Body butter 101

The difference between regular lotion and this extra-creamy body moisturizer

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Nov 24, 2020 · 3 min read

Skincare cream
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Buttering up your body is a delicious way to help pack in deep hydration if your skin needs the extra grease. Plant-based butters have been used in both cooking and cosmetics since ancient times. But whether or not this rich, dense body moisturizer is right for your skin comes down to its formula — and your unique skin’s needs.

So… what is body butter?

Historically, butters derived from fruits, nuts, and seeds have been used to moisturize skin. In Africa, raw shea butter was used as a body butter at least as early as 100 AD. Today, body butters are often fragranced deliciously, and can help soften skin on the hands, legs, feet.

But heavy, oily butters aren’t for everyone’s skin. Coconut oil, cocoa butter, and other oils can potentially clog pores. If you’re acne-prone, you might want to avoid applying body butters to the skin on your face, neck, and décolletage unless you know your product’s ingredients.

Body butters for sensitive skin

Want a body moisturizer with a gentle formula? These body creams are made without butters or oils that tend to clog pores.

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish

  • richly scented with floral notes

  • glycerin is the main ingredient

  • $15

Korres Body Butter Yoghurt

  • best for extremely dry skin

  • with almond, sunflower, and avocado oils

  • $32

Jurlique Softening Rose Body Cream

  • non-greasy formula

  • with shea butter, beeswax, and lavender

  • $39

Beautycounter Body Butter in Citrus Mimosa

  • soothes skin with aloe and chamomile

  • light citrus scent (with no added synthetic fragrance)

  • $39

Jose Maran Whipped Argan Oil Mineral SPF 45 Body Butter

  • protects against the sun’s UV rays

  • with argan oil, aloe vera, and shea butter

  • $42

Hustle Butter CBD Luxe Tub

  • infused with CBD

  • shea butter and indica help soothe skin

  • $49

Body lotion vs. cream

The main difference between a “cream” body moisturizer and a body “lotion” is the thickness. The creamier the consistency, the thicker it is — and body butters are often the richest of them all.

It’s often said that lotions have a higher water content. They can be easier to rub into the skin because of their water-like consistency. Body butters tend to “sit” on top of the skin because they’re thicker.

A thicker moisturizer might feel ultra-soothing on super dry skin. On the other hand, there are plenty of body lotions you can find at the drugstore that can have the same effect. And just an FYI, it may be best to use different skincare products for the face and body.

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Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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