Blatantly Honest: Body Butter Problems

Posted by Sara on 23rd Jun 2015

We say we're transparent, but what have I done lately to prove that to you? Well, it's time for a blatantly honest, we're-only-human-too blog post.

Body Butter. Sigh. She's a fickle product. We started making our body butter in the fall, and man was it sexy! Soft, creamy, fluffy, white organic sexiness. Sometimes it came out a little shiny (made you shiver all over to see it), but mostly it was like a jar of clouds. A jar of clouds that got a lot of great praise from happy customers, and got a lot of orders from impressed wholesale customers.

Look at that! A pot full of clouds, just waiting to be pumped into cute little 4 oz jars.

And then spring happened. DAMMIT, SPRING!!

GRRRR!!!!! This hunk of junk arrived to a customer's door like this. Half empty? What??? Stupid warm weather. I'm moving to Alaska.

Customers were suddenly receiving terrible half-empty jars of melted soupy body butter instead of the fluffy whipped stuff they had been promised. I felt just like those jars of body butter: Totally deflated.

My friend tried to cheer me up, reminding me that it was technically still the same great product in there, just not quite as attractive. It'll still moisturize like an angel, even if it's kind of pre-melted for you. But, come on, this is not the kind of quality I want to be delivering to my faithful customers!!

This was delivered to a very understanding wholesale customer. I am SO LUCKY that she didn't just write us off when she found this smashed treasure! Ugh.

So. I've got some fixing to do. Unfortunately I've got about 400-500 jars of failed whipped body butter hanging out in my lovely temperature-controlled workspace, aka parents' basement, that now need to be melted down and somehow fixed. You see, the whipped creations were too delicate to survive even the slightest warm temperatures. As soon as they got to my mailbox it was pretty much too late. They would quickly deflate and by the time you, my dear customer, received your package, they would be half-full and liquid.

My answer to the problem was to eliminate what seemed to be the main issue: Whipping the body butter. So I melted down my whipped jars in the microwave and poured in a 50/50 mixture of coconut oil and shea butter (of course I just had 15,000 labels printed so I can't deviate from the recipe by adding harder butters or waxes...). No longer would our body butter be the traditional whipped body butter; now it would just be a FULL jar of smooth, spreadable butter. Still soft and creamy, but a little more reliable.


Sigh. At least it's full, right? Our amazing, understanding, fabulous shop keepers who sent back the original broken and half-empty jars now has melted (albeit full) body butter.

It seems that melting and re-filling the body butter still isn't quite the right answer for the summer months, unless you have awesome A/C in your house. In my 65 degree basement studio they're all solid, but I think 72 degrees is still just a bit too warm for this iteration of the body butter.

But never fear, dear customer. We've got our best and brightest (and only) minds on the job!! Steve and I have been brainstorming and armchair scientist-ing ideas for what exactly the answer is. And I think we have that answer.

A few of the body butters seem to have a peculiar ability to withstand heat, even though they're the same recipe as the delicate whips and the melted non-whips. These ones are whipped when they're still pretty liquid (rather than waiting until they're fully solidified into a smooth butter texture) and then pumped into the jars. They maintain a shiny, smooth appearance and even when melted in the microwave stay full. We think we have a hypothesis why: Perhaps the act of whipping the oils, but not adding too much air (since it's still pretty liquid) somehow emulsifies them and makes them hold together and maintain a higher melting point than they normally would manage on their own. That's our current running philosophy, anyway! It's definitely the only difference I've been able to identify within the making process.

There, now you have the complete, un-edited version of how it's made and how it's fixed. I know a lot of manufacturers and artists would balk at the idea of posting, or even just talking about, something like this. But to me, I can't stand the idea of trying to keep our trials (or successes) a secret from anyone. There's nothing particularly inventive about what we do; I think the difference is in how we do it, which is in an open and honest way, with an eye always to improving ourselves and our products. What do you think?

P.S. If you're ever unhappy with our products, please let me know because your feedback always helps us improve, and we want to keep you coming back. And if you are HAPPY with our product (God forbid, right?) then please let me know too because I need all the support I can get! :) 

P.P.S. Our salves, on the other hand, are kicking BUTT in this hot weather. They're still nice and smooth and not liquid at all! I'll be getting all of the scents (all 15) posted soon so you can purchase those if you'd like to try something that's perfect for dry, itchy skin. Salve is my favorite child right now.

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