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Why is there WATER in my BODY butter?

No, this is not you paying top dollar for mostly water! There is a very good reason why many body butters have water as well as oil. Let's take a closer look at what makes a delightful, rich, body butter.

Pure butters vs. emulsified body butters

It is possible to buy raw shea, mango or cacao butter and apply it to the skin. But the disadvantage to the butter-only approach is that without water to solubilize humectant (moisturizing) ingredients, the final product lacks the ability to draw moisture into the skin. Raw butters can also can feel heavy or overly greasy for daily use.

By adding water and creating an emulsified creamy body butter, the result is a much lighter skin feel but with the same skin nourishing properties of raw butters.

Let’s start with the basics, what is an emulsion?

If you’ve ever made homemade mayonnaise, you’ve seen emulsifiers in action– oil and water do not want to mix until you add that egg yolk! Emulsifiers are substances that have a “water-loving” and an “oil loving” end and can combine liquids that otherwise don’t want to play together.

However, many emulsified body butter recipes use ingredients that we prefer to avoid. These include PEGs or polyethylene glycols, which are added to thicken, stabilize, or add moisture.

Also popular is the addition of silicones. Silicones are added to creams to provide smoothness and slip and to provide an occlusive (protective) barrier that helps prevent skin from drying. While silicones are skin-safe, they aren’t considered ecologically friendly as they build up in the environment and in water. I wrote about this in more detail in the What is Watersafe Skincare article you can read here.


Today, I want to share with you our process for making a silky-smooth Better Body Butter, with no PEGs or Silicones.

body butter

Let’s start with a key ingredient in our Better Body Butters, the powerhouse emulsifier: Olivem 1000.  Olivem 1000 is an olive-oil based emulsifier. Why did we choose Olivem 1000 for our body butter?

Olivem is not only a versatile natural emulsifier, but it’s also a multifunctional active ingredient. It is nourishing to the skin. Derived from olive oil, it is 100% natural, rich in oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. This blend of fatty acids matches synergistically to the fatty acid makeup of human sebum. This means that our Better Body Butters provide a silky-smooth skin feel that your skin will drink up! No greasy, oily feeling, just moisturized skin. This is because Olivem produces liquid crystals that mimick the lamellar bilayer structure of lipids in the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of our skin. These properties make it a great emollient: an agent that moisturizes, soothes, and lubricates skin. Most importantly, this means it helps your body maintain a healthy skin barrier.

What is the skin barrier?

The outer layer of your skin, known as the skin barrier, is your first defense from pollutants, free radicals, and environmental stress. A compromised skin barrier means that moisture is easily lost, skin loses elasticity, and is more vulnerable to dryness, cracking, itching and inflammation.​​​​​​​​ Vegetable oils found in body butters are great at supporting a healthy skin barrier, and Olivem 1000 boosts this capability by being biomimetic: its fatty acid composition is comparable to the skin’s natural oils.

Last but not least: Olivem 1000 is readily biodegradable and non-irritating, which is a big win for your skin but our water systems as well!

Olivem 1000 is COSMOS-validated as an organic and natural cosmetic ingredient. COSMOS stands for COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard. It was first introduced in Europe and is recognized globally. We worked for months in our lab to formulate with the very best quality COSMOS-approved natural emulsifiers and found that Olivem 1000 delivered on all counts: function, feel, and FANTASTIC body butter!


Tags: Maria

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