Kokum butter. This skin-rejuvenating, healing butter is dervived from the kokum, or mangosteen tree, indiginous to India. (Garcinia indica). Kokum oil (butter) contains 60-65% saturated fatty acid making it solid at room temperature. Kokum butter is prized for it’s skin healing properties, and is a favorite for many making their own skin care products.
Mountain Rose Herbs details that kokum butter is a:
A highly prized and under-rated butter from the Garcinia tree. This naturally white and incredibly smooth butter has enormously high compositions of beneficial materials to help regenerate tired and worn skin cells and further supports elasticity and general flexibility of the skin wall. A great ingredient to add to healing lotions, creams, and body butters. It can be directly applied to the skin in its solid state, but it may require a mild amount of heating to improve applicability. Highly recommended to those that are crafting cosmetics with the intent of producing a skin healing end product. Cosmetic use only.
Extraction- Expeller Pressed/Refined
Kokum butter has a mild to non-existent aroma, and is often used in place of the highly scented cocoa butter. It is a hard and brittle butter, but melts into a dreamy, skin-loving, easily absorbed oil. It contains the antioxidant Vitamin E and is rich in essential fatty acids which aid in cell oxygenation, resulting in making nutrients more readily available for use by skin tissues. It is an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or those with skin ailments.
Which leads me to why I chose kokum butter for this salve…
My lovely sister and dear friend both just gave birth to the sweetest, cuddliest, dreamiest baby boys ever! Like any new mama, they could use a gentle, yet ultra-healing salve for their sensitive mama parts. This salve makes a great nipple balm to aid in early nursing discomforts, and doubles as a silky and absorbent rub for their sweet son’s tender, yet dry skin.
This all-purpose salve is a power-player in my salve arsenal, and is good for all skin types; not just sweet, snuggly post partum mamas and babes. (Of course, I did set some aside for my future post-partom self later this summer…)
This salve is easily customizeable, and for those with sensitive skin, it’s best left plain. With kokum butter as the star, infused oils and beeswax also contibute to this lovely salve with equally important supporting roles. I gave that salve to the mamas plain, but also scented some in a few different ways. Essential oils are fun additions (with benefits), and one container turned out to be an earthy patchoulli, lavender and palmarosa, and the other was a delightful sweet orange with almond extract. The orange and almond with our highly scented beeswax from our own apiary was a clear winner!
I get my supplies here
Kokum Butter Salve
- 2.5 oz. coconut oil
- 2 oz. calendula-infused olive oil*
- 1.5 oz. lavender-infused olive oil*
- 1.5 oz. sweet almond oil
- 0.5 oz. castor oil
- 1.5 oz. grated beeswax
- .50 oz. kokum butter
Essential oil add-ins optional
*To learn how to infuse your own oils, read my tutorial.
Using a kitchen scale, weigh all ingredients. Melt all ingredients in a double boiler. I use a (beeswax dedicated) mason jar in a pot of shallow-ish boiling water. I place the mason jar atop of a washcloth to minimize rattling. Stirring well, (I find wooden chopsticks from Thai food take-out to the trick), and once all ingredients are melted, pour into small tins, tubes, or glass jars to cool.If using essential oils, add them before pouring into your containers. Allow to cool and harden before use; usually a few hours. This recipe makes enough for some for you and some for a friend 🙂 It has a great shelf life, but if you’re concerned, add a few drops of vitamin E oil or rosemary extract.
So, what about you? Are you new to kokum butter, or a seasoned craftsperson? In what ways do you use kokum butter, or plan to? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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Thank you for another wonderful tutorial! Can you tell me which coconut oil to use? Is it the one that hardens at room temperature or the one that stays liquid…thank you!
You’re very welcome, Gwendolyn, great question! It’s the 76 degree one, hard at room temp. Enjoy! It’s a great salve 😉
Can I leave out the infused oils when I make this?
The oils do not have to be infused, but you do need that amount of oil
I have made 3 different salves using your recipe and the kokum butter has gotten rave reviews! One is for sore muscles, another for big bites and healing and the latest one is for the same although the infused herbs are different. I didn’t use castor oil though, subbed kukui since I’m here in Hawai’i. What is the benefit of castor oil? Thanks!
That’s awesome, Dawn! Kukui is a great sub. Castor oil is very moisturizing and is one of my favorite oils. That’s all