The best decadent pleasures are those that temper guilt with built-in benefits—think massages for stress relief, red wine for heart health, and Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream for ... well, maybe that one's a stretch. However, there is a cream that comes guilt-free—namely, creamy all-natural body butters, which have sinfully rich ingredients working overtime to soothe your skin.
"Shea butter and cocoa butter are known occlusives that hydrate by forming a protective barrier over the skin to prevent moisture loss in dry, winter environments," says Philadelphia dermatologist Susan C. Taylor, M.D. The same goes for butters and oils extracted from the mango seed and the Hawaiian kukui nut. Once these are whipped up with other nourishing ingredients, they become the perfect cold-weather remedy for dry, rough skin.
What makes body butters so hydrating? The secret lies in the emollient seed and nut oils that form the base of each blend. These oils are extracted by first grinding or cold-pressing the seeds or the kernel of the nuts, and then cooking the remaining mixture until the fat and oils are released. (One caution for those with allergies: If eating nuts or mangos is problematic for you, steer clear of skin-care products with high concentrations of their oils.)
Here, then, are the best of the butters: kukui, cocoa, shea, and mango.