Inexpensive Body Butter – Old Fashioned Homemade Luxury

I have extremely sensitive skin and one of the things my dermatologist recommended was to use Crisco for a moisturizer. My initial reaction was NO WAY!

In the past year we’ve hit hard times, so I decided to see just how crazy it was.

I put a big dollop into a plastic container and whipped it with some lavender essential oils. I LOVE THIS STUFF! If I didn’t know better I’d think it was a pricey good smelling body butter. Try it! It’s a little greasy, but hey, it’s grease. It moisturizes so well.

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AMY JACKSON - November 5, 2010

No way! I’m going to try it! Will let everyone know how it turns out. Sounds too good to be true!

dorothy - November 5, 2010

Years ago my dermatologist recommended it as a folk remedy for psoriasis and other skin conditions. It does really work well for all sorts of skin conditions.

    Nancy Michel - November 18, 2010

    I’m assuming that your refering to the original “white” Crisco, not the “butter flavored” one, correct?

Lynda - November 6, 2010

My skin is very sensitive (and dry) also. So I tend to use unscented products. My favorite is organic coconut oil. A jar of it is around $8-10 (same coconut oil that is used for cooking). I will mix up a batch of coconut oil and pure cocoa butter (Queen Helen’s stick is around $1.50) by very gently melting each and mixing them together – use whatever proportions feel good on your skin. Smells great! I will also sometimes add some extra virgin olive oil. This batch will usually last several months. During the winter this will hold it’s shape because it’s cooler and I don’t keep my house very warm. In the summer it’s a liquid but I rarely need it in the summer due to the humidity. Anyway, in the winter, right after a shower while I’m still damp I apply a thin layer all over my skin.Then pat myself dry so I don’t rub off the oil. It feels great! If I can, I take my shower in the evening, “lube” up with lots of oil and then put on an old pair of sweats and t-shirt. This gives my skin the whole night to absorb and moisturize. (I wonder what is in Crisco…I’ll have to check the ingredients.)

    Lisa - November 17, 2010

    Lynda, what is the ratio of coconut oil to cocoa butter and do you mix this by hand or in a blender. I use the coconut oil mainly for my hair but I have been experimenting with making my own lotions and potions for my skin and hair. Really love the home made stuff better. Thanks

      Josi - April 22, 2011

      Lisa, can you tell me how to use the EVCO on my hair? We’ve just started using it for face care, but haven’t found any good instruction on how to apply it to our hair. Wet or dry? etc. Thanks!

    Nancy Michel - November 18, 2010

    Hi Lynda, Is it possible that you could tell me how much coconut oil you use with 1 stick of Queen Helene’s cocoa butter stick? This would give me a starting point. I’m very new to making your own skin products but want to try to make as many as possible. Thank you.

    Jenilee - November 26, 2010

    Me too, we are all clamoring for your cocoa butter/coconut oil recipe!

Sue - November 10, 2010

I am going to try this! For some years now I have been using Safflower oil to control my psoriasis but if this works – what devil.

Amiyrah - November 10, 2010

I agree with the Crisco. My baby girl has eczema and the doctor told us that instead of using aquaphor, try Crisco. It works wonderfully and I even started to use it on my feet at night before I put on my socks. It has really extended my pedicures. It works well on my hands too since I started washing them so much after the baby came. I’ll have to add some essential oil to it to give it a smell.

Kathy - November 11, 2010

I read an article just last night where a Dr. reccomended either vaseline or Crisco as his first choices for skin moisturizer. Apply it after a shower while the skin is still damp. His next best choices were mineral oil, olive oil, or baby oil. He said the thicker the substance though, the better it would hold moisture in.
Also we used Crisco in my college theatre class to remove stage makeup. It was just as effective as the expensive Albolene cream that is commonly used to remove the greasepaint and thick pancake makeup…. but a lot less expensive. Just rub it in till it liquifies, tissue it off along with the makeup, and then wash your face as usual. I rarely needed any moisturizer after using the Crisco, even when washing it off with soap and water.

Patti - November 11, 2010

My problem with Vaseline is that it is petroleum based. Skin is not a closed system; it is porous. Putting vegetable products on your skin is safer than putting mineral based products on your skin. Absorbing petroleum into your body through your skin just doesn’t sound healthy to me. I would put a vegetable-based product on my skin, a product like Crisco.

This is actually a very old-fashioned idea. I love it! My grandmother used Crisco as a moisturizer and a moisture-barrier for baby’s diapers. Thanks for bringing this topic up for discussion.

Lorelei - November 12, 2010

When I nursed my infant daughter, my nipple became chapped. Her doctor told me to use Crisco. Within 24 hours, I had no more chap, no more pain. SO much for OTC products!

Tina - November 15, 2010

Love it! No need for Clinique or Biotherm, often it´s much better with natural stuff from the kitchen :)

Susan - November 17, 2010

I’ve heard it also works well as lip balm, though I wouldn’t use any on my lips that I had mixed with essential oils – just plain.

janet - November 17, 2010

I agree with the comment regarding the use of petroleum based products, no thank you. Inexpensive veg. oil is a wonderful, inexpensive, HEALTHY choice!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - November 17, 2010

    Many people who are trying to rid their bodies of toxins not only watch what they eat, but what they put on their skin. Our skin is actually porous, and chemicals (including petroleum oils) do enter the body’s system. Using a plant-based product for softening the skin is preferable for a lot of people. Thank you for keeping the discussion going about this important topic.

JL - November 17, 2010

Vaseline & baby oil are ALL petroleum-based products. In other words, they are what is left over after processing the oil that comes out of the ground!They sit op top of your skin & are not absorbed. So if you are going to turn your nose up at the idea of using shortening(which is a vegetable-based product)on your or your baby’s skin-think about buying a bottle of motor oil & using it as lotion,cause that’s basically what you are doing when you use baby oil or vaseline! GROSS!

I used to use olive oil when I had dry skin. Then my 2 yr old was going through cancer treatments that gave him really bad excema & I had to take him to a dermatologist, who told me the best thing to use was shortening, right after his bath while his skin was still slightly damp. It worked like a charm & has been the best thing I’ve ever used on my legs when they get dry & flaky in the winter. I’ve used it every winter since then (14 years) & love it-and remember, a LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY,you won’t be greasy unless you use too much!

Sam - November 17, 2010

What exactly is Crisco? I am in New Zealand and have no idea what you guys are talking about!! :-)

    The Hillbilly Housewife - November 17, 2010

    Crisco is the brand-name for a vegetable shortening. It’s semi-solid in consistency and is very often used in baking. You probably have a vegetable shortening by another brand name.

TRISH - November 18, 2010

If you want to use Crisco on your skin, keep in mind that it won’t let the skin “breathe”. Bacteria and infections have the potential to become a bigger problem. Certainly don’t use Crisco on any open areas on the skin. Eucerin cream is a good alternative and much safer to use on your skin. Tricia, RN

Lisa - November 18, 2010

Wow! I never heard of using shortening like this before! I can’t wait to try it. My 3rd child has eczema, but thankfully it has cleared up as he has gotten older. He does have flair ups though. And I’m extremely dry in winter. This would be excellent for people who are sensitive to fragrances! BTW, Love your website, Hillbilly Housewife!

Elaine Anderson - November 18, 2010

I can vouch for the Crisco treatment. If you have heels that are dry, wrinkled and rough, try using the Crisco at night and wearing socks to bed. Within a few days, you feet will look young again.

Marcie - December 18, 2010

Hello, I found your site threw a search because I was doing research on the use of Crisco for home made cosmetics. While reading the comments there where a few things I wanted to clarify and also ask about.

First about shortening. It is important to read the ingrdents on the shortening container, be it crisco or otherwise. Alot of the off brands and even some variations of brand name shortenings are made with diffrent ingredients. I bought a can of all vegtable Crisco to use in my experiments because unlike many of the other shortnings on the shelf it contains soybean and palm oil variations and has 2 added antioxidives (for self life). It’s so very important to read lables. Not all shortenings are created equally and for skin use it’s important to know whats in the mix.

Also, Trish (the “RN”) said that Crisco wouldn’t allow the skin to breath. I am curious why she says that. Is it a particular brand variation? Is it because there is no water? (most commerical “lotions” are mainly water). Does soy or palm oil not let the skin breath? I’m not understanding this.

I looked up the ingredents for Eucerin cream (Ingredients: Water, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.) And can’t understand how this would be healthy for your skin than soy and palm oils. It appears to be mainly a mixture of petrolium and water. How does this help your skin breath better than palm and soy?

I used all veg crisco for the first time straight on my hands last night because they where very chapped and cracked. This morning they appear much healthier but the skin also feels abit tight.

In the mean time I’ll be furthering my reseach on this topic. I know for fact that soy and palm oils are used in soap and other cosmetic mixtures all the time so I need to know why it would be a bad idea to use it as a mosturiser.

Kay Marie - December 22, 2010

Wow! I tired it with lavemdar essential oil and it was so nice/ Like an expensive spa treat. It has no ani,a; products and is very nice’ I am making some for gift. Sandalwood for the guys, though

Punkin - December 25, 2010

The functions of the skin do not include respiration. Your skin is supplied with oxygen through blood.

Marianne - December 26, 2010

Funny that I would find this now, as I had just decided to put a little plastic container of Crisco in the bathroom! I remember my mom having a little can of it in the bathroom when I was growing up. We all used this for some time. Now, as an adult, I’m all about using what I already have and not adding plastic bottles from lotions and creams to the waste stream – even recycled ones end there eventually. Use what you have in the kitchen! Wahoo, one more step towards self-sufficiency!

tammie - January 6, 2011

I had an aunt who used Crisco for years everymorning to make bisquits and she had the softest skin I ever felt. Also if you want a gentle exfoliant and moisturizer combine 1/4 cup olive oil with a tablespoon of sugar. little more or less and mix use on feet, hands or body. It feels great after your done.

Judy - January 11, 2011

Crisco is effective for many things. I was told once by a vet to treat a horse with Crisco for a long gash on his leg that was about to make him lame. I slathered the Crisco on, wrapped it in strips from a cotton sheet, and left it for about 5 days. By then the banadage was coming undone. When I took of, his leg was healed! I had worked with that horse for over a month trying to get his leg healed up and all we needed was a little Crisco!

Lisa - January 19, 2011

I make a bath salt with coconut oil and epsom salts.

I get the edible extra virgin organic coconut oil and the cheapest epsom salt money can buy. I mix in two cups of salts with four tablespoons of the coconut oil. Normally that smells great enough and its gentle enough for my little one with eczena, But if you want a bit more I will throw in a little vanilla extra from the kitchen cupboard in with it. The other thing I like about it, is if my lil ones accidently drink the water (though not reccomended) its not toxic.

I normally grow Aloe plants indoors for bad rashes, and I do what Judy did with her horse with my child. If my daughter has a bad eczema rash I slather on fresh aloe goo twice daily after those coconut salt baths and wrap with white tshirt strips(that are totaly washable) and leave em on all day(even under school cloths that are long) and in a week the eczema is typically gone.

The only thing that you gotta be careful of is the bath is slippery so no matter what age you are,i’d recommend a hand towle down in the bath tub to give you a wee bit of traction upon getting out.

The thing I like about the vanilla and the coconut oil is even that by itself is enough for a bath melted in a warm bath. And the coconut oil once warmed up and melted makes a great hair or lip conditioner when your braiding your hair or putting it up in a bun.

Pepper - January 21, 2011

That doesn’t sound so crazy! My granny used to use lard and she had the softest skin. She mixed in a little rose water to loosen it up and make it smell nice. Hey in those days they didn’t have $50 for a jar of beauty cream.

tawana johnson - January 30, 2011

Ok in response to Trish I did some research and vegetable oil such as crisco is recommended by dermatologist all over the globe so umm maybe u need to look it up again . Creams for Eczema
Best Treatments for Eczema
By Daniel More, MD, GuideMaintain good skin care. Good skin care starts with adequate moisturizing and hydration, which decreases itching and formation of eczema. Hydration of the skin is maintained by the twice daily application of skin moisturizing creams (examples include Keri®, Lubriderm®, Nivea®, Nutraderm®, and Eucerin®). Less expensive moisturizers include generic forms of Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Lotion® (which is actually more of a cream) available at discount retailers. Vegetable shortening (such as Crisco®) is another good, inexpensive moisturizer.

Avoid lotions if possible, which contain too much water – this results in drying of the skin. The difference between a lotion and cream is that a cream has a slightly greasy feel to it even after it has been applied to the skin. Avoid pure petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline®), which does not moisturize the skin, unless placed on top of a moisturizer or moist skin.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - January 30, 2011

    Thank you for the information, Tawana. Just for the sake of conversation, here are the ingredients found in Crisco:

    Soybean Oil
    Fully Hydrogenated Palm Oil
    Partially Hydrogenated Palm and Soybean Oils
    Mono and Diglycerides
    TBHQ and Citric Acid (Antioxidants)

    Surprisingly, there is 15% RDA of Vitamin E in Crisco.

    It’s important to know about the soybean oil ingredient as allergies to soy are not uncommon.
    Mono and Diglycerides are binding agents (used to emulsify oil and water, for instance) made from fat from animals or vegetable oils, like soybean oil, or can be synthetically made.
    TBHQ and Citric Acid are stabilizers, basically, used to stop the oxidation of the oils.

    Remember, your skin is not a sealed system – so no matter what you put on your skin to moisturize, be aware of the ingredients and then decide. What works for one may not work for all. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and information.

Jenny - January 31, 2011

We use and love crisco for dry skin. Several years ago, my oldest had a cut with stitches on his face. A plastic surgeon told us to use sunscreen outdoors, and to rub crisco over the healed spot to minimize scarring. We have used it as a diaper rash cream for all of our kids. Inexpensive, easy to find, and no petroleum.

Jill - February 3, 2011

I use organic virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil on my skin, and it is wonderful! I no longer buy lotion, these are all I need. I also will heat up beeswax along with pure cocoa butter, olive oil and some essential oil, pour into a mold, and let cool to make lotion bars.I will use organic shortening, which is pure palm oil, but I will not use regular crisco. I won’t cook with it either, the partially hydroganated oils are terrible for you, and it also contains synthetic ingrediants. If I won’t eat it, I won’t put it on my skin!!!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - February 3, 2011

    That is a good rule of thumb, Jill. “If I won’t eat it, I won’t put it on my skin.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

angel - February 4, 2011

This may be a stupid question but does anyone know if I can replace crisco (for skin care) with snowflake brand lard? They sell it at my local dollar tree, and it seems like it would be the most cost effective way to do this.

Kirsten - April 6, 2011

This idea is totally not crazy! My grandma always used Crisco in the kitchen and what was left on her spoon she put on her hands. She never bought hand cream. She believed it was a total waste of money. When I’m cooking, I have no problem using what’s left on my spoon (olive oil, coconut oil or crisco).

    The Hillbilly Housewife - April 6, 2011

    You’re right, Kirsten. This idea is not crazy.

    Many women for decades have relied on kitchen oils for soothing rough skin. Olive oil is one of my favorites, but certainly any natural oil will work. Read the ingredients on the can or jar, and educate yourself about what you’re putting on your skin. Oftentimes, ingredients in the beauty creams can be toxic and definitely not found in nature. Granted, there are concerns regarding allergies (soy being one), so take precautions as you would with anything you ingest. Also, you will find preservatives in many processed foods, even natural ones. So, just be aware and enjoy experimenting with all the natural beauty products you find in your very own kitchen.

    Thanks again, Kirsten, for sharing your thoughts.

Treay - April 6, 2011

Could Copha be substituted for Crisco? Coconut Oil is excellent for pain relief. If you add some Essential Oil of Peppermint it is even more efficacious. If you have a Himalayan Salt Electric lamp on where you spend your time indoors, it will leave your skin as soft as can be. Takes a little time, though.

Sylvia - April 6, 2011

A few years back, a friend had a chemical face peel. The plastic surgeon told her to use Crisco on her face to keep it moisturized. I just had a mastectomy and am having reconstruction surgery. My plastic surgeon advised me to use cocoa butter on the scars once they were healed. I plan to check out the health food store, because as others have said, If I won’t eat it, I don’t want to use it on my skin. I checked some cocoa butters in my local grocery and department stores. They had mineral oil and other ingredients I could not identify. The cancer was esteron positive so I definitely do not want to use any soy products. I do have organic coconut oil and if I don’t find anything better, I will use that.

Sherri - April 14, 2011

I know this post is old, but beware of the TBHQ found in Crisco brand shortening. This is a chemical preservative and some people have adverse reactions. There are shortening brands that do not contain this chemical, however.

Alexandra - March 25, 2012

I second the Crisco. It doesn’t clog my pores like olive oil did.

Kath Balestrieri - April 18, 2012

I’m sorry, but grease does not put moisture back into skin. It will hold in what’s there, but will not “put moisture in”.


GAIL - June 4, 2013

Will it work for rosacea ?

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