Washed Clarified Butter Moisturizing Cream

Have you ever tried a face cream, which your skin seems to just soak in within minutes without leaving a trace of greasiness and leaves you with this deep hydrating feeling that stays with you all day?

If you are like me, and are not using conventional skin care products, you probably haven’t had that experience since the last time you bought that little jar of Lancome. Sure, coconut oil has amazing benefits all around, but when I slather it on my face, it seems to sit there forever, and actually dries out my skin. I love shea butter, but if I put it on my face in the evening, it’s still there in the morning. It feels more like a mask to me than a gentle moisturizer. Cocoa butter is probably one of the better alternatives as far as absorption but getting it to the consistency of a cream is close to impossible, and feels like scraping a bar of soap with your nails. Even diluting the heavier oils and butters with lighter ones, like jojoba or apricot kernel, never gave me a sensation of truly nourished skin.

Clarified butter is a historic staple in Russia – food and skin care

Growing up in Russia, a lot of people used clarified butter (toplenoe maslo), or what’s known here as ghee, as a moisturizer. It was especially popular when caring for infant and child skin, and also for problem skin, like severe dryness and eczema. It was used in massages and as carrier base for scalp treatments. I have to tell you – it works, and it works great! But despite my deep love for butter, I don’t love the smell of it on my face.

After various experiments like trying to whip ghee with light oils and adding essentials oils, I remembered seeing a childhood friend’s mom mix her clarified butter and water with a hand held mixer. I didn’t remember why she did it but I remember that after she was done it didn’t smell like butter any more.

Shata-dhauta-ghrita – 100 times washed ghee

I started researching and what came up is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy called ‘Shata-dhauta-ghrita’ or ‘100 times washed ghee’. It is done by placing ghee into a copper vessel and mixing it with purified water literally one hundred times while chanting mantras. The water is added to ghee, everything mixed for 3-5 minutes, then water is discarded, washing the ‘impurities’ away from the butter. The result is an odorless cream of whipped butter consistency that the Ayurvedas believe to reach through all seven layers of the skin without blocking pores. It is believed to be an excellent anti-aging treatment that smooths wrinkles, fades sun spots, heals burns, soothes inflammation of rozacea, eczema, acne, etc.

My first experience washing ghee

Of course, I tried it immediately, and even though I didn’t use a copper mixing bowl, skipped the chanting and only had patience to wash clarified butter 25 times instead of 100 – the result completely amazed me. What I got was a beautiful silky odorless creamy wonderfulness that went into my skin without any oily residue and left me with deeply moisturized feeling that stayed with me until I washed my face again. I really wondered how this magic is possible, and found a couple of studies that looked at Shata-dhauta-ghrita. I was quite impressed.

The chemistry of 100-times washed ghee

It starts as a lipid (fatty) emulsion and with each introduction of rinsing water, as the pressure from mixing gets applied to fat particles, it splits them and makes the emulsion more aqueous (water infused). This ‘fat splitting is the process in which, fat is hydrolyzed in the presence of water to yield free fatty acids and glycerols‘ (source). Copper acts like a catalyst to promote fat splitting, and also increases the copper content in the emulsion. Plus copper has anti-inflammatory effect on skin (source). Now I am definitely in the market for a copper bowl!

This study suggests that 100 times washed ghee should become a base for pharmaceutical topical preparations. As opposed to inert constituents like beeswax, stearic acid, or parafin that don’t have any therapeutic value, washed ghee possesses a number of healing factors. Due to its small particle size, it may be able to deliver pharmaceutical ingredients deep into skin tissue.

Ghee is full of skin loving nutrients

Ghee is rich in a short chain fatty acid called butyrate, which is linked to an immune response that’s linked to decrease in inflammation. It’s the same stuff that’s added in hydrocortisone creams, you know – those that knock out acute inflammation in like three minutes (but have a lot of adverse effects!). Well, this is butyrate made by nature, the good stuff. And this explains why Ayurvedic medicine recommends it for inflammatory skin diseases.

Ghee is also rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, all good for you and your skin. It is also one of the best sources of CLA, or congulated linoleic acid, when made with milk from grass fed free range cows (that’s the only milk you get, right?), which makes your skin more resilient to the external factors, especially as you age (source).

Anyway, enough science.. This cream is absolutely amazing, and after a good exfoliation with this wonderful raspberry lime scrub, my skins feels like I just had a facial.

HOW TO MAKE WASHED CLARIFIED BUTTER MOISTURIZING CREAM

Take any amount of grass fed ghee, warm it up to make it liquid, then put it in a mixing bowl. I used my KitchenAid but any mixer or food processor would work. It is best to use a copper bowl with a hand held mixer, but I bet the odds of you having one around are pretty slim, unless of course you are a pastry chef and beat a lot of eggs.

wahed-clarified-butter-moisturizing-cream Add double the amount of filtered water. For example, if you used 1 cup ghee, you would use 2 cups of water. Start mixing on slow to medium speed. I use speed 3 on KitchenAid. My reasoning for that is I should stick closer to the traditional recipe and since this process was done by hand, slower speed might be better to get the traditional result. Plus it’s good to keep the splashing down.

As you mix your first round, the color of ghee will change from bright yellow to pale yellow, and will get lighter with each new water addition. The end result will be very pale yellow, almost white color. washed-clarified-butter-moisturizing-cream After a few minutes of mixing (3 to 5 seems to be the standard), pour out as much water as you can. I disconnect the whisk, swish it around the bowl to catch any separated pieces of butter, then toss the water. I swish the whisk around again to squeeze more water. You will notice that the first time, you will pour out quite a bit less of water than what you put it. It’s normal. Put the same amount of water as the first time, and repeat the process – mix, pour the water out, add more water. You can do as many times as you have patience. As I mentioned, I do 25 times, and by then my cream becomes very light and almost odorless.

When you are done, squeeze our as much water as possible, you can even use a very fine strainer: washed-clarified-butter-moisturizing-cream You will have a cream of the consistency of whipped butter that I guarantee will absolutely amaze you. Put it your favorite jars and enjoy. The clean up is very easy!

I also do the same process with shea butter but only repeat it twice because it gets too crumbly if you do it more than that. I like that it becomes a lot more manageable and creamy. A bit hard to clean though.

Washed Clarified Butter Moisturizing Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Skin Moisturizer
Serves: 1.25 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup ghee
  • 3 + gallons of filtered water
Instructions
  1. Warm ghee to liquid consistency, but don't make it hot.
  2. Put ghee into a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of water.
  3. Mix for 5 minutes at slow to medium speed.
  4. Remove the water.
  5. Add 2 more cups of water, and repeat the process at least 25 times.
  6. When finished, squeeze as much water from the cream as you can.
  7. Place in pretty jars, and enjoy your beautiful and nourished skin.

 

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52 Comments

  1. Hey this is just great.

    Did you wash it 100 times as advised in Ayurveda ?

     
    • Hi Sangeetha, I started out washing it 25 times, and last time I did about 70. With that many washes it got pretty hard to squeeze the water, very time consuming, and the results were pretty much the same.
      I can’t even express how much I love this stuff, and surprised that it doesn’t get more publicity in the healthy DIY world 🙂 It’s amazing what it does to the skin!

       
    • Hi, I make beautiful body butters and hair creams from tallow. Does the ghee cream require refrigeration to prevent mold, since it does have water mixed in.

       
  2. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My son has eczema on his legs and I hate putting the hydrocortisone cream on his legs, but its the only thing that helps! I am trying this and praying it works! I wanted to ask you how you store it? Do you keep it in the fridge?

     
    • Hi Nicole, it actually doesn’t need to be refrigerated, it doesn’t go bad for a long time, at least a few weeks. I do store extra jars I make in the fridge, but like the fresh unrefrigerated cream better. I’m really amazed that it doesn’t go bad since it is so infused with water and has no preservatives, but it really stays fresh! 🙂 Hope your son gets relief!

       
  3. Fabulous article. Thank you very much 🙂

     
  4. Hi Valeria,

    Thank you for your posting! I just did it yesterday with Kitchen Aid hand mixer at speed 1, but my ghee absorbed a lot of water. Is there a procedure you need to do to get rid of the excess water before bottling and store it?

     
    • Hi Tam, I just do a good squeeze, and have recently used a nut milk bag with good success because it has very fine texture. There is going to be water left in the cream no matter what, and it’s a good thing. For whatever weird reason, that I haven’t figured out myself, the water in washed ghee doesn’t make the cream go rancid, and I’ve kept a jar now for probably a month and a half, and it’s perfectly fine.

       
  5. Could this be used as a daily face moisturizer ????

     
    • Hi Henna, that’s what I mostly use it for – face moisturizing twice a day. It absorbs really nicely without leaving skin greasy. Because the process of making it is a bit tedious, I don’t use a lot of it on my body to make it last longer. 🙂

       
      • ooo…okay…thank you…i have been serching for a daily moisturizer for my acne prone skin…and i heard the cream is quite good to be used on it…thanks for the other infos…:)

         
  6. Hi i tried to make it. I even made the ghee myself from organic unsalted butter but the problem is that when i add water to wash the ghee, the water get completely mixed with the ghee. can you tell me what i am doing wrong?

    also can you tell me that after washing 20 to 30 or even 70 times, how does the mixture smell? does it still smell of ghee?

    thanks and cheers
    Hossein

     
    • Hi Hossein, during the first water addition ghee absorbs a lot of water, so you pour off a lot less than what you started with. With consecutive washings, the amount of water you put in/discard stays pretty much the same. When you are done washing, the volume/weight of the finished product is greater than the initial amount. That’s kind of the beauty of washed ghee – it delivers moisture to skin not just from fat alone, that’s why it feels so light on the skin and absorbs so easily. After 25 washings, the smell of ghee is barely noticeable. And with 50 washings, I cannot smell it at all. Hope it helps! 🙂

       
      • thanks Valeria. great, i am in the process of washing now and will let you know of the results. by the way how many minutes do you wash each time? is 3-4 minutes ok or it needs more?

        thanks again.
        Hossein

         
        • I’ve been doing 3-5 minutes, that’s seems to be the norm in the old method. Have fun!!

           
          • Hello again Valeria
            I have been washing for 45 times now each time for 3-5 minutes. but i do the mixing with a fork 🙂 as my mixer is to fast and does not have a slow switch. It is turning to be ok but still i have a few question i want to ask you so here it comes.

            1. once it is finished, i know i cant keep it in the fridge because it will get quite hard so my question is will it still look nice and moist and firm in room temperature? i am talking about 22 even 25 degree centigrade?

            2. i applied a bit of it on my face and it has a strange after smell, after a few minutes. (i cannot explain what kind of odor it is ) is this the way it should be or am i doing some thing wrong.

            3. how long will it keep fresh in room temperature and what is the best way of preserving it?

            hope you can answer my questions

            thanks, Hossein

             
            • Ahh, I wouldn’t want to do it by hand, especially with a fork! Yes, it will stay firm and moist at that temperature, that’s about the temperature of my bathroom where I store it. I’m not sure about odor, there shouldn’t be any, do you start with good ghee that had all the milk solids removed? I know for a fact that it stays fresh for two months at warm room temperature. I don’t use anything to preserve it, but you can probably add vitamin E oil or something like that, although I haven’t tried it myself. Hope this helps 🙂

               
        • I’ve been doing 3-5 minutes, that’s seems to be the norm in the old method. Have fun!! 🙂

           
    • I had the same problem, I only added the water once,but I also put it in a blended rather than a mixer with a whisk.
      The end product was still good, it did not go solid, it did settle cream at the bottom, milky lotion in the middle and a little cream on top I added lavender and chamomile and a little coconut oil…. but I used the white stuff that came of the top when I was making my ghee.
      My son has several eczema and have been using with good results. Any further advice please.

       
  7. Hi Valeria!!

    This is so exciting to hear of washed ghee!! Amazing stuff Really! I have been making Ayurvedic products for my skin care shop without any preservatives in them. Since there is water in this product do you have to add a certain preservative for water based moisturizers? I can’t afford to lose any customers if any mold or bacteria growth develops in them so what would you suggest here?

    Thank you so much for this recipe I’ve just been using plain warm Ghee to put all over my face and I was thinking of other recipes to make a rosemary infused ghee without any water just mixed with other oils such as rosehip and essential oils but I do love the idea of the washed ghee, I only wish I knew of a way to prevent it from going bad. I know my customers would love it so maybe I should make a batch myself and see how long it lasts on the counter!! Thank you kindly!
    Tahirah 🙂

     
    • Hi Tahirah, I’m still not sure how to explain that washed ghee doesn’t go bad on its own for a long time, but I prove it to myself again and again! I’ve been using my current batch for about 2 months and store it in the second floor’s bathroom where the temperature stays pretty high at all times, and it’s completely fine! I know that technically anything mixed with water should be prone to quick spoilage but not this stuff. Of course, you can always add grape seed oil or something along those lines as a preservative but I haven’t tried it myself so can’t speak to what it does to consistency, absorbency, etc. Let me know if you try it 🙂

       
  8. Hi
    Vitamin E, Grape seed oil and even Rosemary extract are not preservatives, just antioxidants. Yes they do help in lengthen the time an oil goes rancid, but water is a factor too. Using distilled or purified water for cosmetics is always a healthier option. Making products for ourselves, friends and family are one thing, but for customers is a different matter. Irrespective of how long it holds up at home. You do get food based preservatives that can be added to creams.
    Any soap/cosmetic making supply store or even cake decorating store may assist you. In Australia there is a product called Geogard Ultra ®.

    Hope this helps

    Regards
    Deirdre’

     
  9. hi, when i made shatdhuta ghruta it started smelling after few days so what shall i do to stop it from stinking

     
    • Hi Manisha, it shouldn’t smell bad, or really have any kind of discernible smell. I wouldn’t use it if it was me. Intuitively, I don’t believe that it can be fixed once it started to have unpleasant smell. It could be that ghee that you used wasn’t clarified enough (had milk solids left in it) and became rancid fast after contact with water.

       
  10. Hi Valeria,
    Thank you so much for sharing how to make this moisturiser. .I am attempting this today and am on 35th washing. My biggest problem is rinsing because it is the consistency of whipped cream and when draining it I lose some of the ghee and have to scoop it back into the bowl. It is very time consuming. My shee does not look like your picture, You can clearly see the lumps of ghee and the water are separate. Mine is pourable and hard to drain without losing some. What am I doing wrong? I had a friend try it after 30 rinses and she put it on her hand and said it smells like she has been eating corn-on-the-cob, so I am rinsing more. If you have any suggestions please let me know.
    Thanks, Kelley

     
    • Hmmm… maybe the water is too warm? Is it warm in your house? I’d toss some ice in with the water to see if that would help firm up the ghee..

       
      • Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I am using room temp water but it is quit warm in my apartment. That is a very good suggestion and I will definitely try it. As for the corn -on-the-cob butter smell I am not sure I will be able to fix that because it is goat milk butter and may be stronger in smell. I sent my husband out to get the best butter he could find and he came back with goat milk butter because it was the most expensive $10.00lb,.so he thought it must be the best.. I will get organic cows milk butter next time.
        Thanks for the help
        Kelley

         
        • So cute! That’s something my husband would do too! 🙂

           
          • Wow! What a huge difference. It is so much quicker and easier now! It was taking me 5 minutes to beat it and 10-15 to drain it. Now I am beating for 4 minutes and under a minute to drain. You are a genius. Thank you! I love this recipe and can’t wait to check out the rest of your site.

             
  11. HI

    Thank for your good posting. I want to ask if I can use a distill water to wash thi sghee? by the way where is a good place to buy pure good phee ? thanks

     
    • Hi Yiyi, thank you! 🙂 You can definitely use distilled water, and it’s probably best, you just go through a lot. I can’t really recommend any particular brand of ghee since I only make my own (here is how), but I’ve seen Whole Foods has a couple of organic grassfed brands, if you are in the States, and there is a big selection on Amazon.

       
      • Thanks Valeria very much. I already got a ghee , and can not wait to want to try it . Thanks for your very good posting

         
  12. Hi Valeria,

    I have some salted organic butter in hand. Can i melt and make the ghee and then use it to make this moisturizer. Do you know it will work?

    Thank you,
    Deepa

     
    • Hi Deepa, if it was me, I wouldn’t use salted butter to make ghee because it salt often can mask off-flavors. Also, salt affects any chemical reaction so I definitely wouldn’t use salted stuff to make 100-times washed ghee. Hope it helps 🙂

       
      • Hi, recently I got sunburn and ayurveda doctor prescribed this to me. When I was searching in the net about satadhouthagridham I came across your website. Thanks for the valuable tips. Now I will try to make this at home. Can we use mixer to wash the ghee?

         
  13. hello does the shea butter also loose its strong smell after washing?

     
  14. I just recently made this 100 x washed ghee in my Ayurvedic program. We hand kneaded/churned it 100 times (as opposed to using the mixer method) which is time consuming but

    1. more of a meditative sadhana (a spiritual or wholesome spiritual practice)
    2. More gentle wash that slowly infuses the ghee with water as opposed the rajasic qualities of an electric mixer.
    (Rajas-is one of the Ayurvedic energies characterized by stimulation, activity and movement.)

    So two thoughts. I {think} infusing the ghee with water molecules add to the super hydrating qualities of the moisturizer.
    The copper helps to scrape and split the fat molecules.
    And I {think} the reason it doesn’t go rancid is that properly made ghee has all the milk solids removed. So the oil and water have a longer shelf life. It’s known that ghee can be kept out on a counter for this reason. It’s the milk solids that spoil.
    That’s sort of a semi educated guess.

    I’m going to try to hand wash my ghee but thanks for this. I may try my mixer in a pinch. But some of my less Ayurvedically driven friends are more inclined to use the mixer method so I shared your article and recipe with them.

    Best,
    Nikki

     
    • Thanks for such an informative comment, Nikki! I wish I had the time to do it by hand but I don’t see that happening any time soon, with three munchkins, five and under, running around here 🙂 I think hand kneading is a good idea because, when mixed with cold water, the relative hand warmth would keep the ghee at perfect temperature for moisture absorption – not too cold when everything clumps together.

      As a side note, I washed a new batch of ghee yesterday; made a bunch of strong German chamomile and calendula infusion, and added a quarter cup to each washing, then close to the end I added some sea buckthorn oil and rosehip oil (which are very popular skin nourishing remedies in Russia). It smells so good! I put some on my face last night and today my skin is just glowing, I love it. I was afraid to experiment too much, not to ruin perfection, but now that I know that it works so well, I be be doing more botanically infused washed ghee.

       
  15. Before reading your post on making moisturizer, I used fresh made ghee on my skin. Then I washed it off after about 15 min. This left my skin feeling smooth and wonderful. Now, I can’t wait to try your recipe for the water washed ghee moisturizer. Thanks for sharing!

     
  16. Dear Valeria, You have done a very good job of explaining about “white ghee”, “ghee washed 100 times”, or Shatadhauta Ghrita in your blog. There are a few points that I can, perhaps clear up:
    1) any problem with the white ghee is due to the base yellow ghee being used. So the most important thing is to spend the time to make your own ghee (see video on your blog). Never use salted butter, commercial butter or any butter other than cow’s butter to make ghee FOR THE PURPOSE OF Shatadhauta Ghrita. Ayurveda make ghee from the milk of other animals, but not for this purpose. Use organic, churned butter (unsalted) for Shatadhauta Ghrita. The primary cause of failure will be due to the problem of the base ghee. Salty butter will prevent the correct separation of milk solids during the process of making ghee. Churned butter is the key to real Indian ghee and is still possible to find in some brands of organic butter.
    2) Using a copper pot to wash the ghee has a number of purposes. One main reason is that the ghee washed in copper will never go bad, life is basically 100 years according to classic texts. Another is that traces of copper get mixed in with the washed ghee and have subtle properties of copper trace elements. Washing in copper also makes the white ghee more balanced for the three Ayurvedic doshic types of Vata, Pitta and Kapha – this is what helps this product to be generally good for everyone.
    3) Mechanical mixing is now used in India, very few people are washing by hand anymore, even though people would like you to believe differently. The real key is to mix very, very slowly the cool water and ghee with your mixer. When I first made washed ghee 20 years ago I used a wooden spoon (traditional)!!! So a fork is not the best way, a spoon or wooden spoon is better. Wood and copper is a nice way to make it. The reason we need to mix very slowly the water and ghee is that it mixes better and the heavier parts of the yellow ghee are removed better – this also adds to the lifetime of the washed ghee. So this means if you wash too quickly the ghee it will still go white but some parts will be left that oxidizes, shortening the life of the ghee AND keeping the smell of yellow ghee.
    4) Washed ghee should not smell like yellow ghee or butter
    5) We should end up with LESS washed ghee than what we started with
    6) Do not wash off or remove the washed ghee from your face or skin – let it dissipate on its own
    7) NEVER mix essential oils into the washed ghee – this will slowly but surely damage your skin!!! Friends please, please avoid any beauty product that has essential oils in it as they slowly damage the metabolism of skin and in 10 to 20 years the result will be very negative. Traditional medicines such as Ayurveda, TCM and Greek never used essential oil on the skin for this reason.
    8) Vegetable oils are find to mix in if you wish
    9) A classical mix is to add Aloe vera juice into the washed ghee – we all know how good Aloe (Kumari) is for the skin. So the washed ghee becomes a stronger healing medicine when a little (1 to 5 parts) of Aloe is mixed in with the washed ghee.

    I hope this clears up any doubts about the white ghee and how to make it. Very good blog and great work.
    Atreya

     
    • Thank you so much, Atreya, such great information! I will definitely try aloe the next time I make it. Good to know about essential oils on skin, thank you 🙂

       
    • Dear Atreya Smith/Valeria

      You mentioned Mechanical washing f ghee in India? would be kindly tell me what kind of machine they use and likely suppliers?

      I am in love with Washed Ghee, been using it on my kids and now i want to go commercial and help other mothers kick out chemical containing kids creams. Thank you
      Donnah

       
    • Hi Atreya,

      I dont understand why essential oil is not good for the skin. All over the internet I see that essential oil has benefits.

      If you use organic oil. Is it still bad for the skin?

      Greetings
      Ritu

       
  17. You mentioned Mechanical washing f ghee in India? would be kindly tell me what kind of machine they use and likely suppliers?

    I am in love with Washed Ghee, been using it on my kids and now i want to go commercial and help other mothers kick out chemical containing kids creams. Thank you
    Donnah

     
  18. Hi Valeria
    I have an infant with eczema.i wanted to make washed ghee .As i started the procrss after 15 wash my baby started crying .so i stored the mixture in a bottle .can i do anther 15 round of washing seperately or does it have to done in one shot.

     
  19. I can not wait to try this. Thank you for posting!!
    Just one question…Can I use an immersion blender?

    Thanks!!

     
  20. Has anyone used this for rosacea ??

     
  21. YOU DON’T NEED TO BLEND THE GHEE WITH WATER. JUST BOIL A FEW MINUTES IN CLEAN WATER THEN REFRIGERATE. THE CLEAN OIL RISES TO THE TOP AND HARDENS, DISCARD OLD WATER AND REPEAT WITH FRESH WATER MAYBE. 5 TIMES NOT 100! HOPE THIS HELPS

     
  22. Hello valeria,

    I tried your recipe today with proper home made ghee which is a very common ingredient in any south Indian home and to my surprise I was so happy that it came out well…. I washed it only 3times and there was very subtle smell of ghee which is okay… Also I got so happy and diverted the task by mixing coconut oil and some tea tree essential oil… Now I’m feeling that I over reacted and did too much! Though I got a good smelling cream I am now unknown how the washed ghee cream works…! Next time I will stick to the recipe 😊 anyhow thanks for this I was looking for something good for my dry skin problems in winters..