The 20 Best Body Lotions of 2021

Hydrated skin is happy skin

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Our Top Picks
This rich formula provides intense hydration for dry skin that lasts, all while maintaining a non-greasy feel.
An affordable formula that helps hydrate skin for up to 48 hours and softens rough patches in the process.
This rich and luxurious cream uses a shea butter base to hydrate and sooth dry, irritated skin.
An ideal pick for the guys out there looking for a single moisturizer that really can do it all.
Gentle, fragrance-free, and non-irritating, this CeraVe formula leaves skin feeling smooth, hydrated, and not at all greasy.
Powered by avocado oil and jojoba seed oil, this formula is an excellent natural option for folks dealing with dry skin.
An all-natural, high-quality moisturizer that protects your skin from the sun's harsh rays with SPF 40.
Delivering long-lasting hydration to very dry skin, this lotion is powered by three popular humectants and ceramide 3.
Moisturize, soothe, tone, and protect your skin with this organic formula packed with powerhouse ingredients.
Enjoy intense hydration that feels both clean and comfortable throughout the colder, dryer months with this Lubriderm pick.

Dealing with dry skin? You’re not alone. According to Dr. Susan Massick, M.D., a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, there are many reasons why your skin may be feeling drier or more sensitive than usual. Cold, dry weather can dehydrate your skin—and long, hot showers can, too. Age, nutritional deficiencies, and skin conditions can also play a role in leaving you with dry or irritated skin. 

No matter the cause, dry skin can be incredibly frustrating, and using a body lotion regularly can be a great way to combat it. “Keeping your skin healthy and hydrated does not require a complicated or expensive skincare regimen,” said Dr. Massick. “Just like you drink fluids to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration, you have to hydrate your skin to keep it from getting dry and irritated,” Dr. Massick recommends using body lotion every day—and targeting areas that are more prone to drying out.

Here are the best body lotions on the market.

Best Overall : Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
Pros
  • Great for sensitive skin

  • Not sticky or greasy

  • Often recommended by physicians

Cons
  • Current formula is less effective than previous one

Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream is rich but non-greasy, and it provides intense hydration that lasts up to 24 hours. MVP ingredients like vitamin E and sweet almond oil soothe the skin while glycerin moisturizes it. And popular occlusives like petrolatum, propylene glycol, and dimethicone lock moisture in effectively.  

The cream is designed for those with dry skin. But since it’s free of fragrances, parabens, and other common irritants, it's great for those with sensitive skin as well. 

What are occlusives?

Occlusives keep the skin hydrated by slowing the evaporation of water from the skin. Popular occlusives include petrolatum, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, mineral oil, and beeswax. Some occlusives like petrolatum tend to be greasy. Others like cyclomethicone and dimethicone tend to be lightweight and fast-absorbing.

Best Budget: Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer

Jergens Ultra Healing Dry Skin Moisturizer
Pros
  • Full of vitamins C, E, and B5

  • Effectively softens rough patches of skin

  • Hydration lasts up to 48 hours

Cons
  • Bottle pump design can be messy

  • Intense fragrance

Jergens’s Ultra-Healing Moisturizer offers an affordable way to hydrate dry skin and soften rough patches. The lotion provides long-lasting hydration, keeping your skin moisturized for up to 48 hours.

It uses a few classic lotion ingredients to deliver on that promise. Glycerin hydrates the skin while petrolatum and dimethicone lock that moisture in. To top things off, Jergens threw in a soothing blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B5

Best Splurge: L'Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream

Pros
  • Contains 25% shea butter

  • Soothes and softens the skin

  • Absorbs quickly

Cons
  • Large tub container lacks convenience

  • Strong baby powder-like scent

L'Occitane describes this body cream as “rich” and “luxurious”—and it’s right to do so. The thick cream is neither greasy nor sticky. Instead, it draws on a shea butter base to soothe the skin and calm inflammation. Ingredients like apricot oil, glycerin, and urea hydrate the skin while dimethicone—a popular occlusive—locks in moisture. 

Best for Men: Lubriderm Men's 3-In-1 Unscented Lotion

Pros
  • Versatile

  • Exfoliates and hydrates

  • Lightweight formula

Cons
  • Not enough moisture for drier skin types

  • Can sting when used as an aftershave

This moisturizer from Lubriderm works as a body lotion, face lotion, and post-shave lotion, so you can meet a range of needs without investing in a bunch of different products. The moisturizer uses citric acid to exfoliate the skin and draws on aloe extract (as well as a few other humectants) to moisturize it. Petrolatum and mineral oil then make sure the moisture lasts.

Apply this lightweight, fragrance-free lotion any time you need a soothing boost of hydration, and rest assured knowing it will keep you going for a while. 

What is a humectant?

Humectants hydrate the skin in one of two ways. First, they pull water into the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) from the dermis (the layer under the epidermis). Second, they pull water into the epidermis from the atmosphere—but only when humidity is higher than 70 percent. Popular humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, propylene glycol, and urea.

Best Drugstore: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

cerave daily moisturizing lotion
Pros
  • Contains three essential ceramides

  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin

  • No greasy feel

Cons
  • Can cause irritation on face

  • Packaging is not durable

CeraVe’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion is beloved by many for its ability to leave skin feeling smooth, hydrated—and not at all greasy. All of CeraVe’s products are crafted from three essential ceramides—ceramide 1, ceramide 3, and ceramide 6-II. These ingredients, which are naturally found in the skin, work together to strengthen the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture. And other key ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin do the work to make sure the skin gets hydrated in the first place.

This lotion is gentle, fragrance-free, and non-irritating. It also has the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance. 

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are fat molecules naturally found in the skin. They help form the skin’s barrier, which keeps moisture locked in. Some research suggests that the amount of ceramides in your skin decreases as you age. And scientists say people with eczema may have fewer ceramides in their skin than people without eczema, and people with psoriasis may have less of certain kinds of ceramides and more of other kinds of ceramides in their skin than people without psoriasis.

Best Natural: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Original Body Lotion

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion
Pros
  • Contains avocado oil and jojoba seed oil

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Lightweight enough for regular use

Cons
  • Poor bottle design

  • Smell is unappealing to some

Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient Body Lotion is loaded with natural ingredients that hydrate and soothe in equal measure. Shea butter forms a soothing base while moisturizing ingredients avocado oil, jojoba seed oil, and vegetable glycerin work to hydrate and soften the skin.

The lotion is lightweight and non-greasy, so it’s comfortable enough to use regularly. And since it’s hypoallergenic, it's sensitive skin-friendly, too. 

Best with SPF: Supergoop! Body Butter SPF 40

Pros
  • SPF 40

  • Contains soothing argan oil

  • Non-greasy feel

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Small bottle size

Most lotions with sun protection max out at SPF 15, but Supergoop!’s Body Butter boasts SPF 40, making it one of the more protective options around. What's more, the lotion uses glycerin to hydrate the skin and argan oil to soothe it. And it draws on meadowfoam seed oil—an emollient—to make sure the skin stays soft and nourished. 

Since the lotion is all-natural and fragrance-free, it's also sensitive skin-friendly. And even though it comes equipped with sun protection, it's not greasy at all.

Why do emollients matter?

Emollients lubricate the skin, making it feel smoother and softer. Popular emollients include cyclomethicone, lanolin, and squalane.

Best for Dry Skin: Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion

Pros
  • Contains three humectants

  • Lightweight, non-greasy feel

  • Fragrance-free

Cons
  • Not recommended for cracked skin

  • Not recommended for use on the face

Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Lotion was designed to deliver long-lasting hydration to very dry skin. And it leaves your skin “noticeably softer and smoother” after just one use. The lotion uses several popular humectants—glycerin, cyclomethicone, and urea—to moisturize the skin. And it draws on ceramide 3 to help strengthen the skin’s barrier.

Though the lotion provides intense hydration, it’s still lightweight and non-greasy. And since it’s fragrance-free, it should be sensitive skin-friendly, too. 

Best for Aging Skin: Eminence Organics Coconut Firming Body Lotion

Pros
  • Organic formula

  • Moisturizes, soothes, tones, and protects the skin

  • Lightweight yet long-lasting

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Scent too strong for some users

Eminence’s Coconut Firming Body Lotion is full of natural ingredients that will leave your skin feeling smoother and more hydrated. Stone crop, corn germ oil, and vegetable glycerin moisturize the skin while shea butter and lavender oil soothe it. A dash of lemon oil refreshes and tones the skin, and a vitamin-packed booster loads the lotion with antioxidants.

The result? A lightweight yet powerful moisturizer that provides long-lasting hydration. And since the lotion is natural and certified organic, it should be sensitive skin-friendly. 

Best for Winter: Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion

Pros
  • Intense hydration formula

  • Non-greasy feel

  • Good for everyday use

Cons
  • Inefficient bottle design

  • Extra-dry skin needs multiple applications daily

In the winter, you don’t just need a moisturizer—you need a moisturizer that lasts. And Lubriderm’s Advanced Therapy Lotion gives you enduring hydration without gumming your hands up with grease.

The lotion uses glycerin to moisturize your skin and a combination of occlusives—dimethicone and mineral oil—to lock in that moisture. The result is an intensely hydrating lotion—and one that feels both clean and comfortable enough to wear all winter long.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Nécessaire The Body Lotion

Nécessaire The Body Lotion
Pros
  • Thick and luxurious feel

  • Absorbs quickly into the skin

  • Gender-neutral formula

Cons
  • Small bottle size

  • Will run out quickly

Nécessaire’s The Body Lotion is a cult favorite, thanks to its sleek packaging and natural ingredients. And because the lotion is designed to accommodate a range of different skin types—dry, combination, oily, and everything in between—it’s a particularly versatile pick. It uses plant-based glycerin to moisturize, and draws on shea butter to soothe. It’s also packed with vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, and vitamin E to support and nourish the skin.

What's more, the lotion is also fragrance-free and pH-balanced, making it a non-irritating choice that’s great for those with sensitive skin.

Best for Eczema: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream
Pros
  • Awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Approval

  • Contains oatmeal and ceramides

  • Relieves dry, irritated skin

Cons
  • Leaves a slightly sticky feel behind

  • Itch relief is mild and temporary

Designed to relieve dry, itchy, and irritated skin, Aveeno’s Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream is rich and intensely hydrating. The lotion is enriched with oatmeal, which works with ceramide NP to strengthen and soothe the skin. While these ingredients are hard at work, glycerin will hydrate your skin, and petrolatum and dimethicone will lock in that moisture. 

Since the lotion is fragrance-free, it promises to be sensitive skin-friendly. And it’s even been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Approval.

Best for Stretch Marks: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks
Pros
  • Excellent ingredients list

  • Delivers 48-hour hydration

  • Non-irritating formula

Cons
  • Scent too strong for some users

  • Feels heavier on the skin than other options

Palmer’s recommends applying this body lotion liberally twice a day. And the lotion is so rich and soft that doing so won’t feel like a chore. Cocoa butter and shea butter soothe while a combination of argan oil, coconut oil, and almond oil moisturizes. Then, other classic ingredients—like petrolatum, propylene glycol, and dimethicone—seal the deal by making sure that moisture lasts.

This star-studded list of ingredients should deliver 48-hour hydration. And since the lotion is hypoallergenic, you shouldn’t have to worry about it irritating your skin.

Best for Acne: CeraVe c

CeraVe SA Lotion
Pros
  • Gently exfoliates skin

  • Provides plenty of ceramides

  • Begins working quickly

Cons
  • Can irritate sensitive skin

  • Can leave skin feeling slightly sticky

CeraVe’s SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin boasts the same ceramide-filled base you’ll find in the brand’s other products. (Ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II work together to strengthen the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture).

But what sets it apart is a combination of exfoliants. Lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin, and salicylic acid further exfoliates and softens it. These ingredients make this lotion a powerful multitasker.

The Importance of Exfoliants

Exfoliants remove dead cells and other forms of buildup from the skin. Popular exfoliants include lactic acid, salicylic acid, and citric acid.

Best for Scars: SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm

SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm
Pros
  • Contains aloe extract, bisabolol oil, and squalane oil

  • Safe for dry and scarred skin

  • Relieves itchiness and flakiness

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Small bottle size

SkinCeuticals’s Hydra Balm is loaded with soothing ingredients. Aloe extract works alongside bisabolol oil and squalane oil to soothe and moisturize the skin. And petrolatum works to create a barrier that locks in that hydration.

This powerful combination provides intense, long-lasting moisture. SkinCeuticals recommends this product for dry, itchy, or flaky skin, as well as scars. 

Best Scented: OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Lotion

Pros
  • Coconut oil-based hydrating formula

  • Fresh scent that isn't overpowering

  • Large bottle size

Cons
  • Doesn't absorb as quickly as other options

  • Dry skin types will need multiple applications

OGX’s Coconut Miracle Oil Lotion is creamy, rich, and moisturizing, but the best thing about it is how good it smells.

The lotion gets its rich moisture from a blend of propylene glycol and coconut oil, and that coconut oil doubles as the base of the lotion’s fragrance blend, which is enhanced by notes of vanilla extract and gardenia essence. The lotion smells like coconut, vanilla, gardenia, and just a hint of tangerine. The fragrance is present, but not overpowering, making it a sweet addition to the hydrating lotion.

Best Lightweight: Suave Aloe Soothing Body Lotion

Pros
  • Excellent hydration for a lightweight formula

  • Pleasant light cucumber scent

  • Non-greasy feel

Cons
  • Dry skin types will need multiple applications

  • Slightly runny texture

Craving a lightweight moisturizer that will still get the job done? Suave’s Aloe Soothing Lotion is an excellent pick. The silky-smooth lotion uses glycerin to hydrate and a combination of occlusives—mineral oil, petrolatum, and dimethicone—to lock in that moisture.

Aloe juice and cucumber extract work together to add a soothing touch that makes this lotion great for sunny days—or any time you could use a little lightweight moisture. 

Best In-Shower: Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion

Pros
  • Great for people who don't like the traditional lotion feel

  • Contains sweet almond oil

  • Non-sticky, non-greasy formula

Cons
  • Makes shower floor very slippery

  • Scent doesn't appeal to everyone

Most lotions are designed to be used after you’ve taken a shower, but thanks to its water-activated formula, NIVEA’s In-Shower Body Lotion can be used in the shower.

The quick-absorbing lotion uses glycerin to hydrate, sweet almond oil to soothe, and petrolatum to lock in moisture. The lotion is non-sticky and non-greasy, and it doesn't leave any residue on your towel as you dry off. 

Best Butter: Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter

josie maran whipped argan oil
Pros
  • Whipped texture prevents heavy feel

  • Full of essential fatty acids and antioxidants

  • Provides ultra hydration

Cons
  • Absorbs slowly

  • Small jar size

Body butter is a lot like body lotion, only it tends to be soft and fluffy rather than smooth or creamy. And since Josie Maran’s Argan Oil Body Butter is whipped, it definitely fits this bill.

The cream boasts a soothing shea butter base, which uses glycerin, avocado oil, and squalane oil to moisturize. Aloe juice soothes the skin while antioxidants from green tea extract and white tea extract support it. Since the body butter is low on occlusives, it shouldn’t be too heavy or greasy. Instead, it feels velvet-soft every time you apply it. 

Best Oil: Neutrogena Body Oil

Neutrogena Body Oil Light Sesame Formula
Pros
  • Sesame oil base

  • Absorbs quickly

  • A little goes a long way

Cons
  • Scent too strong for some people

  • Not for sensitive skin

Body oils can be viscous and heavy, and they can sit on the surface of the skin for a while, but Neutrogena’s Lightweight Body Oil is decidedly lightweight. The sheer moisturizer is made primarily of sesame oil, an emollient that contains soothing vitamin E.

Smooth the oil over your skin, or squirt a few drops into your bathtub. The oil absorbs quickly, so you won’t have to worry about it lingering on your skin for too long. 

Final Verdict

Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream won’t just hydrate your skin—it will make sure that moisture lasts. (And it will use three different occlusives to do so). The cream is rich yet non-greasy, making it a great pick for everyday use. And since it’s free of fragrances and other common irritants, it promises to be sensitive skin-friendly. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, Lubriderm’s Advanced Therapy Lotion delivers rich, long-lasting hydration that will make winters a little easier to weather.

What to Look for in a Body Lotion

Long-Lasting Hydration

A good body lotion moisturizes the skin. And a great body lotion keeps the skin hydrated long after it’s been applied. Look for a combination of humectants like glycerin and urea and occlusives like petrolatum and dimethicone on the ingredients label. The humectants will moisturize your skin, and the occlusives will lock that moisture in to make sure your skin stays hydrated.

Texture

Body lotions can be thin or thick, lightweight or rich. (And if you get into body butters and oils, texture can vary even more significantly.) No texture is right or wrong—they will just feel better or worse on your particular skin. So pay attention to what you prefer, and consider when you plan to use the lotion. A quick-absorbing lotion may be great for everyday use, whereas a richer one may be better before bedtime.

Fragrance

Many lotions come scented, and many don’t. If fragrance is important to you, make sure the lotion you’re eyeing is scented—and make sure you like the scent it's offering. Meanwhile, if you have sensitive skin, it's probably best to avoid fragrance entirely.

Sensitive Skin-Friendliness

Many lotions promise to be non-irritating and sensitive skin-friendly. If you have sensitive skin, look for descriptors like “hypoallergenic,” “non-irritating,” and “fragrance-free.” You can also look for lotions that have received the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

FAQs

How often should I use body lotion?

Dr. Massick recommends using body lotion every day, and other dermatologists agree. Harold Lancer, M.D., a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, recommends using body lotion once or twice a day, depending on the dryness or irritation of your skin. And Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist, recommends using it twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening.

When should I apply body lotion?

Dr. Massick recommends applying body lotion right after a bath or shower. This will ensure the moisture gets locked in while your skin is still damp. “Your skin can dry out, crack, and peel, so it’s important to moisturize the skin before that happens,” said Dr. Massick. Gently pat your skin dry, leaving it slightly damp. Then, apply body lotion within five minutes.

Is it possible to use too much body lotion—or to use it too frequently?

Most of the dermatologists we spoke to agreed that you can’t really overdo it with lotion. And if you do, the worst-case scenario is greasy skin—or a little irritation if the lotion contains an ingredient that doesn’t agree with your skin. 

That said, overusing body lotion can definitely be a waste of money. “Applying extra moisturizer is not necessarily better,” said Dr. Zeichner. “After a certain point, it will just be wasteful, as it will no longer be absorbed into the skin.” He recommends applying a quarter-sized dollop of lotion to each body part—and leaving it at that.

Can I use body lotion on my face?

“Most body lotions can also be applied to the face,” said Dr. Zeichner. Many body lotions and face lotions contain similar ingredients, though face lotions may also include SPF. 

That said, body lotions tend to be heavier than face lotions, which may irritate your skin, Dr. Lancer said. And if you have sensitive skin, you may want to exercise a little more caution in this area. “If you have an extreme skin type, such as being acne-prone, or having rosacea or specific conditions like eczema, you may want to stick to a cream specifically designed for the face,” said Dr. Zeichner.

Body lotion isn't making my skin feel better. What should I do?

If lotion isn’t soothing your dry, itchy skin—or if your dry skin seems more permanent than temporary—consider speaking with a licensed professional. “When in doubt or having issues, please see a board-certified dermatologist for any ongoing skin rashes or skin irritation,” said Dr. Massick.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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  1. Wang Z, Man M-Q, Li T, Elias PM, Mauro TM. Aging-associated alterations in epidermal function and their clinical significance. Aging. 2020;12(6):5551-5565. doi:10.18632/aging.102946