Kokum Butter's Many Skin & Hair Benefits, Detailed By Our Dermatologist

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When it comes to rich, luscious skin and hair creams, we love a good plant butter. From classics like shea and coconut to lesser-known ingredients like hydrating mango seed butter, many of our favorite balms and lotions turn to plant butters for their soothing and restorative powers. But just when we think we've stocked our skincare collection with every variation on the market, we stumble across an amazing ingredient that makes us wonder where it's been all our lives. Case in point, the rise of kokum butter.

Kokum butter isn't new — it's been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries — but it has yet to become a household name. However, as more Western beauty brands catch on to its myriad benefits, this unsung ingredient is getting a second look — and then some. So, to find out more about this promising beauty botanical, Gliz spoke exclusively to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Aanand Geria, founder of Geria Dermatology

"Kokum butter is produced from the seeds of the Garcinia indica tree, also known as the kokum or kokam tree," Dr. Geria informed us. "This tree is native to southern India. The seeds of this tree are rich in fat, which is harvested and processed to create kokum butter." That's not all, though. "Kokum butter's moisturizing characteristics and mild aroma make it popular in cosmetics and skincare," Dr. Geria added. Eager to learn more? Dr. Geria walked us through all of its benefits.

How rich kokum butter helps your hair and skin

Kokum butter seems to be gaining visibility in the beauty arena, appearing in products like the Butter Melt Lotion Bar from Butter and Me — a zero-waste lotion bar deemed one of the 15 best solid body lotion bars by Gliz. The Butter Melt bar can be used on skin and hair alike, displaying kokum's versatility. But what makes kokum so beneficial in the first place? Dr. Aanand Geria outlined this plant butter's enriching properties.

"Because of the abundance of vital fatty acids and antioxidants that it contains, kokum butter is able to protect, soften, and moisturize both the skin and the hair," Dr. Geria exclusively explained to Gliz. "As a result of its ability to reduce inflammation, promote wound healing, and prevent pores from becoming clogged, it is excellent for a wide range of skin types."

Kokum butter is also adaptable to various pain points in your hair regimen. "In terms of hair care, it helps to reduce frizz and split ends, add shine, and condition the hair, all of which contribute to healthier hair," Dr. Geria told us. Kudos to kokum butter for its sheer range of benefits and applications, but we still have to ask: With big names like shea butter and cocoa butter already available, is seeking out kokum butter really worth it?

Kokum butter vs. shea butter and cocoa butter

Shea butter and cocoa butter are cosmetic staples, so why make space for kokum butter in your routine? Dr. Aanand Geria revealed that these butters are suited to different skin needs, which can help determine which is best for you. "Shea butter ... deeply moisturizes and feeds skin because it is thick and full of vitamins. This makes it good for people with dry or older skin," Dr. Geria exclusively explained to us. "Because it is an antioxidant and deeply moisturizes, cocoa butter helps improve the structure and elasticity of the skin. It also has the added benefit of smelling nice, like chocolate."

However, shea butter and coconut butter can be too heavy for some skin types. In these cases, kokum butter is an ideal alternative. "Since it is light and doesn't cause acne, kokum butter is great for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin," Dr. Geria told Gliz. In particular, he recommended the Credo Violets Are Blue Body Cream, a clean beauty moisturizer infused with kokum butter and argan oil. Retailing for $58, this body cream is a luxurious way to try out kokum butter's gentle hydration.

But we've established that plant butters aren't only good for the skin. What about choosing between kokum, shea, or cocoa butters for your hair? According to Dr. Geria, you can't really go wrong: "All three kinds of butter are very flexible and can be used to treat hair to make it healthier and shinier."