Dealing With Dry, Crepey Skin? An Expert on Why This Underrated Product Deserves a Comeback

Winter skin woes, be gone.

By Langa Chinyoka
Woman wearing nightgown.

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Baby, it’s cold outside! And while there are many joys to wintry weather, my skin doesn’t relish the season the same way my spirit does. But I’ll admit, there is a silver lining. I take the plummeting temps as an opportunity to spend even more time on my skin and body care routines. Summer’s skinimalism is out and in its place is winter skin that needs some serious nourishing. As a proactive step, I’m loading up on the best body butters for the ultimate skin-smoothing routine.

A wintertime skincare routine is essential. It doesn’t just keep flaky skin at bay, but it helps nourish your body’s microbiome and prevent premature aging. Crepey, cracked skin is one thing, but fundamentally dehydrated skin is another. Thankfully, you can rehab parched skin with a little TLC—or a lot of body butter.

Mary Ralph Bradley using the best body butters.

What is body butter?

Body butter is the ultimate balm for dry skin. Full of vitamins A and E and omega-3 fatty acids, it helps rejuvenate skin elasticity to fight premature aging. All these nourishing vitamins and fatty acids keep your skin cell membranes healthy to lock in moisture and create a protective barrier around the layers of your skin.

But is a body butter suitable for everyone? The thick, occlusive formulas of body butters deeply nourish skin—but can they clog your pores? Some people shy away from body butters for fear of too much of a good thing. To get to the bottom of it, I spoke to a skincare expert who happens to be the founder of my personal favorite body butter brands. Naa-Sakle Akuete, CEO & Founder of Eu’Genia Shea, a family-founded brand dedicated to empowering women through the sale of raw shea butter.

Read on for all you need to know before diving into the wide and moisturizing world of body butter. From the best ingredients to incorporating body butter into your routine, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. Plus, scroll to the end to find the right body butter for you.

Naa-Sakle Akuete

Founder of Eu’Genia Shea

Woman in bathroom.

Body Butter Versus Body Cream

Body lotions, butters, and creams, oh my! How do you tell the difference—and how do you pick which one to use?

“Body butter has a concentrated balm-like consistency that deeply moisturizes and is used mainly on target areas of concern,” says Akuete. “A cream has a lotion-like consistency and can be more readily spread onto the skin.”

The Best Ingredient to Look For

Akuete says to focus on non-comedogenic ingredients, such as unrefined shea butter. “The refining process strips the shea of its natural color, scent, and often vitamins,” she notes.

Other nourishing ingredients to look for include:

  • Jojoba Butter
  • Cupuaçu Butter
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Honey
  • Phytosterols (a type of plant-based oil)
The best body butters.
Image by Belathée Photography

Ingredients to Avoid

Stray from pore-clogging ingredients, says Akuete, as well as those that can irritate the skin. Specifically, this looks like:

  • Fragrance + Parfum
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)

Who should use a body butter?

If you’re new to body butter, get ready to revel in all the hydration. Trust: there’s always room for a body butter in your routine.

“Body butter can be used by everyone,” says Akuete. “Especially those with intense skin concerns like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Even people with oily skin and acne can benefit from using body butter, so long as the products don’t clog pores.”

Woman wearing zebra-print dress.
Image by Belathée Photography

When to Use Body Butter in Your Routine

Body butter locks in moisture, so it’s best used directly after a shower—or following a long soak in the bath. You can also use it on any especially dry areas whenever they need some love. Think elbows, hands, knees, and heels.

“I use Eu’Genia body butters when I’ve gotten out of the shower or washed my hands,” says Akuete. “The Eu’Genia balms came in especially handy when I was pregnant with my daughter—my belly is completely stretch mark free!”

The Best Body Butters for Smoother, Softer Skin

Craving the soft, hydrated skin these heavy-hitting products guarantee? Look no further.

Eu’Genia Shea Butter

The least intimidating way to use body butter is this pure shea butter formula. “If you’re nervous about trying [a body butter] for the first time, says Akuete, I’d recommend the Eu’Genia Dermatological Formula, which is great for people with sensitive skin.”

Skin Food Body Butter

You probably have—or are currently coveting—the cult-favorite Weleda Skin Food hand lotion. Take your skincare a step further with some full-body moisturization to help nourish your skin.

54 Thrones Ugandan Vanilla + Ethiopian Honey Beauty Butter

This luxe body butter uses ingredients sourced in Africa to give your skin the ultimate glow. This vanilla and honey scented version smells as delicious as it sounds.

OSEA Malibu Undaria Algae Body Butter

Draw moisture from the sea with this algae-based body butter made of clean, Malibu-inspired ingredients.

Vaseline Cocoa Radiant Smoothing Body Butter

I grew up on Vaseline cocoa butter, so I consider this thicker and more intense version a must-have body product

Naked Body Butter

Bliss offers high-quality products at an affordable price. The perfect example? This nourishing, unscented body butter.

Ingredients Wellness Shea Butter Stick

This organic raw shea butter and beeswax formula is a convenient and hydrating balm for the skin. The innovative packaging makes it ideal for on-the-go use.

Ultra-Rich Soothing Body Butter

Paula’s Choice delivers the most-coveted products, and this body butter is no exception. Superstar ingredients include shea butter, avena sativa kernel extract, avocado oil, squalane, and jojoba butter.

Buttah Skin Whipped Body Butter

Made with virgin organic unrefined shea butter from Africa, this whipped butter goes on smooth and light without sacrificing nourishment.

Honey Butter Body

Honey is a powerful ingredient for your skin, adding its own anti-inflammatory properties to the antioxidant- and vitamin-rich formulas of most body butters. This pick combines the benefits of both to create a skin-smoothing concoction.

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter

Made of pure, whipped argan oil, this body butter is a luxe and lightweight option for anyone intimidated by thicker formulations.

MUTHA Body Butter

This celeb-loved body butter is worth the hype. Its creamy texture and nourishing ingredient list feed the skin with hydrating and anti-aging properties.

Kopari Beauty Ultra Restore Body Butter

Fortified with hyaluronic acid, this Kopari Beauty favorite intensely hydrates the skin from within.

Moroccan Oil Body Butter Moisturizer

You probably know Moroccan Oil for its line of hair products, but turn your attention to this body butter. Argan oil and hyaluronic acid give you a moisturized glow from head to toe.

True Botanicals Pure Radiance Body Butter

True Botanicals maximizes the benefits of natural ingredients for your skin. This botanical butter is rich with plant-based nutrients that deliver smoother, healthier skin.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk Honey Whipped Body Butter

Shea and jojoba butter combine with soy milk and honey for this lush, but lightly whipped butter that goes on smooth and absorbs fast for instant replenishing.

Brazilian Bum Bum Body Cream

Who can resist a classic? Thanks to TikTok, this forever-favorite is having a renaissance. Enjoy its signature scent combined with the moisturizing powers of cupuaçu butter.

This post was last updated on April 10th, 2023.