A skincare routine is incomplete without a body care routine. Typically, facial skincare gets all the love and attention; we stock up on serums, creams, and sunscreens. And yet: All skin is skin—and the majority of it falls below the neck. While every regime will differ a little bit, it’s safe to say that hydration should be the baseline of your routine. That’s where the best body lotions swoop in.
“Sun damage, natural aging, and hormonal changes will all result in dry skin and contribute to itchy and aged appearing skin,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield. “Using a body product regularly can help mitigate these factors and keep skin healthy.”
There’s an option for everyone—some are fragranced, others are not; a handful leave a shine on the skin, some dry down matte; a few are luxe splurges, while some you can scoop up at the drugstore. To find a body lotion that suits your skin, scroll ahead. I’ve spent the greater part of my days lathering up to determine the best 15 in existence.
What to Look For
With so many body lotions on the market, which list countless ingredients with unpronounceable names, it's difficult to determine which components to look for—and which to stay away from.
“Ingredients tell you if the lotion is going to address the specific concerns you want targeted in your body routine,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adeline Kikam. From a hydration standpoint, she recommends seeking out humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea), emollients (shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil), and ceramides. Having at least one of the above is a baseline for hydration.
Dr. Aya Ahram adds, "Look for a mixture of ingredients to help target moisture retention and water loss across the skin barrier: humectant ingredients—which draw in water from the air into the skin—such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as well as occlusives, which seal water in the skin, like petrolatum and dimethicone." She also recommends "emollients, which provide moisture to the skin, like shea butter and ceramides."
And for more specific concerns like keratosis pilaris, callouses, or flakiness? She explains, "You can find body moisturizers that have ingredients such as urea, lactic acid, salicylic acid, or even retinol, to help with exfoliation while still helping with hydration. This can be helpful for patients with keratosis pilaris or even with the thicker, drier skin such as on the elbows, feet, knees."
Then comes the fun stuff. Your formula might come with antioxidants. “Vitamin E, C, and green tea extract for example have a dual purpose in preventing free radical damage and may also brighten and moisturize skin,” says Dr. Kikam. Your body lotion might have retinol in it as well, which is ideal for anti-aging. Or, maybe there’s an acid in the mix. “These are wonderful for those with acne prone skin, body hyperpigmentation, KP, and even psoriasis.”
Meanwhile, if you're combatting body acne, Dr. Ahram advises using "a face moisturizer that is non-comedogenic or oil-free so that the moisturizer does not make acne worse."
What to Avoid
In terms of what to avoid, Dr. Ahram says, "In general, I don't love fragrance because it can cause irritation in people with sensitive skin or atopic dermatitis, as they already have a fragile skin barrier and I prefer to avoid ingredients that can cause irritation. Some can tolerate it without any negative side effects, but in general I do not recommend products that are heavily fragranced."
Double board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist Dr. Amy Wechsler also recommends "avoiding ingredients such as lactic acid and glycolic acid" if you're looking for something highly moisturizing that won't irritate your skin.
Finally, Dr. Greenfield says, “I like to see that there are no drying ingredients like alcohol or any strong fragrances that may cause reactions in the skin."
When looking for the right moisturizer, it's best to consider the weight and texture you prefer. If you have extremely dry skin or are targeting dry areas like your heels and elbows, you may want a richer formula. On the other hand, many consumers prefer lightweight formulas on the whole because they absorb quickly and don't feel greasy.
"Using a light moisturizer is best to provide hydration, while avoiding any occlusion of the pores/follicles," says Dr. Ahram. "Avoid fragrance to prevent irritation or sensitivity of the skin, especially if using acne products with active ingredients which can be drying to the skin, to avoid any further irritation or dryness."
Dr. Wechsler adds, "The moisturizer should rub in well and not feel sticky."
By and large, a lotion is going to be a bit thinner and absorb into the skin faster than a rich cream. That being said, there’s still a wide range to choose from within the lotion category. “You can choose your texture based on season or weather—thicker consistencies are best for winter to help lock in moisture and lighter or thinner consistency in the summer when it’s hot,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adeline Kikam. Her advice: “Choose a texture that you enjoy applying and one that feels comfortable on your skin and is easy to spread.”
Scan this list, and you’ll notice that a handful of the best body lotions are actually from fragrance-first brands. So, while you can opt for a fragrance-free formula that lets your perfume shine through or keep your sensitive skin happy, you also have the option to layer on a scented body lotion that will replace your go-to scent or enhance the one you wear.
When it comes to moisturizing, you should show your whole body some TLC. Dr. Wechsler attests, "I think the body should be moisturized every day, especially after a shower, and this is what I have always done."
But when slathering lotion all over your body, you may find that some areas need more attention than others.
"[Areas] most prone to dryness would be the elbows, knees, hands (frequent hand washing/sanitizing), feet, lower legs/ankles, and back (harder to reach), especially as we move into winter as we lose some of the humidity in the air and turn on our heaters," says Dr. Ahram. "Areas most prone to aging are the face, hands, neck, chest, and forearms due to constant sun exposure while out walking, driving."
Dr. Weschler seconds that the lower legs are often in need of extra moisture, but adds that "any part of the body could become dry"—so pay attention to what your body is telling you. The same goes for aging, which she explains "is closely connected to sun damage, so it will vary from person to person."
The Best Body Lotions
- The Best Fragrance-Free Body Lotion: Necessaire The Body Lotion
- The Best Fragranced Body Lotion: Byredo Mojave Ghost Body Lotion
- The Best SPF Body Lotion: Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50
- The Best Body Lotion for Rough Skin: First Aid Beauty KP Smoothing Body Lotion With 10% AHA
- The Best Body Lotion for Sensitive Skin: Susanne Kaufmann Hypersensitive Body Lotion
Best Body Lotion for Acne-Prone Skin
“This Versed body lotion is a notable body lotion that contains encapsulated retinol along with cocoa butter, and moisture-replenishing squalane to renew and moisturize skin,” says Dr. Kikam. Such a robust ingredient profile gives this cream the ability to brighten skin tone, reduce breakouts, even skin texture, and firm the skin. “This is a great moisturizer for summer because it’s so lightweight and melts easily into the skin.”
Pros: Dermatologist-recommended; Multi-benefit; Affordable
Cons: Not super hydrating
Customer Review: "I have had rough and bumpy skin on my arms for most of my life and this is the only product that has left my arms soft and smooth." -Target
Best Fragrance-Free Body Lotion
For a fragrance-free formula that does more than just hydrate, Necessaire is the way to go. It’s a multi-tasker at its core, with the ability to moisturize, strengthen, firm, and brighten the skin with every single use. How, you ask? Just look at the ingredients. This tube contains vitamin C and niacinamide (brightening!), as well as peptides (hydrating!). It does take a bit of work to get this to sink into the skin, but once it absorbs you’re left with a matte, albeit hyper-moisturized complexion.
Pros: Fragrance-free; Strengthens skin
Cons: Not hydrating enough for dry skin
Customer Review: "This is the best body lotion ever, for real. It is the only lotion that truly sinks into my skin and doesn't leave me feeling greasy. I HATE the feeling of lotion of my skin and I don't feel it at all after a minute or so of applying. I also love that it's fragrance free so I can use it without worrying about any reactions to fragrance." -Sephora
Best Fragranced Body Lotion
Mojave Ghost is one of Byredo’s best-selling fragrances—it’s mysterious and alluring, yet still fresh thanks to its blend of woody and floral notes. Given the scent’s fan-favorite status, the brand has expanded the Mojave Ghost range into the body-care category with this luxe body lotion. The scent is calming, relaxing, and linger on every inch of skin for the entirety of the day. There’s no greasy finish either, which makes applying it the perfect pre-bed sensorial ritual.
Pros: Long-lasting scent
Cons: Not deeply hydrating, so not ideal for drier skin types
The Best Drugstore Body Lotion
"If you were to walk into the Marie Claire office, you would see a jumbo sized bottle of this exact lotion perched atop my desk. It’s my unequivocal go-to for two reasons. Number one: The smell; it’s a soft, yet sweet shea butter scent that instantly revives me from the inevitable three o’clock slump. Number two: It is not greasy or sticky in the slightest. I’m typing all day, every day, so having a moisturizer that doesn’t leave a grimy or sticky residue on my hands is imperative. The formula truly absorbs within seconds and keeps my skin hydrated for hours." -Samantha Holender, Beauty Editor
Pros: Affordable; Subtle glow; Convenient pump packaging
Cons: Contains sunflower oil, which is not ideal for sensitive skin
Customer Review: "Me and my family loves this cream. It leaves a nice smell and our skin so soft." -Target
The Best Body Lotion for Sensitive Skin
Stinging, burning, and rashes are no fun, but for anyone with hyper-sensitive skin (hi, yes me), those side effects are nearly impossible to avoid. But with the right formula, anything is possible—including stress-free, deep hydration. Enter Susanne Kaufmann’s Hypersensitive Body Lotion. It’s specifically designed with easily irritated skin in mind, so soothing ingredients take center stage. You’ll find natural plant oils, shea butter, vitamin E, and broccoli seed oil in the mix, all of which have calming, soothing, and nourishing effects to keep even the most angsty skin in a happy state.
Pros: Glass bottle; Good for sensitive skin
The Best Luxury Body Lotion
Augustinus Bader skincare is top-notch. As is the brand’s hair care. So, do the math and it’s evident that their body care follows suit. It contains the brand’s piece de resistance, TFC8, a special compound found in every product with a mission to treat fine lines, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite—everything. Hydrating ingredients like shea butter and soothing aloe vera made their way into the formula, as well as antioxidants like vitamin E that can protect against environmental factors.
Pros: Great clinical studies; Luxurious texture
Best Body Lotion for a Matte Finish
"I don’t know about you, but I find nothing more irritating than feeling like I have lotion on. I want my skin to feel baby soft without the glide, stickiness, or slip of a lotion. For a truly “nothing” feel, I repeatedly reach for this Summer Fridays formula. It leaves my skin feeling naturally soft (and smelling delicious). It has such an invisible texture, that I occasionally forget if I applied my daily dose." -SH
Pros: Vegan; Long lasting hydration
Cons: Strong scent
Customer Review: "I have been looking this summer silk body lotion. As the name says silk, yes it is very smooth when applied into the skin. Also absorbs fast and is long lasting! The light weight feeling is this is amazing! I love using this body lotion!" -Sephora
Best Exfoliating Body Lotion
“My all-time go-to body lotion for Keratosis Pilaris is Amlactin with 12 percent lactic acid,” says Dr. Kikam. “It's a hydrating but exfoliative lotion that helps soften rough, dry skin.” While the exfoliate is gentle, you can expect pretty powerful hydration thanks to a handful of humectants. It’s also fragrance-free, which makes it an ideal option for more sensitive skin types. From a texture standpoint, it’s non-greasy, dries down quickly, and leaves skin feeling supple and nourished.
Pros: Dermatologist-recommended; Contains 12 percent lactic acid
Cons: Smells a bit medicinal
The Best-Smelling Body Lotion
“Do you ever find a product so good that you create an elaborate (read: absurd) ritual around it? For me, that’s Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt body cream, which I refuse to wear when I’m having a bad day to avoid associating the smell with a negative memory. It’s buttery-yet-light and luxurious in texture, and the scent, while categorized as “fresh” and “woody,” has an intoxicating ~je ne sais quoi~ to it. I can’t stop sniffing myself after I apply it—aromatherapy on the go, if you will.” — Lucia Tonelli, Social Media Editor
Pros: Smells amazing; Layers well with fragrance
Cons: Too heavy for some
Customer Review: "Love this classy scent. Not too strong, but different than what’s out there on the market." -Bloomgindale's
Best Body Lotion with Retinol
Dr. Ahram highly recommends this body lotion from Naturium. She explains, "Naturium Skin Renewing Body Lotion contains retinol to help with skin turnover to help smoothen the skin and improve tone and texture, while also providing soothing properties with the addition of allantoin and shea butter to help combat irritation." I, too, have used this lotion and love how smooth it’s made my legs feel after just a few weeks of use. It’s even helped even my skin tone and lessen the appearance of scars.
Pros: affordable; contains retinol; smoothing; evens skin tone
Cons: may not be suitable for use immediately after shaving skin
Customer Review: "I absolutely love this lotion! It makes your skin silky smooth. I apply before bed and I can definitely tell a difference in my skin, especially my hands. This is my first time trying any kind of retinol product and I didn’t have any sensitivity. I think I found my new favorite product line!" -Target
Best Body Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid
Dr. Ahram also highly recommends this moisturizing cream from Cerave, promises to work effectively on oily, dry, and combination skin alike. Dr. Ahram says, “This moisturizer is a staple for many dermatologists due to its gentle properties and effectiveness, as it contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides, petrolatum, dimethicone, hyaluronic acid, and triglycerides, which target skin barrier restoration and protection from a multi-faceted approach.” It’s also great for irritated or damaged skin, and has even been awarded a National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance.
Pros: expert-approved; has a National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance; rich; works on all skin types; hypoallergenic
Cons: packaging doesn't have a pump
Customer Review: "This cream lotion is my absolute favorite in the winter time or just whenever my skin is dry, sensitive, irritated, inflamed… you name it, this always gets the job done. It helps to deeply moisturize, soothe and heal any skin irritation/ problems that I have at the time. I love to use this all over my body and on my face as well, pretty much anywhere & everywhere, it is so gentle and soothing you really can’t go wrong." -Target
Best Body Lotion for All Skin Types
"Nivea is my pick if you’re looking for a drugstore formula that can go head-to-head with luxe counterparts. Regardless of the new launches and fancy creams that excite me, I continuously go back to this tried-and-true formula; its texture and efficacy is unmatched. From the second I put a few pumps on my skin, the appearance of dry skin or a rough texture disappears in favor of a deeply hydrated, shiny, silky sheen. The hydration lasts me a full day and the scent isn’t overpowering in the slightest." -SH
Pros: Affordable; Leaves a soft glow on the skin
Cons: Some say it feels too slimy
Customer Review: "The skin firming lotion is amazing, it even helps to get rid of my acne I have that pops up. I give it 100%" -Target
Best Lotion for Face and Body
"La Roche Posay Triple Lipikar Moisturizing Cream provides long lasting hydration to the skin due to the ceramides, shea butter, glycerin, dimethicone, and niacinamide which has soothing properties," says Dr. Ahram. "The unique addition of selenium present in La Roche Posay's thermal water acts as a natural antioxidant, which helps to minimize skin damage by reducing inflammation."
Pros: expert-approved; can be used on face and body; soothing
Cons: some users find it greasy
Customer Review: "This moisturizer is amazing for those with very dry skin types. It's non comedogenic, so it can be used on the face. The ingredients are top notch! 10/10!" -Ulta
Best Unscented Body Lotion
Dry, flaky skin? Consider opting for a body lotion that’s free of fragrances, parabens, and other potentially inflammatory ingredients, like this hypoallergenic one from Cetaphil. "I love Cetaphil Restoraderm lotion," attests Dr. Wechsler of this no-nonsense, unisex pick. "It’s my favorite: fragrance free, great moisturizer, absorbs quickly, and moisturizes all day." The clinically tested lotion also promises to work on sensitive and eczema-prone skin, improving moisture and bringing relief to irritated skin in as little as two hours.
Pros: expert-approved; free of fragrance, steroids, and parabens; great for sensitive skin
Cons: some users find the formula too thin
Customer Review: "This is by far the best eczema lotion on the market. It is priced a little on the higher side but I truly think it's worth it. Non greasy feel and easily absorbs leaving skim soft and itch free while it also protects and heals the skin. If you have been looking for a lotion thay does it all for your skin this is definitely worth a try. The other items in this line also work amazing together." -Target
Best Body Lotion with Urea
“Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream repairs and nourishes dry skin with ingredients like urea and lactic acid in addition to glycerin, shea butter, ceramide, cholesterol and fatty acids,” says Dr. Ahram of this popular, affordable body lotion. “The addition of urea provides a unique combination of moisturizing and exfoliating by regulating the skin cycle, while also improving skin barrier function due to its antimicrobial properties.” Plus, it’s made with sensitive skin in mind, so you can rest assured that you can apply it daily.
Pros: expert-approved; great for sensitive skin; resurfaces and moisturizes
Cons: jar doesn't have a pump
Customer Review: "I’ve been using this product for years and it’s worth every penny. The moisture level is 10 without the heavy greasy feeling. I always get compliments on my skin everywhere I go." -Eucerin
Best Scented Body Lotion
If you don’t have sensitive skin and don’t find fragrance irritating, a scented body lotion may just be the way to go. They’re fabulous for people who like wearing a scent but don’t enjoy wearing perfume, or for those who are obsessed with fragrance and are happy to slather it on whenever possible. In these cases, Phlur has one of the best scented lotions out there, with formulas for each of their signature scents, including Missing Person and Not Your Baby. This woody, earthy option is my favorite though, and is perfect for wearing in autumn and winter weather.
Pros: large container; comes with a pump; popular scent
Cons: strong scent may not be for everyone
Best Body Lotion with BHA
"I’m obsessed with this body lotion from Paula’s Choice. Because it contains BHA (also known as salicylic acid), it gently exfoliates skin and eradicates blemishes like acne and razor bumps. The result is softer, visibly smoother skin. While the formula does wonders on my combination skin, it’s also suitable for dry and oily skin as well, and never irritates or dries out my skin, unlike many other BHA body lotions. It’s also free of fragrance, so you won’t have to worry about it causing inflammation or clashing with your other scented beauty products." -Gabrielle Ulubay, Beauty Writer
Pros: affordable; editor-approved; contains BHA; lightweight; free of fragrance and parabens
Cons: small bottle
Customer Review: "After one week of using this before bed, there was a noticeable difference and after a month of nightly use, the skin tone has evened out AND I am amazed that the skin actually looks smoother with less wrinkling. I did not expect to see such an improvement and I am truly amazed. Remarkable"
Best Ultra-Rich Body Lotion
"This is the moisturizer I’ve been using recently, and it’s done wonders at keeping my skin supple and moisturized even as New York City temperatures have dropped. Its formula features ceramides, aloe leaf juice, murumuru seed butter, cacao seed butter, and other hydrating ingredients designed to deliver long-term, penetrating moisture made to soothe even the toughest or most irritated skin. Its formula is also rich enough to feel substantial, but never clogs my pores or makes me feel greasy." -GU
Pros: editor-approved; contains natural ingredients; rich; absorbs into skin quickly
Cons: strong scent
Customer Review: "My skin feels soooo great!! The smell is gentle and the cream absorbs perfectly. Non greasy." -Andalou Naturals
The Best Lightweight Body Lotion
“I have a very elaborate body moisturizing routine, and it’s almost entirely comprised of products by Soft Services. After developing an obsession with the brand’s best-selling Buffing Bar (my skin has never, ever been so soft), I decided to try out their Carea Cream. The lightweight lotion is formulated with urea, a holy grail ingredient for people who experience rough texture, bumps, or consistent dryness. It gently exfoliates and breaks down dead skin build-up without causing irritation—a reminder that our body deserves the same love as our faces do!” — LT
Pros: Great for bumps and uneven texture
Cons: Some report pilling
The Best Body Lotion for Dry Skin
“REN has a new product—Evercalm body balm. I recommend this because it is a product that considers the skin’s PH, microbiome, and hydration status and is made especially for sensitive skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield. “This product optimizes all three of these with its combination of naturally sourced oils, neutral PH, no preservatives, and microbiome friendly ingredients.” It’s extremely lightweight and absorbs seamlessly, leaving you with soft-to-the-touch skin.
Pros: Great for redness and dryness
Cons: A little oily for some
Customer Review: "In love with this balm. I have been having very problematic dry skin under my chin due to tretinoin and his has been super helpful in healing that area. The smell is very pleasant as well and it helps with itches from dry skin." -Sephora
Best Body Lotion with SPF
This clean, fragrance-free lotion from Eucerin works on all skin types, including sensitive skin, promising to deliver 24 hour moisture that works even on calloused hands and feet. Its lightweight formula is filled with nourishing ingredients like Pro-Vitamin B5, sunflower oil, and dimethicone, and it’s even water resistant. Simply apply the lotion generously all over your body—especially the parts that are exposed to the sun—at least 15 minutes before you go outside, and you’re all set!
Pros: clean; contains SPF; free of parabens, dyes, and fragrance; good for sensitive skin
Cons: one reviewer found it sticky
Customer Review: "Love the lightweight feel of this lotion. It is not greasy, absorbs well, and adds a bit of sunscreen which is a huge plus." -Target
Best Body Oil
If you prefer a thicker, richer product that packs in moisture, consider a body oil, like this luxury option from Chanel. “I also love the Chanel Jasmine body oil,” raves Dr. Weschler while talking about her favorite moisturizing products. “It has a natural, light, beautiful fragrance, and the oil moisturizes well and absorbs quickly.” The fragrance itself is infused with helianthus annuus flower oil, which adds to the formula’s rich consistency, as well as grasse jasmine petals at a top note with musky, woody base notes.
Pros: expert-approved; luxurious; subtle fragrance; rich; absorbs quickly
Cons: expensive; small bottle
Meet the Dermatologists
Dr. Nava Greenfield is a dermatologist practicing at Schweiger Dermatology Group. Dr. Greenfield earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College, City University of New York, where she graduated Cum Laude with honors in mathematics, natural sciences, chemistry and biochemistry. Dr. Greenfield attended medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. She completed her internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital and her residency in dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Greenfield has been published in many medical journals, including The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, the Journal of Women’s Dermatology and Pediatrics. Dr. Greenfield is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Women’s Dermatologic Society and the American Medical Association.
Dr. Adeline Kikam was inspired to become a dermatologist because of the struggles she faced with her own skin while growing up coupled with inaccessibility to dermatologic care. Combined, these experiences fueled her interest in decoding the vast and information-rich field that is dermatology as well as the desire to spread this wealth of knowledge. As part of this mission, Dr. Kikam launched Brown Skin Derm™ via social media at the beginning of her dermatology residency to fill the void of evidence-based information and candid, informative conversations. She’s leveraged social media to create a trusted space for expert-led skin care knowledge as well as highlight common dermatologic conditions and issues, providing greater access to care for melanin-rich skin and creating more equity in the skin care and beauty industries. She also lends her expertise and passion to advocating for improved representation of people of color in the larger discussion on skin care, ranging from information accuracy and accessibility to medical therapy and product formulation to consumer/patient engagement. In addition to discussing medical conditions, Dr. Kikam is experienced in the rapidly evolving world of aesthetic procedures, and she provides reviews on skin care products and features fellow dermatologists and organizations who offer resources for skin of color. Today, her followers are a diverse group of individuals hailing from all corners of the world, including Asians, Latinos, Africans, African-Americans, Middle Eastern, etc. Slowly but surely, the landscape of dermatology is changing and people of color everywhere are demanding to see themselves reflected in the way skin care is discussed. She recently contributed to a newly released comprehensive dermatology atlas that features common skin conditions presented across all Fitzpatrick skin types, a resource she never had during her medical training that is now available to all health care professionals. In 2022, she is launching SkinClusive Dermatology, an in-person and teledermatology clinic with a focus on medical, cosmetic, and hair restoration treatments as well as specialization in skin of color.
Dr. Amy Wechsler is a double board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist. In addition to practicing medicine, she hosts the 'Am I Embarrassing You?' podcast with her daughter. She is currently based in New York City.
Dr. Aya Ahram is a board-certified dermatologist currently working at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery in New York City. She treats all skin types and conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and alopecia, and addresses aesthetic needs as well, including Botox, chemical peels, and microneedling.