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Body lotion vs. body butter and how to choose the one that works for you

Body lotion vs. body butter and how to choose the one that works for you

Body lotion vs. body butter and when to use


Hydration, hydration, hydration - all our skin really needs is moisture. No matter your beauty goals, healthy skin should be the bedrock of your beauty regime. But there's a cornucopia of moisturisers out there, which has us asking all kinds of questions. Body lotion vs. body butter is one of those quandaries. One sounds familiar, and the other delicious, but do we really know them? Let's see if you are using the right one.

Body lotion vs. body butter

The trusty body lotion is a hydration staple and the most basic item in our skincare regime. Body butter is more intense and delivers nutrition and deeper hydration. Let us break down their differences one by one.


The most obvious difference between body butter and lotion is the consistency. Body lotions are thinner than body butter. They are also lighter than body butter. Lotions are water-based and have less concentrated oils. They have a liquid consistency. Body butter takes after its name - thicker and creamier. It uses fats such as shea butter as a base, while body lotion is typically formulated with lightweight hydrators like glycerin. They are heavy-duty skin moisturisers.


Body butter contains a rich blend of ingredients in higher concentrations. They use natural butter like shea, coconut, cocoa, avocado, olive, jojoba, argan, mango, or grapefruit. Also infused are essential oils or carrier oils. These have more occlusive properties.

Body lotions are half water-based and half oil-based and contain more processed ingredients than body butter. They also have higher water content. These include occlusives, humectants, emollients, and vitamins. Commonly found ingredients are glycerin, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, squalane, lactic acid, petrolatum, benzoyl peroxide, beta-hydroxy-acids, alpha-hydroxy-acids, peptides, titanium oxide, and titanium oxide. Body lotions primarily consist of humectants.

Lotions provide hydration with essential ingredients, while body butter offers extra nourishment and deeper hydration with concentrated ingredients.


Lotions get absorbed into the skin faster due to their lighter consistency. Body butter is thicker and great for spreading all over the skin. However, they do not have to be greasy. There are many non-greasy body butter formulas.


The rich ingredients of body butter offer longer and deeper hydration. They hydrate dry to rough skin for prolonged periods. Lotions are fast-absorbing and do not last as long as butter. You will need to replenish your skin several times as required. If you have normal to oily skin, use body butter for 2-3 days or once a week to prevent your skin from becoming oily. Remember, body butter is rich in natural oils from fatty ingredients.

Body butter benefits

Body butter is an intensive moisturiser. Enriched with nuts, seeds, fruit, vitamins, and fatty acids, retaining moisture for 48 hours or more is their strength. They are deeply nourishing due to their high concentration of natural ingredients. Due to their thicker consistency, they form a protective barrier on the skin to protect from environmental aggressors and irritants. Whipped body butter offers more lightweight moisture than regular ones.

Shea butter is one of the most popular ingredients in body butter. It can minimise hyperpigmentation, dullness, and aging spots, as well as soothe red, puffy, and irritated skin. Vitamins A and E are in abundance in shea butter to rejuvenate your skin. Body butter can keep dry patches on elbows and knees moisturised more effectively. You can use it to pamper your feet as well.  Body butter can ease the irritation of waxing, exfoliating, shaving, or inflamed skin.

Pampering your dry skin with body butter and leaving it overnight intensifies its effect on the skin and repair the barrier while you sleep.

Moisturiser benefits

Moisturising performs an essential role in trapping water in the skin and rebuilding the skin barrier that gets depleted through cleansing and environmental challenges. A good moisturiser has water-attracting humectants, barrier-boosting ingredients (like ceramides and niacinamide), and occlusive ingredients, like petrolatum. These ingredients reduce water evaporating from the surface. Lotions are a better option when it is humid and your skin can retain some moisture naturally.

Dermatologists recommend moisturising daily. The number of times you need to apply body lotion depends on your skin. Ideally, you should apply body lotion right after getting out of the shower while the skin is still damp. It helps retain some moisture from water. Dry skin requires moisturising three times a day. Let the lotion fully absorb into the skin before getting dressed. Lotions are fast-absorbing and make an excellent choice for hydrating in a hurry.

To support the skin barrier and lock in moisture, look for formulas with hyaluronic acid, essential fatty acids like shea butter and avocado oil, humectants like glycerin, or emollients like lanolin. Active ingredients like retinol and vitamin C can also help even out the skin tone and soften fine lines. AHA and BHA in lotions help exfoliate the skin to remove dead cells.

Best Brands

Here are some of our favourite body butter and body lotion picks

Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Body Butter, Vaseline Blue Seal Rich Conditioning Cocoa Butter Jelly, Argan Oil Body Butter, and Dr. Rashel 99% Shea Butter Soothing Gel contain enriching natural hydrator ingredients. 

Staples like Nourish & Soothe Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Lotion and Skin Renewing Body Lotion Collagen Elastin by St. Ives, Invigorating Ritual and Restoring Ritual Body Lotions by Dove, and Nivea Body Lotion Rich Nourishing 48h Dry to Very Dry Skin are best-loved lotions in the moisturiser world.

Iris Garden Fuller's Earth with Shea Butter Body Lotion, Iris Garden Rose with Shea Butter Body Lotion, O'nelle Natural Herbal Shea Butter & Bee Honey Perfume Body Lotion, Herbal Line Gluta Gold Natural Glow Body Lotion, and Frella Men Body Lotion Mahanarayana are also amazing at nourishing and hydrating skin.

Body butter and body lotions are hydration heroes. Choosing between the two depends on your skin type. However, incorporating the two into your skin care regimen will improve it. Hydrated skin is healthy, plump, and dewy.  Nourishment for the skin while providing moisture keeps your skin looking young. So, combine the goodness of nourishing ingredients in body butter with the moisture-replenishing daily lotion, and your skin will thank you for the boon. Essential is your one-stop shop for buying original international and local skincare products.

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