Skin Perception

Body Butter Vs Lotion Vs Cream – Best Body Moisturizers

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Moisturizing is one of the essential steps in any skincare and body care. With so many body moisturizing options available it is helpful to have a clear understanding of how different body moisturizers are formulated.

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When it comes to moisturizing your body there is no lack of options! Body butters, balms, oils, lotions, and creams are all used to hydrate and moisturize the skin. Even though all these skincare products for body have moisturizing properties, they differ in consistency and are intended for different skin types. But do you actually know how to choose between body butter vs lotion, or body cream vs body lotion, or body butter vs body oil? With so many products available for body care it can get complicated choosing the best product for your skin. So we decided to break it down by types of moisturizers and discuss unique features and benefits of using certain body moisturizer.

body-moisturizers-chart

Body Butter Vs Lotion

 

All in all, body butters and body lotions are two most commonly used body moisturizers. Even though they are both used as all-over body treatments, they are very different in texture and are formulated for different skin types.

Body butter is a skincare product that has very low water content, but is rich in natural butters, oils and skin healing ingredients. It provides intense and deep hydration, and works best for rough, weathered, mature or very dry skin. In addition to moisturizing the skin, it is also designed to repair dry patches and damaged, rough or parched skin, and also restore skin’s protective barrier.

Body butter has thick texture and dense consistency, and usually takes longer to get absorbed into the skin. Since it has thick texture, it needs to be massaged or rubbed into the skin. However, body butter also has tendency to soften and melt once in contact with the skin.

Body lotion in contrast has higher content of water (about 65%) and lower content of oils. When comparing body butter vs lotion the main difference is their texture. That is to say, lotion has lightweight consistency, and is easy to spread all over the body. Due to the lightweight non-greasy texture and high water content, it absorbs fast and easily into the skin. Even though it is not as intense as body butter, the lotion still provides good hydration and is best for normal, dehydrated, combination or oily skin.

Also, when choosing body butter vs lotion, take into consideration the climate you live in and the season. For example, butter works better for those in cold dry climates, and during harsh winter weather. In contrast, body lotion is a better option for hot humid climates and during warm summer weather.

Best Body Butters

Check out some of the best body butters and body lotions for all budgets below. Also, in the second half of this article we will discuss what is the difference between body butter and body oil, and body cream vs body lotion.

Weleda-skin-food body butter
Weleda Skin Food Body Butter

Intensive moisturizing and highly rated rich butter formulated with shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and cocoa seed butter. It also includes skin soothing ingredients like calendula, chamomile and viola tricolor extracts. Leaves skin nourished, moisturized and soft.

100%Pure body butter
100% Pure Whipped Coconut Body Butter

All natural rich butter for body that is enriched with shea and avocado butters, argan oil, rosehip oil, aloe, vitamin E, green tea, honey, elderberry, resveratrol, and other nourishing natural ingredients. It can be used by all skin types, and will benefit the most those who have dry or damaged skin. Comes in 10 different scents.

Indie-Lee-whipped-body-butter
Indie Lee Whipped Body Butter

Hydrating, soothing and nourishing body treatment for all skin types especially dry and dehydrated. This intense formula includes safflower seed oil, castor oil, shea, coconut oil, jojoba, moringa oil, argan oil, aloe, marula oil, vitamin E, and citrus and bergamot for aroma.

Alaffia-Whipped-Shea-Butter
Alaffia Whipped Shea Butter

This mousse-like body treatment contains only two simple ingredients – unrefined shea butter and virgin coconut oil. It is deeply hydrating and suitable for all skin types. Comes as unscented, coconut + chai or mandarin + ginger scent.

nourish organic shea body butter
Nourish Organic Moisturizing Shea Butter

100% pure USDA certified organic shea butter. Not only it provides intense hydration, but also it locks in moisture and softens dry and sensitive skin. Shea butter is known as potent anti aging ingredient as it’s naturally rich in vitamin A and E, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Also available as Rose Butter and Argan Butter.

Best Body Lotions

Eminence mangosteen body lotion
Eminence Mangosteen Body Lotion

Hydrating, organic lightweight lotion for body that moisturizes dehydrated skin and also gently resurfaces the skin with lactic acid. This nourishing lotion is packed with powerful ingredients like aloe, apple and grape juices, vitamin E, panthenol (B5), oil blend, and antioxidant biocomplex. Try also their anti aging and firming Stone Crop body lotion on Amazon.

Derma-E-body lotion
Derma E Therapeutic Shea Body Lotion

This antioxidant rich therapeutic lotion comes in two scents: lavender+neroli or as fragrance free option. It softens and conditions skin with the help of vitamin E oil, cranberry seed, jojoba and olive oils, shea, green tea, aloe, and provitamin B5.

Weleda-hydrating-body-lotion
Weleda Hydrating Body Lotion

Deeply moisturizing and replenishing lotion that is infused with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This fast absorbing formula includes sesame seed oil, shea butter, sea buckthorn oil, macadamia seed oil, and blend of citrus essential oils. Other scents available as well.

Ursa Major Zen body lotion
Ursa Major Perfect Zen Body Lotion

Not only this lightweight lotion hydrates the skin, but also it renews, soothes and protects. This product includes aloe, sunflower seed oil, meadowfoam oil, and relaxing herbal blend of lavender, sweet orange peel, bergamot, rosemary, sandalwood and cedar essential oils.

Andalou-body-lotion
Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Lotion

Soothing body lotion with rosewater, aloe, sunflower oil, shea and cacao seed butters, rosehip and argan oils, plant stem cells, floral extracts and bioactive berry complex. It protects skin’s moisture barrier, nourishes and improves overall skin appearance. Available in different scents and formulations for various skin types including sensitive skin.

sicilian-bergamot-body-lotion
Naturopathica Sicilian Bergamot Lotion

Soothing and hydrating body lotion for all skin types especially dry and irritated skin. It’s crafted with sunflower seed oil, rosemary leaf oil, aloe vera, and rich blend of citrus oils. Certified by ECOCERT. Bonus: it has refreshing and uplifting scent.

Body Cream Vs Body Lotion

 

So we talked about body butter vs lotion, but how is body cream different from body lotion? Similarly to lotion, body cream contains blend of water and oil. However the percentage of oils is higher in the cream and the concentration of water is lower. In terms of consistency, creams have thicker texture than lotions, but thinner texture in comparison to butters.

But keep in mind that not all body creams are the same. That is to say, some creams can be formulated with many heavy oils and butters, and will provide more intense treatment. On the other hand, creams that include fewer and lighter oils have more lightweight texture, and can be used for skin that is less dry. Also, because of the overall higher content of oils some creams can feel somewhat greasy, and they take a little longer to absorb into skin. And in terms of moisturizing, body cream is mid way between body butter and lotion.

To point out, some body creams can be branded as body moisturizer, and these terms can be used interchangeably. Overall, body creams provide more intense hydration than lotions, and are recommended for normal, dry, dehydrated and mature skin.

Best Body Creams

Some of the best body creams include a combination on few natural oils as well as water-attracting ingredients (aka humectants) like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, lactic acid, glycolic acid, glycerin, panthenol (provitamin B5), gelatin, rice proteins, sorbitol and honey.

Tube of 100% pure body wash
100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream

Rich in antioxidants and vitamins this all natural skin cream nourishes, improves skin texture and restores aging skin. It’s packed with potent ingredients like rose flower, avocado and cocoa butter, rosehip seed oil, coffee, vitamin C and E, green tea, honey and many other plant extracts.

Juice-Beauty-firming-body-moisturizer
Juice Beauty Firming Body Moisturizer

This organic anti aging body cream hydrates, brightens, firms and rejuvenates the skin. In addition to rich oil blend it includes vitamin C, E and B5, fruit juices, aloe vera, peptides and other antioxidants.

SheaMoisture-brightening-cream
SheaMoisture Papaya & Vitamin C Body Cream

Ultra moisturizing and brightening cream that promotes more even and glowing complexion. In addition to skin brightening ingredients like papaya enzymes, vitamin C, lactic acid and carrot root extract, it also includes nourishing shea butter, castor oil, soybean oil, vitamin E, moringa seed oil, and other fruit and plant extracts.

InstaNatural firming cream
InstaNatural Firming Cream

Skin tightening anti aging body cream that also evens out skin tone and improves skin texture. The main ingredients include glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, caffeine and collagen.

Skinfix-body-cream
Skinfix Barrier+ Lipid Boost Body Cream

Rich all over skin cream suitable for all skin types. It protects skin barrier, locks in moisture and nourishes skin with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and ceramides. In addition to potent oil blend (almond, shea, grape seed, sunflower seed, jojoba, moringa seed) it also includes 2% colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, rice bran extract, oat oil, aloe, and vitamin E oil.

Body Butter Vs Body Oil

 

As you have already learned, body butter is a product with very low water content, but with high content of natural butters and oils. It provides intense hydration, and works best for very dry, parched or mature skin. Because of its thick texture and density it takes longer to get absorbed.

In contrast, body oil is a very concentrated thick liquid made of pressed seeds, plants, kernels, nuts, etc. In fact, natural oils are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fatty acids, which help to protect skin barrier and prevent skin damage. Since body oils don’t contain water, they are formulated without preservatives, fillers, additives or emulsifiers (hence less chemicals).

There are many different types of natural oils, which have various properties, texture, color, aroma, and comedogenic level. For this reason, different oils can benefit different skin types, including sensitive, oily, combination, and acne-prone skin. In general all natural oils can be divided into three main categories based on their consistency (thickness): lightweight or thin, medium, and thick or heavy oil.

Lightweight oils can be used by all skin types. They are usually non-comedogenic (don’t clog pores), have lighter liquid-like consistency and get absorbed quickly. For example, some of the lighter oils are moringa, argan, marula, rosehip seed, and grapeseed oil.

Medium-consistency oils are tolerated well by most skin types, and include jojoba, sweet almond, apricot kernel, hemp seed, and sea buckthorn. These oils get absorbed well, and can leave little to no residue on the skin.

Heavier oils tend to be more comedogenic and thicker in texture, but also they are deeply moisturizing. This type of oil works better for extremely dry and damaged skin, and for rough areas of skin like elbows, feet, or hands. Some examples include olive, shea butter, avocado, sesame seed, and coconut oils.

Best Body Oils

Body oils are multifunctional products that can be used on their own instead of a body moisturizer, or can be added to the lotion, body scrub, bath, etc. for extra hydration. Natural oils and oil blends usually cost less than body butters, lotions and creams. In addition, they last longer since you need to use very little amount of oil and it easily glides over the skin. Another advantage of using body oils is that they can give your skin a natural glow.

For best results apply body oil on wet skin right after the shower. Not only this will allow locking in moisture and keeping your skin hydrated, but also oil will get absorbed faster.

Eminence apricot body oil
Eminence Apricot Body Oil

Anti aging body oil rich in vitamin C, E and vitamin A, antioxidants, CoQ10, and very rich luxurious oil blend including apricot kernel, grape seed, jojoba, sunflower, seabuckthorn, carrot seed, and pomegranate oils. For all skin types, especially normal, dry and mature skin.

Desert essence body oil
Desert Essence Jojoba & Sweet Almond Body Oil Spray

Quickly absorbing lightweight oil spray that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It includes combination of oils like sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, apricot oil, coconut oil, shea, vitamin E, and chamomile. This particular oil is recommended for dry skin, but they also have a version for sensitive and normal skin types.

Weleda-beauty-body-oil
Weleda Pampering Body & Beauty Oil Spray

Multipurpose beauty oil spray that can be used as body moisturizer, for hair or bath soaks. This highly rated blend has lovely wild rose scent and includes jojoba, sweet almond, musk rose and damask rose flower oils. It is high in fatty acids, which contribute to healthy, younger looking and radiant skin. Also available in other aromas.

osea-algae-body-oil
OSEA Undaria Algae Body Oil

All natural anti aging oil that helps to reduce stretch marks, sagging skin and reveals glowing complexion. It’s formulated with seaweed, sunflower oil, acai pulp oil, linseed oil, rice bran oil, sesame seed oil, passion fruit oil, vitamin E, and other nourishing ingredients.

shea moisture coconut body oil
SheaMoisture Coconut Hibiscus Body & Massage Oil

Multipurpose oil that improves firmness and evens out skin tone. This nourishing oil includes all natural ingredients like safflower oil, borage oil, jojoba, vitamin E, coconut oil, olive oil and fragrant hibiscus flower extract.

Body Moisturizing 101

 

Moisturizing your body regularly is an essential step to having healthy and beautiful skin. Moreover, for best results apply hydrating body treatments right after the shower on the damp skin. However, with so many body care products available it is easy to get overwhelmed or confused while trying to choose the best moisturizer for your skin. Or even worse – get disappointed with the body product you purchased that doesn’t work for your skin type.

So how do you actually choose when it comes to body butter vs lotion, or body cream vs body lotion, or body butter vs body oil? For one thing, keep in mind not only your skin type and concerns, but also the climate you live in and current season. That is to say, you can use heavier moisturizers in cold season and dry climates, and light moisturizers in hot and humid climates.

Summary

 

Here’s a summary (cheat sheet) of the most common types of moisturizers, which are ranked from the lightest (less oil, more water) to the heaviest (more oils, no water):

Body milk – the lightest body moisturizer, similar to body lotion, but slightly lighter in texture; has fluid-like consistency, absorbs fast, but can be somewhat runny. Best for normal, dehydrated, combination or oily skin, and for hot and humid climates.

Body lotion – formulated with high content of water (65%) and lower content of oils; has lightweight non-greasy feel, easy to spread all over the body. Best for normal, dehydrated, combination or oily skin, and for hot and humid climates.

Body cream – similar to body lotion, made with water and oil, but has higher concentration of oils, thicker texture, may be slightly greasy, and provide more intense hydration than body lotions and milks. Creams are recommended for normal, dry, dehydrated and mature skin, and for moderate tempreatures/climate.

Body butter – has thick texture, dense consistency; includes very low water content, but high in natural butters and oils. Body butters provide intense and deep hydration, and help repair dry, rough or parched skin. Best for very dry, rough, weathered or mature skin, and harsh weather or climate.

Body oil – very concentrated and thick liquid that doesn’t contain water, naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, formulated without preservatives; helps to protect skin barrier and prevent skin damage. Depending on the oil/blend it can be used by all skin types and conditions.

Body balm– made with oil or beeswax and doesn’t contain water; has thicker and more dense texture than body butter. For extremely dry skin and not meant to be used all over body or on face, but rather for rough skin areas like elbows, feet or hands.

 

Sources:

Hodulik, G. “Inside-out/outside-in skin hydration.” SkinInc.com

Howard, D. “The top three causes of dry, dehydrated skin.” The International Dermal Institute

Moisturizers: options for softer skin.” Mayo Clinic.

Pike C. “4 signs your skin is dehydrated & how to fix it.” EminenceOrganics.com

Sethi A, Kaur T, Malhotra SK, Gambhir ML. “Moisturizers: the slippery road.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, May-Jun 2016, Vol. 61, Issue 3

Spada F, Barnes TM, Greive KA. “Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 2018, Vol. 11

Travers R. “Why moisturize?” SkinInc.com

Verdier‐Sévrain S, Bonté F. “Skin hydration: a review on its molecular mechanisms”. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2007, Vol. 6: 75-82.

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