The Difference Between Body Butters and Body Creams
Body butters and body creams are two types of moisturizers that we use to hydrate and nourish our skin. The process by which they are made are quite different, as are the textures, benefits, and drawbacks, depending on the ingredients, skin type, and weather conditions. We formulate & sell both body butters & body creams so here we will discuss the difference between them, how they affect the skin, and how to decide which one is right for you.
What are Body Butters?
Body butters are moisturizers that do not contain any water or water-based ingredients. They are made from oils, butters, and sometimes other additives that are whipped together to create a light and fluffy texture. They are usually solid or semi-solid at room temperature but melt on contact with the skin.
Body butters are more concentrated and occlusive than body creams and lotions, meaning they can create a barrier that prevents water loss from the skin surface. They can also provide some benefits from the oils and butters in which they are made of, such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Body butters are also typically sensitive to temperature and are prone to melting in high degree weather. They also tend to be greasy if not formulated properly. However our unique formula for our body butters allows it to absorb immediately into your skin with no greasiness whatsoever. Did we also mention that our body butters are not affected by temperature changes, so there will be no melted butter in your packages
They consist of refined or unrefined plant butters and oils. We use unrefined butters in our body butter formulas because they retain more of their nutrient profile than refined butters & oils.
Some examples of the common butters we use in our body butter formulations:
- Unrefined Shea butter: A fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. It has a creamy texture and a nutty smell. It is rich in fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and allantoin. It can moisturize, soften, soothe, heal, and protect the skin.
- Unrefined Cocoa butter: A fat extracted from the seeds of the cacao tree. It has a hard texture and a chocolatey smell. It is rich in fatty acids, polyphenols, vitamin E, and phytosterols. It can moisturize, nourish, smooth, firm, and repair the skin.
- Unrefined Mango butter: A fat extracted from the kernels of the mango fruit. It has a soft texture and a mild smell. It is rich in fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants. It can moisturize, brighten, rejuvenate, and protect the skin.
- Unrefined Kokum butter: A fat extracted from the seeds of the kokum fruit. It has a hard texture and a neutral smell. It is rich in fatty acids, stearic acid, and vitamin E. It can moisturize, soften, regenerate, and heal the skin.
What are Body Creams?
Body creams are moisturizers that contain both water and oil-based ingredients. Meaning the hydrating power of water and nutrient rich oils and butters combine beautifully to create a flawless moisturizer guaranteed to deliver all the hydration without the excess grease. They are made from oils, butters, water, emulsifiers, and sometimes other additives that are combine beautifully to create a smooth and creamy texture. They are referred to as a cream because they are the happy medium between a body butter and a lotion. Body creams spread easily on the skin and they are thick and creamy yet lightweight and non-greasy. They provide a greater level of moisture than lotions but are not as rich as body butters which some skin types may find exceeds their moisture needs/preference. Our body creams are the perfect moisturizer for those whose skin doesn’t require a rich occlusive moisturizer like a body butter but needs something far more robust than a simple lotion.
Body creams and lotions are less concentrated and occlusive than whipped body butters, meaning they can penetrate deeper into the skin and hydrate it from within. They can also provide some benefits from the oils, butters, water, and other ingredients they contain, such as humectants, preservatives, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fragrances, and colorants.
- Body butter: A moisturizer that does not contain any water. It is made of rich plant butters and oils such as Shea, Mango, Kokum, & Cocoa butter and Jojoba, Sunflower, Sweet Almond, or Argan Oil. The varieties are endless,
- Body cream: A moisturizer that has a higher oil-to-water ratio than body lotion. It has a thicker and richer texture and provides more moisture and nourishment to the skin. It is suitable for dry or mature skin or cold weather conditions.
- Body lotion: A moisturizer that has a lower oil-to-water ratio than body cream. It has a thinner and lighter texture and provides less moisture and nourishment to the skin. It is suitable for oily or normal skin or warm weather conditions.
How do They Affect the Skin?
Body butters and body creams have different effects on the skin when it comes to cosmetic formulation. They have different advantages and disadvantages depending on the ingredients, skin type, and weather conditions.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing between them:
- Hydration: Hydration refers to the amount of water in the skin cells, which is essential for keeping the skin healthy and plump. Body butters do not contain any water, so they cannot hydrate the skin directly. They can only moisturize the skin, which means preventing water loss from the skin surface. To actually hydrate the skin, you need to drink enough water and use products that contain water, such as toners, serums, creams & lotions. You’ll often tend to see water as the main ingredient in body creams, (or a combination of water and or fruit essences, liquids and extracts such as aloe vera juice for example) People often consider water as a “filler” product but that is simply not the case, water is a vital ingredient for the hydration process. The fact that body creams and lotions contain water as one of their main ingredients, means that they can hydrate the skin directly. They can also moisturize the skin by creating a thin film on the skin surface that prevents water evaporation.
- Occlusivity: Occlusivity refers to the ability of a product to create a barrier on the skin surface that prevents water loss. Body butters are more occlusive than body creams and lotions because they have a higher concentration of oils and butters that seal in moisture. This can be beneficial for dry or dehydrated skin that needs more protection from external factors such as wind or cold air. However, this can also be detrimental for oily or acne-prone skin that needs more breathability and less oiliness. Body creams and lotions are less occlusive than whipped body butters because they have a lower concentration of oils and butters that allow more air circulation. This can be beneficial for oily or acne-prone skin that needs less protection from external factors such as heat or humidity. However, this can also be detrimental for dry or dehydrated skin that needs more moisture retention.
- Absorption: Absorption refers to the ability of a product to penetrate the skin layers and deliver its benefits. Body butters are typically less absorbent than body creams and lotions because they have a thicker and heavier texture that sits on top of the skin due to the richness of the butters. This can be beneficial for rough or cracked skin that needs more lubrication and cushioning. However, sensitive or irritated skin may need something more gentle and lighter. Body creams are more absorbent than body butters because they have a thinner and lighter texture that sinks into the skin making it also beneficial for smooth or normal skin that needs more hydration and nourishment.
How to Choose Between the Two?
There is no one right answer when it comes to choosing between whipped body butters and body creams and lotions. Not to toot our own horn, but our formulations took almost 3 years to perfect, and we’ve put so much love and attention to detail to ensure the products deliver what they promise that you honestly cannot go wrong with either option. The best option depends on your personal preference and your skin’s needs.
Here are some general guidelines that you can follow:
- If you have dry or mature skin that needs more moisture retention and protection from external factors such as wind or cold air, you may prefer whipped body butters over body creams. You may also prefer them if you enjoy their sensory experience such as their aromas or textures. The way we formulate our body butters offers the most unique sensory experience (check out our videos). Our body butters are unbelievably moisturizing and feel very rich on the skin but somehow manage to not be greasy at all. It won’t leave grease marks on any surfaces that you touch. It only took us forever to find the right ratio…sigh. But now you get to enjoy it forever.
- If you have oily or acne-prone skin that needs more breathability, you may prefer body creams or lotions over whipped body butters. You may also prefer them if you enjoy their cooling sensation on your skin. Not to mention the ability to take advantage of the wide array of hydrosols, extracts and skin boosting additives and active ingredients that are available and better suited for water-based products that your skin will thank you for.
- If you have combination or normal skin that needs balance between moisture retention you can honestly go either way based on your personal preference, when in doubt…get both!