If there’s anything I’m very strict about when it comes to my beauty routine, it’s body lotion. I might forget a step in my nighttime skincare routine, but I never forget to put on body lotion in the morning, whether or not I shower that day. For the most part, it’s paid off; aside from the occasional eczema flare-up on my hands, arms or neck, I have pretty smooth skin. But since I’m a curious person and like to question everything, I wanted to know if there were some things I was missing when it comes to body-lotion application.
So I reached out to dermatologist Dr Naissan Wesley of Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills in the U.S. to get her tips and to see what role body lotions play in reducing signs of premature ageing. Because you’ve always got to be on the offense when it comes to protecting your skin, right?
In general, the guidelines for applying body lotion are pretty simple. “I recommend applying body lotion daily,” Wesley says. “If recently showered, the best time to apply is within three to five minutes after a bath or shower to help trap moisture in and restore the skin barrier that may have been disrupted by soap or cleansers.”
Whilst it seems straightforward, there are some mistakes you can make with body lotion. Wesley outlines these three:
1. Not applying enough: Don’t be stingy with the stuff. Of course, you don’t need to empty the whole bottle onto your body but be generous with how much you apply.
2. Not applying it all over: Make sure you’re moisturising every inch of your body; don’t just apply lotion on your upper body and forget about your legs.
3. Applying a lotion that isn’t moisturising enough: This might depend on your skin type or needs. Overall, you’ll want to choose a product that contains the nutrients, vitamins and ingredients that will keep your skin hydrated for a while. “I prefer to use body lotions that contain natural and fewer unnecessary ingredients,” Wesley says. “I find that a creamier texture or one that is a lotion mixed with oil often has longer-lasting moisturising effects than a thinner, more watery lotion that just tends to evaporate off the skin’s surface. Ingredients such as shea butter, cold-pressed oils, borage seed oil, and/or fatty acids such as ceramides tend to have great barrier-protecting properties.”
One thing I didn’t realise about body lotions? They can play a big role in protecting your skin against the signs of ageing. Here I was just honing in on the eye creams, serums, face oils and night creams of the skincare world and not even thinking that my body-lotion habit could also be helping maintain youthful-looking and firm skin.
“The skin often tends to appear more wrinkled when it’s drier,” Wesley explains. “Thus the same moisture-enhancing and barrier-protecting ingredients [mentioned above] also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, topical antioxidants can be helpful to repair free-radical damage from the sun and the environment, whilst peptide ingredients can be useful to help support collagen proliferation.”
As for application, Wesley says you can apply it as often as feels good, as long as you don’t have acne-prone skin and the lotion isn’t clogging pores. “For mature or dry skin, applying lotion morning and evening would be appropriate, especially after bathing or showering,” she advises. Regardless of whether you have mature skin or not, Wesley says application frequency will depend on the climate of where you live because cold, dry, and windy conditions might require more moisture support. Other factors include exposure to hard water and soap and any underlying conditions like eczema or thyroid disorders.
This body lotion has lots of skincare benefits with ingredients such as squalane and a ceramide blend to help hydrate and strengthen the skin’s barrier. Not only will your skin be left feeling incredibly soft, but you’ll smell delicious thanks to the naturally sweet scent from vanilla extract.
This luxe body oil has an indulgent, citrusy scent, whilst the cocktail of essential oils leave the skin nourished.
Though on the pricier side, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s body cream is really worth it. Formulated with antioxidants, white almond and elderberry blossom, the lotion will tighten skin and diminish signs of ageing. It’s also quickly absorbed and ultra hydrating.
This body balm both tightens skin and reduces the appearance of sun damage. It has botanical ingredients like lemon, safflower and coconut oils.
Pronounced as “boom boom” in Brazil, this editor-adored body cream isn’t just for your bum. The rich cream, which boasts guaraná, a native Amazonian plant that is one of the most potent forms of caffeine on the planet, is perfect for stimulating circulation, promoting firmness and smoothness as you work it into your skin. Also, it smells divine.
Caudalie’s body lotion not only hydrates the skin, but it also helps prevent premature ageing with antioxidant polyphenols. Other ingredients include hyaluronic acid, shea butter and organic grape water.
This fragrance-free body lotion not only hydrates the skin, but thanks to lactic acid, it also works to remove dead skin cells. It’s great for those with very dry or dehydrated skin and sinks in quickly on application.
I’ve always been a fan of the body butters from The Body Shop. They’re slightly thicker in texture than a traditional lotion, but I love to use them when I want my skin to feel super soft. The shea butter one is great for dry skin, and I usually apply this at night to let it work whilst I sleep.
This one is a big splurge, but if you want something super-luxurious, La Mer’s lotion provides all-day hydration whilst preventing further moisture loss. Like other La Mer products, it contains the brand’s proprietary Miracle Broth, Reparative Ferment and Replenishing Waters complexes, which work to plump and brighten skin.
Not only does this body lotion smell amazing, but it’s super effective, too. It’s enriched with shea butter, natural oils and a blend of antioxidants to leave your skin feeling smooth and firm.
Nivea’s body lotion is a great affordable option. It sinks into the skin quickly but leaves you feeling so hydrated. For the price, you really can’t go wrong.
Perricone MD’s body lotion is specially formulated to help thin, crepey skin. The refreshing formula contains retinol, peptides and hyaluronic acid, which all work to make the skin smoother and firmer. It also promotes skin renewal.
As far as scents go, you’ll struggle to find a lotion as potent as this. Layered with rose absolute, bergamot, clove, cedarwood and geranium, this body lotion is a luxurious way to moisturise your skin. Shea butter and complex vitamins ensure it’s also high-performing and will leave your skin feeling impossibly smooth. I like to apply it after a bath before bedtime.
Affordable skincare favourite Cetaphil also has a moisturising body lotion. This one has ingredients such as avocado oil to restore the skin’s moisture barrier. It can be used both morning and evening for silky, smooth skin.
This rich cream is formulated with botanicals, retinol, antioxidants and other good-for-the-skin ingredients for top-to-toe rejuvenation. It’s also free from parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, sulfates and detergents.
If you apply your body lotion as part of your morning routine, Cowshed’s blend of red mandarin, bitter orange and grapefruit will give your skin the fresh kickstart it needs. What I love most about this lotion is its non-sticky, fast-drying formula, which means I can get dressed soon after applying—handy, as I’m always running late.
With conditioning oils of jojoba seed, cocoa seed and sweet almond, Jo Malone’s body creams are designed to nourish and protect the skin whilst bestowing your body with your favourite iconic scent—mine being Pomegranate Noir.
With 10% glycolic acid, this body cream exfoliates dead skin cells and improves texture and tone. It also contains marula, kigelia and Kalahari melon seed oils to trap moisture into the skin.
Opening Image: @monikh
This story was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.