Entries in shea butter (9)


How to Make Your Own Homemade Sunscreen

Homemade Sunscreen

Three reasons you should make your own:


  1. Control your ingredients: zinc oxide offers the best sun protection with a low hazard rating (per EWG). You can create a high or low SPF when you make it yourself.
  2. Four ingredients and 30 minutes is all you need.
  3. No need to worry about expired sunscreen in the cupboard. Make fresh sunscreen that lasts all summer long (plan for a year shelf life).


Instructions: Melt ½ oz beeswax, 2 oz shea butter, and 2 oz coconut oil using the double boiler method (Pyrex or glass container with ingredients, sitting in a pot of  boiling water until mixture is melted).

Remove from heat. Add 1 oz (2 TBS) zinc oxide to melted mixture and using a stick blender, blend until all zinc oxide is well-blended. Pour into a glass or plastic container. Sunscreen is ready when solidified.

Important: clean your equipment while it's still hot. Immediately wipe everything with paper towels to get rid of the residue as much as possible. Then wash in hot, soapy water with a scrub brush.

This is approximately 30 spf – I wouldn’t add more zinc oxide than the recipe calls for unless you can handle the extra “whiteness” which might be difficult to rub into the skin. Use less zinc oxide for a lower spf. 

For a video and more summer skin care recipes, see the My Buttered Life ebook


Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter can be Used Interchangeably (with ratio modifications)

 Hi Renee,

I downloaded your new ebook yesterday.  I'm thinking about gifts for Christmas, and I have a few questions for you.

1.  Are shea butter and cocoa butter equally effective for treating very dry skin such as cracked heels and fingers? For dry skin like you mention, yes. For eczema and psoriasis, shea butter seems to work better, from the testimonies I receive. 

2.  Can the body mousse be made using shea butter instead of cocoa butter? Yes! In fact, that recipe is in my summer e-book. Adding essential oils is optional. 

3.  Can you tell me where you get the mold and tins for the hard lotion bars that you sell? I had those custom made. There are bead organizers (it's a plastic 12-box organizer) that you can find at Michaels and Wal-mart with fairly close dimensions but you do have to cut off the edges to fit the tin. If you can find rectangle soap molds with the correct dimensions, you might be able to find the right size for the large tin. 

4.  You mention using small ramekins for molds and large ones for containers, can you be more specific on the sizes? One is 3.5 inches in diameter and the other is 3 inches. 

I know at least a few people I will be giving this to at Christmas will really benefit from using it, as I have.  Thanks so much!


Whipped Shea Butter Recipe

For written instructions, visit The Lotion Exchange.


Ethiopian Child in Need of Cortisone Steroid Gets Full Body Shea Butter Application

My sister's family was over today and I had the opportunity to apply my whipped shea butter and coconut oil lotion on her Ethiopian-born 17 month old, Nathan.

Background: Nathan has had extremely dry skin his entire life. His skin is so dry and coarse in some areas that it becomes bumpy, causing him to scratch his skin, which then bleeds. Her doctor advised a Cortisone steroid, and she would apply that to his skin. In a follow up visit, the doctor recommended she increase the Cortisone, as he was still suffering from the scratches and bleeding.

Meanwhile, she has been looking for a natural lotion to protect his skin and relieve the constant need for scratching. We spent a few minutes applying the shea butter lotion all over his body and it appeared to immediately soak into his skin.  I was excited to see how well his skin took to the lotion and my sister asked me to make more for her to take home; none of the other products (Vaseline, Udderly Smooth Cream, etc.) worked as effectively and absorbed as well, sometimes even left grease spots on his clothes.  A couple hours later, his skin felt smooth, but it definitely would need another application of lotion as his skin is that dry. Thankfully, he wasn't itching. We'll be watching how the lotion works over time and I'll be back in the workroom to test out the amounts, possibly adding beeswax for longer-lasting lotion absorption.


whipped shea butter and coconut oil

I finally found a good recipe for whipped shea butter. It wasn't that other recipes were bad, but I really wanted something with as few ingredients as possible. Additional, unnecessary ingredients just aren't necessary. This one called for only shea butter and coconut oil.

I'll probably post a recipe after I pinpoint the exact amounts that I'm happy with, but this definitely looks like whipped cream.

My husband (a.k.a. lotion guy) has been blogging his results of the recipe with his full body application, here.


How to Make Lotion Bars for Gift Giving


The Taste of Natural Lotion's Edible Ingredient: Shea Butter 

I came home to find my husband mysteriously busy at the kitchen stove with sprigs of lavender in one hand, and a wooden spoon swirling around melted shea butter in a hot skillet in the other. Dinner was an experiment last night, but I'll let him speak:

Since we have plenty of shea butter on hand for my wife to make fresh batches of hard lotion bars, I decided to swipe a couple tablespoons of the shea to test in our kitchen.

I like soft, fried eggs and I normally cook them in a pan with butter or a half-tablespoon of coconut oil. This time I used some of Renee's very white looking shea butter. I also added a few sprigs of lavender from the garden for a slightly wild and elevating flavor.

The first thing I noticed was that this butter can get much hotter in the pan without it beginning to smoke. Normally, if it is a dairy butter, I have to watch closely as the butter can turn quickly from golden brown to a smoked burned state. In comparison, shea butter seems to withstand a much higher cooking temperature and never got close to burning.

Secondly, and the most important observation, is how it tasted. I served up the eggs, and immediately, on our first bite of the eggs, both my wife and I agreed that the viscosity was very pronounced. Both butter and coconut oil give each their own distinct taste, but they dissipate immediately in the mouth. The shea butter, however, lingers long in the mouth after finishing the bite and overwhelms the fine taste of soft eggs. We both commented that it reminded us of flax seed oil and cod liver oil - not a good combo for light dinner fare.

Conclusion: I'm not ready yet to switch to cooking with shea butter, but I think it could find its place in any food requiring high and sustained heat that needs a robust complementary flavor. 


From Cracked Skin to Building a Lotion Business

I wasn't looking for an opportunity to run a business.

I didn't even care whether the products I used on my skin were natural, biodegradable, or "green" - I just needed something that would heal the cracks and splits in my fingers that made my daily tasks incredibly painful.

When I figured out the solution, I wanted to help others, and eventually it turned into a business.

It all started with three ingredients: beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil.

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Should Someone With a Known Nut Allergy Use Shea Butter?

Shea butter does come from a nut, so if you are prone to nut allergies, check on this!

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