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Body Butter vs. Body Cream vs. Body Lotion: What's the Difference?

August 09, 2022 6 min read

Woman Applying Body Cream

We've talked plenty about body butter and body creams before. From our bestselling line of body butter to our new Naked Skin Cream, we formulate all of our moisturizers to give you softer and more moisturized skin. But if you've ever wondered what the differences are between body butter, body cream, and body lotion, we've got you covered. 

TL;DR: A Quick Summary

Body Butter, Body Cream, and Body Lotion have a similar job: to help keep your skin moisturized by adding water and using occlusives and emollients such as shea butter and natural carrier oils to help your skin retain the water.

Traditional body butter contains emollients like Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, and natural carrier oils like Argan and Jojoba. 

Body Cream contains water or substitutes such as aloe vera gel, emollients that soften the skin, humectants that draw water to your skin, and occlusives, which help your skin retain moisture. 

Body Lotion is similar to body cream with higher water content, lighter emollients, and fewer occlusives. 

Below we dive deeper into body butter, creams, and lotions and when and how to use each.

Body Butter vs. Body Cream: What's the Difference? 

Body butter and body cream are popular moisturizers that can help hydrate and protect the skin. But, there are some critical differences between the two. 

Body butter is a blend of natural butters and oils, such as cocoa butter or shea butter, and these ingredients make body butter thicker and more concentrated than body cream. As a result, body butter is often better for dry, cracked, or sensitive skin that needs extra emollients. 

The main difference between body butter and body cream is that creams include water, making them lighter and allowing them to absorb quicker than body butter. Creams are ideal for normal or oily skin types.

Because there is no water in body butter, it is essential to use body butter when your skin is already damp from a shower or a bath to help your skin stay moisturized. 

What to Look for in a Body Butter

When using high-quality body butter, you should be able to understand all the ingredients on the label. You also want to look for ingredients that are non-comedogenic and won't clog your pores. For example, many people can be sensitive to the fatty acid profile of coconut oil and may want to avoid that in their body butter. 

Our Naked Body Butter features shea butter, jojoba oil, and argan oil. While these ingredients can also be in a body cream, no water in our body butter creates a thicker consistency.

While body and face creams often feature ingredients like shea butter, you can tell a body butter from a body cream because body butter relies on plant-based butters as the primary ingredient: shea butter, cocoa butter, or other natural butters.  

Body Cream Is Lighter

While body cream can still intensely nourish your skin, you can tell the difference between a cream and body butter because a body cream contains water or water substitutes, so you don't need to use it after cleansing. This makes it a better option for travel, the office, or anywhere you wouldn't be bathing.

Our Naked Skin Cream, for example, is a rich, hydrating cream featuring shea butter, cocoa seed butter, and rosehip oil. While hydrating with those rich moisturizers, it has a lighter skin feel.

Body Lotions Are The Lightest Option

What about body lotion? Body Lotions are the lightest of the three and contain the highest water levels. Body lotions feature fewer oil-based ingredients like jojoba oil or argan oil. Lotions are easy to spread and absorb, making them a good choice for those with oily or combination skin. 

Body Butter vs. Body Cream: Which is best for hands? 

Now that you know the differences between types of moisturizers, which is best for hands? We recommend using a product like our Naked Skin Cream for your hands, and it is lighter and will absorb much quicker than our body butter. Since you do not need moisture on your hands before you use it, it is a good choice for a hand moisturizer. 

For a hand moisturizer, you want to look for something that contains both humectants that will draw moisture to your skin and emollients and occlusives that will lock that moisture in.

Good body butter with shea butter can also be used for dry hands or any skin type during the colder, drier winter months after you have washed your hands or gotten out of the shower. 

Body Butter vs. Body Cream: Can You Use Them on Your Face? 

The last thing you want to do when moisturizing your face or body is to clog your pores. For facial moisturizers, you'll want to look for something non-comedogenic. 

What is non-comedegenic? It is a fancy way to say that a particular moisturizer won't clog your pores.

So, when it comes to the best moisturizer for your face, while you could use body butter on your face, we recommend opting for something like face cream or face oil.

Our Enhance Face Oil, for example, uses passion fruit oil to help prevent breakouts while relying on other fruit seed oils to help protect your skin from free radicals. You're ultimately looking for something that lightly hydrates while also protecting your skin. It is perfect to use after cleansing to help balance out your skin's oil production. We always recommend using any oil on damp skin.

What If You Have Dry Skin on Your Face?

If you have dry, flaky, or itchy skin, you'll want to look for creams that contain ingredients that help draw moisture into the skin.  

Aside from the ingredients, you'll want to choose a cream with a thicker consistency, as this will help to create a barrier on the skin that will prevent moisture from escaping.

Note that it's also helpful to get to the root of why you have dry skin. 

If your dry skin is due to a medical condition, you should speak to your doctor about the best course of treatment. You may need a more emollient cream if your dry skin is due to environmental factors, such as wind or cold weather.

If you'd like to hydrate and soothe your dry skin while you sleep deeply, we suggest trying our Nourish Night Face Balm. The melt-on-contact face includes organic shea, mango butter, and vitamin E-rich prickly pear seed oils to help protect from signs of aging. Again, we recommend using Nourish after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp.

The Best: Lotions, Butters, & Creams for Skin Conditions

If you suffer from different kinds of skin conditions, then choosing the best body cream or butter is critical. You want to focus on a moisturizer without harsh preservatives, fragrances, or additives that might worsen your skin condition. We recommend talking to your dermatologist about the best options for your skin.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis can cause a buildup of skin cells, which creates patches of thick, red skin covered with white scales. Often, these patches can be itchy. In this case, you want something that is soothing and can help to calm inflammation with gentle emollients. Either a body butter or a body cream could work well for you.

Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that can cause the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. One theory is that people with eczema have a defect in their skin barrier, which allows moisture to escape and irritants and allergens to enter, which can cause the skin to become dry, cracked, and inflamed. 

A body butter or body cream with a high oil content will help replenish your skin's oils with the moisture it needs.

Acne

You have the opposite concerns with acne as people suffering from psoriasis or eczema. You're trying to soothe and protect your skin without causing your skin to overproduce oil. In this case, opt for lightweight lotions. 

Green tea, witch hazel, and similar ingredients are great for face lotions. However, fruit seed oils are among the best for soothing, protecting, and moisturizing acne-prone skin without clogging pores, including blackberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, watermelon seed oil, and pomegranate seed oil.

Find the Right Body Butter or Body Cream for You

Hopefully, this guide has given you a basic understanding of what kind of body butter, body cream, or body lotion is best for you. Are you ready to start your search so that you can find a product that is nourishing, soothing, and delightfully decadent? 

Please browse our bath and body products to find the right skincare solution.

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