The 5 Best Lotions for Dry Skin and When to Apply Them

July 06, 2022
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
Person applying body lotion to legs while stepping out of the shower

Body lotion is a must-have product for soft, hydrated and smooth skin. Whether you’re dealing with ashy elbows, dehydrated legs or rough patches all over, slathering on a moisturizing cream is key. For best results, it’s important to apply your body lotion the right way and at the right time. Here, Dr. Michael Kaminer, a board-certified dermatologist and consultant based in Boston, explains everything you need to know about applying body lotion. Keep reading for our favorite lotions as well.

The 6 Best Times to Apply Body Lotion

Apply Lotion After a Shower

According to Dr. Kaminer, one of the best times to apply body lotion is directly after showering. “Your skin has the most moisture when it’s wet, and most moisturizers work best when skin is already hydrated,” he says. After a shower, Dr. Kaminer says water evaporates off your skin quickly, which can leave your skin feeling dry. The best way to seal in moisture is to apply lotion immediately after a shower while skin is still slightly damp.

Apply Lotion Before Exercising

If you’re going to exercise outdoors, prep your skin by applying a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer first. If the weather is cold or the air is dry, this can help reduce the dryness that may occur post-workout.

Apply Lotion After Shaving

In addition to removing unwanted body hair, shaving also removes the top layer of skin cells, as if you had exfoliated. To help protect newly exposed skin from dryness, as well as to soothe any razor irritation, apply a body lotion or moisturizer after shaving.

Apply Lotion Before Bed

Moisture is pulled out of the skin as we sleep, so applying a body lotion right before bed is key. Plus, it always feels nice to have soft and smooth skin as you slip into the sheets.

Apply Lotion After Washing and Sanitizing Your Hands

To help replenish moisture and prevent irritation and chapping, be sure to apply a hand cream immediately after you wash or apply hand sanitizer.

Apply Lotion After Exfoliating

After exfoliating or using a body scrub in the shower, moisturizing is a must. This will help soothe the top layer of skin and help strengthen the moisture barrier.

The Best Body Lotions for Every Skin Type, According to Our Editors

The Best Body Lotion for Sensitive Skin

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion Daily Repair Moisturizing Lotion

This lipid-replenishing lotion is formulated with soothing thermal water, moisturizing shea butter, glycerin and niacinamide. It works to provide all-day hydration to normal, dry and sensitive skin types.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion Daily Repair Moisturizing Lotion

The Best Body Lotion for All Skin Types

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps

Revive extremely dry skin with this rich cream infused with nourishing shea and cocoa butters. The emollient consistency leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated without a greasy residue.

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps

The Best Body Lotion for Rough Skin

CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin

If you have rough, flaky or psoriasis-prone skin, this moisturizer is a great fit for your routine. It’s formulated with salicylic acid, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin D to exfoliate and moisturize, while also working to repair the skin’s moisture barrier.

CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin

The Best Body Balm for Dry Skin

Carol’s Daughter Love Butter Body Balm

Coat your skin in this incredibly luxurious balm that smells of sweet and spicy cinnamon, clove and frankincense. It penetrates deep into dry skin with soothing sweet almond oil and shea and cocoa butters.

Carol’s Daughter Love Butter Body Balm

The Best Body Lotion for Ultra Dry Skin

54 Thrones Egyptian Lavender + Moroccan Mint Beauty Butter

If you experience ashy or cracked skin, especially in winter, this sumptuous body butter from Black-owned brand 54 Thrones is for you. Enriched with Ugandan and Ghanian shea butters, as well as a blend of avocado, baobab and jojoba oils, this product locks in lasting hydration and has a fresh herbal scent.

54 Thrones Egyptian Lavender + Moroccan Mint Beauty Butter
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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