What are Plant-Based Body Butters?
If you’re a fan of natural skin care, you’ll love body butters. Packed with lush moisture and protective properties, the best body butters provide ultimate nourishment to your skin. So what are they? Plant butters are derived from the kernels, beans, nuts, and seeds of numerous plants. They don’t contain any water and are made of rich fatty-acids. Therefore, they are thick and solid at room temperature, melting upon skin contact. Plant-based body butters are often added to natural and cosmetic products to add richness and structural stability. You can also use them on their own. Body butters sink deep into the skin unlike commercial moisterizers. They deliver intense hydration and nutrients, offer a natural solution for cracked, dry skin, and much more. And the best part? Since they’re naturally derived, plant-based skin butters work particularly well for sensitive skin.
Plant-based Body Butter composition
The reason that plant-based body butters provide so much nourishment to skin is because they contain what’s called essential fatty acids or EFAs. Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 constitute essential fatty acids. As suggested in the name, they are essential to our health. From heart function to joint health, and of course our skin, EFAs help us stay healthy and hydrated. However, our bodies don’t produce all these vital acids naturally, so we must source them elsewhere. We most commonly get them from food: vegetable and fish oils, walnuts, leafy greens, and more. However, when it comes to our skin, we’re able to apply them topically through body butters! Applying plant-based body butters to the skin deposits the rich elements of EFAs directly to our skin.
The type of omega 3 in plant-based butters is an Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA). ALA improves skin’s durability, reduces inflammation, improves brightness of the skin, and even protects against UV damage.* The Omega 6 in plant-based butters is a Linoleic Acid which is vital to the growth and function of the epidermis or the outermost layer of the skin. A deficiency of Linoleic Acid will result in damaged, weak, and dry skin. So applying Omega 6 topically protects and firms the skin.
Furthermore, the Omega 9 in body butters is an Oleic Acid. Unlike Omega 3 and 6, Omega 9 is produced in the body. However, our skin is often off balance, so supplementing Omega 9/Oleic Acid locks in moisture and keeps our skin functioning well. Some plant-based skin butters also contain Palmitic acid which is an emollient, delivering high moisture and creating a barrier to slow moisture loss. Additionally, some body butters have Stearic Acid which not only treats and prevents dryness, but also cleanses and fights clogged pores and blackheads.
In addition to EFAs, plant-based skin butters are also high in vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, polyphenols, and minerals, all of which are critical to healthy, glowing skin. From anti-ageing, to strengthening, reducing inflammation, protecting against UV-rays, detoxing, and of course moisturising, the effects of applying skin butters topically will not be lost.
Plant-Based Skin Butter Characteristics
Anything applied to the skin is absorbed by the body. Therefore, ensure the plant-based skin butters you use are the highest quality. Even the best organic butters go rancid with time. Paying attention to the aroma, method of extraction, and absorption of the butters helps you assess the quality of the plant-based body butter.
Plant-based skin butters should be odorless or have a delicate nutty sweet scent characterized by the plant they’ve been extracted from. Any strong perfumey scents from a plant butter is indicative of added fragrance or other ingredients. Additionally, pay attention to how the butter has been extracted. Raw and organic butters are always purer and better suited for skin sensitivities. Additionally, unrefined butters are filtered to remove any dirt, dust, or unwanted particles, but the integrity of the product isn’t affected.
Lastly, when choosing your plant-based body butter, consider the rate of absorption into the skin. This has more to do with personal preference than quality. Thinner butters generally absorb quicker into skin and don’t leave a greasy residue behind. Therefore, they are more suited to those with oily or combination skin. On the other hand, if you’re looking to treat severely dry or cracked skin, thicker butters work better. They deliver more intense hydration, and leave behind a protective barrier, ensuring that no moisture escapes.
Each plant-based body butter has a different shelf-life. It’s important to take note of this when you purchase the product. Store your butters in an air-tight container and keep them in a cool dark place, such as under your bathroom sink or in a cabinet. This preserves your butters for the longest amount of time at their highest quality. And when in doubt – throw it out! If you have plant-based skin butters and can’t remember when you purchased them or they’re not looking or smelling quite right, it’s better to be safe and get new butter. Using a rancid butter won’t work as well and causes skin irritation.
Plant-based skin butters are versatile and diverse. Each one offers different benefits and uses. From cleansers and moisturizers, treatments for eczema and psoriasis, to amazing hair masks and UV protection*, there is a plant butter out there for everyone. As with any new product, we always recommend performing a patch test first. Try out a few different butters and find one that works best for you. Take your time and you may just find a plant-based body butter that will stick with you for life!
The Best Plant-Based Body Butters
As with anything given to us by Mother Nature, plant-based body butters come in all varieties from all over the world. Here are our favorite plant-based skin butters for you to try!
Sourced from the fruit of Plantonia trees growing in the Amazon Rainforest, Bacuri butter (Platonia insignis) provides many skin benefits. Traditionally, Bacuri butter treated snake and spider bites, as well as arthritis. The butter also reduces scarring. A cold-pressed process extracts oil from the fat laden seeds, which is then filtered. The oil is thick with a dark brown hue and a deeper earthy scent.
This powerhouse contains 69% Palmitic acid and 24% Oleic acid. Working in conjunction, these two acids soften the skin and create a natural protective barrier that slows water loss. Palmitic acid, with antioxidant properties, works well as a natural anti-aging ingredient.
Bacuri butter doesn’t leave behind a greasy feeling, so it works well for those with oily skin. However, its dark color leaves behind a golden tint, especially visible on those with fairer skin. For this reason, you may find it better as a night-time moisturizer. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it great to use after shaving. For those with darker hair, Bacuri butter works amazingly well as a leave-in conditioner for high gloss & shine!
This well-known butter has a long history. Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao) use, dates backs to 1500 BC Mesoamerica. Now considered one of the most important historic crops with mighty economic importance in both food and cosmetics. Cocoa was even used as currency in ancient Aztec and Mayan societies. The butter is extracted from the seeds of Cocoa trees grown in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Cocoa beans are roasted, peeled, and then pressed to extract the oil. The remnants of the bean become cocoa powder! Pale and yellowish in color, Cocoa butter smells of chocolate.
Polyphenols in Cocoa butter provide antioxidants that improve skin’s elasticity and tone. The butter’s high level of phytochemicals improve blood flow to the skin, helping it appear brighter. The polyphenols and phytochemicals slow the skin’s aging process and provide some sun damage protection.
A fantastic and nourishing moisturizer, Cocoa butter forms a protective barrier to slow water loss and protect against environmental stressors. This skin butter also reduces the appearance of scars, discoloration, and stretch marks. In addition, it helps treat skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, and offers an effective relief from burns. Although one of the thickest plant-based skin butters, it melts easily with skin-contact and quickly absorbs into the skin.
The cold pressing process of seeds from the fruit of Amazonian Cupuacu trees produces Cupuacu butter (Theobroma grandiflorum). The butter of Cupuacu trees, a cousin of the Cocoa tree, sometimes replaces cocoa butter in chocolate making as a cheaper alternative. The pale yellow colored butter offers a fruity chocolatey scent.
In addition to EFAs, Cupuacu butter contains a high level of Sterols, which act as beneficial antioxidants. High levels in vitamin E in the butter support skin cell function and protect against free-radicals. Its extremely high water absorption capacity (240% higher than lanolin) restores your skin’s natural hydration levels. Similar to cocoa butter, Cupuacu butter’s potent phytosterols make it great for anti-inflammation.
Cupuacu butter effectively moisturizes for skin and hair. With its anti-inflammatory properties, the skin butter treats dermatitis. This amazing skin butter also improves skin’s elasticity. It’s a softer butter, and leaves behind an oily film, ideal for extremely dry or cracked skin. Cupuacu butter benefits oilier skin on those dryer parts of the body, such as the elbows and knees. Additionally, it makes a great lip balm!
Produced from the cold-pressed seeds of the Hemp plant, Hemp seed butter (Cannabis sativa) offers many benefits. Although most significantly produced in China, Hemp grows in many countries, including the USA, Australia, and parts of Europe. It’s one of the quickest growing plants, taking only 3-4 months to fully mature. Pale yellow-green in color, Hemp butter offers a subtle nutty aroma.
Rich in Vitamin A, Hemp seed butter stimulates skin-cell production, making it an increasingly popular anti-aging product. Its extremely high EFA content at 76%, contains all four EFAs. It’s also high in zinc, which naturally fights acne and other skin irritations.
Hemp Seed Butter is one of the dryer butters, so it absorbs into the skin easily without feeling greasy. Those with oily skin find it a great option. It offers some natural protection against damaging UV rays, and the skin butter delivers superb moisturizing for up to 24 hours!
The fruit-bearing Kokum trees, native to the tropical regions of India, are the source for this nourishing skin butter. Kokum butter’s (Garcinia inidica) rich culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic history dates back hundreds of years in the Ayruvdeic culture. Extracted from the high-fat seeds, Kokum butter, offers no discernible scent. Its color is a grayish yellow.
Rich in Vitamin E, Kokum butter helps skin cells protect against free-radicals. Additionally, Kokum butter’s uniform triglyceride composition makes it very stable with a shelf-life of up to 25 months. The high levels of Stearic acid in this skin butter deeply moisturize.
Its hard, crumbly texture melts easily on the skin. Kokum butter absorbs quickly without a greasy residue. Therefore, this skin butter moisturizes the whole body, particularly lips, elbows, knees, and feet. The butter also provides moisture to your hair and scalp. Traditionally, Kokum butter soothed cuts, sores, and burns. Its emollient properties moisturize the skin, making it appear more youthful and glowing.
Extracted from the nuts of the Kukui Tree (Aleurites moluccana), aka Candlenut Tree, this pale yellow butter offers little scent. The Kukui Tree is Hawaii’s official state tree. It has a rich cultural history with local people using every part of the tree.
High in Vitamin A and C, Kukui butter provides nourishing benefits. Vitamin A stimulates the production of new skin cells, giving the skin a youthful and fresh appearance. It also treats acne and prevents premature aging. As a strong antioxidant, vitamin C neutralize damaging free-radicals. A popular commercial skincare ingredient, Vitamin C improves tone and boosts collagen production. Therefore, Kukui Nut butter delivers fantastic natural anti-aging benefits.
Kukui butter moisturizes and protects the skin, but it also supports hair health as well. It promotes hair growth when used on the scalp and repairs damaged hair shafts, all while moisturizing your scalp and preventing water loss. Additionally, Kukui butter gives immediate relief to cracked dry skin. It absorbs easily and leaves a silky smooth skin feel. It works especially well for those with sensitive skin.
Produced from the kernel of a fruit we know and love, Mango butter (Mangifera indica) is one of skin’s best friends. Other than being delicious, Mangos share sweet benefits for all skin skin types. Mangos grow in tropical regions around the world including Central and South America, Asia, The Carribean, and more. Mango butter has a pale-yellow color and smells slightly sweet, reminiscent of the fruit.
Mango butter contains high levels of Mangiferin. Found only in mangos, this unique polyphenol gives the butter its rich antioxidant properties. Therefore, Mango butter protects your skin from environmental stressors and free radicals. The Oleic Acid in Mango butter helps with anti-inflammation of the skin, reducing redness and puffiness in the face. Additionally, Mango butter’s generous levels of Vitamin E serve as a natural anti-aging agent by boosting the skin’s collagen and elasticity. It works particularly well for sensitive and irritated skin.
Mango butter’s semi-solid texture absorbs quickly into the skin, giving it a luxurious body-feel. It improves skin hydration and boosts overall smoothness. This makes it a good full-body moisturizer. It’s also suitable to use as a lip-balm or as a base in DIY lip balm recipes. In addition to high-intensity hydration, Mango butter protects your skin from damaging UV light*, and regenerates the skin’s natural protective barrier.
Mowrah butter (Madhuca latifolia) originates from the seeds and fruit of the Madhuca tree in India. Historically, people in India enjoyed it as a natural moisturizer and age-defying product. The fruit and seeds are ground together and cold-pressed to extract the butter. With a pale-yellow color the butter offers a faint, mild scent.
Notably high in Oleic Acid, Ucuuba butter supports skin-cell function. It’s high Stearic Acid content unclogs and cleanses pores. Additionally, Mowrah butter’s tocopherol and phytosterols content protect and regenerate skin cells.
Revered for its anti-aging properties, Mowrah butter reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and even stretch marks. It improves skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. A semi-solid butter, it melts quickly into the skin, leaving a slight sheen. This protective barrier fights against free-radicals and instantly leaves even the driest skin feeling smooth. When ingested, Mowrah butter helps with digestion & headaches!
This rich butter, extracted from the fruit seeds of the Murumuru tree (Astrocaryum murumuru), originates from the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Ground animals eat the ripened fruit and leave behind the seeds which contain approximately 40% fat. These are then collected to make the butter. The lightly beige colored butter offers a nutty aroma.
Notably high in Lauric Acid (about 47% of it’s composition), Murumuru butter shares some surprising benefits. Lauric Acid provides incredible anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammation properties. When ingested, it helps fight diseases such as the flu and common cold. In skincare it relieves symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Murumuru butter contains high levels of Myristic Acid, which aids in mixing water, oil, and dirt. This makes Murumuru butter a good cleanser.
Murumuru butter heals skin. It locks in moisture and treats cracked dry skin. The butter also reduces the appearance of fine lines, fights off free radicals, and even prevents acne. This incredible plant butter also nourishes dry and damaged hair. With a lush, creamy texture, Murumuru butter absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving a glossy texture.
This is the thicker, richer sister of olive oil. Hydrogenated from cold-pressed olive oil, the pale green-yellow butter smells faintly like olives. Sourced from trees native to Greece, Olive butter (Olea europaea) nourishes our skin in many ways.
Olive butter, like the olive oil we eat, contains a lot of Vitamins A and E, both of which aid skin cell regeneration. Packed with another beneficial compound, Squalene protects the skin from free-radicals. Furthermore, Olive butter includes high levels of Vitamin D, naturally produced by the skin from healthy exposure to sunlight. It regulates inflammation and skin-cell function. Therefore, consider choosing Olive butter as a full-body moisturizer, especially during the winter months when skin is drier and the sun isn’t out as much.
One of the softer plant butters, it absorbs easily into the skin giving high-intensity moisture. Olive Butter spreads easily, so it works great for an extra luxurious massage. It creates a protective barrier to prevent water-loss. It also firms the skin up, reducing signs of aging. Olive butter is best for those with sensitive and very dry skin.
The Sal Tree (Shorea robusta), native to India, produce fat-rich seeds. Sal seed butter offers little to no scent and is subtle off-white in color. In India, many people cook with Sal seed butter. Commercially, it frequently replaces Cocoa butter in chocolate making. Additionally, it’s often used as an ingredient in paints and lubricants! This versatile butter offers a lot.
Containing generous amounts of Palmitic Acid (about 40%) and Oleic Acid (about 40%), Sal seed butter includes fatty acids essential to our skin’s health. It locks in moisture and cleanses pores. It also contains Terpene Alcohol which is an anti-inflammatory ingredient and a strong antioxidant. Additionally, Sal seed butter includes Arachidonic Acid, which works as a skin-conditioner.
Sal seed butter makes a fantastic hydrating cleanser. While unclogging your pores, it locks in moisture and creates a protective barrier between your skin and free-radicals. It also promotes skin elasticity, slowing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Sal seed butter also soothes itchiness and relieves symptoms of eczema and skin rashes. It alleviates muscle tension and pain, making a great massage butter. With a crumbly, but creamy texture Sal seed butter melts quickly into the skin, leaving it velvety smooth.
As one of the most popular plant butters, Shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa), nourishes skin in many ways. Shea trees, native to West Africa, produce the nuts from which the butter is made. Revered for its high concentration of vitamins, Shea butter has been used for centuries as a natural moisturizer. It contains no skin irritants, so works well for everyone, including those with sensitive skin. The slightly off-white colored butter gives off a pleasant nutty and fruity scent. In addition to skincare, it’s a popular choice for candle scents. Get ready to feel and smell luxurious!
Shea butter contains high levels of both Linoleic acid and Oleic acid. This balance makes Shea butter easily and quickly absorbed, nourishing your skin, without leaving a greasy feel. Shea butter also contains plant sterols, calming skin through anti-inflammatory agents. When applied, these sterols trigger cytokines soothing, and reducing redness and irritation. The protective properties of Shea butter minimizes damage from environmental stressors such as cold, dry weather. Shea butter’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties reduce acne and symptoms of other skin-conditions like eczema.
Not only delivering intense hydration deep into the layers of the skin, but Shea Butter actively clears your pores of sebum (excess oil that causes acne). Therefore, it is an excellent cleanser that won’t strip your skin of it’s natural oils. Additionally, Shea Butter boosts collagen production and promotes regeneration of the skin cells, so gives the appearance of plumper skin. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines, stretch marks, scars, and wrinkles so works well as a full-body anti-aging product.
Cold-pressed from the seeds of the Tucuma palm, native to the Amazon Rainforest, the butter’s aroma is nutty and coffee-like. Tucuma butter (Astrocaryum tucuma), beige-yellow in color, softens and soothes the skin. Interestingly, the hearty Tucuma palm is fire resistant.
Like Murumuru butter, Tucuma butter is high in Lauric and Myristic acids, providing strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it works as a fantastic cleanser. Tucuma butter neutralizes any toxins your skin comes in contact with. The butter also contains Capric acid. When ingested, capric acid helps treat epilepsy. However, in skincare, it softens the skin and functions as an antioxidant.
Tucuma butter benefits both sensitive and dry skin. It eases symptoms of Eczema and Psoriasis. The butter’s soft texture allows it to be easily rubbed into the skin. Forming a protective barrier without leaving any greasy residue behind, Tucuma butter is good option for those with acne, since it won’t clog pores. Additionally, Tucuma butter conditions hair, perfect for those with frizzy, dry, or damaged hair.
Extracted from the seeds of the Ucuuba Tree, Ucuuba butter (Virola sebifera) originates from Central and South America. The seeds contain up to 70% fat. Ucuuba butter appears brown or caramel-like in color and offers a rich nutty/smoky scent.
The butter contains Myristic acid at roughly 75%. This saturated fatty acid provides incredible anti-aging effects. It promotes skin elasticity thereby slowing the development of fine lines. Ucuuba butter also provides strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, soothing irritated skin.
Ucuuba butter’s benefits go beyond anti-aging skincare. When applied to the hair, it leaves a shiny sheen and restores dry, damaged ends. It also relieves dandruff and itchiness when applied to the scalp. Ucuuba butter has a dryer, hard, crumbly consistency. It doesn’t melt as easily into the skin, so works best when mixed with other butters. (We recommend mixing with Shea butter.) When rubbed into the skin, it leaves a slight tacky feel without being greasy.
*Please note that natural plant butters are not considered suitable replacements for sun-protective agents. We recommend using them in combination with sun-screen to further protect against sun damage.
Skin Butters: Nature Knows Best
When first delving into the world of skincare, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Every big brand claims to sell the next miracle salve to solve your skin qualms. However, skincare doesn’t need to be so complicated. Nature provides everything we need for beautiful, glowing, youthful skin. We were never meant to be covered in man-made chemicals. Unfortunately, many commercial products contain harmful parabens, sulphates, chemicals, and toxins. When applied to the skin, these lab-produced chemicals leach into our bodies. Choose, all-natural, plant-based skincare as a healthier option. Additionally, natural skincare empowers us to connect with the world around us. It calls us back to our roots.
Natural skincare provides nourishment to our skin, while being gentle on the environment. Big brands use petroleum-based ingredients, which pollute the air at alarming rates. The strong preservatives added to extend shelf-life eventually make their way to our waterways. These harmful chemicals harm marine life. In reality, a of a lot of commercial products produce short-term results and damage our planet. Additionally, commercial skin-care products are designed to make as much profit as possible. The result is that workers are often underpaid, and the products are tested on animals. None of this should feel good on your skin.
GiveBody offers fair-trade, organically produced, ethically sourced, natural skincare. Ultimately, every decision we make impacts our world. The products we provide positively impact people and the planet. We thoughtfully select each of our ingredients for optimal skincare results while respecting our natural world.
GiveBody worked tirelessly to create the ultimate all-natural skincare line. Made from high-quality, pure, clean ingredients in plastic-free packaging, our products will revive your skin and help you shine on the inside too. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about our product launch.