Once you start making your own body products, you’ll be hooked. The gorgeous scents, luxurious textures, and sense of achievement make for an excellent hobby.
One of the core ingredients of many body products is natural butter derived from nuts, seeds, fruits, and more. In fact, there’s shea butter or cocoa butter somewhere in your bathroom at this moment. However, there are many more natural butters to choose from, each with a fascinating set of properties and (often) comforting scent.
This guide is dedicated to the best natural butters to use in body products. We discuss our top picks and explore their origins, properties, and who they’re best suited to.
What are natural butters?
Natural butters are solid (or extremely thick) extractions taken from sources such as seeds, beans, and nuts. Butters consist of a number of fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals. This fatty goodness means they are solid at room temperature and melt softly upon contact with skin. They are popular in body products for their hydrating properties, dense vitamin and mineral content, and ability to fuse easily with other ingredients.
What do natural butters do for the skin?
Natural butters are a great friend to the skin because they contain dense and effective fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Fatty acids: The “TLDR” version is that natural butters are incredibly moisturizing thanks to their high fatty acid content. The fatty, emollient nature of nutter butters mean they are highly moisturizing. This rich texture creates a barrier on the skin to combat wind and cold, and stops moisture from escaping from the skin.
Vitamins: the most skin-loving vitamins are vitamins C, E and A. Vitamin C, for example, helps to increase collagen production, the building block of your skin’s structure. More collagen equals tighter, plumper, younger skin. Vitamin A is great for reducing pigmentation, regulating oil production, and helps the skin to heal after acne or other trauma.
Are natural butters safe for everyone?
That’s a great question, as “natural” doesn’t always mean safe. Even the most natural, organic ingredients can be irritating to some skin, so it’s smart to research and patch-test before going all in. In saying that, you are likely safe with most natural butters as they are generally gentle.
Butters such as shea, cocoa, and mango are safe for most skin types unless you have a specific allergy. These butters are great for very oily and even acne-prone skin as they are non-comedogenic. In fact, using fatty ingredients on oily or acne-prone skin is beneficial as they can help to regulate oil production, offer antibacterial properties, and reduce the risk of scarring.
What can you use natural butters for?
As a DIY body product maker, high-quality natural butter is your best friend. You can use them to make lip balm, body lotion, hand cream, heel balms, and more.
Natural butters are easy to use and really don’t need much in terms of accompanying ingredients. While they are highly nourishing and beneficial alone, you can boost the benefits by adding other power players such as fatty oils and therapeutic essential oils. For example, a hand cream mixed with
The best natural butters to use for body products
Great for: dry, frizzy hair. Sensitive, dry skin prone to inflammation. General moisturizing benefits for all skin types. Anti-aging, smoothing, and plumping.
Shea undefined organic butter is one of the most well-known and beloved natural butters. The vitamin and mineral content is excellent, boasting vitamins a and e
The hydrating abilities of shea butter are widely known and utilised. Stearic, oleic, and palmitic make shea butter a wealth of fatty acids that the skin will simply soak up. The result is plump, hydrated, and glowing skin. However fatty and rich, shea butter won’t leave you looking or feeling like an oil slick, as it’s considered more dry than other oils and butters.
As well as younger skin and fewer lines (over time), shea butter may also provide anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. When it comes to whether or not shea butter is comedogenic (pore clogging), the verdict is still out. However, it is unlikely to cause breakouts or clogged pores for most skin types (perhaps refrain from using it on your face if you are acne-prone).
Great for: a quick-absorbing body moisturizer without a greasy residue. Soothing sun and wind-chapped skin and lips. Sun protection (WITH an SPF sunscreen, always).
The health-giving properties of avocados are well-known in terms of food and nutrition due to their high fiber and healthy fat content. However, avocados offer a wealth of goodies for the skin, too. Avocado butter is created (our way, at least) by combining avocado oil with fatty acid-rich vegetable oil and extra vitamin E (via tocopherol).
Research suggests that avocado oil and butter may also help to protect the skin against harmful UV rays. While this is a wonderful thought, we advise to always use an SPF sunscreen along with your avocado products. What we know more surely is that the fatty acids in avocado butter are great at helping with wound healing, collagen production, and deep moisturizing.
Great for: locking moisture into dry skin, especially during dry, cold months. Boosting collagen for younger, more elastic skin. Hydrating acne-prone skin even on the face (it is non-comedogenic).
Jojoba butter is an incredible ingredient for all skin types, especially those that need a little extra moisture and protection against moisture loss. What’s more, it is thought to boost the healing and fading of acne scars as it is packed with vitamin E. If lines, wrinkles, and stress-related dullness are worrying you, jojoba butter may be the perfect pick. Thanks to its antioxidant abilities, jojoba oils and butters are great for slowing and reducing signs of aging and a hectic lifestyle.
Great for: post-sun care, anti-aging. Oily or acne-prone skin (mango butter is non-comedogenic and non-greasy).
And lastly, mango butter. While it sounds like a delicious, juicy treat, this butter is actually made by pressing the kernel of the mango. Rich in vitamins E and C, mango butter is excellent for use after sun exposure as it helps the skin to repair. Plus, vitamin C, as we’ve learned, is great for boosting collagen production in the skin (more collagen = plumper, younger skin).
Organic mango butter tends to be harder than other butters when at room temperature. For this reason, it’s great to combine it with looser ingredients such as jojoba oil to maintain a more spreadable consistency.
Tips and ideas for using natural butters
Always patch test any new ingredient to make sure you are not allergic. It’s also a smart idea to make a “mini” batch of any body product recipe so you can test it out before committing to a larger batch.
Combine natural butter (or a combo of a few) with hydrating, non-comedogenic oils such as jojoba to make a super-sensitive and nourishing body butter.
Natural oils have different shelf lives and storage needs, so ensure you read the information sent to you with your product (or find online). For example, mango butter has a shelf-life of 18 months and should be stored in a cool, dark place below 20 degrees Celsius.