Lotion vs. Cream vs. Butter: What’s the Difference, and Which is Better?

Posted by RainShadow Labs on 3/21/2018 to Oils

When it comes to moisturizing products, there are typically three different types you can find: lotions, butters and creams. Each has its own unique and specific set of traits that make it a desirable product to use depending on what you are looking for. But what exactly are these traits, and what is the reasoning behind having these different types of products that are all typically geared toward a similar goal?


Usually, the difference between a lotion, cream and butter for the skin is texture and amount of lipid-based moisture that gets delivered. Lotions tend to have the most water- hence their thin texture. Creams come next, and are then followed by butters. Private label skincare shoppers usually go for lotions and creams when shopping for their face, while butters seem to be relegated more to the realm of the body. However, there is more to deciding which type of skincare product you want than texture and perceived moisture delivery alone!


Like any and every private label skincare product you find, you want to look at the entire ingredient deck if possible to make sure that it’s the right product for you. A body butter that seems like it would be full of moisture might actually be full of cheap fillers and petroleum based ingredients that don’t actually do anything good for your skin. So, be sure to look for plenty of effective and natural active ingredients like plant lipids (shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil squalene, etc.), and even other actives that help your skin in addition to the moisture it receives from the butter, like vitamin C or green tea extract.


This is even more important if you are purchasing an anti aging cream or lotion for your face. Make sure that ingredient deck is full of truly effective anti aging ingredients like vitamin C, plant peptides and astaxanthin; it’s the only way to get your money’s worth. Additionally, if you can, try a sample of the product to make sure you like the texture. Just because it’s marketed as a cream doesn’t mean it will be the same as every other cream you’ve tried and liked.


Some people switch between a lighter lotion in the summer and heavier cream or butter in the winter as their skin’s needs adapt to the weather. Do what works for you and don’t be afraid to experiment.