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The 10 Best Natural & Organic Body Lotions to Buy in 2021

The 10 Best Natural & Organic Body Lotions to Buy in 2021

Nature’s bounty is exquisite! From botanical oils rich in healthy fatty acids to plant extracts loaded with antioxidant compounds, there is truly no reason why you have to use synthetic products to care for your skin. When your skin starts feeling dry or itchy, a natural or organic body lotion will do an incredible job of restoring your skin with nourishing agents for a soft and supple feeling.

How to Select a Great Natural Body Lotion

The natural beauty industry can be a little confusing, so there are some things you should know before delving into the product research. After the reviews, we discuss this topic in more detail and include a guide to help you choose the right lotion for you.

Types of Body Lotions

The term “body lotion” can encompass a few different types of products. In our reviews, we’ll let you know exactly what type each body lotion falls into, and we’ll help you choose the best one for your skin type further below. From thinnest to thickest in texture, our list includes:

  • Lotions are light and less viscous, so they penetrate into the skin quickly and don’t leave a residue. They are best for hydrating the skin.
  • Creamy Lotions are a little richer so leave the skin feeling silky and hydrated but not greasy. They have both water and oil ingredients to hydrate and moisturize.
  • Creams contain a few more oils, so they moisturize the skin more thoroughly and leave behind a dewy protective layer.
  • Body Oils are quite rich, creating a protective layer over the skin and helping to lock moisture into place.

Features to Look For

Not all natural body lotions are made equal! These are the features that are most important to consider when looking for a great organic or natural body lotion.

Moisturizing

It might seem obvious, but a body lotion has to moisturize the skin thoroughly! As some lotions sold don’t actually have the proper makeup of ingredients to keep your skin moisturized, we looked for a healthy mixture of humectant (i.e. water-attracting) ingredients like glycerin and occlusive (i.e. moisture-locking) ingredients like oils in each ingredient list. This way, we can verify that each lotion will truly moisturize the skin.

Actually Natural

Greenwashing is a big problem in the beauty industry. It’s very common for products to be marketed as “natural” because they contain a single drop of aloe vera, while actually having a synthetic-laden formula. This is why we thoroughly checked each body lotion’s ingredient list: a close analysis helps to ensure it’s truly a natural product and made with a significant amount of naturally-derived botanical oils and extracts. We’ll later discuss the ingredients that we love to see in natural body lotions in a bit more detail.

Free From

For a product to be considered natural, what it doesn’t contain is just as important as what it does. Some readers might be looking for formulas truly free of all synthetics, while others might be okay with some inert, non-natural ingredients. That’s why our selection is diverse, and we’ll let you know exactly how natural each formula is. As a rule, our selection is entirely free of the more controversial ingredients, like parabens, formaldehyde-donors, and phthalates. We go into detail about what makes these ingredients controversial further on.

Good Value

Body lotion is one of those products that you can go through faster than you realize! After all, you use it to cover the entire body at least a few times a week. Because of that, the expense can pile up, so we favored affordable body lotions. We accept that natural products are often a little more expensive than mainstream ones, but that doesn’t mean they have to break the bank. Judging value takes more than just looking at the price, so we focused on the amount of lotion you get in each bottle as well.

Pleasant Texture

The texture of a body lotion is extremely important. It’s not fun to try and rub a very greasy or thick product into the skin, especially if it leaves you feeling sticky or clammy afterward. While the range of textures on our list varies to suit all different skin types, we still made sure that all of the products had a texture that would be pleasant to use.

Cruelty-Free

Chances are that if you have a strong preference for natural products, you also care about animal welfare. That’s why we made sure to only recommend natural and organic body lotions that are guaranteed to be cruelty-free. All of the products on our list are vegetarian-friendly, and we’ll let you know in the reviews which lotions are vegan-friendly as well.

Scent

Natural body lotions are never made with synthetic fragrances, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a scent. They are usually fragranced with essential oils extracted from different plants or with essential oil constituents. We focused on body lotions with a pleasant, natural fragrance, but also included a few that were totally scent-free, for those with sensitive skin or noses. We’ll let you know exactly what kind of fragrance you can expect out of each body lotion so you can make a selection based on your preference.

Now that you know what goes into choosing a great natural body lotion, have a look at the top 10 moisturizers we selected!

Top 10 Best Natural & Organic Body Lotions 2021

1. Best Overall Natural and Organic Body Lotion: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Unscented Body Lotion

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Unscented Body Lotion

Why we like it: This rich and creamy lotion is deeply restorative to dry skin. It’s budget-friendly and made with highly moisturizing antioxidant oils that nourish the skin. There are no fragrances that might irritate, so it’s a great option for just about anyone!

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 32 oz
  • Scent: Fragrance-Free
  • Type: Cream
  • Vegan: Yes

We can’t think of a better lotion for extremely sensitive and dry skin. This rich, creamy formula is free of irritants like fragrance, and it’s loaded with some very luxurious and nourishing oils.

The main oils here are safflower oil and sesame oil, which are really lovely and reparative. They both contain large amounts of vitamin E, which has a soothing, anti-aging, and reparative effect on the skin. There are also organic extracts, like green tea and chamomile, which boost the cream’s antioxidant content and repair skin.

It does contain a very small amount of dimethicone, which will be a drawback for those looking for a completely synthetic-free product, although it’s proven to be safe. It improves lotion texture, and has protective properties, so it’s not a harmful addition.

If you have fragrance sensitivities, you will want to decide between this lotion and the unscented lotion we recommend from The Honest Company. The two are quite similar, but this formula is richer and creamier. It leaves the skin feeling dewier, which helps relieve dry skin conditions like eczema. It’s also more affordable, especially when you take the large size of its bottle into account.

Lastly, while it is unscented, that doesn’t mean it has no smell at all. The oils and extracts used in here have their own smells, which are hard to describe, and some users may find off-putting. However, once you apply the lotion, that natural smell dissipates completely. If you’d prefer a similarly gentle product but with a slight scent, you can try Palmer’s Coconut Oil Body Lotion, instead.

Pros

  • Extremely gentle, soothing
  • Deeply moisturizing and reparative
  • Excellent for sensitive skin conditions like eczema
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Contains dimethicone

2. Best Budget Natural and Organic Body Lotion: Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula With Vitamin E Body Lotion

Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula With Vitamin E Body Lotion

Why we like it: This creamy, budget-friendly moisturizer is loaded with nourishing soybean oil and shea butter. It leaves the skin feeling hydrated and smelling of a delicious coconut scent that is considered eczema-safe.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 8.5 oz, 13.5 oz, or 32 oz
  • Scent: Coconut
  • Type: Creamy Lotion
  • Vegan: No

Palmer’s products were always on our radar, but we never thought of them as a natural brand. The spartan branding doesn’t hit you over the head with “greenwashing” symbols and we’re also not used to budget-friendly products having such clean formulations!

But lo and behold, a close inspection of the ingredient list shows a formula that utilizes natural ingredients to moisturize effectively! The main ingredient is hydrating coconut extract, which shows up right at the top of the ingredient list, along with emollient soybean oil and soothing shea butter. Coconut oil and cocoa butter are also included but in a lower concentration.

The texture is excellent for all situations. It’s lighter than a cream like the Alba Botanica Unscented Body Lotion, but heavier than the average lotion, so it moisturizes the skin thoroughly and leaves it feeling dewy, but without an unpleasant residue. It’s perfect for all skin types and for all times of the year! If you prefer something even lighter, you can try the Love Beauty & Planet Body Lotion.

A notable detail regarding the scent: while this product does contain a naturally-derived fragrance, it’s a very inoffensive coconut one. It rarely irritates the skin, even for users with eczema, so even those who normally cannot tolerate fragrances will probably be safe with this lotion. If you really can’t tolerate any fragrance at all, opt for Alba Botanica Unscented Body Lotion instead.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Creamy and moisturizing
  • Contains a lot of skin-loving natural ingredients
  • Gentle coconut fragrance

Cons

  • Spartan packaging

3. Best Natural and Organic Lotion for Sensitive Skin: The Honest Company Purely Sensitive Face + Body Lotion

The Honest Company Purely Sensitive Face + Body Lotion

Why we like it: This body lotion is gentle, mild, and soothing, which is why we love it for sensitive skin. The formula is exceptionally natural and clean, and it’s light enough to use on the face, even if you have acne-prone skin.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 8.5 oz
  • Scent: Fragrance-Free, Orange-Vanilla, Sweet-Almond
  • Type: Creamy Lotion
  • Vegan: No

If you need a natural body lotion that will also be gentle and safe, no matter your skin condition or type, this is the one to choose. This body lotion is made to also work on the face, and in practice, that means that it’s light, nourishing, and free of all allergens or comedogenic ingredients. It’s a product on our list that we would recommend with confidence even for those with acne-prone skin!

This lotion has a really lovely texture thanks to silky coconut-derived emollients. Its first iteration was quite thick and great, but the current formula sinks into the skin beautifully and leaves it feeling hydrated without a residue. We appreciate that it’s unscented, but there are also fragranced variations like orange-vanilla and sweet almond if that’s what you prefer.

The formula includes a few nourishing plant oils, but they’re ones considered safe for acne-prone skin, like safflower and castor oil. There are a few soothing ingredients worth pointing out, as well, like soothing calendula and chamomile extracts. In addition to moisturizing, this blend could also alleviate redness and other signs of sensitivity.

It’s one of the more expensive options on our list (though it’s still much cheaper than Weleda Skin Food). However, we think it’s totally reasonable since it doubles as a face moisturizer.

If you don’t have concerns about acne or are only looking to moisturize the body, the Alba Botanica Unscented Body Lotion is a richer unscented moisturizer that’s available at a lower price point.

It’s also worth noting that this is one of the few body lotions on our list that’s free of phenoxyethanol, which is a common natural beauty preservative that some shoppers prefer to avoid.

Pros

  • Thoroughly moisturizing
  • Light texture leaves skin silky
  • Soothing ingredients
  • Safe for sensitive or acne-prone skin

Cons

  • A little pricey

4. Best Premium Natural and Organic Body Lotion: Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream

Why we like it: This is the richest and most reparative cream on our list, for intense dryness. It’s a celebrity favorite with luxurious ingredients, natural certification, and a price to match.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 3 piece set – one 2.5 oz tube, two 1.0 oz tubes
  • Scent: Floral Citrus
  • Type: Rich Cream
  • Vegan: No

This thick cream is one of the most iconic natural beauty products out there. It’s a favorite for celebrities from Victoria Beckham to Adele to Rihanna. It’s expensive, but there’s a reason for all of the fuss.

The main ingredient in it is sunflower oil, which, when properly extracted, is rich in beneficial fatty acids that nourish and soothe the skin. There are also a lot of incredibly soothing natural extracts, like hydrating viola tricolor extract and antioxidant-rich calendula.

For intense moisturization, it contains lanolin and beeswax, which are both extremely effective moisture-locking ingredients. Because of this inclusion, this cream can double as a reparative lip balm. It’s fantastic even for extreme dryness and chapped skin. The addition of these ingredients means it’s vegetarian, although not completely vegan.

Aside from the premium price, the only drawback to this product is that it can be greasy, especially when compared to all of the lotions on this list. If you prefer lighter textures, pick up the light version. It’s just as luxurious but contains more glycerin so it’s very hydrating. Both versions are certified by Natrue as all-natural and are free of phenoxyethanol.

Pros

  • Extremely rich and moisturizing
  • Reparative ingredients
  • Certified all-natural
  • Can double as lip balm

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Greasy (but a light version exists)

5. Best Natural and Organic Body Oil: Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil

Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil

Why we like it: Though technically a body oil, this natural product works just as well as a lotion to moisturize the skin, but without any fillers or preservatives. It has a concentrated and powerfully moisturizing formula that’s especially great after a shower.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 4 oz
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Type: Oil
  • Vegan: Yes (though most Burt’s Bees Products are not)

While you may have come into this article looking for traditional lotions, you might want to consider a body oil. You can use it instead of or in addition to your body lotion!

Body oils are made without any water or emulsifiers (ingredients that blend water and oil together), which makes them much more simple. They don’t require preservatives, so their formulas are more natural, more concentrated, and with fewer fillers.

This body oil, in particular, is one of our favorites. It’s made with mothers in mind as a belly oil, but anyone can use it to lock moisture into their skin. It’s made with a gorgeous blend of almond and wheat germ oils. The former is nutty and light with a soothing effect, while the latter is a little richer and more reparative thanks to a selection of B vitamins and minerals.

This blend is made with lemon peel oil, so it has a refreshing citrus scent. However, be aware this essential oil can make the skin a little more sensitive to sun damage. Make sure to wear sunscreen if you’ll be going out in the sun after using this product.

The price per ounce is relatively high, but keep in mind that most body lotions are made with around 65%-95% water, while this formula is 100% oil, which is much more expensive and potent. If you like the idea of a body oil but you’re on a tight budget, you can also pick up a straight carrier oil like this almond oil from NOW.

Since it’s a straight oil, it doesn’t hydrate the skin on its own. You can use it immediately after a shower when the skin is still saturated with water, and it’ll prevent moisture evaporation, or you can add a drop or two to any other body lotion right before massaging it in, to increase its creaminess.

Pros

  • Very concentrated and moisturizing
  • Made with antioxidant-rich oils
  • Very natural, preservative-free formula

Cons

  • Lemon peel oil makes the skin sun-sensitive
  • Must be used after a shower

6. Love Beauty & Planet Body Lotion Argan Oil & Lavender

Love Beauty & Planet Body Lotion Argan Oil & Lavender

Why we like it: This light, thin lotion has a calming scent and a lovely texture that sinks into the skin quickly. It’s quite affordable and it comes in recycled packaging, so it’s a purchase you can feel good about.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 13.5 oz
  • Scent: Lavender (Other Scents Available)
  • Type: Lotion
  • Vegan: Yes

Just because a product is natural it doesn’t mean that it’s good for the environment – there are other questions to consider, like the packaging or the distance the product had to travel. That’s why we love this Love Beauty & Planet lotion. In addition to having an affordable, plant-based formula, their environmental impact is low thanks to ethically-sourced ingredients and recycled packaging.

However, we must acknowledge that this product is budget-friendly for a reason. It contains a lot of cheaper emollients like stearic acid and glycol stearate. While they are naturally-derived and perfectly safe, they’re also inexpensive. They give the lotion a silky texture and ensure that it sinks into the skin completely, but they don’t have additional skin benefits, unlike botanical oils.

If your main concern is that the lotion won’t leave a residue on your skin, and you’re not dealing with severe dryness, then it’s a fine choice. However, we prefer a higher botanical oil content like Palmer’s Coconut Oil Body Lotion.

This lotion isn’t totally devoid of plant oils: it contains soybean oil as the fourth ingredient, which does add some antioxidant vitamin E. On the other hand, the “star ingredient”, argan oil, is not hugely impactful since it’s used at a relatively low quantity.

Finally, there’s a touch of lavender essential oil, which gives the lotion a very calming scent. It’ll be particularly nice as part of your pre-bedtime routine. If you’re not a fan of lavender, you’ll be happy to know that this cream is also available in a rose, sandalwood, or coconut scents.

Pros

  • Ethical, eco-friendly formula and packaging
  • Pleasant texture that never leaves a residue
  • Calming lavender scent

Cons

  • Not enough for very dry skin
  • “Star ingredient” used at relatively low quantity

7. Best Cooling Natural and Organic Lotion: Avalon Organics Revitalizing Peppermint Body Lotion

Avalon Organics Revitalizing Peppermint Body Lotion

Why we like it: This cooling body lotion is a unique option. It’s a balanced lotion that offers both hydration and moisture. It’s made with pain-relieving peppermint oil, so it’s a great choice for anyone prone to muscle-soreness.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 12 oz
  • Scent: Peppermint
  • Type: Lotion
  • Vegan: Yes

Avalon Organics is a great, budget-friendly brand with natural body lotions made with organic ingredients and no controversial substances.

You can’t go wrong with Avalon Organics’ lotions, but this one is uniquely invigorating.

The key ingredient in it is a peppermint essential oil which acts as much more than just a fragrance. This essential oil is naturally rich in menthol, which is considered a counter-irritant.

This means that it has a cooling effect that can alleviate aches and pains, making it the perfect post-workout recovery lotion. In the wintertime, it can also ease congestion by clearing the breathing pathways. It’s a highly useful ingredient, but it can be intense for those with delicate skin or fragrance-sensitivity.

As far as the moisturizing effects of this lotion go, we’re quite impressed! It’s rich in humectants so it pulls a lot of water into the skin. The main oil in it is safflower oil, which is light yet nourishing. There are also a lot of deeply soothing ingredients in here, like oat extract, beta-glucan, calendula, and chamomile. If you like the sound of these ingredients but can’t tolerate essential oils, you can grab Avalon’s Unscented Lotion.

Most of the ingredients in this blend are organic, including most of the oils and plant extracts, it’s phenoxyethanol-free, and the packaging itself is recycled, so everyone can feel good about purchasing this product.

Pros

  • Cooling effect from peppermint
  • Extremely hydrating formula
  • Phenoxyethanol-free
  • Made with organic ingredients

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

8. Best Natural and Organic Anti-Aging Lotion: Juice Beauty Green Apple Firming Body Moisturizer

Juice Beauty Green Apple Firming Body Moisturizer

Why we like it: If you want to give your skin an anti-aging boost, this is the organic body lotion to try. It’s lightly hydrating and it’s made with peptides that can firm the skin. It’s a little expensive, but the price is justified.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 8 oz
  • Scent: Citrus
  • Type: Light Lotion
  • Vegan: Yes

This body lotion is the very definition of extra, which is why we’re excited to share it with you! This organic body lotion is formulated like an anti-aging face cream, but for the body (and to be honest, we wouldn’t mind using it on our face).

The ingredients that stand out to us in this product are a couple of peptides, which are the building blocks of protein in the skin and are known for their ability to firm up the skin and fade fine lines without causing irritation. They’re usually an expensive addition to skincare, so we think they’re worth the price tag.

Instead of water, this lotion was made with a blend of juices and plant extracts, which give the formula an added boost of antioxidants and soothing compounds. It’s very light in texture so it gives a lot of hydration but not much emollience. In other words, it’s awesome for normal skin, but on its own, it won’t be enough in winter or for severe dryness. If you want the anti-aging effects but need more moisture, we think it’d blend very nicely with the Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Oil.

The majority of the ingredients in this lotion are USDA certified organic, which is as legit as it gets, and even the preservative system is on the cleaner side and without phenoxyethanol.

It’s a little expensive, especially when compared to other lotions on this list, but if cost isn’t a major concern, it’s a fantastic anti-aging product for the body.

Pros

  • Certified organic ingredients
  • Anti-aging peptides
  • Very light and hydrating

Cons

  • Pricy
  • Not enough for intense dryness

9. Live Clean Fresh Water Hydrating Body Lotion

Live Clean Fresh Water Hydrating Body Lotion

Why we like it: This moisturizing lotion offers a lot of hydration, with a clean scent that’s not typical of natural products. It’s made with 98% plant-derived ingredients, but despite that, it’s quite affordable.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 17 oz
  • Scent: Fresh and Clean
  • Type: Creamy Lotion
  • Vegan: Yes

Live Clean is a lovely brand that hails from Canada and makes affordable and gentle natural lotions. Their formulas are 98% plant-derived and made without any harsh synthetics.

The moisturization level of this cream is nice and balanced, with a lot of moisture-binding ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as well as skin-softening vegetable oils. It offers relief to sensitive skin with oatmeal flour, chamomile extract, and vitamin E, although it’s not as rich in anti-aging antioxidants as the Alba Botanica Unscented Body Lotion.

All in all, it will make your skin feel soft, dewy, and nourished, with a creamy texture that sinks in within a few minutes. We think it’s a great choice for both normal and dry skin, though it might not be enough for severe dryness.

This lotion is quite comparable to the Love Beauty & Planet Body Lotion, but what makes this lotion unique is its fragrance profile. Most natural lotions smell like specific herbs or fruits, but with this blend, Live Clean was able to craft a natural fragrance that’s simply clean and fresh rather than overly herbal. It’s mature and inoffensive, so it’s a fantastic choice for those who normally can’t tolerate the smell of natural products but don’t want an unscented formula.

Pros

  • Deeply hydrating and soothing
  • Sinks into skin within a few minutes
  • Very elegant and clean scent

Cons

  • Low on antioxidant ingredients
  • Not enough for more severe dryness

10. Best Smelling Natural and Organic Lotion: Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Body Moisturizer

Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Body Moisturizer

Why we like it: This beautifully scented, outrageously popular body lotion is easy to love, but part of the reason why it’s so pleasant to use is that it contains more synthetics than the typical natural formula.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Size: 17 oz or 2.25 oz travel size
  • Scent: Fruity
  • Type: Light Lotion
  • Vegan: Yes

This light lotion moisturizes thoroughly with a ton of hydrating agents, and it doesn’t leave behind any residue. The light texture and nourishing effects make it extremely popular with a huge range of people. It’s a great choice in the summer when you don’t want to use anything heavy, so if you have dry skin or you’re looking for a winter lotion, this one might not be enough.

The main thing that stands out about this lotion is the delicious scent. It’s fruity without being overly sweet, and the fragrance smells natural and authentic, like a freshly-made smoothie.

As far as the ingredient list goes, the formula is made up mostly of natural ingredients like shea butter, hemp seed oil, and a massive list of soothing, antioxidant-rich plant and fruit extracts. That said, there are also lot of synthetics, which is the reason why it ranks towards the bottom of our list.

In fact, one could argue that Hempz is guilty of “greenwashing” with this product, which includes dimethicone fairly high on the list, along with unnecessary dyes and some controversial emulsifiers. While these ingredients aren’t on our “no-fly list” and the formula still includes a very high percentage of natural ingredients, we still don’t love how the brand presents this product.

If you’re a purist when it comes to natural cosmetics, this formula will not be natural enough for you, and you may prefer something more organic like Weleda Skin Food. But if you’re just trying to use cleaner products or to use slightly more natural cosmetics, it’s a nice choice.

Pros

  • Extremely elegant and leaves no residue
  • Gorgeous pineapple and melon scent
  • Nicely hydrating and soothing

Cons

  • Too light for very dry skin
  • Contains some controversial ingredients

In-Depth Guide to Natural and Organic Body Lotions


The way natural ingredients can be transformed into skin-loving body lotions is incredible! Keep reading to learn more about what goes into organic and natural body lotions, as well as how you can choose the best one for your skin.

What Are the Differences Between Organic and Natural Cosmetics?

The terms natural and organic are both complex, and there are a few different standards out there.

Organic

Organic is easier to explain because it’s more rigid: an organic body lotion is made primarily with ingredients that have been certified organic (meaning that they are farmed in pristine conditions and without pesticides or genetic modification). For a product to claim to be organic or made with organic ingredients, it has to have been certified by an accredited body. There are organizations like the European Ecocert that certify entire products, while in the US, the USDA certifies individual ingredients that will be marked as organic in the ingredient list (usually via an asterisk).

Natural

If the majority of ingredients in a product have been certified organic, chances are it can also be considered a natural product. The problem with the term natural product is that different brands and organizations define it differently. It’s almost impossible for a body lotion to be 100% natural because in order for it to be effective and safe it has to include emulsifiers (ingredients that allow water and oil to blend together) and preservatives (ingredients that prevent bacteria, yeast, and mold from growing in your cream).

For us to consider a body lotion “natural,” more than 80% of its ingredients have to be natural or naturally-derived, and it had to be free of any of the ingredients in the following section.

Ingredients to Avoid

These are the ingredients commonly found in mainstream body lotions that we made sure to exclude due to the safety risks associated with them. Although you’ll find some of these in conventional products, and although some are widely considered safe, none of our products contain these ingredients

Parabens

Parabens used to be the most common preservatives in cosmetics, but with the rise of natural and clean beauty, we are starting to see them disappear. The Safe Cosmetics Campaign lists their main risks as endocrine disruption, cancer, and developmental and reproductive toxicity.

Formaldehyde-Donors

Formaldehyde-donors are another category of preservatives worth avoiding. They usually show up on ingredient lists as quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, or diazolidinyl urea. They preserve lotions by releasing formaldehyde into the cream, which is a carcinogen.

Petroleum-Derived Ingredients

Ingredients like mineral oil and petroleum jelly are byproducts of the petrol industry, and they’re a big no-no in natural body lotions. In the past, they used to pose a health risk because of contamination, but these days cosmetic-grade mineral oil gets purified. However, they’re still byproducts of the harmful fuel industry. In natural cosmetics, botanical oils are an eco-friendly replacement that comes with an added benefit: they contain vitamins and phenolic compounds that soothe the skin and protect from premature aging.

Phthalates

In cosmetics, phthalates are used as fixatives, solvents, or plasticizers. They are often a part of synthetic fragrance blends, although they’re becoming less common. Like parabens, they also raise concerns as endocrine disruptors and potential carcinogens. They first became a major concern as an ingredient in plastic children’s toys, but these days many also choose to avoid them in their skincare.

A Note on Phenoxyethanol

The most common alternative to parabens and formaldehyde-donors in natural cosmetics is phenoxyethanol, a germicidal alcohol that preserves lotions even at a very small concentration. While phenoxyethanol does occur naturally in some plants, the version used in cosmetics is usually lab-made. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, this ingredient can cause contact dermatitis and if ingested by infants it can hurt their nervous system.

Some natural beauty advocates choose to avoid it altogether – if that’s the case for you, consider one of the phenoxyethanol-free lotions we’ve recommended, like The Honest Company Purely Sensitive Body Lotion and Weleda Skin Food. However, it’s one of the most effective ways to keep a natural product shelf-stable.

What’s the Best Lotion for You?

When it comes to moisturizers, our body is generally not as picky as our face. Our bodies can handle fragrance and heavy textures without as much risk of irritation, and in general, there are fewer concerns. With that in mind, we have some tips to help you select the right body lotion based on your skin condition.

Normal Skin

When it comes to the body, most people have normal skin, even if the skin on their face is dry or oily. This term means that your skin is neither overly oily nor particularly dry. If that describes you, choose a natural body lotion that’ll maintain the condition of your skin, especially in the winter or after a shower when your skin is at risk of dehydration.

Aim for a light lotion that won’t feel greasy on your skin and that will effectively hydrate with a lot of water, extracts, and humectants. We particularly like the Love Beauty & Planet Body Lotion for offering that balance. If you’d prefer something a little more rich, Palmer’s Coconut Oil Body Lotio has the perfect creamy lotion texture.

Dry Skin

For some of us, dry skin is a constant problem, while for others it’s seasonal. It might also be caused by external factors, like if you’ve gone swimming in a chlorinated pool or if your new cleanser is way too stripping. Either way, you’ll know your skin is dry if it feels tight, rough to the touch, flaky, or just plain uncomfortable.

Weleda Skin Food or Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Oil will do the best job of sealing moisture into your skin after a shower. The rest of the time, it’s important to use a traditional body lotion with humectants, in which case the Alba Botanica Unscented Body Lotion is a perfect choice.

Pro Tip: For the maximum amount of moisture, you can even try layering a lighter lotion followed by heavy cream or oil.

Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, whether that means eczema or just a lot of skin allergies, you need to be a little more careful with natural body lotions. That doesn’t mean they’re off-limits! In fact, lots of natural ingredients do an amazing job of calming the skin and easing inflammation. However, you need to be careful to avoid organic compounds that might disrupt the balance of your skin. Fragrances are common irritants, but sometimes the irritant can be unexpected: you might respond poorly to a plant extract or a natural preservative!

In general, we recommend sticking to fragrance-free formulas like the Alba Botanica Unscented Body Lotion or The Honest Company Purely Sensitive Body Lotion. You can also look for additional soothing ingredients, like calendula or chamomile. Some people with sensitive skin don’t have a problem with fragrances, in which case lavender essential oil can actually have a calming effect on the skin, so you might like the Love Beauty & Planet Body Lotion.

Pro Tip: Before using a new body lotion all over your body, test it on a small area of skin for a few days. If all goes well, you can proceed!

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Having oily skin on the body is relatively rare, but it’s not unheard of. Some people find that specific parts of their bodies, like their chest or back, are a little more oily or prone to breakouts, while elsewhere their skin can be dry or normal. You still want to moisturize your skin if that’s the case, but you’ll want to opt for body lotions that contain lighter oils in a low concentration. Also look for hydrating agents that add water to the skin without adding oils.

Our favorite body lotion for such a purpose is The Honest Company Purely Sensitive Body Lotion, because it’s light enough for both the face and body and it contains calendula which can soothe the redness and swelling associated with acne. The Juice Beauty Firming Body Moisturizer is another wonderfully light choice and it has anti-aging effects as a bonus.

Pro Tip: You can turn your natural body lotion into an acne-fighting treatment by adding a couple of drops of tea tree oil in the palm of your hand right before massaging it into your skin. According to research, 5% tea tree oil is the magic number for reducing breakouts!

What Are the Best Ingredients for Body Lotion?

You may have noticed that when we talked about lotion ingredients in our reviews, we largely ignored the ones that were hyped up in the product names or descriptions. That’s because those ingredients are often only used in small concentrations and then made out to be the “stars” because they sound more exotic. We don’t fall for those marketing traps. Instead, we focus on the ingredients that are used in higher concentrations, since those are the ones that truly impact each formula.

Plants Butters and Oils

Plant butters and oils are an extremely important part of any natural moisturizer! They are responsible for the moisturizer’s protective and moisture-sealing effects, and by doing so they also promote skin healing.

All botanical oils are composed of different fatty acids like ultra-moisturizing oleic acid (i.e. omega-9), soothing linoleic acid (i.e. omega-6), or anti-inflammatory lauric acid. These fatty acids are emollients, so they fill in any gaps in the top layer of skin to lock moisture in place and makes the skin feel oh so soft.

These plant butters and oils have additional benefits! Almost all botanical oils contain a respectable amount of antioxidants, which are compounds like vitamin E or vitamin A that have the ability to neutralize external aggressors that cause premature aging. Some of the best oils we’ve seen in natural moisturizers include sunflower oil, shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, and safflower oil.

Extracts

Plant extracts are water-based, so they hold all of the beneficial compounds from the plant that aren’t oil-soluble. In skincare, they help to hydrate the skin but they also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants they contain are materially different from the ones in oil, so the skin ends up benefitting from more comprehensive anti-aging protection.

We especially love when they’re used instead of water in a formula, as is the case with the Juice Beauty Firming Body Moisturizer. The best extracts for soothing the skin are calendula and chamomile, while green tea extract has anti-aging effects.

Humectants

Humectants are the ingredients that ensure that your moisturizer hydrates your skin. They’re like little sponges that absorb water, so without them, extracts and water wouldn’t be able to actually absorb into the skin. The humectants used in natural skincare are usually plant-derived, like vegetable glycerin, yeast-derived hyaluronic acid, and beet-derived betaine.

How Do You Use a Body Lotion?

The most important time to apply body lotion is immediately after stepping out of the shower. The reason for this is that when you shower, your skin takes in all of that water and becomes plump and hydrated. However, the second you step out, that water begins to evaporate, and within a few minutes, all of it is gone and your skin is drier than it was at the start. If you apply a moisturizer, it’ll act like a sealant and keep all of that water in your skin!

This process is so important that it’s even recommended by dermatologists as an eczema treatment. To actually apply the body lotion, you simply need to massage it in with circular or up and down motions. You can also apply a body lotion whenever your skin feels dry – since most lotions are made with water, humectants, and oils, they will still add water to the skin all on their own.

Final Words

You don’t need to compromise with a natural or organic body lotion! They come in all kinds of textures, scents, and price points to suit every preference and lifestyle. You can give your skin all of the love and care it deserves while upholding your principles and avoiding harsh synthetics. So let your skin shine, the natural way!