Healthy, hydrated skin is everyone’s top priority, so why is the commercial beauty industry working so hard to make it practically unobtainable?
Sure, those prettily-packed lotions on drugstore shelves might look like they contain the nourishment your skin craves, but in truth, most are filled with fragrances and preservation agents that only aid in drying it out.
A better option? Skip those unnecessary ingredients and cut straight to the hydration by making and using natural body butter to moisturize your skin instead.
What Is A Body Butter?
As the name implies, natural body butters are nourishing skin products. Most plant-based butters are made from cold-pressed extracts of nuts, seeds, or beans, and they tend to melt directly into the skin.
Because they don’t contain water, body butters are significantly thicker than standard lotions. Their rich profile of fatty acids makes them solid at room temperature, meaning that they rarely require synthetic chemical preservatives like paraffin, parabens, propylene glycol or sodium lauryl sulfate to stay fresh.
Natural body butter is rarely made from just one ingredient, but instead is a blend of different extracts. The essential components of each butter are the minerals and oils that create a barrier on the skin to prevent it from losing its moisture content and drying out.
The texture of body butters can range from soft and whipped to semi-solid or even hard. It takes slightly more effort to massage body butter into the skin than a standard lotion, but they are significantly better at smoothing and softening skin to relieve dryness and irritation.
Benefits Of Natural Body Butters
Because of their naturally nourishing compounds, body butters are one of the best ways to hydrate your skin. Though most natural butters are odorless, some, like shea butter, have a mild, nutty scent. For this reason, most body butter recipes incorporate essential oils to add extra interest and some additional health properties to the cream.
Overall, body butters are meant to be applied directly to trouble spots to heal skin and promote hair health. They can address rashes, wrinkles, chronic dryness, blemishes, wound healing, cracking, inflammation, general irritation, and more. For instance many pregnant women swear by using natural body butter as a solution for stretch marks, and the butter’s highly concentrated ingredients work well to combat cuticle problems as well.
Natural butters also work well to restore hair health. Light butters often provide faster absorption without a greasy residue, making them ideal for hydrating hair. In contrast, thicker, creamier butters work best to treat severely dry skin.
14 Best Ingredients For Natural Body Butters
While there are dozens of potential ingredients available for whipping up a batch of homemade body butter, some oils offer significantly more benefits than others.
It’s perfectly fine to stick to standard ingredients like coconut butter for your first few batches, but don’t be afraid to experiment with some of the lesser-known but equally potent options like cupuacu or kokum oil as well.
Below are some of the best natural butter varieties to stock up on for homemade skin products.
1. Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil creates a thick, creamy butter filled with fatty acids and vitamin D that can soften and hydrate skin. The oil’s high viscosity and smooth texture make it easy to spread, and a stellar ingredient in balms and body butters for all skin types.
2. Avocado Butter
Avocado butter contains ample amounts of vitamins A, B, and E, making it a potent hydration asset for dull hair and severely dry skin. The butter comes from the avocado seed, and there is evidence that it is naturally resistant to UV rays. This means that wearing avocado oil body butter might lower your risk of sunburn.
3. Cocoa Butter
As one of the most shelf-stable fats, cocoa butter is flush with natural antioxidants and can last for years without spoiling. Though the light scent won’t remind you of chocolate, the butter is a reliable option thickening cosmetic products and is useful for pregnant women looking to avoid stretch marks. Oily-skinned people should take note though, this butter’s high moisture content means it might be best avoided.
4. Coconut Oil
Thanks to its low melting point, coconut oil is almost a liquid at room temperature, making it all but effortless to massage into your skin. This tropically-scented oil works well as an acne spot treatment or all-over moisturizer. Make sure you source a variety that is organic, unrefined, and cold pressed to ensure that the classic coconut scent and silky texture isn’t compromised in the manufacturing process.
5. Cupuacu Butter
This naturally hard butter comes from the Brazilian cupuacu tree, and it makes an ideal ingredient for homemade hair and skin products. High phytosterol levels mean that this natural butter has an impressive water absorption capacity and can act as a natural alternative to lanolin. But those with extra oily skin beware; capuacu butter might be too rich for your skin texture.
6. Grapeseed Oil
Rich in vitamins C and E as well as beta-carotene, grapeseed oil contains exactly what your skin needs to soften up. When added to body butter recipes, grapeseed oil improves their spreadability and ensures that it can quickly absorb into the skin.
7. Jojoba Butter
Jojoba butter is useful for treating eczema and psoriasis, as well as a variety of other skin conditions. Its creamy texture makes it similar in structure to human sebum, making it ideal for addressing problems in excessively oily skin.
8. Kokum Butter
Despite its hard appearance, kokum butter is valued for producing soft and supple skin without leaving a greasy residue. This off white butter is extracted from the seeds of the Indian kokum tree, and its dense texture makes it ideal for firming up body butter and other cosmetic products. Kokum butter is especially useful for healing skin damaged from sunburns.
9. Mango Butter
Flush with antioxidants and emollients, mango butter works to soften and moisturize dry skin. Though solid at room temperature, the oil quickly softens when exposed to body heat, making it easy to absorb directly into your skin. Because it is unscented and less dense than many other natural butters, mango butter is an excellent option for those who want something slightly less rich for their skin.
10. Olive Butter
Olive oil and olive butter alike contain impressive levels of vitamins, fatty acids, and a potent blend of antioxidants that make them ideal for hydrating and softening skin. Because most body butters work best when they are composed of roughly a quarter liquid ingredients, olive oil is popular for improving a body butter’s spreadability.
11. Pumpkin Seed Butter
Not just for the use in the fall, pumpkin seed oil contains sky-high levels of linoleic acid and vitamins A, E, and C, antioxidants and fatty acids. This ultra-nourishing butter is ideal for deep treating dry skin, and regular use can work to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
12. Shea Butter
Shea butter is a classic cosmetic ingredient for a reason- it really works! This butter has a unique fatty acid composition that makes it extremely versatile for everything from skin cream to lip balm. And thanks to its abundance of vitamins A and B and fatty acids, the butter leaves your skin with an almost velvet texture. Unlike other butters that tend to be completely scentless, shea butter has a mild nutty odor that adds dimension to your skin products.
13. Soy Butter
Soy butter is rich enough in nutrients to eat, but you’ll get better benefits for your skin if you apply it externally instead. This classic body butter ingredient includes omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, lecithin, sterolins, and isoflavones to improve skin hydration and leave it well conditioned. Soy butter is also beneficial when incorporated into hair products.
14. Ucuuba Butter
Ucuuba butter comes from the seeds of a South American tree and produces a hard and dry light brown butter. Rich in palmitic, myristic, and lauric acids, ucuuba butter has natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that make it beneficial for addressing concerns like acne and eczema while soothing dry or irritated skin.
4 Homemade Body Butter Recipes
Ready to indulge in homemade body butter? Making your own is easier than you think. It’s generally best to plan on making your butter with a ratio of 75% solid to 25% liquid ingredients, but beyond that, the options are almost limitless for experimenting with your preferred ingredients.
Looking for some inspiration? These recipes will get you started.
Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil Body Butter
Using just two main ingredients (and a few drops of your favorite essential oil), this homemade body butter has a light and readily absorbable texture. It will leave your skin feeling hydrated, not greasy.
Find the full recipe at Beautymunsta.com
Non-Greasy Body Butter
For those that aren’t afraid to mix up many different kinds of butter into a single recipe, ModernHippie provides a nutrient-rich body butter recipe that relies on arrowroot powder to prevent your skin from feeling oversaturated. Beeswax pastilles also help it hold its consistency in hot weather so you won’t wind up with a jar of melted butter.
Natural Whipped Body Butter
This versatile recipe relies on shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil to make a richly hydrating body butter with a long shelf life. So long as you store it in the fridge, the recipe should stay whipped for several months.
Find the recipe at Wellnessmama.com.
Whipped Pumpkin Spice Body Butter
Looking for a way to get yourself in the spirit of fall festivities? Humblebee&me’s recipe for whipped pumpkin spice body butter relies on pumpkin seed oil, mango butter, and shea butter along with a variety of seasonal spices to sweetly scent and moisturize your skin.
Tips For Using Homemade Body Butter
Despite a thicker consistency than you might be used to, putting your homemade body butter to use couldn’t be simpler.
The best time to apply body butter is directly after a shower when your skin is still slightly damp. Another option is slathering on the butter directly before going to bed, as the time spent sleeping allows it to more fully penetrate through your skin layers.
Highly concentrated ingredients within body butter mean that a small amount goes a long way, so dab a bit onto your fingers, taking the time to warm it between your palms to melt it. This will help it absorb more easily into your skin. Then, carefully rub it exactly where your skin needs the moisture.
Remember, your body butter is only as beneficial as the ingredients you put in it. Look carefully on their labels for terms like raw, cold-pressed and unrefined, as they signify that the oil was extracted from the fruit or nut through mechanical processes, rather than a high heat procedure that could potentially damage the key ingredients.
Tips For Storing Natural Body Butter
Your butter’s shelf life depends on the ingredients you use. Butters high in unsaturated fatty acids usually last for just six months, while those with a higher concentration of antioxidants like vitamin E tend to be at lower risk of oxidation, meaning that they can last for two years or longer. Regardless, it’s best to store your oils in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for maximum freshness.
Once you learn how easy it is to learn how to make natural body butters that moisturize your skin, you’ll never go back to your standard drugstore lotions. Give these recipes a try today! Your skin will thank you for it.