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No matter what your daily routine is, everyone needs a good body lotion in their beauty arsenal. Whether you slather it on after a shower, before bed, following a day in the sun, or when dry skin crops up, you should have a go-to bottle (or tube or tub) on hand.
According to licensed esthetician Dana Murray of Babe + Beauty, daily application is ideal. "The skin on the body has fewer oil glands than the face, so it can dry out a lot quicker," she explains.
Body lotions have one main purpose: to moisturize your skin. With that said, some do a better job than others because they contain hydrating ingredients like nourishing plant oils, earth-derived butters, and humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Some formulas work overtime to address other skin concerns like eczema, chronic dryness, and loss of elasticity, while others contain SPF to safeguard against sun damage.
When shopping for body care products, you'll want to consider the ingredients, consistency, scent (or lack thereof), and skin type. You should also look at the amount, as you can expect to go through it much faster than your face moisturizer.
Scroll down for the best body lotions for every, well, body.
Best Overall: Nécessaire The Body Lotion
Restores skin's barrier
When it comes to moisturizing from head to toe, The Body Lotion is tough to beat. Packed with a nourishing medley of shea butter and vitamins A, C, and E, plus complexion-improving niacinamide, the luxurious formula works hard for your skin.
This fragrance-free, fast-absorbing moisturizer is suitable for all skin types and promises to strengthen your skin's barrier, improve tone, smooth texture, and restore firmness. It's no wonder Byrdie editorial director Faith Xue and senior editor Hallie Gould agree it's the crème de la crème of body creams.
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, shea butter, vitamins A, C, E | Skin Type: All | Size: 6.8 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"As someone who seldom uses her body creams and oils because they take forever to sink in, I was delighted by how fast The Body Lotion absorbed. My skin instantly drank it up as I massaged it in, leaving behind a smooth, soft finish without any greasy residue." — Jenna Igneri, Product Tester
Best Budget: Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Body Lotion
For babes on a budget, we recommend Vaseline Intensive Care, an affordable fav of Byrdie associate editor Eden Stuart. Containing the brand's signature petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly), plus a generous dose of cocoa butter, you can count on this body lotion to mend damaged skin and seal in moisture.
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum, cocoa butter | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 20.3 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Editors Say
"As someone in a constant battle with keeping ashiness at bay, I need deep hydration in my body lotion. This one delivers and at a super affordable price point. Plus, the blend of cocoa and shea leaves my skin looking glowy in that natural, lit-from-within sort of way." — Eden Stuart, Associate Editor
Best Drugstore: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Murray is a fan of CeraVe, and we can see why. Formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid and essential ceramides, the brand's Daily Moisturizing Lotion targets dryness and restores moisture. Murray notes, "CeraVe is packed with ceramides, which helps to moisturizer the skin." We like that this drugstore pick comes in a convenient pump bottle and can be used anywhere on your body—even your face!
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 12 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Byredo Gypsy Water Body Lotion
Relatively small amount
Cherished for its scrumptious scents, Byredo's Gypsy Water will leave you not only moisturized but also smells heavenly. After splurging on this luxury body lotion, we'd understand if you wanted to show off the minimalist-chic bottle on your vanity.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, dimethicone | Skin Type: All | Size: 7.6 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Body Butter: Hanahana Beauty Eucalyptus Shea Body Butter
Relatively small amount
We love a good body butter, and Hanahana's Eucalyptus Shea is one for the books. Containing earth-derived ingredients (think shea butter, cocoa butter, and jojoba oil) the rich concoction is formulated to condition, nourish, and smooth dry skin.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 6.78 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best With SPF: Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50
If you're on the year-round sunscreen bandwagon, why not kill two birds with one stone and slather on a body lotion with SPF like Supergoop! Play? The chemical formula is pleasantly lightweight, fast-absorbing, and most importantly, moisturizing.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene | Skin Type: All | Size: 18 ounces | SPF: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“Supergoop's Play Everyday Lotion is a hard-working SPF with a whole bunch of skincare benefits. Unlike other formulas, it’s something you will actually want to wear daily, without the white cast or grease.” — Gabrielle Dyer, Product Tester
Best for Eczema: Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream
Those with eczema-prone skin should reach for Eucerin Eczema Relief. Its star ingredient is colloidal oatmeal, which is known to address inflammation, soothe irritation, and protect the skin barrier while delivering much-needed moisture.
Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, licochalcone, ceramides | Skin Type: Eczema-prone | Size: 8 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Unscented: Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15
We also appreciate this affordable, unscented body lotion by Lubriderm. The dermatologist-developed formula goes on smooth, moisturizes dry skin, and offers all-day hydration without a greasy feel.
Active Ingredients: Mineral oil, glycerin, vitamin B5 | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive | Size: 24 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Nourishing: Summer Fridays Summer Skin Nourishing Body Lotion
Small amount of product
Want baby-soft skin? Go with Summer Skin. This ultra-indulgent body lotion contains earth-sourced oils, plant-derived butters, and ceramides to deliver all-day moisture and a lovely coconut-vanilla scent.
Active Ingredients: Cocoa butter, shea butter, ceramides | Skin Type: All | Size: 6.7 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Consistency: Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter
Improves skin tone
If it's the consistency for you, you'll love Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter. This nutrient-rich, exceedingly creamy moisturizer goes on like icing and works to smooth, hydrate, and improve skin tone.
Active Ingredients: Argan oil, shea butter | Skin Type: All | Size: 8 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Softening: Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver Body Lotion
This body lotion from Nubian Heritage boasts a blend of natural butters and oils like coconut, shea, and hemp seed. When you slather it on every day, you can expect softer, smoother skin.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil, hemp seed oil | Skin Type: All | Size: 13 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Dry Skin: 54 Thrones African Beauty Butter
Can use on face and body
When you treat your skin to this African body butter, you'll feel like royalty. The rich, creamy formula goes on thick, but a little goes a long way. Plus, you can apply it anywhere—even your face.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, jojoba seed oil, honey | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Mature Skin: Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion
Restores dull, dry skin
Improves skin elasticity
The best option for mature skin is undoubtedly Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion. A favorite of editor Faith Xue, it moisturizes and protects with marula oil and enhances elasticity with ceramides.
Active Ingredients: Marula oil, shea butter, ceramides | Skin Type: Mature, dry | Size: 8 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"If you have some minor dryness or a lack of glow, I think the Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion is going to work wonders for you." — Ashley Rubell, Product Tester
Best Daily: Alaffia Everyday Shea Body Lotion
Pump can be finicky
What's the best body lotion for daily use? You're looking at it. Alaffia's 32-ounce Everyday Shea flaunts a formula full of naturally derived ingredients, like shea butter and red palm oil, and comes in a range of incredible scents.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, red palm oil | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 32 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Our number one pick is Nécessaire The Body Lotion, a luxurious vitamin-rich formula that moisturizes and nourishes with shea butter and niacinamide. If you're looking for a more wallet-friendly option, go with Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Body Lotion (view at Amazon), a generous pump bottle containing a moisturizing blend of petroleum jelly and cocoa butter.
What to Look for in a Body Lotion
There are several different types of moisturizing ingredients out there, but according to board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, MD, Dr. Ife Rodney, humectants are the best ones to seek out in a body lotion. They attract moisture to and seal it in the skin but are still lightweight and don’t feel heavy on the skin. Some of her favorites to look for include hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
If your skin is super dry, it’s not a bad idea to seek out a lotion that contains gentle chemical exfoliants, such as urea and/or alpha-hydroxy acids, advises Rodney.
Okay, not necessarily a must, but, “particularly for the summer months, it’s a great perk if your body lotion contains SPF. Your body needs sun protection, too, so why not kill two birds with one stone?” says Rodney.
Can you put body lotion on your face?
“Body lotions are usually thicker than face moisturizers and contain ingredients that are focused on driving as much moisture into the skin as possible. These thick lotions are too heavy for your face; especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin, constantly using body lotion could clog your pores and might be the reason you’re breaking out,” says Rodney.
Does body lotion expire?
“If it’s stored properly, away from heat and sunlight, it can last up to a few years. But eventually, it may become less effective, and you may notice things like separation or a color change,” says Rodney.
What’s the difference between body cream and body lotion?
Creams have higher concentrations of hydrating ingredients and are thicker and richer, whereas lotions have higher amounts of water and are much lighter, Rodney explains. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference, but generally speaking, you may want to consider lotions in the summer and creams in the winter.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Theresa Holland is a commerce writer specializing in beauty. For this roundup, she interviewed an esthetician and researched key ingredients, ultimately selecting products that offer ample hydration and skin-enhancing benefits. Theresa has tried a handful of products on this list and is particularly partial to Nécessaire, Vaseline, Josie Maran, and Summer Fridays, along with Eucerin for eczema flare-ups. A big proponent of daily sunscreen use, she's also a fan of Supergoop! Theresa has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, where she covers skincare, makeup, and fitness products.