I have unquenchable knees. That’s a weird sentence I have put on the internet, but it’s true. Whether it’s summer, fall, spring, or winter, for whatever reason my knees are plagued with dry skin. Not so for the rest of me, which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I have no desire for the rest of me to be the same kind of itchy, scaly, flaky mess as my knees can be–and a curse because I don’t have one moisturizer that works for my whole body.
I use a daily body cream all year round because that’s what my skin needs to feel healthy, but I also use more targeted moisturizers for the areas where a body cream won’t cut it. I use a cuticle cream every night because with the amount of nail polish remover I put my fingers through, I’m surprised they haven’t fallen off. And for dry patches that need a little extra help, like my knees, I turn to the rescuing hydration powers of body butter.
What’s a body butter?
Body butter is the thickest of the body moisturizers–thicker than body milks, body lotions, and even body creams. For the most part, skin moisturizers are an emulsion of oils and water because, paradoxically, water won’t actually hydrate your skin and just pure oil is often greasy and difficult to work with. Lotions might seem like they’re all the same but the category a moisturizer fits into is determined by its ration of water to oil.
Moisturizers with more water than oil are thinner in consistency and lightly moisturizing. These are things like body milks and body lotions. They’re great for everyday use for skin that isn’t severely dry. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, jump on over to my guides to the best body lotions of 2017, best body milks of 2017, and Best Luxury Hand Creams.
Moisturizers with much higher levels of oil in their formula are thicker in texture, sometimes to the point of being a solid that melts on contact with your body heat. These are products like body creams and body butters and they’re great for targeting areas that need deeper hydration.
Does that mean body butters are greasy?
They shouldn’t be. Some of them are, especially when you skimp and go for low quality brands, but you aren’t going to find those on this list. Body butters should be thick, dense, and melt against your skin. They do take longer to soak in than say an ultra-lightweight body milk, but they do soak in. There shouldn’t be a greasy residue. No one likes that.
Can a moisturizer be too hydrating?
Sort of. It depends on your particular skin. If a body butter moisturizer feels greasy, either you’re using a low quality butter or you don’t need something that heavy. A moisturizer should last you most of the day. If you find yourself reaching to reapply lotion to your hands several times a day, then you need something stronger like a hand cream. (Check out my best luxury hand creams guide.) For example, I could never use a body butter on my face. My skin is very sensitive heavy oils, and if I put a body butter anywhere near my face, I’d be looking at an acne breakout of epic proportions so I stick to acne-preventing facial moisturizers. Read my guide to the best acne treatment systems for adults of 2017 to see what I’m currently using.
Is body butter right for me?
Do you have flaky, itchy, or ashy knees, elbows, shins, or arms that you have to slather in lotion several times a day? Then it’s time to try a targeted butter that you can use less often with better results.
When’s the best time to use a body butter?
The best time to use any moisturizer is right out of the shower after you’ve mostly toweled off. Soaps can strip your skin of its natural protectants and the hot water opens your pores making it a perfect time to apply your moisturizers. Besides that, kind of any time you feel dry, you can use a body butter.
Now that we’ve talked about the how and the why, let’s look at the whats: the best body butters of 2017 to get you all buttered up.
1. Ahava Mineral Botanic Body Butter in Lemon & Sage
This Ahava body butter is packed full of deep moisturizers like shea butter, peach kernel oil, aloe vera, vegetable oil, sea buckthorn oil, and silicones. The thick, white cream goes on silky smooth and absorbs quickly to leave your skin hydrated and supple. Ahava includes water from the Dead Sea and Dead Sea minerals to help your skin hold on to more moisture in the long run, so with regular use, you should need it less and less. Sage leaf water and lemon peel extract help give this silky butter its fresh, green citrusy fragrance. It’s refreshing and bright–a great way to start the day. If that doesn’t appeal to you, Ahava offers several scent options including Hibiscus & Fig, Tropical Pineapple & White Peach , and Lotus & Chestnut. I recently featured their Lotus & Chestnut fragrance in my guide to the best body lotions of 2017.
Price: $22.50 (25 percent off MSRP)
- Great mix of oils including peach kernel oil, sea buckthorn oil, and shea butter
- Contains Dead Sea minerals
- Choice of scents
- No animal testing
- Free of parabens, sulfates, petroleum products, and GMO’s
- Vegetable oil is a vague ingredient
2. Korres Mulberry Vanilla Body Butter
Korres is an awesome brand that doesn’t use animal testing and many of their products are vegan-friendly. It’s thin for a butter, but if you prefer a texture that is more spreadable and doesn’t come in a tub, this is a great choice. Shea butter, sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil, avocado oil, and glycerin deeply hydrate while quince fruit extract and grape seed extract improve skin health and texture. It’s never greasy and makes your skin feel supple and refreshed. Korres has tried to avoid as many artifical ingreidents as possible and this Mulberry Vanilla Body Butter is 93.4 percent natural ingredients, which is really specific. The fragrance is balanced and warm kind of sugary sweet. It can be a little too foody for some, but if the idea of a mulberry smoothie appeals to you, you’ll love this. If you’re looking for something less sweet, Korres’ Body Butters also come in floral Jasmine and bright Basil Lemon.
- No mess tube
- Moisturizing shea butter, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Free of parabens, silicones, phthalates, petroleum products, and mineral oils
- Several scents to choose from
- Not as thick as other butters
3. Antica Farmacista Body Butter in Prosecco
Antica Farmacista is an amazing fragrance house out of Seattle. Their fragrances are unique for me in that they are very multidimensional and interesting. I love having all these notes in a personal fragrance that you can’t quite pin down. I have this body butter and Prosecco is definitely one of those scents for me. It sort of translates the experience of Champagne into a scent. Prosecco has notes of sparkling black current and passion fruit with bright satsuma and juicy apricot. The fragrance and hydration lasts throughout the day. Okay, enough about the dreamy fragrance–on to the butter.
Antica Farmacista uses deep moisturizing mango seed butter, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, glycerin, and silicone to seal all that moisture in. Beeswax and clover blossom honey hold on to moisture and condition your skin. I’m a huge fan of beeswax and honey in my deep moisturizers. I love the silkiness they lend to the texture and this butter doesn’t disappoint. This is a deeply hydrating butter perfect for thirsty elbows and shins during the chapping winter months. I’ve featured Antica Farmacista recently in my guides to best body lotions of 2017, best luxury hand soaps, and their fragrances in the best home fragrance products and best luxury candles.
If Prosecco doesn’t appeal to you, their body butters come in almost a dozen different scents including Acqua (sea air, white musk, and marine algae) and Damascena Rose (rose, rhubarb, and warm amber.) I was sent this body butter by Antica Farmacista along with some fragrance samples to try out, but made it very clear that was not a guarantee of a positive review or even that I would review any of the products at all. It’s important to all of us at Heavy that we are upfront and honest with any companies we communicate with, but most importantly that we are upfront and honest with our readers. And the truth is, I’m hooked on their scents now.
- Many scents to choose from
- Made in America
- Free of parabens and artificial fragrances
- Not vegan (beeswax and honey)
4. Bliss Grapefruit & Aloe Body Butter
The Bliss line of body butters come in these no mess tubes which work perfectly with their unique texture. The consistency is like creamy, softened butter. It’s thinner than some tub body butters but thicker than most body creams. It’s very silky and luxuriant and thick enough that at first you’ll think it will leave you greasy, but the butter disappears into your skin as you rub it in and there’s no residue. Bliss butters are so spreadable and with such nice glide that they are a perfect body butter for using during therapeutic massage when you need slip but not as much as from a massage oil. For hydration, these butters use coconut oil, shea butter, soybean oil, and hyaluronic spheres–which are magical seeming molecules that plump up your skin, reducing fine lines. If you want to learn more about how hyaluronic spheres work, check out my best lip plumpers guide.
In addition to moisturizers, Bliss also includes botanical extracts to support skin health including arnica flower, Atlantic oarweed, and calluna flower. The scents are heavenly. Grapefruit & Aloe has that bright, sparkling citrus smell of grapefruit and the cool, subtle cactus fragrance of aloe. This body butter also comes in Lemon & Sage, Vanilla & Bergamot, and the unscented Naked.
Price: $20 (31 percent off MSRP)
- Hydrating shea butter, coconut oil, soybean oil, and hyaluronic spheres
- No mess tube
- Choice of scents
- Nourishing botanicals
- Paraben free
- Great for massages
- The fragrance isn’t long lasting
5. Crabtree & Evelyn Skin Nourishing Body Butter in Avocado, Olive & Basil
This is one of the thickest and most deeply moisturizing of the lot. This butter uses avocado butter, avocado oil, shea butter, beeswax, squalene, glycerin, olive oil, grape seed oil, and silicone to hydrate and seal all that moisture in. With a list like that, there’s bound to be an oil that your body clicks with that helps you get that soft, hydrated feeling. Antioxidant-rich olive fruit extract and conditioning basil extract support skin health and help to improve skin texture. The fragrance of this butter is very light, so if you like to substitute your personal fragrances for moisturizers, this one won’t do the job. It has a subtle green scent with a hint of brightness from the basil, but it fades quickly. Because it contains beeswax, along with the eight other moisturizers, this is a very thick cream so this one is perfect for at night before going to bed.
- Intensely moisturizing
- Nourishing fruit extracts
- Very light fragrance
- Free of parabens, phthalates, and mineral oils
- Not vegan (beeswax)
- Not enough fragrance for some
Find more Crabtree & Evelyn Skin Nourishing Body Butter in Avocado, Olive & Basil information and reviews here.
6. Davines Authentic Replenishing Butter
This is a multipurpose butter by Davines for moisturizing your body, hair, and face. You know your skin needs best, but I wouldn’t recommend this for a face moisturizer. It’s too heavy for that. But I absolutely do recommend it for a body butter and as an occasional hair mask. This is another butter with a long and varied list of moisturizers including shea butter, jojoba oil, safflower oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and glycerin. It’s a very thick butter with a little bit of a whipped consistency, making it spread easily and melt into your skin quicker. It has a lemony citrus scent that isn’t overpowering but is refreshing when you first put it on. I like that you can use this on all part of your body and I think the reusable glass bottle just looks really classy.
- Moisturzing shea butter, safflower oil, and jojoba oil
- 98 percent naturally-derived ingredients
- Free of parabens, silicones, PEG’s, and artificial colors
- Multipurpose butter for body, hair, and face
- Really too heavy for your face
7. Archipelago Botanicals Black Honey Body Butter
This body butter uses replenishing oils and nourishing botanicals to support skin health. Black honey is honey made by the largest bees in the world that live by rainforests in Southeast Asia. The rainforest flowers that are free from pesticides help to produce this dark-colored honey that has been used for its moisturizing and skin healing properties for centuries. For even deeper moisture Archipelago Botanicals adds cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil for a rich, buttery texture that sinks in fast. Extracts of aloe vera, willow bark, grape seed, honeysuckle, acai berry, oat, arnica flower, and ginger help to reduce redness, inflammation, and provide anti-aging antioxidants. The fragrance of this butter has that sweet honey smell along with warm ginger and brightness from grapefruit and bergamot notes. It makes me think of relaxing hot herbal tea. I recently featured Archipelago Botanicals in my guides to the best body lotions of 2017, best luxury hand creams, and best home fragrance products.
If black honey doesn’t sound appealing, Archipelago Botanicals offers the same intense moisturizing butters in Soy Milk, Marine (jasmine and tonka bean), Coconut, Lavender, Oat Milk (toasted oat, coconut, and tea), and Pomegranate.
- Healing, rare black honey
- Cocoa butter and shea butter
- Nourishing botanical extracts like arnica, willow bark, and acai
- Many scent choices
- Gluten and paraben free
- Not vegan (honey)
8. Mio Future Proof Firming Active Body Butter
If you’re looking for a body butter that doubles as a skincare product to help your skin look and feel younger, the Mio Future Proof Firming Active Body Butter is probably made for you. This butter is chock full of natural ingredients that both help fight the aging process and roll back the clock on fine lines. As we age, our skin begins to lose collagen, its elasticity, and the healthy layer of fat under our skin which makes skin wrinkle and sag. Antioxidants fight the free radicals that contribute to this aging process and two of the most antioxidant rich foods on the planet are blueberries and pomegranates–and this body butter uses blueberry seed oil and pomegranate seed oil which is a combination I haven’t seen anywhere else. This butter also contains Reishi mushroom and oakmoss extracts which help skin feel thicker (in a plumping, healthy way) as well as reduces inflammation.
This butter is so hydrating that you really only need to use it once a day, and a little goes a long way so your jar should last you a good while. For moisturizers in addition to blueberry and pomegranate seed oils, Mio also uses shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, sweet almond oil, olive oil, glycerin, and silicones. It also contains hyaluronic acid spheres which absorb moisture and swell up like little sponges under the surface of your skin making it appear fuller, smoother, and more supple. This is a very slippery butter with a consistency closer to a very thick cream. It spreads like a dream and never leaves a greasy residue. It has a floral, spa-like fragrance that may be a little strong for those who prefer unscented products, but fades quickly.
- Unique moisturizers like blueberry seed oil and pomegranate seed oil
- Contains hyaluronic acid spheres
- Full of anti-aging nutrients
- Never greasy
- Lasts all day
- Free of parabens, mineral oils, PEG’s, phthalates, and artificial dyes
- Pricier than others
- Fragrance is a little strong
9. Vichy Ideal Body Balm Skin Firming Body Butter
The Vichy Ideal Body Balm Skin Firming Body Butter is another anti-aging body butter meant to plump and smooth skin as it moisturizes. Hyaluronic acid spheres are also featured in this for their ability to help your skin retain moisture and appear fuller. Unique natural oils like passion fruit oil, rice bran oil, dog rose oil, and coriander oil join deep moisturizers like shea butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, and macadamia nut oil to restore your skin to a healthy, supple softness. This butter does contain mineral oil products and palm oil, which some people prefer to avoid mainly due to the environmental impact these products have. That’s not an issue for everyone, but you should know just in case.
This butter glides on easily and feels very pampering, though it does take longer to absorb into your skin than some other butters on the list. The Ideal Body Balm Skin Firming Body Butter gives your skin an attractive glow and healthy shine, partly because it absorbs slower and partly because it contains mica, which is nature’s glitter. The fragrance is very light, like a delicate peaches and cream scent. I recently featured Vichy’s body milk in my guide to the best body milks of 2017.
- Gives skin a healthy glow and shine
- Unique oils like passion fruit oil and dog rose oil
- Contains hyaluronic acid spheres
- Paraben free
- Contains mineral oil and palm oil
- Takes longer to soak in than other butters
10. Sabon Vanilla Coconut Body Butter
The Vanilla Coconut Body Butter by Sabon is the densest butter on the list. It’s a brick. A nice, moisturizing brick. This butter is so solid that it is uniquely packaged in posh looking box. Sabon has combined thick shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut butter, and beeswax to make an intensely concentrated moisturizer. Because it’s so concentrated, this isn’t a butter that you can dip a finger in and spread over your arms quickly–this is a much more of a spa, self-pampering ritual. You can run your finger over the surface of the butter for enough moisture for your hands. It takes that little. For more, you can use the back of your fingernail or other implement to take a small amount of the butter and it will quickly melt against your body. Because it does take longer, I don’t think I would recommend this for people who are looking for a quick, morning routine body butter. There’s a warm coconut and white musk fragrance that’s not at all artificial smelling. The Sabon butters also come in Lavender, Lemon Mint, and Patchouli Lavender Vanilla.
- Ultra-concentrated moisturizer
- Shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil
- Choice of several scents
- Not vegan (beeswax)
- May be too solid for some