As a skincare-obsessed beauty editor, I do everything in my power to care for the skin below my neck as well as I care for the skin above it. After all, skincare is a comprehensive term, and it doesn't just mean caring for the skin on your face. I had to learn this the hard way. For years, I was lackadaisical when it came to bodycare. Sure, if I spent all day at the beach, I would apply sunscreen, and if my skin was visibly dry and flaking, I would apply body lotion, but that was about it. Now that I'm seeing sun damage and fine lines and wrinkles on my chest, arms, and legs, I'm taking it more seriously.
By that, I mean I'm using effective body lotions with active ingredients targeted toward specific skin concerns. If I need a brightening body lotion, I've got one. If I need a firming body lotion, I have one of those too. What about a retinol- or SPF-infused formula? Yep, I have them both in my bathroom cabinet. It took trial and error and product recommendations sourced from other beauty editors and the internet, but I'm convinced I've found the best body lotions that money can buy. Ahead, see them all.
What to Look for in a Body Lotion
The good thing about modern body lotions is that they treat the skin just as much as they moisturize it. That means that the right one for you depends on your skin concerns and overall goals. For example, if you have dry skin, look for a body lotion with occlusive ingredients, like plant oils and butters, which will lock moisture in and prevent transepidermal water loss. If you have mature skin, look for a body lotion that has a rich formula to deeply moisturize the skin. You could also look for one with anti-aging ingredients like retinol and peptides. Finally, if you have dull or uneven skin, look for a body lotion with brightening ingredients like vitamin C.
Clearly, there are a multitude of options on the market. In fact, there are so many that it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad. That's where editor testing and online reviews come in. Keep scrolling to see the best body lotions in each major category!
Best Overall: Nécessaire The Body Lotion
There's a reason this is one of the best-selling body lotions at Sephora. First, it's moisturizing, and that's the most important function. Second, it's fragrance-free, so it's not irritating even for sensitive skin. Third, it pampers with skin-strengthening ingredients like niacinamide, vitamins, and peptides.
Promising review: "A little goes a long way, and it leaves my skin so soft and touchable!" — Sephora customer
Best Drugstore: Weleda Unscented Body Lotion
If you've ever heard people wax poetic about Weleda's Skin Food ($18), you know the brand is known for moisturizing lotions. This fragrance-free formula is one of the best. It's formulated for all skin types and soaks into the skin quickly without leaving a thick residue behind. However, the best part might be the price tag.
Promising review: "I love this lotion! It really does work. I had very, very dry hands, and within a day or two of using a very small amount of this lotion twice a day, my hands looked totally normal. I also love that it's unscented and has very natural ingredients. Highly recommend!" — Target customer
Best for Very Dry Skin: U Beauty The Super Body Hydrator
This body lotion is incredibly moisturizing thanks to three key ingredients. The first is hyaluronic acid. There are five forms of it in this lotion, helping it deliver intense hydration. There's also B-glucan, which is a fermented polysaccharide that binds to water molecules in the skin. Finally, there are plant oils (namely avocado, grapeseed, and argan) that lock in moisture.
Promising review: "My skin looks and feels completely different. … I never expected these kinds of results from any product. It's crazy! I can't recommend these enough! You will see and feel a big difference." — Amazon customer
Best for Mature Skin: Naturopathica Manuka Honey Creamy Body Lotion
This rich body lotion uses manuka honey, a powerful humectant, to draw moisture into the skin and keep it there. After one use, the skin instantly feels softer, smoother, and more moisturized. I like using this lotion after I shave my legs. There's something about it that makes my skin feel so soft.
Promising review: "This is a good quality lotion. It is thicker and creamier than others I've used, and it spreads easily and absorbs well, but not too quickly." — Amazon customer
Best for Sensitive Skin: Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
Formulated without common irritants, this body lotion smoothes and hydrates even the most sensitive skin types.
Promising review: "I needed a new moisturizer for my face that was rosacea-safe. I struggled because I reacted to nearly everything. … I know my rosacea tolerates it very well! If you have very sensitive skin, give this a try!" — Amazon customer
Best Brightening: Beauty Pie Superdose Vitamin C Bio-Vitamin Brightening Body Lotion
If you want a body lotion that does double duty on sun damage, this is it. With a combination of tranexamic acid, hyaluronic acid, firming brown algae, and stable vitamin C, this body lotion brightens dark spots better than so many other formulas on the market. That's why it's one of the best vitamin C bodycare products money can buy.
Promising review: "[This is] crazy great at improving redness and discoloration and smoothing skin." — Beauty Pie customer
Best Firming: Juice Beauty Green Apple Firming Moisturizer
This body lotion uses peptides to firm the skin over time. Jojoba and shea butter provide deep moisture, and malic acid and vitamin C brighten from head to toe.
Promising review: "This is one of the best firming body moisturizers. It leaves skin feeling great without any greasiness. Also provides a good amount of hydration." — Ulta customer
Best Retinol: Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment
Fun fact: You can use retinol on your body, just like you can use it on your face. Just be sure to wear sunscreen every day since vitamin A ingredients like retinol can make you more susceptible to sun damage. This formula effectively smooths, moisturizes, and resurfaces the skin. In other words, it gives you all the benefits that retinol is supposed to give you.
Promising review: "At first, I thought the lotion was way too thin to do anything for my high desert parched skin. Wrong! I went through one whole tube using nightly and ordered another. What I've experienced is noticeably smoother, more even-toned body skin. … This stuff works and now cannot do without!" — Chantecaille customer
Best SPF: Versed Total Package Replenishing Body Lotion SPF 30
When I need to protect my limbs from sun exposure, which is all the time, I reach for this SPF 30 mineral-based body lotion from Versed. It's exceptionally moisturizing thanks to cupuaçu butter and grapeseed oil. Plus, it keeps sun damage at bay. What's not to love?
Promising review: "What truly sets this body lotion apart is its ability to hydrate and moisturize like a dream. The blend of nourishing ingredients, like grapeseed oil and cupuaçu butter, leave my skin feeling baby-soft and oh-so-smooth. I swear, it's like a little miracle in a tube. Whether it's your legs, arms, or any other part of your body, this lotion embraces it all and quenches every inch of dryness. Oh, did I mention the glow? Yes, this little gem leaves behind a subtle, radiant sheen that makes your skin look like it's been kissed by the sun itself." — Versed customer
Best Smoothing: Peach & Lily KP Bump Boss Smoothing Body Lotion
With 10% AHAs, fruit extracts, and 5% urea, this body lotion erases body bumps. It also includes centella asiatica, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter, so don't think it will dry out your skin.
Promising review: "Oh my! I have tried so many different special lotions and things [for] keratosis pilaris, and nothing seems to work except for this. I am amazed at how smooth it makes my skin and doesn't feel greasy or oily. I love it!" — Ulta customer
Best Body Butter: Mutha Body Butter
Yes, this stuff is expensive, but it feels so rich and luxurious that I'll keep buying it for as long as Mutha sells it. This moisturizes my skin better than almost any other body product I've tried thanks to fatty acids, pure seed extracts, vitamins A and E, and whipped shea, cocoa, and mango butters. That's high praise coming from a beauty editor.
Promising review: "This body butter is thick, rich, and SUPER moisturizing. I love the subtle citrus smell, and the texture is divine. It is everything I have been looking for in body butter. And all-natural? A dream." — Cult Beauty customer
Best Scented: Saltair Lush Greens Body Lotion
When I tell you I'm a huge fan of Saltair products, I mean it. The brand creates effective bodycare products that come in a wide range of unique scents. While all of them are good, I'm obsessed with Lush Greens. With notes of palm leaves, pear, and lily, it makes my bodycare routine feel incredibly spa-like.
Promising review: "Okay, I hate writing reviews. But honestly, this stuff is so good I [have to write one]. It smells exactly as it's named, like a forest after it has rained but tropical and juicy. It's hard to describe, but I can't get enough of it. I would wear it as perfume! Also, I have very dry skin and [keratosis] pilaris all over the back of my arms, forearms, back, and chest—it's intense. This lotion improves my skin's hydration for about 24 hours before I need to reapply, and the scent is less intense after [24 hours] than at first application, but if I press my nose to my arm, I can definitely still smell it. So if you love smelling good and having soft skin, buy it!" — Saltair customer
Best Gradual Tanning: + Lux Unfiltered N°32 Gradual Hydrating Self Tanner
Beauty editors love this gradual tanning lotion because it moisturizes the skin, builds natural-looking color, and never leaves streaks or a weird smell behind. It smells incredible, like sandalwood. This is one we highly recommend.
Promising review: "I have used Lux Unfiltered for almost three years now, and it's the only tanning lotion I'll ever use! As a busy mom, I don't have time for foam tanning products. I want to be able to apply and get on with my day. I love how easy this lotion is to apply. I have tried both the Rosewood and Santal scents and love both of them, but Santal is my favorite." — Amazon customer
Best Derm Recommendation: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
I have yet to hear from a dermatologist who doesn't recommend this ceramide-rich body lotion, which you can also use on your face. It's fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, so it's almost guaranteed to not irritate the skin.
Promising review: "It's great for every day, or you can use a little extra to slug/really moisturize overnight. Despite how rich it is, it soaks in so well and leaves a matte-like finish. It almost feels like a primer. It does take a bit of time to fully soak in (maybe 15 min), but not in an uncomfortable way; it's only noticeable when I try to layer on other products right after, like my sunscreen. I never thought my face & body cream would be the same, but it's also the best body lotion I've ever used." — Amazon customer