Make It Miniseries: Coffee Body Butter

Picking up where we left off at yesterday’s blog post, which is how to make your own coffee oil, today’s post is about how to use that coffee oil to make body butter.  Years ago, the recipes I found to make whipped body butter were tedious and had many steps.  Since then, I’ve learned that making body butter doesn’t have to be such a drawn-out affair of melting, freezing, and whipping, over and over again.  Instead, I’m going to show you a much easier way.

The amounts used for this technique are flexible, so if you’re the sort of person who dreads to get out the scales, this will be a lot of fun for you.  There are only two ingredients: coffee oil and a soft butter such as shea butter or mango seed butter.  You can use cocoa butter with a slight modification to the recipe and you’ll need an electric mixer – a hand mixer works just fine.

Start with a small amount of shea or mango butter, about three to six ounces.  Make sure you use a bowl that’s big enough to accommodate the increased volume, as the butter will have air incorporated into it, making it expand.

Coffee Body Butter Recipe

Ingredients:

3 to 6 oz. shea or mango butter (may substitute part or all for cocoa butter)

1 to 2 oz. coffee butter

Instructions:

Step 1 – Sanitize your bowl, mixing spoon, and mixer beaters by washing them in the hottest setting of your dishwater, or let them sit for at least 10 minutes in a 20% bleach and water solution; place everything on a clean paper towel and allow to air dry.

Step 2 – If your room is fairly cool or cold, or if you’re using cocoa butter, you will probably need to soften the butter a bit by heating in the microwave at 20% or 30% power.  You don’t want it to melt, just soften up a little.

Step 3 – Drizzle a little coffee oil on the solid butter, and begin whipping the solid butter with the mixer; it should only take 2 - 3 minutes to begin to lose its chunky shape and get smoother.

 

Step 4 – Keep adding a little bit of coffee oil at a time and whipping it for about 30 to 60 seconds, until it gets light and fluffy.  Scoop into clean and dry containers.

 

Try not to beat the body butter too much – if it gets more than double its size it’s likely to collapse or deflate and it won’t look very attractive.  Store your Coffee Body Butter in a cool place to keep it from melting. 

Tomorrow’s blog post will be Coffee Sugar Scrub – which happens to be one of the best things you can use for shaving your legs, I promise.

Make It Miniseries: Coffee Oil

The rich, warm, intoxicating aroma of coffee – before the first sip, your nose has already told you how delicious it will be.  Coffee scented bath and body products?  Yes, please!  Since I strongly prefer to use natural scent, I choose to use only essential oils, resins, absolutes, and aromatic waxes in the products that I make.  Some of them can be pretty costly; coffee essential oil and coffee butter can be pricey.  But if you have some patience, coffee oil is really easy to make.  It can be used as the oil portion of sugar scrubs, or even the Sugar Scrub Cubes I posted about a couple of days ago.  You can also use it to make a luxurious whipped body butter – and if you use unrefined cocoa butter, your whipped butter will be mocha scented.  Coffee and chocolate: now there’s a match made in heaven!

I used a French coffee press to make my coffee oil, but you can also use a regular Mason type jar or a crock pot with good results.  A strongly scented coffee oil can be made by infusing roasted and ground coffee in olive oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil.  I usually make infusions with olive oil because it has a long shelf life and it’s a relatively lightweight oil.  The quality of coffee beans is very important: buy the best quality you can find, and if you don’t have a coffee mill, get them coarsely grinded and start the infusion within 24 hours – the sooner the better.  Using a ratio of one part coffee grounds to four parts oil, I’ve infused as little as 16 ounces of olive oil in a French press coffee maker, which yields about 13-14 ounces of coffee oil.  Of course, you can make larger batches in a crock pot, but this is a great way to start out and yields enough coffee oil to make smallish trial batches of scrubs, butters, and balms. 

Here are the steps for making coffee oil:

  1. Sanitize the French press (or Mason jar or crock pot) and all utensils (a large spoon, 2 glass jars to pour the oil back and forth when straining, and another jar for storing the finished oil, and jar lids) using a solution of 20% bleach; set aside on clean paper towels to dry.  Make sure everything is completely dry before you begin – water mixed with oil can allow mold to grow, even a very small amount of water can cause mold/microbial growth.

  2. Weigh 4 oz. fresh coffee grounds, place in the bottom of the French press.

  3. Weigh 12 oz. olive oil and warm slightly in the microwave with a low heat; pour over the coffee grounds and stir with a spoon until there are no more clumps.

4.  Carefully place the top of the French press over the top, with the plunger piece pulled all the way up.

5.  Set aside for 2-3 weeks, stirring once a day, for a cold infusion.  For a hot infusion, place French press with coffee and oil on a heating pad wrapped in hand towels; leave on heating pad for 6-8 hours. Some heating pads have an auto shutoff function like mine does.  Intermittent heat will still work, just check it every now and then and turn it back on if it shuts itself off. If using a crock pot, heat on “warm” setting for 6 hours, then turn it off and let it sit until it’s cooled.

6.  Strain: press the plunger on the French press to separate the oil from the coffee grounds, or strain with several layers of cheesecloth into a sanitized jar.  (Mason jars are great for this.)

7.  Using clean disposable gloves, carefully transfer the coffee grounds into a metal strainer (sieve) or several coffee filters; gently press or squeeze the coffee grounds above the container of the oil to extract the last bits of oil.  This is the most concentrated part of the infusion, so don’t throw out the coffee grounds until you get as much oil out as possible.

8.  Strain the oil, using a double layer of clean cheesecloth.

At this point you will have a very nice quality coffee oil that can be used at 20-40% of the total oils in sugar/salt scrubs, whipped body butters, and lip balms.    Tomorrow, let’s talk about how to make some whipped body butter and coffee sugar scrub. Mmmm….

At this point you will have a very nice quality coffee oil that can be used at 20-40% of the total oils in sugar/salt scrubs, whipped body butters, and lip balms.

Tomorrow, let’s talk about how to make some whipped body butter and coffee sugar scrub. Mmmm….

Make It Miniseries: Sugar Scrub Cubes

If you are a soapmaker, you may have some soap that doesn’t quite “make the grade” (OK, maybe it’s really ugly, but it smells great) or shreds from beveling your soap bars.  If you’re like me, you hate to throw away good soap, so here’s a project that you can grate up a “cosmetically challenged” bar or use those leftover shreds.  It’s so easy, you can make this with the kids – these last few weeks of summer, it’s so hot outside, and wouldn’t it be nice to pry those kiddos away from the TV and other screens?

The basis of this recipe is very simple and easy to change the size of the batch, just make sure you weigh each part with a scale:

  • 1 part “hard” oil (coconut, mango butter, or shea butter)

  • 2 parts grated soap (CP or HP)

  • 3 parts sugar

I made this batch with different colored soap shreds, so the final color was mostly beige, with a few flecks of color.  If you use one or more bars of soap that are the same color, you can add a bit of the same fragrance or essential oil (EO) in the oil part of the recipe, or you can mix it up and add a complementary scent.  For example, if you use a lavender scented soap you could add an orange EO to the oil portion. 

I have brownie bite silicone baking molds and discovered that each cavity holds about one ounce, with 24 cavities in each sheet.  I’ll be using cold process soap that is already scented and colored, so I will only add fragrance to the oil portion.  I want the cubes to be fairly firm and hold together, so I’m going to use a combination of coconut oil and mango butter.  For a light scent, I’ll use 1% for fragrance, so the formula for 24 ounces (total) of product calculates like this:

1 oz. Coconut Oil

3 oz. Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter

2.5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) Fragrance or EO

8 oz. Soap Shreds

12 oz. Granulated Sugar

.10 - .15 CC Mica (optional)

2 to 3 oz. Sugar (optional) 

Instructions:

  1. Sanitize your microwave safe mixing bowl or container (1.5 – 2 quart size), large spoon, and mold by washing in a dishwasher with a high temperature setting – OR – sanitize everything with a solution of 20% bleach. Allow dishes to air dry.

  2. Clean the work area by washing the work surface with soap and water, then spray with alcohol and wipe with clean paper towels.

  3. Use disposable gloves while handling all materials to avoid introducing bacteria into your product.

  4. Weigh coconut oil, mango butter, and soap shreds into the microwave safe container.

5.   Melt the oils and soap in one minute bursts, stirring after each burst.

5.  When melted, let it sit for a few minutes to cool enough to add fragrance; stir in fragrance.  I added about 3 ml of vanilla oleoresin to make a “sugar cookie” type scent.    6.  Mica may be added at this stage, or you may choose to mix the mica with 2-3 oz. of sugar and roll the finished cubes in it.     7.  Weigh 12 oz. sugar in the same container as the melted soap and oils; combine well.  The texture should be very similar to cookie dough.

5.  When melted, let it sit for a few minutes to cool enough to add fragrance; stir in fragrance.  I added about 3 ml of vanilla oleoresin to make a “sugar cookie” type scent.

6.  Mica may be added at this stage, or you may choose to mix the mica with 2-3 oz. of sugar and roll the finished cubes in it.

7.  Weigh 12 oz. sugar in the same container as the melted soap and oils; combine well.  The texture should be very similar to cookie dough.

8.  Spoon into molds, pressing firmly with the back of the spoon to pack each cavity tightly.  Note: Place a sheet of newspaper or wax paper under the mold to catch loose crumbles to make cleanup much faster.    9.  Allow to cool completely before removing from the molds.  To help the cubes harden up more quickly, put in the freezer or refrigerator for an hour or two.

8.  Spoon into molds, pressing firmly with the back of the spoon to pack each cavity tightly.  Note: Place a sheet of newspaper or wax paper under the mold to catch loose crumbles to make cleanup much faster.

9.  Allow to cool completely before removing from the molds.  To help the cubes harden up more quickly, put in the freezer or refrigerator for an hour or two.

     10.  Roll each cube in sugar.  I rolled some of these cubes in organic granulated sugar, which is a light beige color. Colored sugar can be made by taking a small amount of cosmetic grade mica, and stirring until the color has distributed evenly throughout the sugar.  The pink cubes in the photo are rolled in sugar colored with .10 to .15 CC (small cosmetic scoop) pink mica.

 

 10.  Roll each cube in sugar.  I rolled some of these cubes in organic granulated sugar, which is a light beige color. Colored sugar can be made by taking a small amount of cosmetic grade mica, and stirring until the color has distributed evenly throughout the sugar.  The pink cubes in the photo are rolled in sugar colored with .10 to .15 CC (small cosmetic scoop) pink mica.

Your sugar scrub cubes are ready to package in jars or cello bags and can be used right away.  To use, just grab a cube before getting into the shower or tub – each sugar scrub cube is about one ounce, just the right size for a single use. 

To use, rub the cube into damp skin and continue massaging until the sugar has dissolved, then rinse and pat dry.  Since this formula contains soap, it does lather a bit, but it’s a creamy, lotion-type lather that doesn’t leave an abundance of oils on the skin like more traditional sugar scrubs

Sugar scrub is used for exfoliating dry, dull, or flaky skin – but did you know that it also makes a fantastic shaving “cream”?  To use for shaving, after the sugar has dissolved, shave – then rinse and dry.  The oils help prevent razor burn and soften the skin for a truly luxurious experience.

Make It Miniseries: Body Oil

One of the easiest body products to make yourself is body oil.  Depending on what your skin likes and how fancy you want to make it, it can be as simple as a small bottle of oil or jar of coconut oil on your vanity.  Wait.  What?  People just put straight up oil on their skin?  Isn’t that what lotion is for?

If you like to use lotion and it works for you, that’s great.  But if you find that after applying lotion you have to keep re-applying over and over again, or if you would like to avoid synthetic fragrance and preservatives, using body oil might make your skin very happy.

In some cases, over-moisturizing can actually make your skin drier.  Putting on lotion too often (three or more times a day) will send a message to your body to send less water to the skin cells.  So instead of your body producing its own moisture, it becomes dependent on external sources to provide moisture.  Along with water, the body delivers lipids/proteins and other nutrients to the skin, which also decreases when your body is dependent on lotions and creams for moisture.

Of course, the best way to hydrate your skin is to drink an adequate amount of water, about two liters a day.  A small amount of plant-based or botanical oil, cold-pressed with minimal processing, will create a light barrier to hold your natural moisture in. It also softens skin and absorbs quickly.  To make your own body oil, try a few oils first to see which you like best: olive oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil.  If you want to spend a little more money, try rosehip oil, argan oil, or jojoba.  While some of these oils have little to no scent, you may want to add a few drops of essential oils for aesthetics.  A good rule of thumb is no more than 1% EO diluted in a carrier oil.  So for a four ounce bottle that would look something like this:

4 ounces = 113.4 grams; 1% of 113 is slightly more than 1 gram; 1 gram is approximately 20 drops, depending on how thick or thin the EO is.

Some EO’s that have beneficial properties for skin include (listed from least expensive to most expensive):

  • Lavender

  • Patchouli

  • Chamomile

  • Carrot Seed

  • Frankincense

  • Helichrysum

  • Neroli

  • Rose

A less expensive way to scent body oil is a little more time consuming but offers some very nice beneficial properties as well – herb infusion.  Cold infusion is done by puttiing dried botanical material in a glass jar or container with a tight fitting lid, and pouring enough oil to cover the herbs.  Put the jar in a dark, cool place (like a cabinet or closet), give it a shake every day or so, and after two or three weeks, it’s ready.  Strain the herbs from the oil with cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, pressing or squeezing the oils from the botanical material to make sure you get all the goodness from the herbs.

Hot infusions can be done in a similar way, putting the jars (with lids on tight) in a water bath inside a large pot, covered, heating the water bath to barely a simmer.  In an hour or two the infusion is done.  Strain the same way as the cold infusion.

I’ve infused oils with dried lavender buds, dried peppermint leaves (much milder to skin than the concentrated essential oil), chamomile, lemon balm, and comfrey leaves, to name a few.  The scent is light but covers the smell of olive oil nicely.  This would be especially nice for someone with very sensitive skin, such as babies or the elderly.

Body oils are so simple, and so good for your skin – try it, you’ll love it!