generally speaking, all butters feel rich on the skin. But since their chemical composition varies, that does come through as different skin feel of each butter. If you have ever compared the sensory experience among them, you maybe noticed some feel really oily, and heavy and just linger on the skin, leaving greasy fingerprints all over the place, even making it unpleasant to get dressed and some seem to be absorbed by the skin faster with a more pleasant, satiny finish that nourishes the skin without being overly heavy. The second, lighter group can be defined as "dry" butters.

The selection of the butters used in your body butter formula will determine tremendously the skin feel of the end product. The division between "greasy" and "dry" is subjective to some degree but I found a really cool article by the one and only Susan M. Parker (the author of the Power of the seed), where she shared her dry balm formula and listed her selection of "dry butters" that include:

  • Babassu

  • Kpangnan

  • Murumuru

  • Uccuba

  • Sal butter

  • Cupuaçu

Of course you are welcome to test the butters you currently have and try to define differences in skin feel and absorption.


For me, mango butter also fitted the "dry butter family". It is much lighter and absorbed more quickly compared, for example, to frequently used shea butter. Since it is readily available I decided to choose mango butter for the base of my formulation. I also added a small amount of jojoba oil for making the butter creamier which results in a pleasant texture and lighter skin feel. In one of my experiments, I used sunflower oil instead of jojoba oil, and although I find sunflower oil richer, I really love to use it in my body formulations and it worked lovely in the final product as well.

INCLUDING STARCHES


Including micronized, silky starches in your body butters is a great contribution to reducing the heaviness of the product and overall skin feel. Starches add up to the luxurious, powdery sensation and help to "mattify" the selected butter blend. We usually include starches at small percentages (2%-8%), but you can increase that amount if you are trying to achieve a dry or mattifying effect. The percentages I experimented with were up to 20%, but ended up including 15% of corn starch in my final formula. Powdered ingredients also boost the thermal stability of the blend, which is another cool thing to consider when formulating body butters.


Other alternatives would include arrowroot starch, rice starch or any other starch you currently have or like to work with.


STAR INGREDIENT: VOLATILE EMOLLIENT


Our star ingredient for making this dry body butter really "dry" is incorporating a natural-based, super light and volatile emollient with exceptional sensory characteristics.


I used coco-silicone volatile (Cetiol Ultimate) by ellemental.eu (INCI: Undecane, Tridecane) to boost this body butter dry-finish properties. Cetiol Ultimate is a volatile hydrocarbon, readily biodegradable, and is Ecocert, Cosmos & Natrue approved. It offers the most fascinating skin feel experience and helps to soften and smooth the skin. Products with Cetiol Ultimate are ultra-fast spreading and easier to apply, absorb faster and feel non-greasy, and have elegant texture, leaving the skin silky smooth.


The sensory properties of this material are quite unique and unlike any others I worked with. If this would be really hard for you to get I would substitute it with coco caprylate, isoamyl cocoate or isoamyl laurate in the formula for a similar effect.


If you formulate only with 100% plant oils and butters you could include a lightweight oil, such as jojoba, camellia, hazelnut, rice bran and others that you like, but the sensory profile of the final product would not be the same. (But still lovely, I dare to say.)


INCLUDING ANTIOXIDANTS, ADDING SCENT AND COLOR


To round up this oh-so-wonderful product I added vitamin E to prolong its shelf-life and add some extra skin benefits to the formula.

I do recommend including aroma in this product since Cetiol Ultimate can be a bit overpowering with a slightly "industrial" scent.

You can play around with scent and color as much as you wish, I decided to go for a festive, Xmassy scent blend, leaving it white, topped with a bit of festive decoration. Pink & floral, blue & herbal, or even shimmery with some gold mica would make this formula really pop out.


Time to get serious, the secret recipe awaits.


 

MANDARIN & CINNAMON DRY BODY BUTTER





Equipment:

  • glass bowl

  • electric whisk

  • mini spatula

  • spoons

  • jar container

  • bain-marie

  • scale

  • ethanol


FORMULA in % and grams (100 g)


A

55 % | 55 g Mango butter (refined)

18.43 % | 18.43 g Jojoba oil

15 % | 15 g Corn starch

B

10 % | 10 g Cetiol Ultimate

1 % | 1 g Mandarin essential oil

0.5 % | 0.5 g Tocopherol

0.07 % | 0.07 g Cinnamon essential oil


METHOD

  1. Disinfect all equipment and surfaces.

  2. Combine all ingredients from phase A in a glass bowl appropriate for mixing with an electric whisk and melt over a bain-marie.

  3. Once the ingredients are fully melted put the bowl into a cold bath and stir continuously until the mixture cools below 40°C.

  4. Add ingredients from phase B and stir well. Put the mixture into a freezer for around 15 minutes (depending on the batch size, I was making 100g of the product), until the sides of the mixture start to solidify but the center is still soft and runny.

  5. Whisk with an electric mixer briefly, just for 30-60 seconds (do not fully whip) then proceed hand-stirring with a spatula to get a really creamy, soft mixture, similar to an emulsion. This will give you a hybrid between whipped and creamed butter with the most gorgeous butter cream texture.

  6. Transfer into a dedicated container and decorate if you wish.

  7. Label with the manufacture date.


CUSTOMIZING THE FORMULA

For ingredient substitutions please read the blog above.


You are welcome to experiment with different manufacturing techniques depending on your preferences (fully whipped for a mousse-like texture, or hand-stirred for a more dense, creamy mixture). If you would be fully whipping this product it would be appropriate for pipping as well.


I was going for a soft product that does not solidify at room temperature (22°C) but stays creamy when fully set. If you are living in a very hot or cold environment you will have to experiment with the butter-oil ratios a bit.


Here goes my present to you, hope you will give this formula a chance and enjoy it as much as I do. Comments and questions below this blog post are welcomed. :)


Other free formulas from my blog:


I wish you a peaceful, relaxing and mindful end of the year filled with appreciation for all the blessings and learnings from 2022 and hopes for a fulfilling and intentional 2023.

Much love,

Ana

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