body butter and mint

As a massage therapist, you have many different types of creams and other topical products available, giving you plenty of options to suit your clients’ specific needs. If you don’t use it already, one to consider adding to your list is body butter. However, in order to know when to best use it, as well as how to best use it, you must first understand what it is.


What Body Butter Is

“Basically, body butter is a moisturizer,” said Fayne L. Frey, M.D., F.A.A.D., board certified dermatologist and founder of FryFace, which provides skin care education and product selection information. “It is formulated like 80 to 90 percent of over-the-counter moisturizers.”


What Is Body Butter Made of?

As far as what is actually in body butter, Frey says that most are typically water-based, which you can ascertain by checking whether water is “the first ingredient on the ingredient listing.” They also contain a variety of other ingredients, such as “emollients to make the skin feel soft; humectants to draw water into the skin’s surface; occlusive to minimize water loss through the skin; emulsifiers so the water and oil components stay together; a preservative so the product doesn’t spoil; and oftentimes, fragrance.”


another body butter

Body Butter Advantages

Body butters offer a couple of different client advantages, according to Frey. “Body butters as high-viscosity moisturizers not only feel esthetically pleasing,” she said, “but may temporarily increase water content of skin, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

A report published on the University of Maryland Medical Center website reports that, as it ages, “the skin’s ability to stay moisturized then decreases, becoming dry and scaly.” One way to prevent this is by using moisturizers which contain occlusive, humectants and other compounds that “help restore the skin’s natural barrier against moisture loss and damage”—the same basic ingredients found in body butter.


What Body Butters Are Good For

Just as with any other massage product, body butters are better used in certain circumstances and situations.

“I find that I only use body butter after a sugar scrub of the hands and/or feet,” said April Ransom, a licensed massage therapist at MassageByApril in Springfield, Nebraska. She said she likes using this type of product on these specific areas because body butter “is thicker and absorbs slowly, allowing your skin to get the maximum benefit.”

Mavis Davis, a licensed massage therapist at Center MedSpa in Chattanooga, Tennessee, agreed, indicating that she finds body butter beneficial on bodily areas that tend to be “drier than others, like the elbows, feet, heels and hands.” Its thickness helps penetrate these areas specifically, making them “good candidates for body butter.”

As far as when she chooses body butter over massage oil, lotion or cream, Davis explained, “I use body butter, specifically shea butter, when doing therapeutic work [as opposed to relaxation], deeper tissue work, and myofascial release therapies. It allows for some glide, but it’s minimal enough to allow me to penetrate into deeper layers of tissue without irritating the skin by dragging over a non-lubricated surface.”


what is body butter

How to Promote Body Butter to Clients

To promote body butter to her massage clients as part of their session or for home use, Ransom sells body butter as a retail item by sharing the benefits of body butter specifically while showing her clients the products she has available.

“I often tell them my experiences with body butter and how well it has worked for me,” she said. This helps her seal the sale, and it may just help you, too.


About the Author

Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness and business marketing. She currently writes for ChiroNexus as well as other health-related publications. She can be contacted through She has written several articles for, including “3 Things You Need to Know About the Benefits of Apricot Oil.”