Not everyone knows the difference between body oil, lotion, and butter. They aren’t sure which one is best for dry skin or oily skin. But those questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading to learn all about the best moisturizers for your body as well as when and how to use them.
Which is better: body oil, body lotion, or body butter?
If you need to know which moisturizer is best for your body, our answer is “it depends”. Each one has its pros and cons depending on your skin type.
Take body oil, for example. It helps control sebum and oiliness because natural oils are similar to the lipids in the skin. This is true even if you have an oily complexion. Weirdly, plant oil might be just what you need to regulate sebum production (1).
Moreover, the skin uses the oil to improve its natural barrier against dryness. That’s why you should apply body oil right after washing to seal in the moisture. On the downside, rubbing body oil into dry skin might just make you greasy. If that happens, apply lotion over top to help it absorb.
However, if you self-tan, don’t use body oil because it may break down your tan faster. Use an oil-free lotion instead.
On the bright side, most body oils are “clean” in that it’s easier to find them without preservatives and perfumes. Here’s a good example:
Ancient Greek Remedy Organic Blend of Olive, Lavender, Almond and Grapeseed Oils with Vitamin E
It doesn’t get much purer than this. This delicious moisturizer features organic sweet almond, grapeseed, and cold-pressed olive oils with a touch of vitamin E. You can get it fragrance-free or lightly perfumed with lavender essential oil. In either case, it’s preservative-free and non-GMO.
Use it to moisturize after shower by applying it to damp skin. It also removes makeup and can moisturize the face. Some people like to add it to their bath water or condition their hair with it. In any case, a few drops go a long way to healing dry skin.
Can you use body oil on your face?
We’ve been told over and over to avoid cosmetics containing oil to prevent clogging pores. But is this actually true?
It turns out that lightweight plant oils like grapeseed are beneficial even for acne-prone skin. They are packed with nutrients that reduce inflammation and accelerate healing.
When you first start using facial oil, your skin may purge leading to more pimples for a time. It may take a couple of weeks for your face to adjust to a new moisturizer routine. Be gentle, keep the skin clean and hydrated, and give the oil a chance. Since plant oils (especially jojoba) mimic sebum, you may find that your skin is more balanced and less greasy.
If you’d like to experiment with body oil on your face, we recommend the Ancient Greek Remedy Blend above.
Jason Skin Oil, Vitamin E 5,000 IU
Here’s another body oil that we highly recommend. It contains no parabens, phthalates, or petrolatum. Instead, it’s based on antioxidant-rich botanicals including sunflower seed, safflower seed, rice bran, and avocado oils. Some of these are even certified organic.
Reviewers say the oil is excellent for fading scars.
How to apply body oil after a shower?
The next product is the perfect example of how to apply body oil after bathing. After you turn off the shower and before you grab your towel, pump the oil into the palm of your hand and smooth it on the still-wet skin. It should absorb rapidly so that you can dry off and get on with your day.
Neutrogena Fragrance-Free Lightweight Body Oil
Neutrogena recommends this as the best body oil for dry skin. It’s super convenient as you can slather on a few drops while you’re standing in the shower before you towel off. In fact, that’s the recommended method for using it. Plus, you can add it to bath water while you’re soaking.
What’s nice is that it absorbs within moments yet leaves the skin smooth and soft. The only complaint we have is that it contains parabens.
What are the differences between body butter, lotion, and body oil?
We’ve already discussed body oil which tends to consist mainly of natural ingredients. It’s an occlusive that moisturizes the skin by forming a barrier.
Then, there’s lotion which may include plant oil or other occlusives but will also have water and humectants like glycerin to draw in moisture.
Lastly, there’s body butter which is usually thicker and creamier than lotion but similar in composition.
Let’s look at lotion now.
Body lotion is typically water-based to refresh dry skin. It will contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin to help the skin hold water. Plus, it will have other benefits like antioxidants to combat aging and ceramides and panthenol to strengthen the skin. Lotion is exactly what you need if you want your spray tan to last longer, too.
Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion
Aveeno makes both scented and fragrance-free lotion. We prefer the fragrance-free because synthetic perfumes can trigger a reaction in sensitive skin. Also, we prefer to smell our perfume of choice and not have a clash with a moisturizer. (If you have a new tattoo to care for, you can use a lotion like this one to keep it moisturized while it heals).
This particular lotion is enhanced with oat oats and shea butter for calming moisture. It continues to work for 24 hours after you apply it.
Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Lotion
Eucerin’s fragrance-free lotion keeps skin happy for up to 48 hours after you apply it. It’s perfect for sensitive, dry skin as it doesn’t contain parabens or dyes, either.
It works well because it’s enhanced with ceramides, a natural building block of the skin. Ceramides help skin cells retain water and maintain a protective barrier against infection.
If you check the label, you’ll see that the lotion also features a gentle exfoliant called lactic acid. This helps get rid of dead skin. Plus, there are several amino acids like lysine and carnitine to rebuild the skin from the inside out.
The only con is that it doesn’t absorb as quickly as we’d like. However, it works so well that we’re okay with feeling a little tacky for a few minutes.
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Body Cream
This lotion is so rich and thick that it’s practically body butter. It’s perfect if you have painfully dry skin or eczema. In fact, it’s approved by the National Eczema Association because it’s safe, gentle, and effective. It contains no artificial fragrance, parabens, or allergens.
Furthermore, it can be used on the face and body because it’s non-comedogenic, and it’s mild enough for babies.
The formula features prebiotic thermal water to support a healthy biome on the skin. It also has niacinamide and glycerin to keep it moisturized. The benefits last for 48 hours after you apply it.
What should I apply first, oil or lotion?
Now that you’ve seen an overview of both moisturizers, can you use body oil and lotion at the same time? Yes, you can, and they may provide even better results together.
In either case, the moisturizers perform better if they are applied to damp skin. Since oil is occlusive, it locks in moisture, but it can also seal out hydration if you put it on dry skin.
We recommend applying lotion first and then putting on oil to form a protective barrier.
If you’d like the best of both worlds, try body butter.
Body butter is manna for dry skin. It’s thicker and heavier than lotion but less greasy than oil. It will leave the body extra smooth and nourished.
The creamy texture comes from ingredients like cocoa or shea butter that are packed with vitamins and antioxidants for youthful skin. It also contains lipids like omega-3 that promote the healing of scars and stretch marks. Usually, body butter is less refined than lotion and more nutrient-packed.
If you are dealing with perimenopause or over 50, body butter is the best choice for soothing and repairing mature skin.
Petal Fresh Pure Restoring Honey & Coconut Body Butter
If you hesitated to try body butter because you’re worried it will feel too greasy, here’s the solution. We found Petal Fresh to be our favorite brand. It offers different kinds of body butter including pomegranate, guava, and coconut – all of which are made from organic ingredients with no parabens or synthetic fragrances. They smell divine and leave the skin silky soft.
Palmer’s Shea Formula Raw Shea Body Butter Balm
This moisturizer has both shea and cocoa butter, two of Nature’s best moisturizers. Unlike lotion, it’s waterless so that you get maximum benefits and minimum fillers. Be sure to apply it after washing when the skin is damp to get the most from it because it’s more like a body oil than a lotion.
The cocoa-scented formula is designed to keep the skin hydrated for up to 48 hours. It works wonders on rough elbows and cracked feet. That’s probably because it’s rich in vitamin E, an excellent healing ingredient.
If there’s any downside, it’s that it contains synthetics like an artificial fragrance. On the bright side, it’s paraben-free.
bliss Body Butter
Among all the body butters we tried, this one went on like silk and never felt greasy. It’s lightweight and water-based, but creamier than a lotion. Moreover, it has a pleasant lemon and sage scent that lingers softly on the skin. It’s like a little trip to the spa every time you put it on.
The formula contains no nasties like phthalates or parabens. It also happens to be certified cruelty-free.
If you’re indecisive about whether to try body oil, lotion, or body butter, here are a few things to consider.
If the weather is extra-dry or cold, body butter is the way to go. It will pamper your parched skin.
But if it’s hot or humid, lotion is the smart choice. It’s refreshing and won’t make your skin sticky or greasy.
Body oil is helpful in either situation but performs better on dehydrated skin when it’s damp.
Also, take into account whether you prefer scented or fragrance-free products and if you have any allergies.
We hope this article and the reviews helped you find what you need today. If you’re happy with your new body moisturizer, tell us about it in the comments below.
|The best moisturizers for the body
|Why we love them
|Ancient Greek Remedy Organic Blend of Olive, Lavender, Almond and Grapeseed Oils
|Jason Skin Oil, Vitamin E 5,000 IU
|Neutrogena Fragrance-Free Lightweight Body Oil
|Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion
|Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Lotion
|La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Body Cream
|Petal Fresh Pure Restoring Honey & Coconut Body Butter
|Palmer’s Shea Formula Raw Shea Body Butter Balm
|bliss Body Butter
1 https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/body-oil-vs-lotion#which-to-use The Difference Between Body Oil and Body Lotion, Explained, Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — Written by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on May 13, 2022