Body Butter vs Lotion: Differences, Similarities, and Uses

A woman holding body butter vs Lotion

We’re all searching for the formula that’ll give us soft, healthy skin and keep it that way! It all comes down to knowing your skin’s needs and the type of skincare products that’ll fulfill them.

When it comes to hydration and moisturizing properties, body butters and body lotions rule the game. But what sets them apart, and what brings them together in their pursuit of skin protection and beautification? That’s exactly what we’re about to show you!

Body Butter vs Lotion: Key Differences

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Although body butters and lotions are fantastic body moisturizers, there’s a major distinction between the two. The ingredients used in their production are different, resulting in completely different textures for the two products.

Body butters are usually made of raw materials, with natural fatsOpens in a new tab., such as cocoa butter and shea butter, taking center stage. They give the product a greasy, buttery texture that, when applied to the skin, forms a thick protective layer to effectively lock in moisture.

That’s why body butter is a match made in heaven for people with cracked or super dry skin!

Body lotions are more processed than body butters and have higher water content. They’re mostly oil-in-water emulsionsOpens in a new tab., which means they’re made by dispersing oils, like vitamin E oil, in water. This results in a lighter texture and a more liquid consistency that the skin can easily absorb.

Thanks to the lightweight effect of lotions, we can use them daily to keep dehydrated skin at bayOpens in a new tab.. You don’t have to worry about them clogging your skin pores like body butter would.

Similarities Between Body Butter and Lotion

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Putting aside the differences, both skincare essentials have a few things in common. The most notable ones are the following:

1. Method of Application

Since lotions and body butters are categorized as moisturizers, they share a similar method of application. They’re spread topically on our bodies from the neck down and are left to work their magic!

This is opposed to body scrubsOpens in a new tab., which are applied to the skin for physical exfoliation and are then washed off.

Moisturizers and damp skin are the yin and yang of skincare; always remember that! Dampness locks in hydration, so keep in mind to apply body butter or lotion on your damp skin immediately after getting out of the shower.

Because your body is still hydrated at this time, using these products will boost the hydration levelOpens in a new tab. of your skin and create a layer to trap moisture in.

2. Hydration and Moisturizing Properties

Body butter and body lotion have a unified goal of supporting and restoring the skin’s moisture barrier, and they’ve been scientifically provenOpens in a new tab. to succeed. They do so through ingredients that work on retaining hydration and maintaining moisturized skin.

That said, the level of hydration and moistureOpens in a new tab. differs between both treatments.

Natural butters are a go-to for anyone seeking intense hydration for their rough skin. Their dense texture keeps the skin moisturized for hours — sometimes up to three daysOpens in a new tab. — and helps replenish the skin’s natural oils.

Lotions don’t have the same long-lasting effect but are less sticky, making them ideal for regular use.

3. Skin Softening and Soothing

With their incredible ability to seal in moisture, you’ll notice how these skincare essentials promote skin elasticity and softness. They’re also an effective way to reduce fine lines and keep your skin smooth, even in areas prone to dryness, like elbows.

You can use lotions and body butter to relieve the infamous symptoms associated with dry skin. They help soothe minor skin irritations, itchiness, flakiness, and tightness. On a related note, jojoba oilOpens in a new tab. is one of the ingredients that work wonders for calming the skin.

When Should You Use Body Butter?

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You should always have body butter as your best friend during the colder months when you’re more prone to having dehydrated skin.

The fluctuating humidity and temperature create the ideal environmentOpens in a new tab. for xerosis, a.k.a dry skin. That’s when we’ll need the help of creamy products that enrich our skin with deep moisturizing and prevent water loss.

If you have sensitive skin and mild-to-moderate body eczema, body butter can also help with that. A study foundOpens in a new tab. that this treatment significantly improved eczema symptoms in adults in just two weeks!

Regardless of the reason for using this product, it’s always best to apply it before going to bed. This gives it more time to moisturize and soothe the skin, and most importantly, you won’t have to go about your day with a sticky feeling!

You should apply body butter 2-3 times per week on normal or oily skin, but if your skin is extremely dry, we recommend using it daily to see positive results.

When Should You Use Body Lotion?

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Body lotions are a must-have in any skincare routine; use them daily to maintain your skin’s healthy hydration levels!

Their non-greasy texture makes them easy to apply at any time of day, especially when your skin needs soothing and rehydrating. Lotions are a vital part of shaving and waxing aftercareOpens in a new tab., and they’re also great to use before exercisingOpens in a new tab. to reduce the likelihood of post-workout skin dryness.

When you excessively use body butter on oily or combination skin, this can result in body breakouts due to clogged pores. But the great thing about most lotions available is that they’re gentle on all skin types, including normal, dry, oily, and combination.

If you have normal, oily, or combination skin, it’s best to stick to lotions to help you maintain your skin’s integrity and barrier function without suffering any negative effects.

Final Thoughts

Body butter and body lotion have similar properties directly working on strengthening our skin’s natural barrier.

The main difference between them is the ingredients they contain, which results in varying degrees of viscosity, with lotions being more lightweight.

Which treatment is best for you will solely depend on your skin type. If you have very dry skin, you will benefit from body butters; otherwise, you can stick to lotions. If you have a serious skin condition, before using any of these products, always seek a dermatologist’s approval.

Paulina Romain

Paulina Romain is an entrepreneur and artist in the beauty industry. She is the founder and owner of The Art of Ink Studio, where she provides services such as permanent cosmetics, microblading, and artistic ink, focusing on personalized body art. Additionally, she owns Mill Pond Salon, through which she aims to deliver big-city salon services in the comfort of a small town. Apart from her hands-on work in her studios, Paulina Romain is also active on social media platforms like TikTok, where she showcases her fine line and cosmetic tattoo work. Furthermore, she's been in the salon and beauty industry for over 14 years and operates Team True Beauty with Sam Romain. This platform includes a blog on various beauty-related topics and marks the opening of two beauty brands by the couple.

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