Learn how to make a festive sugar cookie body butter for Christmas and the holiday season. This nourishing homemade body butter contains shea butter, cocoa butter, and fractionated coconut oil. It also incorporates a special blend of essential oils that combine perfectly to create a delicious, all-natural sugar cookie scent.
The minute the holiday season is upon us, so are the scents of the season. And while I love most holiday aromas, including pumpkin spice, gingerbread and sugar cookie, what I don’t love are the synthetic fragrances often used to create the popular scents we all associate with the festive season.
This all-natural sugar cookie body butter is easy to make, but it doesn’t include the synthetic fragrances found in most store brand body butters. Not that you can’t purchase a good natural body butter, but the cookie scented variety often includes fragrance oils.
What’s wrong with synthetic fragrances?
Synthetic fragrances will trigger my migraine headaches, so I can’t use any skincare product containing artificial scents. But research suggests that they’re not good for anyone.
The term fragrance on a product’s label is often a catch-all term for a variety of chemicals. Approximately 3000 chemicals can be used alone or in combination with other chemicals to create a fragrance.
Many of the chemicals used to create these fragrances can cause migraines, asthma and other respiratory symptoms.
Regulations in the European Union are far stricter, and companies are required to list the 26 chemicals most likely to trigger allergies or other health issues on the label.
However, in North America companies aren’t required to list the exact ingredients contained within their fragrance on their product’s label. This leaves us, as consumers, unaware of exactly which chemicals are in our skincare or cosmetic products.
But you won’t have to worry about synthetic fragrances in this body butter – it’s scented with a perfect combination of essential oils. More on the exact combination of essential oils later in this article.
What is body butter?
Body butter is comprised of a mixture of oils or butters that have been whipped, which give the final product a fluffy, butter-like texture.
Since body butter doesn’t contain any water, it can be made without adding a preservative. It’s the lack of water that also gives body butter a longer shelf-life.
Some people may find body butters too greasy. To counteract this issue, I recommend that you only use a small amount applied to damp skin.
You can also add a half tablespoon of tapioca starch, corn starch or arrowroot powder to your body butter if you still find that greasiness is a problem for you.
Natural sugar cookie body butter ingredients
Shea butter is one of my favourite butters. I often use it raw and alone as a body moisturizer, but it also mixes wonderfully with other oils or butters.
It’s derived from the seeds of the shea fruit. In its natural form, it’s a light beige colour. Therefore, do your research before purchasing a shea butter that is bright yellow or pure white, as it may have been altered by the manufacturer to save money.
Shea butter is very emollient while boasting a comedegendic rating of 0, so it’s suitable for all skin types. It’s comprised of fatty acids including oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid.
It’s also rich in cinnamic acid esters, which is the same compound found in cinnamon. Cinnamic acid esters belong to a family of compounds called triterpenes, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, shea butter contains vitamins A and E, which also offer significant benefits for skin and hair.
Because of its superior moisturizing properties, shea butter has a variety of uses, which include:
- Moisturizing dry, cracked skin or feet
- Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy
- Protecting the skin while shaving
- Soothing rashes or itching
- Hydrating dry or chapped lips
- Conditioning dry or damaged hair
Overall, shea butter is a versatile butter. It provides an excellent base for making lotions, butters, cleansing balms and lip balms.
Cocoa butter, derived from the cocoa bean, is rich in fatty acids including palmitic acid, stearic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid and arachidic acid. It has an incredible light chocolate scent and sinks into the skin easily, locking in moisture.
It also contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. Applied topically, polyphenols offer a variety of benefits for the skin including protecting it from oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress is a major factor in skin aging, polyphenols can help protect against premature aging of the skin.
Some studies have also suggested that cocoa butter provides some protection against the sun and UV radiation. However, cocoa butter is not a substitute for a properly formulated (and preferably natural) sunscreen.
I used deodorized cocoa butter in this recipe as to not interfere with the sugar cookie fragrance blend. But you’re welcome to use regular cocoa butter if you don’t mind a hint of chocolate.
Fractionated coconut oil
Fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil that has undergone the process of fractionation. Fractionation removes the long-chain triglycerides, leaving behind the fatty acids that are liquid at room temperature.
I added fractionated coconut oil to this recipe to soften the final product as without it, the mixture of shea and cocoa butter produces a denser body butter. However, you can vary the amount of fractionated coconut oil if you prefer a firmer or a softer body butter.
I prefer using fractionated coconut oil over other liquid carrier oils as it has a much longer shelf life. Its fatty acids are completely saturated, which means they will not oxidize or spoil as quickly as oils such as sweet almond oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is also interchangeable with MCT oil in this body butter recipe.
I added vitamin E to this recipe to extend this body butter’s shelf-life. Fatty acids begin to oxidize in the presence of light and oxygen, and vitamin E’s potent antioxidant abilities helps slow down this process.
Adding vitamin E to homemade body products is also an effective way to help replenish our skin’s levels of this important antioxidant.
It’s important to note that vitamin E is not a preservative. Contrary to popular belief, it will not stop microbial growth. Please don’t use it to preserve water-containing products like body lotions.
Sugar cookie essential oil blend
For this recipe, I used a 1% dilution and combined the following essential oils in an effort to come up with the perfect sugar cookie scent:
However, even the simple mixture of vanilla oleoresin and bitter almond essential oil will smell a lot like warm sugar cookies. The addition of sweet orange and cinnamon essential oils to your blend will add subtle notes of spice, but omitting these essential oils will still leave you with a sweet, cookie-scented body butter.
It’s worth nothing that bitter almond oil is not a true essential oil, but an aromatic aldehyde called benzaldehyde, derived from bitter almonds. Look for bitter almond essential oil or benzaldehyde on the product’s label.
DIY Sugar Cookie Body Butter Recipe
Essential oil blend
Hand mixer or immersion blender
Wash your equipment well before beginning this process.
Start by melting the butters with the vitamin E oil over low heat using a double boiler or the double boiler method. Place a glass bowl, beaker or stainless steel bowl over a hot water bath. We often use a shallow pan filled with water as a hot water bath. Stir the mixture as your butters melt.
Once you have melted the butters, then add the fractionated coconut oil. Stir the mixture again.
Remove from the heat and allow the bowl or beaker to cool in the fridge for approximately 30-45 minutes, until the mixture is firm but not hard.
Then, using a hand mixer or immersion blender, whip the body butter for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Immersion blenders are said to be better for whipping body butters but we have been able to get that light fluffy texture using a hand mixer.
Place the bowl in the fridge again for 10 minutes and then whip your butters for another 5 minutes.
Next, add the essential oils and whip the mixture again. Make sure that your essentials oils have been fully blended into the body butter.
Transfer your body butter to a glass container with an air-tight lid. Store in a cool, dark cupboard.
How to use your homemade body butter
Apply your body butter to damp skin. This is important, as applying body butter to damp skin will help lock in moisture, leaving your skin feeling softer and more hydrated.
This body butter smells so delicious that you’ll likely want to keep it for yourself. But it also makes a wonderful homemade gift for natural beauty lovers. Place it into eco-friendly, reusable glass jars and gift it for Christmas, or any occasion!
DIY Sugar Cookie Body Butter
What You'll Need
- Wash your equipment well before beginning this process.
- Start by melting the butters with the vitamin E oil over low heat using a double boiler or the double boiler method. Place a glass bowl, beaker or stainless steel bowl over a hot water bath. We often use a shallow pan filled with water as a hot water bath. Stir the mixture as your butters melt.
- Once you have melted the butters, then add the fractionated coconut oil. Stir the mixture again.
- Remove from the heat and allow the bowl or beaker to cool in the fridge for approximately 30-45 minutes, until the mixture is firm but not hard.
- Then, using a hand mixer or immersion blender, whip the body butter for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Immersion blenders are said to be better for whipping body butters but we have been able to get that light fluffy texture using a hand mixer.
- Place the bowl in the fridge again for 10 minutes and then whip your butters for another 5 minutes.
- Next, add the essential oils and whip the mixture again. Make sure that your essentials oils have been fully blended into the body butter.
- Transfer your body butter to a glass container with an air-tight lid. Store in a cool, dark cupboard.
More DIY bath and body recipes
You might also enjoy some of our other homemade bath and body recipes for fall, winter, and the holiday season:
- DIY Aromatherapy Shower Steamers
- DIY Fall Sugar Scrub Cubes
- Homemade Pumpkin Spice Body Butter
- DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Bath Soak
- Homemade Peppermint Hot Cocoa Body Butter