diy belly butter

hi loves! with this post i’m sharing a belly butter that was inspired by a peachy-colored “all-over” balm i made for my friend.

this is for all our pregnant peeps out there that want to keep their skin moisturized. it also helps with itching and scarring, which i hear happens when your stomach skin stretches to grow a human. seriously, growing a whole human being inside of you? badass.

this is anhydrous, so it doesn’t need a preservative system. it’s pretty easy to make, too! it should take about a half hour from start to finish. 

it’s a great gift idea!

>>> makes 6 ounces. // store tightly sealed and away from sunlight. // toss after 1 year. // apply to dampened skin for best results.

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RECIPE: 1 ounce oil & 5 ounces butter

  • 5 oz unrefined shea butter
  • 1/4 ounce tamanu
  • 1/4 ounce rosehip co2
  • 1/2 ounce marula oil
  • 5 mL calendula co2

need help sourcing ingredients? i have a post HERE to help (no affiliate links, etc).


  1. in a double boiler, melt your shea butter until completely liquid. this should only take a few minutes.
  2. remove from heat once melted. let cool for 1-2 mins.
  3. add calendula co2 and mix well. this ingredient is the consistency of ear wax. make sure it melts and mixes evenly!
  4. add rosehip co2, tamanu oil, and marula oil. mix well.
  5. carefully pour into a balm container with a tight fitting lid*.
  6. let cool at room temperature overnight OR for best results, blast chill for 20 minutes in the freezer and remove.



*- you can use two 3 oz jars, 3 two oz jars.. depends on what you have / what you find. i recommend to use wide-mouth cosmetic jars, so it’s easy to scoop product out. 

diy formulation educational series – cleansing balms

welcome back! today we’re formulating cleansing balms! cleansing balms are pretty neat. they’re like cleansing oils, but are more solid and contain both an emulsifier and a surfactant. that means they’re also different from micellar water, which can pull hydration OUT of your skin (and they aren’t the best cleansers, since you’re not washing the emulsifier containing the gunk off your face).

as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.

there are some oils listed in the “inspiration formulas” that i do not believe belong on your face, either due to comedogenic rating and/or high oleic acid content, but everyone’s skin is different. for that reason, the formulations will be listed as close to the original as possible and i will note which ones i do not prefer. education is key, so do some research – it’s the second most fun part, other than blending 😉

please always check herb and essential oil use with your local herbalist and aromatherapist before use, no matter how ‘innocent’ they seem. for example, ylang-ylang EO is commonly used, but you should avoid it during pregnancy.



here are 2 cleansing balms that you can DIY at home, while controlling what oils and butters are best for your skin.

disclaimer: you technically do not need a preservative in these since they’re anhydrous, but i highly suggest one because there’s a high risk of water contamination. i usually love using aspen bark extract, but since it’s water-soluble, let’s try using elderberry extract at a max 5% instead, as it’s oil-soluble.

remember one aspect of a cleansing balm is that it contains a surfactant, aka the dirt remover. the names of them can look “scary” but they realistically are not. they’re also typically used around a 1% to 6% contribution, so overall very low. if you choose to not add these, as some companies do, that’s totally fine, but they will not by definition be a “true” cleansing balm.

please note that castile soap is not an acceptable surfactant for your face skin.



organic avocado oil, organic coconut oil, organic olive leaf oil, organic olive oil, organic beeswax, blood orange essential oil, polyglyceryl-3 palmitate


we’re not putting the highly comedogenic coconut oil on our faces, so we’ll substitute with tucuma butter.  tucuma butter is a nice emollient high in lauric acid and low in oleic acid. it is a palm oil (astrocaryum vulgare), but not the palm oil you’re thinking of, which is elaeis guineensis. moving along – i had trouble understanding what they meant by olive ‘leaf’ oil, as there’s no such thing; you’d have to extract it IN oil. i don’t think they’re using olive leaf extracted in oil, as it’s an extremely potent herbal ‘medicine’ and should not be used liberally. beeswax is entirely too occlusive for a rinse-off product, so we’ll swap it out and use a higher concentration of butter. and see the polyglyceryl-3 palmitate? they use it as their surfactant. it’s typically used at 3 to 6%. for this formula we will opt for a better, in my opinion, surfactant called caprylyl/capryl glucoside. this is also a solubilizer (surfactant that’s a dispersing agent/stabilizer for oils in water). win. it’s vegetable-derived.

lastly, let’s use the rule of thumb that essential oils for topical use really should not exceed 0.5% to 2%, depending on which EO it is. citrus oils can be phototoxic, so take that into consideration, although this is a rinse-off product. i’m assuming they used it at 2% for fragrance since it’s on the label, even though it could be a potential irritant for some people.


no coconut oil. no beeswax. substitute butter. swap pg3p surfactant for c/c glucoside.

diy formula:




Astrocaryum murumuru butter, Helianthus annuus oil*, Camellia oleifera oil*, Passiflora incarnata oil*, Orbignya oleifera oil, Decyl glucoside, Cetearyl olivate + Sorbitan olivate, Mangifera indica butter*,Ricinus communis seed oil*, Theobromo grandiflorum butter, Annuus seed oil + Terminalia ferdinandiana fruit extract, Annuus seed oil + Victoria amazonica extract, Annuus seed oil + Rosa-sinensis, Annuus seed oil + Salix alba bark extracta, Nigella sativa oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Pelargonium graveolens oil, Citrus aurantium amara oil, Brassica napus oil Rosmarinus officinalis extract, Cananga odorata oil, Rosmarinus officinalis oil, Cinnamomum camphor linalol, Citrus.aurantium bergamia FCF oil

murumuru butter, sunflower seed oil, camellia seed oil, passionfruit seed oil, babassu oil, decyl glucoside, cetearyl olivate + sorbitan olivate, mango seed butter, castor oil, cupuacu butter, kakadu plum infused in sunflower seed oil, hibiscus-infused sunflower seed oil, white willow bark infused sunflower seed oil, black cumin oil, benzyl alcohol, geranium EO, neroli EO, rapeseed/canola oil, rosemary EO, ylang ylang EO, camphor EO, bergamot EO


i would sadly not use this on blemish-prone skin, due to the high oleic acid components of mango seed butter and cupuacu butter.

what is confusing to me is kakadu plum, hibiscus, and white willow bark all have water– and alcohol-soluble compounds. ex – the salicylic acid component of white willow bark is not oil-soluble. seeing there is no water or alcohol in this formula, i’m honestly not sure what good these “extracts” are doing being infused into sunflower seed oil. if anyone has more insight, please share, because i’m always down to learn more about herbalism!

decyl glucoside is a surfactant with an entirely too high pH, and i don’t see any pH adjusters listed in this formula. we’ll swap it out for the more suitable c/c glucoside. also, cetearyl olivate + sorbitan olivate is a product known as Olivem 1000, and is an emulsifier. in high viscous formulations, like this one, the manufacturer suggestion is a 7-8% use, but we can use it at 5% for a waterless balm. i see benzyl alcohol, which i believe they’re using as a preservative. let’s swap it out for a gentler, oil-soluble one – elderberry extract. lastly, this balm has an involved EO blend that may smell wonderful, but some are phototoxic, so we’ll adjust slightly.


swap the surfactant. swap the preservative. take out the rapeseed oil (why is this even in here?).

diy formula:

the original is beautiful melty and silky consistency, so let’s assume a more balanced ratio of 50% butter, 50% oils. you may need to play around with the formula to get the texture you prefer.

have these given you any ideas of one you want to make for yourself?


diy formulation educational series – body balm

welcome back! today we’re formulating a diy for a body balm!

as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.

Image result for body balm

(pic from Crafts Unleased)

hopefully this body balm recipe inspires you to elevate your DIY recipes!

ingredients from inspiration product:

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil*, Shea Butter Ethyl Esters, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Seed Butter*, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire de Carnauba*, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter*, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter*, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire d’abeille*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Seed Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Oil*, Phenethyl Alcohol, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil*, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Algae Extract, Tocopherol, Aroma**, Limonene, Linalool


this is an anhydrous blend made with a harder, crumbly butter (kokum), two different waxes, and an oil-soluble preservative. usually balms like this can have a nice texture with 25% butter, 50% oil, and 25% wax, although it varies due to personal preference and which butters, oils, and waxes you decide to use. if you’re just using hard and crumbly kokum butter, it’s more 50/50. some versions have 70% oil, 15% butter, and 5% wax. see how the butter and wax percentages can change it? since the kokum butter is pretty hard, we can do without the waxes, especially since beeswax can leave a slight film on the skin. let’s use it at 10%, and as a formulation guideline. cocoa butter is also a bit harder, next is shea, whereas cupuacu and mango seed butters are very soft and creamy. let’s do 65% butter and 35% oils; no waxes.

shea butter ethyl esters is a product known as Lipex SheaLight, designed to be a less greasy emollient. i think using a different butter and oils would have solved this issue, but this is another way to get that result.

dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline is an anti-wrinkle product known as Sepilift DPHP. manufacturer tests indicate a formulation usage of 1%. we’ll exclude it. that means our acai oil is 1% contribution, as it’s next and before the phenethyl alcohol.

phenethyl alcohol is used here as a preservative and possibly an aromatic addition. it’s never been assessed for safety but animal studies show signs of skin irritation. we’ll leave it out, but note it’s usually used at no greater than 1%. the elderberry extract is a natural oil-soluble preservative and the EOs serve to make it smell nice.

elderberry extract can be used at 1 to 5%, although challenge test results indicate 2% is the acceptable usage.

i’m unsure of what algae extract they’re using, but we’ll choose a waterless one.

we know that tocopherols are effective at 0.5%, so let’s assume that.

as for the extracts towards the end of the list, they could be CO2 extractions. however, since there is no such thing as meadowsweet CO2 or alfalfa CO2, we can probably safely assume these plant materials are all being infused into the olive oil that’s listed. if that’s the case, then let’s blend equal parts of dried plant materials into the olive oil and let it infuse for 4 months. whew, long time.

lastly, here’s a labeling tidbit – cosmetic formulations that are sold to consumers in a retail way, like online or in-store, need the COMMON ingredient names, not the INCI names. this is a very common mistake. however, you can certainly include the INCI ones if they’re embedded in the common name. so, the labeling on this product is non-compliant.


no Lipex SheaLight. no waxes. no caprylic/capric triglyceride. no phenethyl alcohol. no Sepilift DPHP.

diy formula:


are you liking this DIY DUPE SERIES? please let me know!



DIY lip oil/gloss

for some reason i have never posted a DIY lip gloss… better late than never, right?


this recipe can be used day or night, either as a day moisturizer or night reparative gloss.


  • 3 parts castor oil
  • 1 part favorite face-friendly oil
    • differs by person; very few people can handle coconut oil, while nearly everyone’s skin can handle squalene, like amaranth seed oil
  • sprinkle of hibiscus powder, if you want a bit of a pinky hue. don’t add too much because it’s not exactly oil soluble.

lip gloss containers: amazon is a great source of empty lip containers, with wands or squeezie tubes.

EASY PEASY.  now save yourself some money by DIYing.