What’s the difference between body butter and body lotion? It all comes down to the ingredients and the consistency. The body butter is more oil-based, resulting in a thicker consistency. Meanwhile, body lotion has higher water content and a more overall viscosity.
As a skincare specialist and product junkie, I hear people mixing the two products up all the time. Body butter vs body lotion: Which is better? The truth is: Both can be incredibly hydrating, leaving the skin soft and supple. But, they contain unique ingredients that serve different purposes.
In this post, I’m going to cut through some of the confusion about moisturizers. Read on to learn more about body butter, body lotions, and when to use both!
What Is The Purpose Of Body Butter And Body Lotion?
Before we get into the specifics, let’s talk about what these products are supposed to do. As a whole, body butter and lotion are meant to hydrate. That much is obvious. But what exactly are they hydrating?
Well-moisturized skin promotes a healthier skin barrier. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin. It’s composed of skin cells, lipids, and moisturizing elements like fatty acids and amino acids.
The skin barrier helps to protect you from environmental threats like UV damage and oxidative stress. It also plays a pivotal role in keeping your body’s water balance in check. Without a healthy barrier, you’ll lose far too much moisture through the skin, resulting in a rough texture that’s prone to damage and wrinkles.
Hydrating products like body butter and lotion actively work to support the skin barrier. But they don’t heal it as you might think. In fact, most moisturizers don’t repair it at all! To do that, you need to worry about things like pH and ceramides.
So if moisturizers don’t repair the skin barrier, what’s the point in using them?
Well, body butter and lotion still provide support. They maintain the barrier by reducing transepidermal water loss. Think of it as a physical shield that prevents water from evaporating out of your skin. Moisturizers combat natural water loss. Not only that, but they can replace some of the hydration that does get drawn into the air.
It doesn’t matter if your skin barrier is in tip-top shape or it’s damaged. Moisturizers are an essential piece of the puzzle that ensures your body can protect itself the way it knows how!
What Is Body Butter?
Body butter is a thick and creamy moisturizer. Often seen as a “lush” product, you can see it sold in jars or large tubs. When it comes to thickness and overall lubrication, body lotion just doesn’t hold a candle to body butter!
That’s because it’s made of carrier oils and natural butter rather than water. Carrier oils contain essential ingredients. Whether the essential ingredient is oils or medicated additives, the carrier oil delivers it to the skin for absorption.
Natural butter is fat and minerals that come from fruits and nuts. It has a similar consistency to the milk butter we eat. It usually comes from things like palm, shea, cocoa, mangos, avocado, and more. Body butter lacks water, so it’s super thick and creamy.
When To Use Body Butter
Because body butter doesn’t actually have any water, this product is less about moisture and more about protection! It’s best to use after a shower or bath, as your body already receives a boost of hydration.
Body butter sits on top of the skin and absorbs very slowly. As a result, it acts more like a protective lubricant. It keeps the moisture you received in your skin for much longer, resulting in an ultra-soft and supple texture once it finally absorbs.
Many also use butter as an “emergency” moisture restorative. You see it a lot at spas that specialize in transforming the skin. With plenty of time to absorb, it can create a drastic change in texture.
What Is Body Lotion?
Body lotion is a good universal option. It’s formulated with mostly water. Thus, it works well for all skin types. The high water content also improves absorption rates and directly improves the moisture content beneath your skin barrier.
Lotions often contain a little bit of oil or lightweight hydrator ingredients. For example, many products have squalane, which does a fantastic job at locking in moisture. You might also see additives like coconut oil.
Thanks to its fast absorption, body lotions don’t leave a greasy feeling like body butter. However, the thinner texture also doesn’t offer much protection against evaporation.
When To Use Body Lotion
Like body butter, the best time to apply body lotions is after a shower. Believe it or not, lotions work best when you already have a good amount of moisture in the skin.
That said, lotions are a bit more versatile. They’re a good everyday product that can infuse your skin with moisture whenever you need them. Use lotion to hydrate dry patches and introduce it into your daily routine. Your skin will thank you for it!
You can also use body lotions alongside body butter! In this case, the argument isn’t body butter vs body lotion. It’s about which order to use them! Try applying the lotion first to hydrate the skin. Then, use the body butter to lock everything in and prevent quick moisture evaporation.
Body Butter vs Body Lotion: The Bottom Line
Body butter and body lotion are similar products that can hydrate and support the skin barrier. However, body butter is thicker and more lubricating. It protects against evaporation to keep moisture in. Lotions, however, are water-based and can absorb into the skin quickly.
Don’t think of body butter and lotion as a “one or the other” type of situation. When used correctly, both can do wonders for your skin. Try introducing the two moisturizers into your skincare routine. Apply the lotion first and follow up with a layer of body butter to lock moisture in. It won’t take long before you notice the difference!