DIY Intermediate, Hands & Feet, Lotions & Butters, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Mangotastic Hand Butter

You know how it is. Your hands are dry, scaly so you reach for your awesome shea butter based body butter and apply it whilst sighing that your hands shall be smooth one again. You go to sleep, wake up and feel up your hands. YAY! All is good. So you go to wash up for the day, and apply more body butter to your hands, rub it in and off you go!

Look at that hunk of awesome! Mango Butter! 

Only, you begin to see greasy hand prints everywhere. Elevator doors, your door handles, your floor (I sit on the floor a lot with work), your coffee cup, steering wheel (if you drive), everywhere! But your hands are nice and soft! But your hand prints are everywhere! Let’s not begin to talk about how my phone screen or key board look these days. So how to fix this?

Shea butter is an awesome ingredient that I have been recently been enjoying playing with and adding into various products but always in small amounts. But my hands take a beating with all I do and need something with a little more oomph but less shea butter grease. But something with all that shea goodness. 

What does that leave us with? Why mango butter of course!

I think all butters and lotions once mixed look fantastic! 

Shea butter contains oodles of fatty acids which help to keep the skins elasticity and moisture. High in oleic and stearic acid, which are fantastic in keeping the skin moisturized which has an awesome side effect. Highly moisturized skin looks healthy and healthy skin looks younger. And has oodles of Vitamin E. And mango butter contains pretty much all the same awesomeness as shea butter… only not greasy! The glory that is mango butter is that mango butter is a “dry” butter. As in it sinks in pretty quickly not that it dries you out. It doesn’t. Really. It just sinks in fast leaving your skin soft and supple.


Mango Butter is three times the cost. So don’t spill any on your counter tops. D’uh!!!

But mango butter is three times the cost. So, that is something to be aware of. I’ve worked with it a lot in the past, especially in a lot of hand butters as it sinks in very quickly, and the usual usage rates for emulsified body butters is at 15%. Following the “cheatsheet” for emulsified body butter is great, but I like to toss it out the window when playing in my kitchen. I wanted something with less liquid oils, more butter and more frothy/fluffy than a creamy butter. So I upped it to 20%. But I reduced the liquid oil to 7% from 12%. But that is the fun of making your own stuff! Play with the ratios, but just make sure you know how your emulsification system works and what it can handle.

Look at that nice thick goodness and all those stiff peaks? NICE!!!

I’ve also added in sweet almond oil, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E and aloe vera juice. If you want this butter to have an even faster sink in rate, try switching out the sweet almond oil for hazelnut or apricot oil. For my ewax, I decided to use Emulsifying Wax NF. I really like how this ewax thickens up over 48 hours.  For my scents for this recipe I was torn between using mango fragrance oil or vanilla. I much prefer lighter and softer scents to the WHAMO full on powered scents. So if you prefer the WHAMO scents, check with your manufacturer’s recommended usage rates.   At the end of the day? I went with Mango Fragrance Oil from FNWL it is a really nice one! 

My new 60g glass pots. 

I decided to make 500g as then I’d be able to fill up some of my new glass pots for gifts and still have enough left over for me to play with. When you work with larger sized batches, you need to be aware that your liquid phase might evaporate! Into this size batch, it’s pretty easy to figure out.  Before pouring Beaker A into Beaker B, be sure to weigh it. You should have made notes before about the total weight, so you should be able to see quickly if the numbers work out. Into this recipe I added in 8g of water to make up for 8g of liquid that evaporated. 

This one is for my bathroom

The process for making a butter is basically the same as for making a lotion. You weigh, heat, blend, stir/mix, allow to cool, mix, add in stuff, stir, cool, decant, cap. And that’s about it! Very easy!

So let’s get cooking!

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Prepare your work space by wiping everything down with a 10% Bleach solution. Wipe all your equipment, tools, beakers down with isopropyl alcohol. Don’t forget your immersion blender, countertop AND your scales.

  1. Grab three beakers (or heat resistant pyrex measuring cups, I just really like my beakers), your double broiler, scale, spoons, immersion blender, ingredients, pots, and spatulas.
  2. Into Beaker A: your liquid phase. Weigh out your water, aloe juice, glycerine and silk.
  3. Into Beaker B: your oil phase. Weigh out your butter, oil and ewax.
  4. Into Beaker C: your additives. Weigh out your panthenol, Vitamin E, fragrances (if using), and preservatives.
  5. Place Beaker A and B into a double boiler on a barely there simmer until everything is melted. Give it about twenty minutes.
  6. Remove Beaker A from the double boiler, wipe off the bottom, and slowly pour the contents into Beaker B. Use your immersion blender to blend everything together.
  7. Blend again making sure that you have blended enough, then allow to cool for about twenty minutes, then blend again. Repeat as necessary until your butter has cooled to room temperature. Be aware that your butter may not be as thick as you’d like it to be at room temperature. Do not worry! Some ewax takes a few days to thicken up.
  8. Once your butter has reached room temperature, add the contents of Beaker C to your butter and blend for the final time. Ensure you have blended thoroughly.
  9. Decant into clean pots and enjoy!



The work lights I use in my kitchen are the “warm” coloured lights as they don’t hurt my eyes. So all my lotions come out looking very pretty in photos! 
DIY Intermediate, Hands & Feet, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Foot & Ankle Massage Gel

The more you know about oil to wax ratios the more your mind spins and spins with all the various ideas you can come up with. Lip glosses, lip glosses, lip glosses and more lip glosses, knock off type of vapour rub, lip glosses, a weird sorts of goo and lip glosses. Did I mention lip glosses?

By adding your shea and cocoa butter to your liquid oil after the beeswax has melted and off the heat source can help you to prevent “crystals” from forming.

This idea came to me years and years ago one day while I was getting a foot wash. However; I never acted on this thought till a few weeks ago. Now a foot wash in China is fantastic. You pay a few kuai (our version of quid or buck) and you get your toes washed, all the dead skin is removed and then you get a foot massage. How awesome is that! And, to make it even more awesome? It is socially acceptable for social activity for men and women to do together. Just if a Chinese man says a foot wash at a hotel? Run away. It means more than just a foot wash.


Continue stirring until your shea and cocoa butter are melted. If you find that you need to reheat, grand. Place into your warm water bath and don’t turn on the heat.

For any sort of massage oil, you want to make sure that your base is not going to be absorbed by the skin all that quick. You want to make sure that the oils stay on the skin and are slowly absorbed. You also want to make sure that friction doesn’t present a problem, that hands can glide and slip over your skin. You also want to make sure that the oils are good oils for their intended purpose. And that it smells delightful! I also really hate it when I spend all that money on a pretty bottle and spend my time figuring out which liquid oils and fragrance oils to add only to have the bottle ruined because people can’t pour without spillage! So a massage oil based sort of gel like product was born! It is a clean mess. In a pot. I was also looking to make a product that is solid in the tin, but melts almost immediately in contact with the skin.

One of my new favourite photos!

For this here Foot & Ankle Massage Gel, we are using sweet orange essential oil only because I want to use up our essential oil stock. So feel free to sub in any fragrance oil you like or another essential oil and be sure to check out the recommended safety amounts. Clove is an awesome essential oil as is cinnamon, but good golly, a .5% usage of either has the potential to BURN. And speaking of orange essential oil, I truly and madly love the way it smells. I’d love to live in an orange and have that scent around me the whole day. Orange or red grapefruit. I’d never be sad again! The world would always be a bright and cheery place!

img_8602.jpgSo to make a “gel” based concoction from oils, butters, and waxes, it’s important to know your ingredients and how they interact and work together. If we have too much liquid oil, we just have a thick liquid. If we have too many butters and waxes, we have a balm. We want to dance on that perfect amount for what we want. AND we want to dance the jig. Knowing your weather is also an important for this type of recipe and also how warm or cool where you will store it. So this product is awesome, but very tricky.

IMG_8645We’ve used sweet almond oil in this recipe for it meets all our guidelines for what we are looking for. It is great for the skin, and according to my massage lady, the skin seems to absorb sweet almond oil on its own a little too quickly for her liking. Which is part of the reason I am trying this new massage goop so I can keep her happy. Almond oil does contain emollient properties which is why many use it to improve skin tone. And emollient is usually an oil that softens the skin by filling in the spaces between the skin flakes and creating a smoother skin surface. It is also said that almond oil can help hydrate the skin and that many massage therapists prefer to use almond oil for giving massages as it meets the criteria they look for in that it provides great glide for your hands, and doesn’t sink in so quickly that you have to reapply often. But then again, my massage lady claims otherwise. So once again in this wonderful age of information at my fingertips, I’m going to have to side with her.

Shea butter is another one of those oils that is slowly peeking it’s head more often in things I make in The Scrub Me Down Kitchen. I stayed far away from the “shea crazy” when I first started DIY’ing as everyone and their knees used it in everything. And I wanted to try lots of other things. Like macadamia nut oil. Sigh. Moringa oil how I love you! And sea buckthorn oil, you’ve been my super skin secret for years long before the western world really knew about you. But I digress.

What I think I like most about this blogging thing? Is I can always be the first one to stick my finger into a product.

Shea is great in this recipe. I find shea butter has a much heavier feel than cocoa butter and since this is for a massage gel, we are using both the shea and the cocoa butter to impart their awesome higher melt point to help keep this as a gel and not a liquid. Shea butter melts at about 40-45C and cocoa butter at 34-38C. BUT I hear you. “Barb, you’ve added cocoa butter, shea butter AND beeswax! How will this gel you speak of be possible!” And to that I say dance said jig I told you about before! When you play with the ratios of solids to liquids in an anhydrous product (anhydrous= without water), you can then control the consistency of your final product. Like magic. Take that Harry Potter!

I wanted this to be a gel. So I made it a gel. To make a balm, usually you would add 80ish% liquid and about 20% wax to make yourself a nice solid body balm, but I wanted a gel. So rather than using all wax, I used a hard butter (cocoa) and a soft butter (shea) and decided to drastically reduced the beeswax to help it maintain some form.

Solid on the finger, melting on the skin. SUCCESS!

If you live in a cooler climate or are approaching winter, this is a very good recipe. If you live in a warmer climate, I’d suggest first upping the beeswax to 8-10%, while reducing the sweet almond oil.

I dragged Sonia to the massage place across the way and we got ourselves some massages. The massage ladies were bombarded by questions asking about how they liked it, how they found it glided and slipped over skin. We also asked if they had a choice which would they prefer to use to massage their customers, all agreed this recipe was bangarang. They loved the way it sank in once they stopped massaging so that made their clean up easier, they liked the way that this gel didn’t need to be reapplied for the whole hour long massage. They also thought it wonderful how much use they’d get out of one 50g tin. They estimated that they would get ten back or ten foot massages from this size of tin.

How neat is that!

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  1. Prepare your water bath/double boiler, keeping your water at a barely there simmer.
  2. Weigh out your sweet almond oil and beeswax into a heat resistant beaker or glass measuring cup and place in your water bath and wait until the beeswax is melted
  3. Weigh out your cocoa butter and shea butter into a separate container.
  4. Remove the melted beeswax and almond oil beaker from the water bath.
  5. Add in your cocoa butter and shea butter and stir to melt.
  6. If you need to, place your beaker back into the water bath to continue melting.
  7. Once your beaker has reached hand temperature ( you can wrap and hold your hand around the base of the beaker without it feeling uncomfortable), measure in your fragrance or essential oils.
  8. Stir and decant into a 100g pot.
  9. Allow to cool. Cap and then run away for a massage!

Because this product contains no water, you do not need a preservative, but don’t go sticking your wet or dirty fingers into this!

Shelf life will be the life of your shortest lifespan oil or butter used.

Yup. I love me my farmers tan.
Do you see where I am going with this?

Now my pretties! Get your tender tootsies rubbed and tell me how it goes!

DIY Advanced, Hands & Feet, Lotions & Butters, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Lemony Lanolin Foot Butter

Last year, I developed some sort of awesome sheaness foot butter that resulted in an almost sponge like texture. It was awesome. Pure awesomeness. It had peppermint essential oil, shea butter and…. yeah you got me there. I have no clue what else was in there. Obviously preservative, maybe some silk? wheatgerm? aloe? water? vitamin e? Who knows for sure! But it was truly awesome. I rubbed it into my feet, put on some socks and shoes and left for work. After about twenty or so minutes, my feet would start to tingle as the peppermint decided to peek it’s pretty little head and I’d sigh in bliss. Hot toes!

As I said. Pure awesomeness.

I went looking for that recipe some time ago and realised that some of my notes were lost in a computer file transfer (see why I strongly suggest notebooks?) and then decided since I couldn’t find the recipe why not create something with more awesomey-packin’-a-bigger-punch for a foot and hand butter?


I work with my hands both at home and at work too. My hands are constantly being washed, while at home usually encased in latex gloves which I personally find drying, I put my hands into scalding steam often, the dishes to wash up… and I work in China so that means tons of dusty environments, children cooties… what I put my hands through really takes its toll on them. And then in winter, I usually suffer from dry cracked knuckles, I probably possess the worst looking cuticles in the history of man-kind. And all this is when I apply butters and lotions and such to my hands on a regular basis. You should see them when I don’t apply anything helpful to try to keep them soft. You’d run screaming into the night sky.

And then there is China. China, is not that pleasant come winter in the north. It’s dry, and then dry some more. And then even more dry. The temps are far enough below zero to take care of the moisture in the air, the wind also is pretty bad, then you have the state heating system that dries out the air even more. So yeah. It’s AWESOME! But it takes a huge toll on your skin.1481503443718_

And I need something stronger than a body butter for my hands… and oh yeah. My feet too. Originally I designed this for a winter foot butter, but it’s quickly becoming more of a hand butter to apply at night. This sits on my night stand and I dig into it each night. It goes on like a dream, and then I put my hands into a pair of cotton socks then go to bed. I wake up with cuticles that are remarkably soft, hands that feel like they’ve been pampered and no dry skin. But it is still “technically” summer, so that is a pretty easy accomplishment.

I’m training my hands to look beautiful for winter.

Take that winter cracked skin! I’m ready to accept your defeat!

The star of this recipe is lanolin. And surprisingly, there is not a lot of solid info that I can find about this awesomeness. Other than a possible history of over 8,000 years. I know it comes from sheep, helps to repel water, but is a superstar at keeping water in, helping resolve the issue of dry cracked skin, and was one of the star ingredients in my favourite balm growing up, Udder Balm which helped tremendously with my cuticles. It’s a superstar ingredient for those with severe cracked skin and a precious ingredient for mountain climbers and cold weather junkies like myself.

1441503443709_.pic copyWe’re also adding in some aloe juice to work as a film former, shea, sweet almond oil, panthenol and silk all amazing ingredients to help dry and cracked skin. I’ve decided to use peppermint essential oil and lemon fragrance oil in this butter to compliment the emulsified foot scrub we made the other day. In that post I mentioned that I don’t regularly use sweet almond oil as I generally go for other oils with a dry finish rather than an oilier finish. But, we’ve had a few people request recipes with easier to obtain ingredients, however; if you are like me and prefer that dry satiny touch finish, swap out the sweet almond oil and replace with some hazelnut oil. Or apricot oil. Both are good choices.

Now with the foot scrub, we used lemon essential oil. In this butter we are not. And the reason is simple. I plan to be wearing this on my hands when I go outside come cold weather. And that means, the sun+citrus essential oil=BURNS. When it comes to adding in fragrance or essential oils, you can choose to change them up so maybe you want cherry blossom or lavender scented hands. The skies the limit! Have some fun with fragrances!

To make this foot butter it is just like making a lotion. There are two major differences though; a butter is scoopable making it easy to decant into pots. And you aren’t able to use a pump or decant into a squeeze tube unless you fancy wrist damage. And, you’ll be using pots for butters.

Let’s get making!

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  1. In a heat resistant Pyrex or beaker (all hail the beaker gods), weigh out your water phase: water, aloe and silk and place into your double boiler on a barely there simmer.
  2. In a second heat resistant Pyrex or beaker, weigh out your ewax, sweet almond oil, shea and lanolin and place into the double boiler.
  3. In another bowl, weigh your panthenol and preservative, and let sit.
  4. After about twenty minutes, remove the ewax, almond oil, shea and lanolin beaker from the water bath.
  5. Remove your water phase from the water bath and wipe the bottom of any water before gently combining your water phase into your oil beaker. You will need to blitz it with an immersion blender to make sure everything emulsifies completely.
  6. Every five to ten minutes come back and blitz for a few seconds, then let it sit for another five to ten minutes to cool down.
  7. Once your lotion has cooled to a temperature below 40C, it is time to include your panthenol and preservative, blend, then add in your fragrances or essential oils using a pipet.
  8. This lotion will be quite thick, so take a sterilised spoon and scoop into a pot. I used a 100g tin pot and a 100g plastic pot for observing. Allow to cool completely with the lid off before capping and labeling.
Can you tell what is on my mind for winter gift sets?