One of my friends started her own business selling handcrafted bath and body care products. She inspired me to try it on my own as a hobby. I've only had time to dabble in it a little, but I think it's a great idea to put all-natural, healthy products on my skin, knowing exactly what's in them. Living in Berkeley, I am able to find all the ingredients I need locally. Berkeley Bowl has nearly everything you need (now there are two locations so parking is much easier). As far as I know, the herbal store, Lhasa Karnak, on Shattuck is the only place in town that sells beeswax in solid cakes for grating. They also have little cosmetics jars and tins for lip balms, but it's a little pricey since you're buying them individually. If you'll be making large quantities, it's best to shop online for your containers. The Sunburst Bottle Company is in Sacramento and has many supplies available, but they seem to have trouble keeping the popular 2 oz. glass jars in stock (backordered for me). They do have excellent customer service -- always calling me with updates.
Over the Christmas holiday, I made this whipped shea butter cream with my sister-in-law for the first time. It was fun and not too hard. I halved the recipe, omitting the corn starch and mica powder. For the oils, I used sweet almond, avocado, and a little vitamin E as a preservative. 7 drops of essential oil of lavendar gently fragranced the cream. The whipping seemed to take forever over the bowl of water -- it might be best to put the bowl in the freezer once in a while as other sites have recommended.
I noticed that for some of my extreme dry winter skin patches (esp. on my legs), pure shea butter is the best treatment, although without mixing in some oils, it is not the easiest to spread. But when applied to the skin, it will begin to melt from the skin's heat in a few moments.
Books you might want to look at if you're interested in other bodycare products to make at home are Better Basics for the Home by Annie Bertholod-Bond (highly rated book on Amazon) and EcoBeauty (beautifully designed book by Lauren Cox, but not sure if all the recipes have been fully tested). I am pretty new at this so I haven't tried many recipe at all, but will keep you up to date on my latest projects.