What is the difference between cream, balm, butter, and lotion? You can buy all of them in any store, made with natural ingredients or not. You can find everything from foot creams to hydrating lotions to whipped butters to healing balms.
Is there really a difference or is it all just marketing?
I started making my own lotion a few months ago. One of the first things that I noticed was that it was heavier than most lotions that I normally bought in the store. The second thing was that it lasted longer than more popular lotions. In other words, in my humble opinion, it did a better job at moisturizing my skin.
Oil and Water
Lotions, creams, and butters are all made from a combination of oils and water. There are many different kinds of oils that you can use and some will provide more moisture than others. I really like the feel of aloe vera oil and argan oil. Both provide great moisture. The more water in the mixture, the thinner the lotion will be. Creams go into tubs or jars. Lotions are thin enough to be in pump or a squeeze bottle.
Butters and Balms
Butters and balms are generally thicker than creams. They contain little water and some cases, none at all. I made a balm for fingers and hands a couple of years ago. It was very moisturizing (great for dry cuticles!), and it didn’t involve any water. I could put it on at night and it would keep my hands moisturized until morning.
Yes, there is a difference!
In short, there is most definitely a difference. What you use is completely your choice and depends on what your skin needs. I like to use a thick cream or balm for my hands and feet. I use a lighter moisturizer for my face and on the rest of my body, I use a lotion.
What do you use the most?
March 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm
Great information! Making this stuff homemade saves me so much money. Anything I can do to stay out of the store (I hate to shop) is wonderful in my opinion.
March 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm
I’m so glad this post was useful for you! I love the freedom that comes with knowing how to make my own skin care products!
March 21, 2012 at 7:42 am
I made my own lotion the other day and I found it, just like you, much nicer then the one in shops! I love that it’s not sticky like other lotions and skin absorbs it very well without leaving any traces of the cream on my body.
March 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm
You bet, Kristina! Homemade is the way to go!
March 24, 2012 at 3:54 am
For me it depends on the season.In the winter I use coconut oil or some labelled butter and in the some a refreshing lotion from Dove.I love using lotions in the summer after showering because i feel fresh all day 🙂
March 24, 2012 at 9:19 am
The weather definitely makes a difference in what you need for your skin. Heavier products in the winter months and lighter moisturizers in the summer makes perfect sense to me! Thanks for your comment!
March 28, 2012 at 8:13 am
Alia, I’ve been wanted to ask you this question. For years I’ve been using just oil on my skin (olive, sweet almond) and then putting on a bit of lotion to make it stick a bit more, or it seems like the oil just wears off really quickly. Instead of the lotion, do you have any ideas of something I could mix with oil to make it last longer on my skin? I’m also allergic to most skin products, so that limits my options too!
I appreciate your advice!
March 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm
Hi Kirti! I find that the best time to put oil on your skin is when it’s still a bit wet or damp, as opposed to totally dry skin. That seems to be the time to use the oil so that it locks in the moisture. Have you tried using the oil on damp skin? That might help you get away from the lotion. Alternatively, do you have any sense of what ingredients you’re allergic to? I bet there’s a lotion that could work for you and help you avoid the two step process.
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