Natural Skincare Butters 101
Cool Weather = DIY project time!!
Now that my fall garden, cover crops, and garlic are all planted, these chilly afternoons have less and less garden chores for me to do. Sure, I can sip some tasty spiced hot cocoa on my back porch and relax (well deserved after my summer of hard work!), but I have been getting a bit restless and I have started researching everything I need to know about DIY beauty and skincare so that I can start making my own homemade and nourishing items. I’ve already started making my own body scrubs, deodorant, and hair rinses, but I’m thinking about making herbal salves, lotion/body butters, and chapstick soon.
In order to delve properly into the world of DIY nourishing salves/lotions/skincare/etc., I started researching the top butters that are used for these projects (stay tuned for a post on carrier oils!). Butters are the ingredients of DIY skincare products that give a creamy and solid texture to your items. They help moisturize the skin as well as give your skin health benefits (mentioned below).
The most common butters for natural skincare are: Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, and Kokum Butter. Let’s dive into the details of these 4 top skincare butters so that you know what to use for your own DIY beauty projects:
Natural Skincare Butters 101:
Shea Butter is a natural fat that is extracted from the Shea tree. It is also known as Karite Butter. It is anti-inflammatory, which makes it great for irritated skin. Shea Butter is loaded with vitamins A and E, which strengthens your skin, boosts collagen levels, and repairs old skin damage. It also contains fatty acids, which improves skin moisture retention and elasticity. Shea Butter is a gentle butter for acne-prone skin, so choose this butter if you deal with acne issues. Make sure you get the best quality Shea Butter (I use this one): pure Shea Butter is an ivory/cream color; if your Shea Butter is very white, it has probably been processed/refined and has lost some healing properties. Shea Butter is not perfect: if you heat it too quickly or at too hot of a temperature, Shea Butter can get gritty. There is also the smell: some people think that Shea Butter has a mild scent, but others find the smell of Shea Butter to be displeasing. I personally do not mind the smell of Shea Butter, and I use it instead of Cocoa Butter when I do not want my DIY skincare product to smell like chocolate.
Cocoa Butter derives from the beans of the Cocoa tree. That’s right, Cocoa Butter comes from the same beans that give us delicious chocolate. This is why Cocoa Butter smells like…chocolate (duh). This is both a good and a bad thing. When I make my own grapefruit lip balm, I don’t use Cocoa Butter because I don’t want chocolate grapefruit tastes in my lip balm. However, if I make peppermint lip balm, bring on the Cocoa Butter! Cocoa Butter, like Shea Butter, is rich in fatty acids, which improves skin moisture and elasticity. Cocoa Butter is also loaded with antioxidants, which helps with aging skin, stretch marks, and scars. Due to its’ scent, Cocoa Butter is often used in Aromatherapy because it can help you relax. It is one of the most dense butter for skincare, and can help thicken your lotions, balms, etc. This is my favorite Cocoa Butter!
Mango Butter, of course, comes from mangoes. It is a popular butter in the tropical regions of the world. Mango Butter (like this) is very hard at room temperature, however, it becomes a creamy and rich addition to any DIY skincare products that you make. The scent can range from mildly sweet to very sweet (depending on the refinery process). It is high in vitamins A, C, and E, which help repair your skin and highly moisturizes your skin. Mango Butter is often used to soothe sunburned skin.
Kokum Butter (like this) is derived from the fruit of the Kokum tree. It is one of the hardest butters, and has a higher melting point than the other butters. However, it is very non-greasy and quickly absorbs into your skin when it is used as a main ingredient in your DIY skincare products. It is high in fatty acids like Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter, and is also high in Vitamin E. Kokum Butter is one of the best butter choices if you desire to heal your skin from an ailment. It helps with elasticity and flexibility of your skin, as well as cell oxygenation. It has a mild scent.
Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter are the most common butters from the list. Mango Butter and Kokum Butter might be more difficult to find, but are delightful products to use on your skin! You can find all four butters for skincare at Mountain Rose Herbs, a wonderful online store for your DIY remedies and projects.
What Butter(s) do YOU use for Natural Skincare?!?