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Published Oct. 4, 2021

From oils and body butters to creams and balms, there are plenty of ways to keep your skin hydrated. But when it comes down to it, a classic body lotion is the ultimate staple. No matter if you picked up a tried-and-true OG from the drugstore or splurged on a luxe tube, body lotion has one mission: To keep our skin moisturized. After all, hydrated skin is healthy, happy skin. That’s why body lotion, ranked just after sunscreen, is the most important product in your body care arsenal.

When it comes to providing moisture, classic hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin are common, excellent options for preventing dehydration. The best body lotions work by trapping moisture that’s already in your skin. Nowadays, many body lotions go the extra step to offer additional skincare perks, such as ingredients to deeply nourish or boost elasticity, making it easy to find the best bottle to target your specific needs. These are the best body lotions to stock up on now. 

How We Picked These Products 

With so many options on the market, the criteria for narrowing down the best body lotions was simple: Finding formulas that deliver the hydration they promise. This was determined by looking for moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, lanolin, urea, proteins, and propylene glycol, to name a few popular options. Another key consideration was texture since it’s important to use a smooth formula that easily absorbs and sinks right into skin without leaving a sticky or greasy residue behind. 

As an added bonus, we selected picks with added skin-loving ingredients that go the extra step to provide nourishment. Who doesn’t love a good multitasker? From peptides to help collagen production to antioxidants to improve skin health to ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier, there’s no shortage of bonus ingredients that will leave you glowing.

Since doctors know best, we gave preference to body lotions that have been recommended by dermatologists. Customer reviews were another major factor, so moisturizers with rave reviews earned major bonus points as well. 

The Body Lotions: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall Body Lotion: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Dermatologist’s Dream

A favorite of dermatologists, this drugstore staple never disappoints.

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Why it made the cut: With a price point that’s affordable for everyday use and a strong reputation among dermatologists, this is an overall excellent body lotion.

Pros:

  • Formulated with ceramides
  • Deeply nourishes skin
  • Gentle enough for the face
  • Strengthens the skin barrier

Cons:

  • Though it’s unscented, some don’t like the smell

Beloved by dermatologists, this OG never disappoints, earning it its status as the best body lotion. Best of all, it won’t break the bank. Safe for even the most sensitive skin, the fragrance-free, allergy-tested, and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) formula is so gentle that it can be used on the face. More proof it’s great for everyone: It earned the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance. Impressively lightweight, the lotion absorbs as soon as it touches your skin and doesn’t leave a trace of greasiness behind.

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion provides hydration that lasts and lasts—up to 24 hours—courtesy of hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin retain its natural moisture. As with all CeraVe products, it contains three essential ceramides (1, 3 and 6-II), which are naturally found in the skin’s barrier and help maintain it. By strengthening the skin barrier, your skin will be able to retain more moisture, boosting skin health along the way.

Best Body Lotion for Irritated Skin: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

Irritation Begone

When skin needs extra nourishment, look no farther than Aveeno.

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Why it made the cut: This classic works immediately to relieve dry skin and soothe irritation. 

Pros:

  • Fast working
  • Calms irritation
  • Contains soothing colloidal oatmeal

Cons:

  • Some don’t like the natural scent

Anyone with easily irritated skin knows it doesn’t take a lot to trigger a reaction. That’s where the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion comes in. Colloidal oatmeal, which is known for being super soothing, takes center stage on the ingredient list. The award-winning gentle formula is fragrance-free and improves skin health in a single day, keeping it hydrated for a full 24 hours.

In addition to locking in moisture, this body lotion nourishes even the thirstiest complexions and protects the skin. Another favorite of dermatologists, it strengthens the skin barrier and aids in restoring its normal pH. 

Best Body Lotion for Sensitive Skin: Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Sensitive Smooth

A go-to for dermatologists, it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin.

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Why it made the cut: This dermatologist-recommended lotion is extra safe and extra gentle with long lasting effects.

Pros:

  • Nourishing
  • Gentle
  • Non-greasy

Cons:

  • Some find the light texture too watery.

Like all Cetaphil products, this body lotion was designed specifically for sensitive skin, so even though it deeply hydrates, it won’t irritate a delicate complexion. Fragrance-free and paraben-free, it is frequently recommended by dermatologists. This non-greasy lotion absorbs instantly, thanks to its super lightweight formula that works for all skin types. 

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion provides instant relief and continues to hydrate skin for 24 hours by binding water to the skin and preventing moisture loss, making it especially great for scaly spots like hands, feet, elbows, and knees. It only takes one week for the formula to restore the skin barrier, as it’s spiked with six moisturizers and vitamins E and B5.

Best Body Lotion for Sustainability: Love Beauty and Planet Shea Butter & Sandalwood Shea Velvet Body Lotion

Guiltlessly Smooth

Consciously crafted, this lotion’s good for your skin and the planet.

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Why it made the cut: This eco-friendly lotion is made with all vegan materials, so you can feel good about what you’re using on your skin.

Pros:

  • Vegan ingredients
  • Clean formula
  • Provides 24-hour moisture

Cons:

  • Some don’t like the stronger scent

True to its name, Love Beauty and Planet is all about doing good for Mother Earth and your skin. Chock full of ingredients inspired by nature, the formula includes sandalwood and Shea butter that’s ethically sourced—the latter is harvested by hand. The cruelty-free, vegan lotion is loaded with plant-based moisturizers and free of parabens, silicones, and dyes.

A treat for the senses, the delightfully sandalwood scented lotion is hyper hydrating, providing 24 hours of moisturization and nourishment. In other words, it’s good for your body and your soul.  

Best for Extra Dry Skin: Jergens Ultra Healing Dry Skin Moisturizer

Smoother than Butter

Even the thirstiest complexions will drink this potent hydrator right up.

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Why it made the cut: This lotion for extra dry skin is made to penetrate rough skin and calluses, bringing up to 48 hours of relief.

Pros: 

  • Contains vitamins C, E and B5
  • Instantly moisturizes
  • Delivers hydration for 48 hours

Cons:

  • The pump can be problematic

Even if your skin feels like the Sahara Desert, Jergens Ultra Healing Dry Skin Moisturizer will bring instant relief. Thanks to its excellent delivery system, this best body lotion for dry skin is designed to penetrate five layers of skin to get to the source to repair and reduce dryness as soon as you apply it. It’ll even work its way through rough patches on places like heels, elbows, and knees. Skin will look and feel healthier from the very first application. 

Jergens Ultra Healing Dry Skin Moisturizer is also in it for the long haul, improving the skin’s appearance and texture over time with regular use. The brand’s signature Hydralucence blend of ingredients deeply nourishes and hydrates, with an extra boost from vitamins C, E, and B5. Skin is left with a glow and hydration for 48 hours.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Body Lotion

While picking a body lotion can seem like an easy decision, it’s worth giving some extra thought to a product you put on your body once a day. These factors will help you narrow down the options.

Dryness

Everyone’s skin is different and so are their hydration levels and needs. Those with thirsty complexions will want to look for a body lotion that is designed to deliver deeper hydration. Be sure to look for potent hydrators on the ingredient list, such as glycerin, which helps skin hang on to moisture. Also important is the delivery system, since the ingredients need to get deep into the skin to be effective.

Texture

Some body lotions feel light as water while others are thicker and require a heavier massage into the skin. Figure out where you like your lotion to fall on the spectrum and shop accordingly, whether that means an airy gel formula or rich body butter.

Additional Benefits

Sure, body lotion delivers the moisture that our skin craves, but sometimes we’re looking for more than that. Luckily, there are plenty of body lotions that are quite the multitaskers, so it’s easy to find formulas that provide extra perks. For example, if anti-aging is at the top of your find, slather on a body lotion that contains peptides, which will give collagen production a boost. 

FAQs

Q: When is the best time to apply body lotion?

Right after you get out of the shower! That’s when skin will soak up all the extra moisture. Ideally, the first five minutes after hopping out of the tub are the best. Damp skin is the best because that’s when pores are open, so the lotion will penetrate better and last longer, giving the skin’s moisture level an overall boost.

Q: What ingredients should I look for in a body lotion?

To ensure a body lotion is actually moisturizing, look for hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water to keep skin hydrated. Another go-to ingredient is glycerin, a natural humectant that will help your skin hang on to moisture. For an extra boost for your skin, you can also look for peptides, which boost collagen production, as well as ceramides to help the skin barrier. Antioxidants also bring benefits to overall skin health.

Q: Should I opt for a body lotion or body butter?

That’s entirely a personal choice since both can deliver the hydration that skin craves. Body butter typically has a thicker texture than lotion, but since body lotion has higher water content, it’s lighter and sinks into the skin faster. 

Final Thoughts

With so many body lotions to choose from, it can be tough whittling down the options. But many classics that have stood the test of time made the shortlist, thanks to endorsements from dermatologists and nourishing ingredients that not only moisturize, but improve overall skin health.

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