FAN MAIL FRIDAYS: The difference between Body lotions, creams, butters, and oils

Good morning guys! Our Friday question is just in time for today! :) Before I leave for work, I thought of answering this interesting question from Sophia:

Hi Ms. Martha!

Let me first thank you for continually encouraging us to aspire to be the best version of ourselves (with the help of makeup of course). I really appreciate all your posts from food, to makeup, and even to the occasional inspiring ones. I must say, your blog is absolutely entertaining, informative, and uplifting!

I’ve been a silent reader for a long time now (since 2010) and I just thought of giving your Fan Mail Fridays a shot. I’ve been meaning to ask you this question, but thought that it’s too lame to be asked. Haha! Anyway, here it goes:

What’s the difference between a body lotion, body cream, body butter, and oil moisturizer? Which is the better one, and how do you know which product is the right one for you?

That’s all. Hope this is interesting enough for you. Hehe!

Lots of love,

Hi Sophia!

Finally! So glad for “meeting” you! Thank you for being an avid reader, and I really appreciate your kind words. And I don’t think your question is lame at all! It’s actually good, and I think a lot of people will learn a lot of useful stuff from this so thank you for your lovely question!

Here goes: Fundamentally, all products are meant to do the same thing and that is to moisturize the skin. But to get the most out of these products, one should know what these products exactly do, and which of the four is apt for his/her skin types.

Here’s a detailed explanation of the four products. I also wrote down their respective pros and cons, and which variant you should go for depending on your skin type:


Profile: The most common body moisturizer among the four. Lotion has a balanced ratio of oil and water, and is considered as a humectant because it helps preserve moisture on your skin. There's also Body Milk but to me, it's just plain ol' lotion but with a fancier name. However, most Body Milk products stay true to their name as they have actual milk ingredients in them but bottomline, it's still body lotion.

Pros: Ideal for daytime use (especially on scorching hot days) because it’s lightweight and it yields a cool, watery feeling

Cons: Lotion tends to evaporate from the skin, that’s why it should be applied for a number of times during wear; Doesn’t really provide the moisture your skin needs as it’s only meant to preserve whatever moisture is left. (This is why some of you are wondering why your skin’s dryness still persists even if you've applied lotion already)

Best for the following skin type/s: Oily skin, Normal skin


Profile: It’s a more luxurious and thicker body moisturizer as it’s primarily oil- based. It’s considered as a lubricant because it adds and traps moisture deep within your skin, and protects it from external aggressors.

Pros: Provides a moisturizing barrier to skin that has been deprived of moisture; doesn’t need to be reapplied during wear; its consistency helps retain its own fragrance longer.

Cons: Feels thick; not easily absorbed by the skin; when applied excessively, the scent can overwhelm some people; has occlusive ingredients that can clog oily skin types

Best for the following skin type/s: Extremely dry skin and moderately dry skin

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Profile: It’s still considered as lotion, but it’s more viscous than the former due to its higher oil content. It’s a mix of body lotion and body butter in one product.

Pros: Good for people who dislike reapplying lotion because it has better staying power than the latter; a good alternative for people who dislike the thickness of body butter

Cons: Always comes in jar or tub packaging; a little greasy than lotion

Best for the following skin type/s: Normal and moderately dry skin


Profile: A more popular choice for women, especially in Western countries. Oil moisturizers have become increasingly popular most especially in colder continents because reportedly, a lot of women are no longer satisfied with body lotions, creams, and butters. They’ve felt that they needed something that will provide genuine and long- lasting moisture to the skin, and oil is the answer.

Oil moisturizer is purely made from oil: The cheap ones are heavy in mineral oil, while the expensive ones are made from pure, natural oils.

Pros: Gives a lovely, healthy sheen to the skin; provides long lasting moisure to the skin, and prevents natural moisture from evaporating

Cons: can clog pores; can increase the risk of sunburn; not absorbed quickly by the skin

Best for the following skin type/s: Extremely dry skin and moderately dry skin

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1. If you have blemish- prone skin, steer clear of products that contain comedogenic ingredients such as Fragrance, Lanolin, Dimethicone, and Mineral Oil.

2. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to do a patch test before purchasing

3. If you have dry skin, skip body moisturizers that contain alcohol

4. Be extra careful especially if you have food allergies. For example: If you’re allergic to nuts, steer clear of oils extracted from nuts (Kukui, Shea, Coconut, etc.) because recent studies have proven that food allergies can be triggered through the skin.

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1. Body butter is best applied on damp skin. This way, it gets absorbed easily by the skin

2. Don’t skimp on body lotions because it has a tendency to dissipate quickly.

3. Dry oil moisturizer is a better bet because it doesn’t leave you feeling slimy. It's also less likely to clog pores.

4. Body cream is best used on the drier parts of your skin, as lotion may not suffice. It is also best used in air-conditioned places where moisture can evaporate quickly.

Hope this helps, Sophia. And I hope you all liked this post! Have a fantastic Friday! :)

**Got a burning question about makeups, skin care products, beauty, dieting, and health tips, relationships, and whatever? Just send them to or shoot 'em up at The Beauty Junkee's FB Fan Page via the MESSAGE button and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. (Please, do not send me Math- related queries. :D)

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6 Lovely Thoughts

  1. thank you ms. martha this really really helped...:) now i know their differences..

  2. I benefited from what Sophia asked to you. I am now equipped about the difference of those body moisturizers. haha Kasi pag nakakakita ako ng body cream, body butter, I was telling to myself " Ang dami namang ek-ek, lotion din naman yan!". Haha yun pala, it addresses different skin types. Thanks for this post! Ang galing mo talaga Ms.M! - Pretty Thrifty

  3. wiw, i didn;t know this until now...iba iba pala ang effect nito on our skin...thanks for this very helpful post :)

  4. I've been meaning to ask you that question, but I always forget. :)) Thanks to Sophia! ;)

    Anyway, aside from Pevonia, can you suggest other oil moisturizers? Thanks! :)

  5. lilli: you're welcome! :)

    rizza: try the body shop's olive oil dry mist. :)

    Issa: you're welcome dear! :D

    Jenny: Hey there! Thanks for dropping by too. Glad to know you've learned something from it. :)

  6. Thanks for the tip! I've been wondering about this... now I know what better to use! :)


Thank you for your comments!