I don’t believe that we need to slather ourselves head-to-toe in natural body lotion after every shower, but there are few things more satisfying than rubbing hand cream into parched palms. And in the winter, my legs and arms become dry as well, and I like to have something around to moisturize.
Of course, most conventional lotions (and even many “natural” ones) are full of the usual chemicals, so you’ll have to do some digging to find a truly clean one.
My Top Pick for Best Natural Body Lotion
All Good gets my vote for the best basic natural body lotion at a good price point with no scary ingredients. It’s totally non-greasy, too.
What’s Wrong with Conventional Body Lotion?
Our Safe Baby Lotion Guide outlines what’s bad about most moisturizers (namely, toxic parabens used as preservatives). Lotions for adults tend to include additional chemicals, mostly related to the fragrance. When you are reading labels, keep your eyes open for the following:
- Fragrance or “parfum” (generally, this means the presence of hormone-disrupting phthalates)
- Benzyl alcohol (likely carcinogenic)
- PEG-100 stearate (sometimes contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which has high rates of carcinogenesis)
(Read about these ingredients and more by checking out our glossary.)
“Natural” and “Dermatologist-Recommended” Ingredients Do NOT Guarantee Safe Products
Unfortunately, many companies use these terms to mask sneaky ingredients in products; in fact, the more verbose the label, the sneakier the product tends to be.
- Read ingredients lists; don’t be persuaded by cooing advertising and buzz words on labels, which are all but meaningless.
- Companies are not legally required to disclose the inclusion of phthalates in fragrances. Even if the product is phthalate-free, the presence of an undisclosed fragrance means the ingredients probably contain a mixture of other unknown chemicals.
- “Naturally-derived” does not mean an ingredient is natural or safe. This tells us that the ingredient has undergone a chemical process.
If you want to combat dry skin without buying a pre-made lotion, check out our DIY skincare ideas or whip up a batch of homemade lotion (recipe below). I like to buy premixed lotions myself, and all of the brands recommended below should be safe and gentle enough for babies, although you should always perform a patch test to make sure there are no sensitivities.
A Lotion Alternative: Body Oil
Most body oils will contain fewer ingredients than lotions. Because oils don’t contain any water, preservative ingredients aren’t necessary, so body oils are often a cleaner choice. We love Ora’s Amazing Herbal Body Oil.
The Good Stuff: Natural Body Lotion
Acure Seriously Soothing 24hr Moisture Lotion is unscented with cocoa butter & colloidal oatmeal to protect & soothe. Seriously soothing hydration your skin will revel in. Packed with cocoa butter, colloidal oatmeal and deeply moisturizing aloe. Clinically shown to provide moisture for 24hrs when used as directed.
All Good Hydrating Lotion are super silky, not at all greasy, and still free of all the gross stuff. They use organic ingredients, which is unusual for even most of the brands we recommend.
All Good also makes an awesome coconut oil Skin Food that’s as simple as it is deeply hydrating.
Great for adults with very sensitive, dry, or eczema-prone skin. Contains 2% colloidal oatmeal, natural shea butter, and sea buckthorn oil.
Beautycounter offers several safe hand and body creams–including Citrus Mimosa Hydrating Body Lotion, Citrus Mimosa Body Butter, and two kinds of hand creams. While I don’t love that these contain phenyoxethanol and sodium benzoate, I think these are overall safe options, particularly for those of you looking for a product with nice packaging and more of a conventional feel/scent. I do use these products myself, but probably wouldn’t use them on children (anything else in this Good Stuff list is fine for kids, in my opinion).
This unscented skin cream is formulated for extra dry skin to help improve your skin and scalp problems.
These small-batch lotions are 100% natural with no preservatives, but still have a shelf life of a year (more if you refrigerate). They are not greasy or balm-like, but nice and creamy, while still being light. The Citrus Garden is my favorite scent. You can now buy this lotion in our store, where it’s $16 for a 8-ounce bottle.
Green Goo is one of the oldest herbal salve companies in the U.S., and this moisturizing salve contains organic ingredients produced at their own herb farm. The Good Stuff Store sells this balm for $14 for a 2-ounce tub. We recommend this in particular for the hands and extra dry areas–it’s a bit of a challenge to smear it head-to-toe!
This is what we now use in our home–my husband Daylon is picky about the consistency of his lotions; those that are super thick and balm-like weren’t going to fly. This one is nice and silky and I love that it comes in glass instead of plastic. We sell this lotion in our store, where it’s $34 for the 8-ounce glass jar.
Kabana is among the most transparent companies out there, and its website outlines the very strict standards for its products’ ingredients. Kabana’s Pure Shea moisturizer is sort of like a deodorant stick that you paint on your body, so it’s a departure from a more traditional lotion or cream, and a little bit greasier. I love that it’s just 100% organic unrefined shea butter–produced in Ghana by a woman-owned, fair-trade collective to boot! Two ounces cost around $6.95. Kabana also makes a more traditional cream–Kabana Créme––but this one contains lanolin, which I try to avoid when possible (although Kabana does use the highest grade available–USP superfine). You can have an essential oil of your choice added to your cream (their oils are steam distilled, cold pressed, or supercritical carbon dioxide extracted). Daylon doesn’t like this cream because it’s SUPER thick and somewhat hard to rub in (better for small areas and Daylon likes to rub lotion over his entire chest). You’ll pay $15 for a 6-ounce tub of Kabana Creme. All Kabana products are produced in their facility outside of Boulder, CO, while some ingredients come from overseas (but nothing is sourced from or purchased in China). You can find Kabana products in Whole Foods, as well as the Kabana website. We sell Kabana’s amazing sunscreen in our online store.
I love Plaine for their commitment to the environment: the bottles are made of aluminum instead of plastic, and better yet, you send them back to be cleaned, sterilized, refilled, and returned to you! The fact that their lotion is also totally clean makes Plaine lotion some of the Best Stuff.
Poofy’s lotions have a few ingredients that aren’t so great, namely the vague “natural flavors” there at end, but I still consider this line of lotions to be Good Stuff.
Not all Seventh Generation products are the Good Stuff, but this no-frills, basic lotion has a safe list of ingredients. Get an 8-ounce bottle for around $8 on Amazon.
Tandi’s Ultra Rich Body Butter, made by hand in Lancaster, PA, is formulated with local ingredients like beeswax and a variety of plant oils, and is free of all preservatives. This lotion feels slightly greasy at first, but if you give it a minute it actually sinks in perfectly and leaves no sheen. We sell a 1.5-ounce tub in our online store for $12.
Weleda Evening Primrose Revitalizing Body Lotion helps skin look and feel firm, renewed and strengthened. Promotes the appearance of natural radiance and skin vitality with long-lasting care. Certified natural by NATRUE, vegan, dermatologically tested and approved.
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