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When you’re plagued with dry skin, it can feel like no amount of body lotions or creams are ever moisturizing enough. And you’re not imagining things — many hydrating products can just simply sit on the surface of skin, rarely getting absorbed to repair dryness. But that’s where body butters save the day. These rich, ultra-concentrated creams can resolve a plethora of concerns, from cracked skin to achy muscles to reducing the appearance of cellulite. But first and foremost, what is body butter?
What is Body Butter?
“I like to think it’s a descriptive term,” says Bee Shapiro, founder of fragrance and body care brand Ellis Brooklyn and New York Times columnist. “It’s not a technical term, but we use it to communicate that the texture is extra rich and thick.”
Almost any skin type can benefit from using body butter, as the extra hydration will help soothe and hydrate even normal to oily skin, but dry and sensitive skin are especially nourished by body butters.
“Texture and concentration of moisturizing ingredients are what define a butter versus a lotion,” says Dr. Audrey Kunin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dermadoctor. “While both hydrate the skin, body butters are thicker, creamier, and contain a higher concentration of super-moisturizing ingredients, such as squalene or shea butter, than their thinner, lighter-weight lotion counterparts.”
To source the best body butters, we tested a slew of products and spoke with a roster of respected dermatologists, including board-certified dermatologist and founder of Idriss Dermatology, Dr. Shereene Idriss and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Joshua Zeichner.
Ahead, the best body butters to hydrate, repair and soothe your skin.
Best Body Butters of 2023
- Best Value: Caudalie Vinotherapist Moisturizing Vegan Body Butter
- Best Refillable: Fenty Skin Butta Drop Whipped Oil Body Cream
- Best Body Balm: L’Occitane Immortelle Shea Body Balm
- Best for Heavy Moisture: Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter
- Best for Dry Skin: Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter
- Best with SPF: Supergoop! Body Butter SPF 40
- Best for Expecting Mothers: Mutha Body Butter
- Best CBD: Ellis Brooklyn Marvelous CBD Extra Rich Body Lotion Cream
- Best Organic: Tata Harper Redefining Body Balm
- Best Coconut: Mario Badescu Coconut Body Butter
- Best for Sore Muscles: Asutra Melt Pain Away Magnesium Body Butter
- Best for Eczema: Dermadoctor Calm Cool + Corrected 1% Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema + Dermatitis Clinical Repair Balm
- Best Unscented: Weleda Skin Food Intensive Skin Nourishment Body Butter
- Best Drugstore: Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Body Butter
- Best Whipped: Melach 33 Silky Shea Body Butter
- Best for Glowing Skin: Bliss Texture Takedown Skin Smoothing Body Butter
- Best Scented: Sol de Janeiro Beija Flor Elasti-Cream
- Best Luxury: Augustinus Bader The Body Cream
- Best Hydrating: Osea Undaria Algae Body Butter
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Caudalie Vinotherapist Moisturizing Vegan Body Butter
Best Value Body Butter
- Size: 8.4 oz
- Fragrance: Natural sweet almond scent
- Special features: Fully recyclable packaging
Well-priced with a large amount of formula inside, a tub of Caudalie Vinotherapist Moisturizing Vegan Body Butter is a high-value choice. Caudalie is known for high-performing, plant-centric skin care products; this body butter contains desert date seed oil, grape seed oil, and sustainably-sourced, organic shea butter. The ingredients come together for a cushiony texture that softens your skin in the short term and the long run. It’s dermatologically tested, too, so sensitive skin types are in the clear.
What reviewers say: “This is the best body butter — holy grail and worth the price. It has a wonderful light almond scent that is so lovely and doesn’t trigger migraines in my husband, who can be very sensitive to scents. It is rich without being sticky or oily.”
Fenty Skin Butta Drop Whipped Oil Body Cream
Best Refillable Body Balm
- Size: 6.7 oz
- Fragrance: Subtle tropical scent
- Special features: Refillable packaging
Rihanna doesn’t play around with her beauty line — so it’s no surprise that Fenty Skin’s Butta Drop Whipped Oil Body Cream is brimming with powerful skin-smoothing ingredients. The formula is extra dense, so a little goes a long way. Smooth it on after showering, and the shea butter, glycerin, and seven plant-based oils will flood your skin with hydration for a luminous look. When you run out, simply order a refill pod that slides into the original packaging.
What reviewers say: “I love this product, it is very moisturizing without being sticky or oily. I love that it is “lightly scented” for me there is nothing worse than a heavily scented body cream that will, with daily use, dry out my normal skin and cause it to itch. This is beautiful. Highly recommend for normal or dry skin.”
L’Occitane Immoretelle Shea Body Balm
Best Body Balm
- Size: 6.9 oz
- Fragrance: Subtle honey scent
- Special features: Refillable packaging
L’Occitane is a French brand that’s popular for their shea butter-based hand creams, luxurious bath oils, and plant-forward skin care products. The Immortelle Shea Body Balm is the latest addition to the brand’s popular Immortelle collection — and it’s rich with skin-transforming ingredients. The formula contains sustainably sourced shea butter, firming pea-derived peptides, and antioxidant-rich organic Immortelle Essential Oil. Use it consistently, and you can expect your skin to have more bounce.
What reviewers say: “I have used this for a month and just love it! I have noticed the skin on my arms and décolleté is more firm, smooth, and has less fine lines. The scent is clean and light, and the balm absorbs quickly without any sticky feeling. This is an amazing product and I love this as part of my post shower routine.”
Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter
Best Body Butter for Heavy Moisture
- Size: 8 oz.
- Fragrance: Light earthy-sweet scent
- Special features: Whipped texture
Kiehl’s Creme de Corps body lotion is one of the brand’s bestsellers, and this whipped body butter puts everything you love about the traditional lotion into a richer formula that’s great for wintertime or chronically dry skin. The ingredients, like jojoba oil, squalane, and shea butter, deeply moisturize your skin and create a barrier to prevent your limbs from drying out throughout the day. The whipped texture allows you to soak up all the hydration without feeling sticky or greasy.
What reviewers say: “I live in the high desert of New Mexico. Our climate is very dry, so having a good moisturizer is important for me. I have been using this product for many years. It is the first thing I grab when I get out of the shower. I’m very satisfied.”
Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter
Best Body Butter for Dry Skin
- Size: 7 ounces
- Fragrance: Light floral scent
- Special features: Enriched with vitamin E, honey, and whey for deep hydration.
Handcrafted in the Austrian Alps, Susanne Kaufmann’s eponymous label utilizes the rich bounty of botanicals in her own Alpine backyard. For this luxurious body butter, that means rich shea butter, olive oil, whey, honey, and bee pollen — all carefully selected to restore the skin. The rich fatty acids and antioxidants from the shea butter and olive oil soften and hydrate skin, while honey protects and repairs skin cells and the milk protein whey helps skin’s natural healing process. This soothing cream is wonderful for the whole body, but is particularly effective on rough and chapped elbows, knees, and feet.
What reviewers say: “I have been using Body Butter for a while now. It is the most luxurious cream ever. I give it as gifts and the recipients refuse to share it with their partners. It is really and truly the best cream you can buy. It will make you feel so good and smell wonderful.”
Supergoop! Body Butter SPF 40
Best Body Butter with SPF
- Size: 5.7 ounces
- Fragrance: Hints of eucalyptus, clove, and vanilla
- Special features: Infused with chemical broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection.
Moisturize and protect the skin with this 2-in-1 body butter from Supergoop! The whipped body butter formula leaves skin soft and hydrated while providing UVA/UVB protection with SPF 40. Plus, the 5.7-ounce squeeze tube makes application much easier than scooping it out from a jar. When you’ve used all the product, take a strong pair of sanitized scissors and cut the container in half horizontally, and then scoop out the product (carefully – those cut edges can be sharp) to use every last drop.
What reviewers say: “Finally I’ve found a moisturizer with sunscreen that I can use everyday. I have to protect any exposed skin since I have an autoimmune disease that makes me sensitive to the sun. I was using a regular sunscreen as a body moisturizer to save a step. They either made my skin feel sticky or dry. Not what you want on a daily basis to go to work. This just feels like a really nice moisturizer and I love that it has such a high SPF.”
Mutha Body Butter
Best Body Butter for Expecting Mothers
- Size: 5.5 ounces
- Fragrance: Uplifting, subtle notes of citrus
- Special features: Whipped texture with shea, cocoa, and mango butters.
This rich cream is the best body butter for pregnancy and it’s salve-like texture is what inspired founder Hope Smith to start the brand. This whipped trifecta of shea, cocoa, and mango butters deliver intense hydration, but somehow still absorbs instantly. Smith says she specifically developed the body butter to feel lightweight versus traditional body butters, so you could massage it in as often as they’d like. In fact, the brand recommends that pregnant women apply the cream to stretch mark-prone areas several times a day, noting that the more hydrated skin is, the less prone to stretch marks it will be.
Ellis Brooklyn Marvelous CBD Extra Rich Body Lotion Cream
Best CBD Body Butter
- Size: 6.52 ounces
- Fragrance: Fresh scent with notes of pine
- Special features: Loaded with 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD to soothe skin.
CBD has been a buzzword in beauty for years, but what does its inclusion in body butter do? For Shapiro, it meant including 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD in Ellis Brooklyn’s body butter. “I have psoriasis and I also run regularly so I’m always looking for soothing body care and supplements,” she says. “I wrote a story on CBD years ago for The New York Times and I became fascinated with CBD and how full-spectrum CBD, in particular, has all these gorgeous complex cannabinoids that our body’s own cannabinoid system can recognize. It’s a super gentle way of soothing the skin and body.”
CBD in skincare has been shown to reduce inflammation, swelling, pain, and redness, and is especially great for skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. Users have noted how soothing this body butter is for sore muscles, too.
What reviewers say: “This body cream is amazing for the winter! Super rich and luxurious, leaving the skin so soft and smooth. It does initially have a strong scent, but it fades out when you apply it, which I like. The packaging is amazing and heavy; it’s really a beautiful piece to display on your vanity. I love applying it right when I get out of the shower so my skin can soak it up right away”
Tata Harper Redefining Body Balm
Best Organic Body Butter
- Size: 6 ounces
- Fragrance: Fresh, floral scent
- Special features: Made from 100 percent natural ingredients.
Formulated, manufactured, and packaged exclusively on her organic farm in Vermont, Tata Harper’s line of skin and body care products features nature’s most progressive ingredients. And this ultra-rich butter includes 27 high-performing botanical ingredients, including shea and cocoa butters, olive oil, rosehip oil, and garcinia indica seed butter (one of the most nutrient-dense butters in nature). It’s also packed with clever moisturizing botanicals as well as rich antioxidants designed to firm and brighten, giving the appearance of youthful, glowing skin.
What reviewers say: “A little goes a long way. Works best on damp skin after a shower. Wonderful fragrance. I’m sensitive to fragrances, but this is very natural and refreshing and doesn’t bother me at all. Hydration lasts a long time.”
Mario Badescu Coconut Body Butter
Best Coconut Body Butter
- Size: 8 ounces
- Fragrance: Light coconut scent
- Special features: Leaves skin with a radiant, glowing sheen.
When slathering on Mario Badescu’s Coconut Body Butter, you’d never guess it’s only $18. This luxurious, freshly scented cream is mega hydrating. Its blend of shea and mango butters, infused with argan, apricot, meadow seed foam, and rosehip oils, melt into skin immediately — like a cream triple its price point. If you’re interested in body butter but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, this is the one for you.
What reviewers say: I bought this as an after sun moisturizer. It’s thick but absorbs quickly. My skin looks dewy after and hydrated. It’s a tropical scent but it’s not that very fake coconut smell that is in a lot products.
Asutra Melt Pain Away Magnesium Body Butter
Best Body Butter for Sore Muscles
- Size: 7 ounces
- Fragrance: Fresh lemongrass scent
- Special features: The trio of magnesium, MSM, and warming capsaicin help soothe pain.
Founded by Venus Williams and entrepreneur Stephanie Morimoto, Asutra is on a mission to democratize wellness and make it accessible for those who don’t have lofty budgets or excessive leisure time. This unique body butter was specifically developed by Williams to treat her achy muscles. Its high-octane mix of magnesium, MSM and warming capsaicin will leave muscles nearly pain-free in mere minutes. Plus, the butter has shea and sweet almond oil for a healthy dose of antioxidants and moisture. The brand is also proudly women-owned and women-led, with 60 percent of the staff identifying as a POC.
What reviewers say: “I love this cream to treat my knee pain. I had a torn meniscus in my knee, had surgery on it but it has never been pain-free. This cream does the trick for me immediately. I apply in the morning and I am good for the day. I have purchased this several times. It is a wonderful treatment for my pain.”
Dermadoctor Calm Cool + Corrected 1% Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema + Dermatitis Clinical Repair Balm
Best Body Butter for Eczema
- Size: 6 ounces
- Fragrance: Unscented
- Special features: Received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, meaning its clinically safe for sensitive skin
Dr. Kunin is an OG when it comes to resolving skincare concerns frequently overlooked in the beauty industry, like eczema, which triggered the development of this calming cream. What makes its ganache-like texture so effective is the formula’s one percent colloidal oatmeal and enhanced beta-glucan, which is “an active ingredient to treat the itching, dryness, redness, and uncomfortable symptoms associated with eczema, dermatitis, and sensitive skin,” says Dr. Kunin. “Its triple blend of evening primrose, black currant seed, and borage seed oils further help calm and soothe irritated skin, and can certainly be considered a therapeutic body butter.”
What reviewers say: “Initially got this as something to help calm my shingles rashes. After having it for a month, I can honestly say I’m glad I got it. Worked great for the shingles rash and now I use it to calm and soothe my ridiculously sensitive/reactive face. It also works for dry patches and eczema on my 3 year old.”
Weleda Skin Food Body Butter
Best Unscented Body Butter
- Size: 5 ounces
- Fragrance: Unscented
- Special features: Contains calendula, shea butter, and sunflower seed oil to strengthen skin
This intense body butter treatment features the same uber-nourishing botanical blend as the brand’s beloved and cult-classic Skin Food. At over 100 years old, Weleda has also stood the test of time. Founded in Switzerland in 1921, Weleda was created to celebrate and tap into the power of plants. The body butter includes sunflower oil, pansy extract and calendula to soothe and hydrate sensitive skin.
What reviewers say: “Where has this been all my life? I have really dry skin and could always use the moisturizing ability of a body butter, but I usually end up using them only at night because their heavy, greasy consistencies take a while to absorb–I don’t have time to wait on this in the morning before getting dressed and getting out the door. Skin Food Body Butter offers the outstanding moisturizing of a BB but it absorbs quickly like a lotion, even though it is a rich, thick cream. The fragrance is fresh and very light, not cloying, and it fades, so it won’t clash if you wear a fragrance. Will definitely repurchase.”
Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Body Butter
Best Drugstore Body Butter
- Size: 8 ounces
- Fragrance: Warm, cocoa scent
- Special features: A unique blend of micro-petroleum allows the butter to sink into skin effectively.
You know and love Vaseline for their all-purpose petroleum jelly, which editors and experts love for hydrating dry patches head-to-toe. Formulated with cocoa and shea butter, as well as a special “micro-droplet” blend of vaseline jelly, this Intensive Care Cocoa Body Butter penetrates the skin’s surface layers to moisturize and heal dry skin. It is particularly game-changing for dry and dull skin.
What reviewers say: “I have been using this body butter for over 2 years and my skin has thanked me for it over time. As someone with a history of skin complications (i.e. eczema) I’ve never used drug-store products that have truly worked as described. My skin is soft, smooth, and truly radiant. I buy every single container on the shelf at Walgreens or CVS when it’s time to restock my collection.”
Melach 33 Silky Shea Body Butter
Best Whipped Body Butter
- Size: 10.2 ounces
- Fragrance: Delicate, fresh scent
- Special features: A satiny-smooth finish that leaves skin impossibly soft
Dead Sea minerals make up this formula’s second ingredient, which may sound counter-intuitive to achieve moisturized skin, but its intentional. Melach 33 founder Jennifer McClure discovered the Dead Sea’s amazing skincare benefits during a trip to Israel. In ancient times, people would travel to the Dead Sea to seek its healing powers and now, we understand why: The 33 percent salt content produces mineral-rich crystals, which are the same minerals that help our body detox and regenerate cells. The salts also contain 21 essential minerals that the human body depends on — and 12 of them are found in the Dead Sea. The entire product line contains these beneficial Dead Sea salts, along with antioxidant-rich botanicals and desert oils, but the creamy body butter wraps skin in silky hydration.
What reviewers say: “I have been using Melach 33 Silky Shea Body Butter for a little over a month and I have already seen great results! My keratosis pilaris is diminishing day by day. I have only used half of my jar so far. I have used every single type of product to get rid of my chicken skin and extreme dry skin and nothing has ever come close to the Melach 33 results.”
Bliss Texture Takedown Skin Smoothing Body Butter
Best Body Butter for Glowing Skin
- Size: 6.7 ounces
- Fragrance: Light (but many users note the scent due to the AHA can be hit or miss)
- Special features: Specifically designed to gently reduce rough, bumpy skin.
Do you have small, scaly bumps along your arms, thighs, or butt? You might have a very common condition called keratosis pilaris, or KP, and one of the only ways to treat this innocent but annoying condition is with medicated creams, like this 10 percent AHA body butter from Bliss. The blend gently softens rough, bumpy skin, including KP, to bring soft, healthy-looking skin to the surface. The butter delivers full-body exfoliation without any harsh scrubbing, thanks to its formula powered by glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids.
This cream is a great option for those who don’t have KP, but still suffer from dry, cracked skin in their elbows, knees, or feet. “Shea butter and squalane provide emollient benefits, smoothing the surface of the skin and filling in cracks between skin cells,” says Dr. Zeichner. “A blend of hydroxy acids offer chemical exfoliation, dissolving connections between dead cells so they more easily can be shed from the skin.”
What reviewers say: “The first product I ever used from Bliss was their body butter back in 2013 when I found their products at a boutique hotel I was staying at. I fell in love. To this day, it’s still my absolute favorite product from them. The Texture Takedown body butter is no different from their maximum moisture line in the sense that you can expect exactly what they say it does. After a few days of using this, I’ve already noticed that my skin looks visibly less bumpy!”
Sol de Janeiro Beija Flor Elasti-Cream
Best Scented Body Butter
- Size: 8.1 ounces
- Fragrance: Sweet, musky scent
- Special features: Designed to boost skin elasticity, giving it a more plump and healthy appearance.
This Brazilian brand is known for its scented body creams — and this brand new, collagen-rich body cream has a whole new fragrance. You’ll find that almost all the comments and reviews are dedicated to the cream’s scent — either loving or hating it. Test it out first to see which camp you fall under. Beyond the scent, this formula is intended for daily use to boost skin’s elasticity, leaving it visibly plump, deeply replenished and velvety-soft. Cacay oil, a gentle retinol alternative, and plant-based collagen support cell turnover.
What reviewers say: “‘As soon as I opened the jar so knew I was going to love this cream. The smells is so beautiful I feel like I don’t even need perfume. It wasn’t slimy or sticky and blended very well into my skin. I recommend this product — you won’t be disappointed.”
Augustinus Bader The Body Cream
Best Luxury Body Butter
- Size: 6.7 ounces
- Fragrance: Unscented
- Special features: Includes the brand’s patented Trigger Factor Complex to target cellulite, fine lines, and stretch marks.
By now you’ve probably heard plenty of enthusiastic reviews for Augustinus Bader and the brand’s patented TFC8. The Trigger Factor Complex helps support cellular renewal and guides key ingredients to the skin cells for quicker repair and recovery. TFC8 also works to improve skin tone and texture, as well as promote a healthier barrier function for plumper-looking skin. But most impressively, the brand has seen improvements in two traditionally stubborn categories: cellulite and stretch marks. In fact, 92 percent of users noted an improvement in the appearance of their cellulite.
What reviewers say: “I absolutely love this product. It’s super enriching and my skin feels baby soft. Honestly, you only need a little bit, & actively rub it in your hands to stretch the product first before applying directly to skin.”
Osea Undaria Algae Body Butter
Best Hydrating Body Butter
- Size: 6.7 ounces
- Fragrance: Uplifting grapefruit, lime, and cypress with hints of mango mandarin
- Special features: Handmade in Malibu by the family-owned brand
Created by one of the most passionate family-owned brands around, Osea’s Undaria Algae Body Butter is a product of love. Handcrafted in Malibu, the brand has been harnessing the natural wonders of Mother Nature since 1996. That includes seaweed from the Pacific Ocean right outside of their workshop, along with whipped shea butter and ceramides for a butter that the skin will drink up.
Seaweed is particularly beneficial for skin because it “is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, nutrients, vitamins to support the skin’s moisture barrier and help keep skin looking healthy by fighting free radicals,” explains Jenefer Palmer, the founder of Osea. “It’s luxurious and dense, but sinks right in without a greasy feel.” But don’t just take her word for it: It’s clinically proven to hydrate for 72 hours and in a four-week, third-party consumer-perception study, 100 percent of users said their skin felt softer and 97 percent said skin looked less crepey.
What reviewers say: “This is a wonderful body butter. Love the thickness (very thick) and really lasts. As others have said, I can pill if you use too much, but mostly if you run in too quickly. Take your time to massage into skin and you’ll be golden. The scent is a citrusy musk.”
Body Butter vs. Body Lotion
When it comes to the difference in composition, body butters are purposefully developed to be much thicker than a body lotion. “When you think of a lotion, the classic sense of a lotion, it is much runnier and it’s technically richer in humectants compared to occlusives,” says Dr. Idriss. “Whereas a body butter is much thicker and it is richer in occlusives versus humectants.” This means that body butters will help seal in moisture while body lotions will deliver nutrients to the surface, but not leave a seal of protection to lock in hydration.
Choosing a body butter over a body lotion depends on your skin type, how dry you are, as well as the season or climate that you’re currently living in. “If you’re in a very dry and arid climate, you probably want to go for a thick body butter, especially after a shower, to seal all that moisture and hydration in,” says Dr. Idriss. “If you’re in a much more tropical or humid environment and your skin is not that dry, then a lotion that is richer in humectants is probably the way to go for your body.”
The Benefits of Body Butter
- Deeper Hydration: Since body butters are loaded with ultra-rich hydrators, Shapiro says that “body lotions generally are less hydrating because the formula needs to be more liquid in order to go through a pump or tube. Water, for example, is usually an ingredient in body lotions but is not often in body butters.” Body butters are a great option for those who want a more intense moisturizer, whereas body lotions are generally more lightweight in texture and preferred for everyday use with ‘normal’ skin.
- Targeted Benefits: Body butters usually have additional ingredients designed to benefit skin in a number of ways, whether that’s collagen to plump skin, CBD to soothe, or colloidal oatmeal to reduce itching, body butters are the perfect vehicle to treat various skin conditions. Body butters have proven beneficial even for traditionally difficult-to-treat issues, like cellulite and stretch marks. You’re also likely to get a more varied and complex list of ingredients that can target several things simultaneously, like dryness and cellulite, all in one tub of cream.
- Better Value: Since a little goes a long way with body butters, you typically need to use less formula than you would with body lotions to achieve the level of moisture you’re after. So your tub of body butter will last you longer than a similar size of body lotion.
The Best Body Butters for Different Skin Types
We know that different skin types require unique ingredients to feel and look healthy. Those with dry skin may naturally gravitate toward a body butter over a lotion, but you can find formulas to suit other skin types, too.
- Sensitive: For sensitive skin, a mix of ceramides and other essential fatty acids, like shea butter, help repair the skin barrier, says Dr. Kunin.
- Oily: “Silicones are also a very effective occlusive without having that heavy feeling of petrolatum, mineral oil, or waxes,” says Dr. Idriss. “So if you’re kind of oily, but living in a very dry environment and wanting to kind of seal it in on your body, silicone is your way to go.” Silicones form a barrier on top of your skin and are often found in the ingredient list with words ending in “-ane” or “-one.” Jergens Lavender Triple Butter Blend is a silicone-boosted butter, for example.
- Dry: Shea, cocoa, and mango butters are ideal ingredients for combating dry skin. These are often used because they’re rich in fatty acids, which soften and moisturize the skin. Nourishing oils, like argan, olive, sunflower seed, jojoba, and rosehip, are really wonderful additions to formulas, too, says Shapiro.
- Minimalist: This isn’t a skin type, but if you want to keep your routine super pared-down, try petrolatum. “Good old Vaseline is actually a great body butter,” says Dr. Idriss.
The Best Way to Apply Body Butter
Now that you’re an expert in all things body butter, learn how to properly and effectively slather on thick creams. However, it should be noted that there’s technically no wrong way to apply creams, just more efficient methods to make the most out of your butters.
- Right Out of the Shower: Nearly every single expert interviewed suggested applying body butters to damp skin right out of the shower. You can usually just dab off with a towel quickly and then rub in the cream. Or don’t use a towel at all and immediately get to it — damp skin is crucial here, as it gives humectants like hyaluronic acid more moisture to draw into your skin. “Right out of the shower and on damp skin is always best, as you can lock in moisture with the body butter,” says Shapiro. “I’m personally a nighttime shower kind of person, so I do love to slather it on before bed. Our skin heals at night and it’s just a terrific way of feeding and nourishing our skin.”
- Mid-Day Application: For those wanting more TLC, a mid-day reapplication could be useful to you, especially if there’s a skin concern you’d like to target. Pro tip: Apply a body butter to feet at bedtime to let it soak in overnight to soften the area’s tough skin. If you don’t like a slick feeling on your skin throughout the day, lightly blot away any excess with a wash cloth.
Meet the Experts
- Dr. Audrey Kunin is a board-certified dermatologist, Dermadoctor founder, and Chief Product Officer at NovaBay Pharmaceuticals. A trailblazer in the industry, Dermadoctor has been producing skin-soothing products since 1998.
- Hope Smith is the founder and CEO of Mutha. As the name of the brand hints, Mutha was created by Smith when she was pregnant and looking for solutions to ease her changing body and skin.
- Jenefer Palmer is the founder of California-based skin and body care brand, Osea.
- Bee Shapiro is the founder of Ellis Brooklyn and a New York Times columnist. She launched the brand in 2015 after she had trouble finding sophisticated clean options within the fragrance category.
- Dr. Shereene Idriss is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of her eponymous practice, Idriss Dermatology, in New York. She’s also the creator of the popular #Pillowtalkderm series on Instagram, where she answers users’ questions about everything from sunscreen basics to pregnancy-safe skincare.
- Dr. Joshua Zeichner is a board-certified dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology. His Instagram series #SkincareFromAtoDrZ helps to demystify beauty basics from retinol to skin slugging.
Meet the Author
Kristin Limoges is a New York-based beauty and wellness freelance editor. Previously, she created the beauty and wellness vertical for Domino where she served as the lifestyle editor for both print and digital content. In addition to all things beauty, she also covers travel and fitness. She can usually be found hair masking, face masking, and body masking simultaneously in her Chinatown apartment. Limoges wrote the original version of this body butters story in April 2022.
Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for WWD and Footwear News. She’s spent over five years researching, reporting on, and writing about the beauty industry for publications like Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She’s tested hundreds of products during her time as a beauty editor, so she’s well-versed in selecting the products, like body butters, that make a meaningful difference in your skin. Sullivan updated this body butters story with fresh product picks, more expert information and shopping tips for 2023.