With all the butters in the world, it’s hard to know which one to cook with let alone which type of butter you should use on your hair and skin. That’s why a Butter 101 article is long overdue: Your butter of choice will depend on your skin and hair type and, of course, the things the beauty woes that ail you most.
Let’s talk about butter source first. To get the most out of your butter it’s essential to purchase a raw, organic product free of GMOs and other ingredients. Also, you should know that if you are relying on plant-based ingredients for anything from acne to dry skin or brittle hair, you will not see the same results as you will by using OTC products. This isn’t because OTC products necessarily work better; it’s mainly because the healing properties of plant-based products are more potent in their natural forms. When plant based oils are heated at high temperatures, many of the nutrients (certainly not all!) disappear. This is why you may see coconut oil for high heat cooking will be refined and coconut oil for beauty products will be unrefined.
While I like to consider myself a butter connoisseur, making some myself or just heavily researching the ones that are impossible to make, I still wanted to do some digging to break down the difference of seven of the most popular butters in beauty right now. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that any of these butters can be used from head to toe, but the real gift from nature is that no matter who you are? There is a butter out there for you.
1. Kokum Butter
Kokum butter is one of my fave butters to use in my homemade
lotion; it’s a natural emollient that is easily absorbed into the skin. Kokum
has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties making it
an ideal moisturizer for oily or acne prone skin. You can take these kokum
butter benefits from your skin and apply them on your scalp too!
2. Mango Butter
Mango butter is super nourishing. As a natural emollient,
it’s similar to kokum butter, but stands out because of the many claims that it
protects against UV rays. According to Aura
Cacia Educator and Aromatherapist, Charlynn Avery, it’s a better
idea to rely on butters in your sun aftercare than to rely on them solely to
protect you from the sun. Mango
butter is rich in
vitamins A, C, and E and it’s a real treat after
you’ve been soaking up the sun.
3. Olive Butter
Although olive butter is often sold in cosmetics as its own
deal, most often the olive oil itself is infused with shea butter or coconut
oil to give it a creamy texture. Olive
butter is incredibly moisturizing and while it feels heavy during
application, it’s quickly absorbed into the skin. My dry hands have been drinking
up homemade olive butter on the reg lately.
4. Hemp Seed Butter
If you hadn’t guessed it, hemp seed butter comes from the
cannabis plant sans THC, so while your skin may feel good enough to be high, it
won’t be. You can attribute that glowing feeling to the easily absorbed
butter hemp seed produces. According to sources at Blackhair101, hemp
seed butter is rich in omeg-6 and amino fatty acids. Since hemp seed butter
fights moisture loss you can use it from head to toe.
5. Shea Butter
Shea butter has proven time over time to be one of the best
natural emollients, but that’s likely because it has the most research.
According to Wellness Mama, a 2010 study classified shea butter as an
anti-inflammatory. Rich in fatty acids, the butter from the shea nut
increases collagen production, strengthens and improves skin elasticity. This
is going to be a go-to butter for removing scars, cellulite, and diminishing
the appearance of stretch marks, if you so desire.
6. Almond Butter
Almond butter, when made at home, is a natural exfoliate
that’s high in vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids. According to sources at
Naturally Nutty, almond
butter can prevent premature aging from UV rays and serves as a sufficient
anti-inflammatory. Sounds like a perfect mask for a blemish-free face.
7. Cocoa Butter
Take one whiff of raw cocoa butter and you just know there
are good things in store for your body and hair. Rich in antioxidants, cocoa
butter creates a natural barrier between your body’s natural oils and the rest
of the world that tries to break it down by protecting your skin. Cocoa butter
reduces inflammation and can moisturize from your scalp all the way down to your
feet. According to Charlynn, cocoa butter has been historically used to reduce
the appearance of stretch marks. I, for
one, have never made a homemade lotion without it.
You can use butters solo to get all the delicious
moisturizing qualities, but combining your butters with oils and essentials can
make for the lotion your bod has been dreaming of. Charlynn suggests adding a
lighter oil when you melt your butter, particularly an oil that works best for
your skin. “If you add a quick absorbing oil like apricot kernel or grapeseed,
you can create a simple lotion that absorbs well and has a less heavy feel on
Now that you’ve had your crash course, why not whip up a soothing lotion in your own kitchen?