Body butter cream has become a rage off-late due to its immensely nourishing, deep moisturizing, and anti-ageing properties. Some of the most popular natural body butters are shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, and kokum butter. They are obtained from the seeds or nuts of the respective plants/trees. Body butter creams made with them not only nourish & moisturize your skin, but also form a protective shield to lock in moisture and prevent the skin from becoming dry for long hours. They work wonders on chapped skin.
In this article, we are going to take a look at 4 of the most popular body butters, the uses of body butter, how to make body butter at home, and body butter vs body lotion. So let's get right into it!
Body Butter Cream
Body butters, such as shea butter, kokum butter, mango butter, etc. are very thick and rich in consistency. In terms of appearance, they are white substances that are very hard at room temperature irrespective of the temperature and weather. However, they are oily to touch. They form a very thick and greasy layer on the packaging in which they are stored.
In terms of their nourishing and therapeutic properties, all body butters are rich in Omega 3 fats. These fats deeply moisturize the skin and provide relief to inflammation. They also accelerate the production of the natural collagen of the skin, thus keeping it young. They contain various acids, such as palmitic, stearic, linolenic, and oleic acids. Last but not the least, they are rich in Vitamins A, E, & F. Owing to these properties, body butters are extremely beneficial for the hair as well as skin. They provide deep conditioning for hair, damage repair, and tame frizzy hair.
Body butters are being used in India and around the world since times immemorial. Our grandmothers used unrefined kokum butter during winters. They would heat it on a double-boiler to soften it up and apply it to the heels, lips, elbows, chapped skin, as well as on the scalp to relieve dryness. In villages in Ghana, West Africa, shea butter is used in the same manner even today.
Types of Body Butter
Some of the most popular body butters from across the world have been described below:
1) Shea Butter
Shea butter is a fat substance that is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree that is native to West Africa. Raw & unrefined shea butter is solid at room temperature and has an off-white or ivory color. It contains high concentrations of vitamins and fatty acids, due to which it is an excellent cosmetic ingredient that boosts the softness of the skin. It has been used as a beauty ingredient for centuries. In modern days, it is found in most body butters, creams, body lotions, as well as hair care products.
2) Mango Butter
Mango butter is extracted from the seeds of the mango fruit. The most popularly used process for the extraction of mango butter is the expeller or cold-pressing method which involves the de-shelling of the mango seeds by placing them into a hydraulic press machine. Inside this machine, the mango seeds are exposed to very high friction and pressure due to which they release oil. This oil is collected through small openings at the bottom of this machine. This oil solidifies into butter at room temperature that retains the nutritive value of mangoes.
Mango butter is rich in vitamins C & A due to which it boosts skin brightness as well as promotes a youthful appearance. It is a wonderful natural emollient and provides deep moisturizing and healing to the skin.
Due to these properties mango butter is among the best body butters in India. Combined with other ingredients, such as orange essential oil, organic cow ghee, and other highly nourishing ingredients, it makes the ideal light face cream for all skin types. Do check out the Barva Skin Therapie Mango Butter Moisturizer.
3) Kokum Butter
Kokum butter is extracted from the seeds of the Kokum tree, also known as Gracinia indica. This tree is found in the tropical regions in India. Kokum butter is solid at room temperature and either pale yellow or light gray in color. It is rich in stearic acid, a type of saturated fat.
Although kokum butter is a popular cosmetic ingredient, it is also edible in nature. Hence, it is a popular additive in chocolates and other foods. However, it is most commonly used in personal care products and cosmetic formulations such as soaps, creams, balms, lotions, and makeup products.
Unlike the other body butters, kokum butter melts easily upon application on the skin and can be used by itself. However, it might not be all that spreadable, hence, it works best when combined with other nourishing oils.
Apart from body butters, it is also a popular ingredient in Lip Balm as well as Body Lotion when combined with other nourishing ingredients such as pomegranate seed oil, aloe vera juice, organic cow ghee, etc.
4) Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans that belong to the larger cacao plant. These beans are roasted, pressed, and stripped to remove the fat that is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is rich in fatty acids, owing to which it deeply nourishes and hydrates the skin. It forms a protective layer over the skin, which locks in moisture. It also improves the skin's elasticity. In addition, it contains phytochemicals that protect against the sun's UV rays and improve the flow of blood.
Cocoa butter is also a traditional remedy used during pregnancy as well as after birth to minimize the appearance of stretch marks. It also has anti-inflammatory properties owing to which it provides relief from rashes as well as conditions such as dermatitis & eczema.
Uses of Body Butter
The uses of body butter are one too many. Let us take a look at some of the most common uses of body butter:
The consistency of body butters is very thick. Also, they are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Due to this, they get absorbed easily by dry skin, however they are not completely absorbed. The part that isn't absorbed remains on the skin surface to provide a protective layer on the skin's surface. This layer locks moisture into the skin and prevents it from escaping for several hours. Moreover, this layer also offers protection against other damaging factors such as pollution, dust, and heat. Natural butters contain natural emollients that are found in the seeds and nuts from which they have been extracted. They penetrated deep into the skin's fatty layers to provide optimum moisturizing.
Body butter creams provide relief from dry, chapped, and cracked skin conditions as well as more severe conditions such as eczema. As mentioned earlier, they manage to penetrated deep into the fatty layers of the skin to provide deep moisturizing and ensure that the moisture remains locked into the skin for several hours. Hence, the regular use of body butter creams results in visibly soft and smooth skin.
Body butters boost the production of collagen as they contain a variety of essential acids. Thus, the skin retains its elasticity, thus preventing the skin from sagging.. Due to their intense moisturizing and skin protecting abilities, body butter creams also help delay signs of ageing that include fine lines and wrinkles. Body butters in their unrefined form are safe to use on the area surrounding the eyes, which tends to display fine lines and sagging skin very quickly.
Home made body butter creams are extremely affordable as raw & unrefined body butters, such as kokum butter, shea butter, etc., are available at very low prices at local markets. Also, you have a complete control of the number of ingredients you put into them as well as the quantity of these ingredients. Home made body butter creams are also as effective as store-bought ones if not more. They are a great alternative to paying heavily for expensive brands that use only a fraction of the raw unrefined ingredients.
5) Cure Stretch Marks
Body butters of all types get rid of stretch marks that are formed post childbirth as they have amazing regenerative and skin healing properties.
6) Relief from Dry Nails & Cuticles
The regular application of body butter creams on nails and cuticles keep dryness at bay as well as maintain their health and hydration. Nothing works as effectively on dry cuticles as skin care formulations that contain body butters.
Body Butter vs Body Lotion
What works better? Body lotion or body butter? It depends entirely upon your skin type, your desired results from any beauty product, as well as your convenience. To determine these, we need to take into consideration some other factors that have been described below:
This is one of the key differences in body butter vs body lotion. Body butter mainly contains natural body butters, such as shea butter, kokum butter, mango butter, etc. in combination with nourishing oils such as jojoba, coconut, olive oil, etc. On the other hand, body lotion is a combination of nourishing oils as well as water/emollients. Ideally, a body lotion/moisturizer contains ingredients that act as humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Humectants attract moisture from the air around us and use them to provide hydration to the skin. Emollients and occlusives work together to lock in the moisture by forming a protective layer around our skin. Thus, body lotion is a combination of water-based as well as oil/butter-based ingredients.
As mentioned above, due to the presence of water-based as well as oil-based ingredients in body lotions, their consistency is much thinner than that of body butters. They are also much lighter and get quickly absorbed into the skin. Also, body lotions are designed to suit different skin types, such as normal, oil, dry, and combination. Formulations of body lotions change depending upon the skin type they are catering to. For instance, the ones designed for use by people with oily or combination skins are lighter in texture and contain ingredients that are quickly absorbed into the skin. They don't leave any residue on the skin surface, unlike body butters. For people with oily skin, body butters, when used on the face, can cause breakouts and clog pores as they have an oily and heavy texture.
On the other hand, people having dry skin prefer body butters, especially during winters. The rich consistency of body butters provides deep moisturizing and nourishment to dry and ageing skin. They get quickly absorbed by dry skin as it is longing for hydration. Also, body butters act as occlusives by forming a protective layer on the skin's surface and preventing moisture loss.
3) Convenience of Usage
Due to its convenient packaging in bottles of all sizes instead of pots and ability to spread easily make body lotions more convenient to use as compared to body butters. Moreover, as body lotions are easily absorbed into the skin, this aids in mess-free application anywhere and at any time. They can be easily carried in handbags, travel cases, etc. and used as and when required at workplaces, airports, while commuting to work, etc. On the other hand, using body butters is sort of a ritual. It is more convenient to apply them while at home relaxing in front of the television, or immediately after a bath, or before bedtime. Also, one might want to clean one's hands after applying body butter all over the body as they leave a thick residue.
How to Make Body Butter at Home
In this section, you will learn some popular methods to make body butter at home. But before we start, here are a few general guidelines for a typical home made body butter cream recipe:
1) Always use a Double Boiler to Melt the Body Butter
Natural body butters such as shea butter, kokum butter, mango butter, etc. are very hard in their natural unrefined forms. They can't be used in their original form as they will not spread like a cream or lotion. Also, it is always recommended for them to be melted in a double boiler as melting them in a vessel with direct heat can change their appearance, properties, and consistency.
2) Raw & Unrefined Body Butter must be Mixed with a Nourishing Oil
As mentioned in the previous point, raw & unrefined body butters are very hard and cannot be applied/spread on the skin. Hence, most home made body butter recipes include mixing them with either one or more nourishing oils in a 1:2 ratio, i.e., 1 part raw & unrefined body butter and 2 parts of oil(s).
3) Whipping/Whisking of Body Butters
Once melted in a double boiler and after combining with other oils as per your recipe, it is important to let the entire mixture cool. After that, this mixture must be whipped using either an electric whisk or by hand using a metal whisk. It should be whipped till it changes into a white mixture and its consistency becomes much lighter than it originally was. At this point it turns into this really beautiful rich cream, which is the finished product. This is normally the stage where you can add few drops of any essential oil of your choice and whip a little bit more for it to mix well.
4) Essential Oils for Fragrance
Raw & unrefined butters don't smell of anything. Some might carry a mild nutty fragrance, but it isn't noticeable. Also, once combined with other oils, the resulting mixture can smell pretty weird at times. Hence, it is important to add a few drops of any essential oil of your choice to the mixture to improve your product experience. Some of the most popular essential oils used in home made body butters are lavender, lemongrass, orange, and ylang ylang.
Once ready, the body butter should be transferred into an airtight plastic or preferably glass container. The lid of this container should be tight. Any moisture can ruin the product as it can result in the formation of fungus. Also, as you will dip your hands into the container to use the product, ensure that you wash and dry your hands thoroughly before using it. The best way would be to scoop a part of the product with a clean spoon or spatula, especially if multiple people are using the product from the same jar.
Now for some actual recipes for body butter:
1) Shea Butter & Olive Oil Body Butter Recipe
You will need: 1/4 cup shea butter, 3/4 cup olive oil, & lavender essential oil (optional)
a) Melt the shea butter on a double boiler till it becomes liquid.
b) Remove from heat and add the olive oil. Mix well.
c) Keep in the freezer for 30 minutes till it is partially hard.
d) Once hard, whisk with an electric whisk or metal whisk till the consistency changes completely and the mixture turns white in color.
e) Add few drops of lavender essential oil or any other essential oil of your choice and whisk again.
* The process is a lot faster with an electric whisk, however, you can use a metal whisk and whip it by hand. This is a very important step as it ensures that the end product becomes considerably lighter and easily spreadable.
2) Whipped Kokum Body Butter Recipe
You will need: 1 cup raw & unrefined kokum butter, 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 1/2 cup of any other nourishing oil - argan oil, neem oil, or grapeseed oil, few drops of essential oil of your choice.
a) Heat the kokum butter and coconut oil in a double boiler until they melt into a liquid.
b) Once this mixture cools down, add the other nourishing oil of your choice.
c) Put this mixture into the freezer for around 20 minutes till it becomes semi-solid.
d) Add few drops of essential oil of your choice and whip until the consistency becomes light.
3) Mango Butter & Almond Oil Body Butter Recipe
You will need: 1 cup mango butter, 1/2 cup kokum butter, 1/2 cup almond oil, few drops of essential oil
a) Combine both the butters in a bowl and heat them in a double boiler till they melt completely.
b) Once they reach room temperature, add the almond oil and mix well.
c) Add few drops of the essential oil, mix again, and put in the freezer for 20 minutes till the mixture is semi-solid.
d) Whip the semi-solid mixture with an electric whisk or hand blender till it becomes a creamy consistency and turns completely white.
4) Cocoa Butter Lip Balm Recipe
You will need: 1 tsp. cocoa butter, 1/2 tsp. beeswax, 1/2 tsp. walnut oil, & few drops of raspberry, strawberry, or vanilla essential oil.
a) Grate the cocoa butter and beeswax.
b) Combine all 3 ingredients and melt them on a double boiler.
c) Add a flavor of your choice.
c) Pour into a glass or plastic airtight jar and keep to cool.
d) Rub a small quantity on your lips as and when needed.
This is the perfect season for body butters. You can easily order all the ingredients in the above-mentioned recipes online and have fun mixing together your won body butter recipe. Do let us know how you liked this article in the comments below. But most importantly, stay safe & stay beautiful :)