Body Lotion 101: Exactly How (and When) to Apply It
Ever wonder how and when to put on lotion and moisturizer? Does it have to be after every shower or wash? We wondered the exact same thing, so we turned to an expert to find out. Want to know the answer? Keep reading to find out how and when to apply lotion and moisturizer.
After a long work week, I always look forward to a warm bath. As relaxing as it is, though, it’s always bittersweet. As soon as the water shuts off, relaxation mode comes to an abrupt halt as I stand naked and freezing cold in my bathroom. Truth be told, I’m always tempted to lunge towards my towel, dry off quickly, and throw on some clothes in lightning speed. But I know better than to get dressed without first layering on some lotion from head to toe.
As for whether or not moisturizing after a shower is really necessary, the answer is absolutely yes according to board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Michael Kaminer. Here’s why. “Your skin has the most moisture when it’s wet and most moisturizers work best when skin is already hydrated,” he says. He explains that after your shower, water evaporates off your skin quickly which can leave your skin feeling dry. Not only is dry skin aesthetically unpleasing, it can become itchy and incredibly uncomfortable. Not to mention, dry skin can exacerbate the look of tell-tale signs of aging skin, including wrinkles and fine lines. The best way to keep those unwanted side effects at bay is to moisturize often, like really, really often. That’s why it’s best to apply lotion immediately after a shower while skin is still slightly damp. In other words, brave those inevitable goose bumps, pat (never rub!) yourself until your skin is slightly damp, and reach for the body lotion — body butter or your favorite cream — before reaching for those clothes.
How to Apply Body Lotion and Moisturizer
Cool air coupled with high-speed winds can dry out your skin pretty quickly, and that is precisely why sticking to a moisturizing routine is especially crucial. If you’ve already started to notice your skin feeling more dry than usual, that could be a sign that you’re not moisturizing enough, or the right way.
So, how do you apply body lotion and moisturizer the right way? It’s not as simple as slapping some body butter onto your skin and forgetting about it. To really maximize the benefits of your body lotion and moisturizer, you’ll want to follow these steps:
STEP 1: Place a quarter-size amount of your favorite body lotion or moisturizer into the palm of your hand.
STEP 2: Rub the lotion or moisturizer between your palms for a few seconds to warm it up.
STEP 3: Use both hands to massage the lotion or moisturizer onto a small area of skin in gentle circular motions.
STEP 4: Repeat the above steps as needed to cover your entire body in lotion or moisturizer. Depending on how dry your skin feels, you can be more liberal with the amount of product you apply. Be more generous on areas of thick skin, such as your elbows or knees.
When to Apply Body Lotion and Moisturizer
Equally as important as applying body lotion and moisturizer the right way is doing so at the right time. Like Dr. Kaminer mentioned, it’s best to apply body lotion and moisturizer immediately after exiting a bath or shower, while your skin is still damp. This helps to lock in the most moisture. But that’s not the only time you should apply body lotion and moisturizer. Below, we’re sharing a few more.
Before Exercising: If you’re exposing your skin to the elements (think: jogging in the park or around the block), prep your skin beforehand with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer. If the weather is particularly chilly, this can help reduce the dryness that may occur once your workout session has ended.
After Shaving: In addition to removing unwanted body hair, shaving also removes the top layer of surface cells similar to an exfoliator. To help protect newly exposed skin from dryness, as well as soothe any razor irritation, apply a body lotion or moisturizer after shaving.
Before Bed: Moisture is pulled out of the skin as we sleep, so prep yourself by applying a body lotion or moisturizer right before bed. Besides, soft and smooth skin is always a nice feeling as you slip into the sheets.
During and After Air Travel: Low cabin pressure and recycled air can dry your skin out quickly while in-flight. Apply a body lotion or moisturizer while you’re at cruising altitude and again once you reach your final destination.
How to Find the Right Body Lotion and Moisturizer for You
Now that you know moisturizing post-shower is a must, it’s time to find the perfect moisturizer. Don’t know where to start? Ahead, we share three tips to follow while on the hunt for the moisturizer of your dreams.
1. Protect against UV rays. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure is one of the leading causes of premature skin aging, including fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Unless you’re covered from your scalp to your soles daily, you’d be best served to apply (and reapply!) broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher onto all exposed areas of skin before heading outdoors. That means investing in a separate sunscreen OR reaching for a moisturizer formulated with SPF. If you choose the latter option, your moisturizer can hydrate your skin and help protect it from damage at the same time. So if you shower in the A.M., be sure to remember to protect your skin while you hydrate!
Editor’s note: Opting for a moisturizer formulated with SPF is great (yay for double-duty products!), but keep in mind that you’ll still have to reapply at least every two hours for it to provide your skin with adequate protection from UV rays. What’s more, pay attention to the time of day you shower most. If it’s at night, following up with a face or body moisturizer with SPF is less ideal since UV rays are not present in the evening. Stick to applying SPF during the day.
2. Check the label. There’s no shortage of moisturizers out there. Some formulas cost less than $10 and others can clock in at upwards of $400. Instead of assuming the most expensive moisturizer is better, scan the ingredient list first. Just because a moisturizer is pricey doesn’t mean it’s more effective than a less expensive product. Some moisturizers boast a higher price tag because of packaging costs, and could include ingredients like fragrances and dyes that do not help to moisturize and/or protect the skin.
3. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Trial-and-error can take some time and effort, but it’s worth it in order to find the right product for your skin. Look for moisturizers that fit your skin type and make your skin look and feel soft. Once you find one you like, stick to it.
Our Favorite Body Lotions and Moisturizers
As mentioned, it’s best to apply a liberal coat of your favorite body lotion while your skin is still slightly damp to help lock moisture. Here are a few of our favorites..
This lipid replenishing lotion — formulated with La Roche-Posay’s exclusive Prebiotic Thermal Water, shea butter, glycerin, and niacinamide — works to bring all-day hydration for normal to dry skin types. Even those with sensitive skin types, including babies, children and adults, can benefit from Lipikar Lotion.
A drugstore cult classic, this silky smooth lotion is perfect for all skin types and smells like bergamot, mandarin, rose, jasmine and more. It leaves the skin supple, refreshed and ready to take on anything.
Coat your skin in Carol’s Daughter best-selling moisturizer: Almond Cookie Soufflé. Powered by almond oil, this moisturizer nourishes and softens the skin without the use of silicones, parabens, petroleum or mineral oil. The full Almond Cookie range includes a body spray, bar soap, body wash and more.
When it comes to rich and luxurious body creams, Lancôme never disappoints. Formulated with vitamin E, pro vitamin B5 and apricot kernel oil, this body moisturizer can reveal skin that feels soft and smooth to the touch. As an added benefit, it boasts an invigorating floral scent.
Looking for a body moisturizer that’s elegant and rich? This is the one for you. Revive extremely dry skin with this beloved all-over body moisturizer that leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth and beautifully hydrated without leaving behind a trace of greasy residue.