The 10 Best Drugstore Body Lotions of 2022

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is our best overall pick.

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Best Drugstore Body Lotions

Target / Burt's Bees

There’s a myth out there that you have to spend a lot of money to properly moisturize your body. Well, we’re here to tell you that’s just not true. We’re big fans of drugstore body lotions. Even with their seriously affordable price tags, drugstore lotions still use the absolute best ingredients (like ceramides and lipids), and drugstore brands are constantly introducing new innovations to provide long-lasting hydration. 

Whether you’re suffering from extremely dry, flakey skin, looking to target those fine lines and wrinkles around your elbows and knees, or want a subtle wash of color all year round, there’s an affordable body lotion for you. But a quick trip to your local CVS or a scroll through Amazon will yield hundreds of options — which can feel overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we’ve done the work for you. 

After consulting Elyse Love, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, Jeannette Graf, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and our team of beauty editors, we compiled a list of tried-and-true drugstore body lotions. Overall, CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a fan favorite because of its lightweight, hydrating formula that is suitable for all skin types. 

Give your skin an immediate boost of silky goodness with the 10 best drugstore body lotions of 2022. 

Best Overall: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin

Moisturizing Lotion

Amazon

What We Love: The hero ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which is a powerhouse at drawing moisture into the skin. 

What We Don’t Love: If you’re in need of ultra deep repair, you may want to choose something else because this only offers lightweight protection.

Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a straight-forward, no-brainer kind of daily moisturizer that’s beloved by many and frequently found atop “best of” lists — for good reason. “The hyaluronic acid and ceramides in this product will keep your skin moisturized and protect your skin barrier,” says Dr. Graf. What’s so important about the skin barrier?. Well, “having a healthy skin barrier will protect your skin from outside and environmental irritants,” she explains. 

Not only is the product providing moisturization, it's also working to strengthen your skin’s overall health. Plus, it’s oil-free, rendering it lightweight while still giving skin necessary nourishment, and fragrance-free (which makes it great for sensitive skin too!). Smooth it over your body and watch it quickly sink into your skin — you’ll be left feeling silky smooth in seconds.

Price at time of publish: $14

Size: 12 fl oz. | Scent: Fragrance-free | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Glycerin, and Ceramides

Best for Dry Skin: Vaseline Advance Repair Fragrance Free Hand and Body Lotion

Vaseline Advance Repair Fragrance Free Hand and Body Lotion

Target

What We Love: The bottle holds a ton of product, so it’ll last you a long time.  

What We Don’t Love: Because it's a thicker formula, it's best used at night before bed.

The feeling of dry, cracked skin can be a nuisance at best and debilitatingly painful at worst. Sometimes, going the extra mile and applying more intentional treatments, rather than your run-of-the-mill lotion will do the trick. That’s where Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion comes in — it can really make a difference when used as a skin slugging lotion, especially when it comes to those blistering winter days. I love to use it on very dry spots (particularly cracked heels), immediately covering my feet in thick socks, which, according to Dr. Love, helps lock in the moisture of this petrolatum and lipid-heavy formula. 

InStyle’s Senior Commerce Editor, Shannon Bauer, agrees. “Vaseline Intensive Care lacks the bells and whistles of other lotions and is easy to pass over on the shelf, but the simple formula does wonders for dry skin,” she says. “The pump makes it easy to get a handful and smooth it on post-shower. Then, it sinks in quickly so I can hop into pajamas ASAP.” Plus at less than $10 for a 32 oz. bottle (never mind being clinically-tested to provide 48 hours of hydration), you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: 32 fl oz. | Scent: Fragrance-free | Key Ingredients: Vaseline jelly, Petrolatum, Shea butter, and Sunflower seed oil

Best for Aging Skin: Cetaphil Restoring Antioxidant Body Lotion

Cetaphil Restoring Antioxidant Body Lotion

Target

What We Love: This antioxidant-rich cream is specifically designed to replenish mature skin. 

What We Don’t Love: The pump sometimes gets clogged by the thick formula.

Vitamin B3 is a hero ingredient for aging skin — it restores the surface barrier by strengthening cell bonds, improves moisture retention, and evens texture. Plus, the vitamin increases elasticity for firmer and brighter looking skin. It also happens to be the star ingredient in this lotion from Cetaphil.

With a formulation designed for all skin types (including sensitive), it works wonders for the extra delicate neck and chest areas. And with its non-greasy feel, it’s ideal for overnight application. Slather your body, get cozy (don’t worry about staining the sheets with oils — it absorbs fast), and wake up to totally refreshed skin. We will say a squeeze bottle format would be better, because the thick formula can sometimes clog up the pump. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Size: 16 fl oz. | Scent: Fragrance-free | Key Ingredients: Vitamin B3, Squalane, and Glycerin

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Body Lotion

Versed Press Restart Retinol Body Lotion

Target

What We Love: On top of providing rich hydration, it also firms, smooths, and brightens skin.

What We Don’t Love: You’ll have to use this lotion wisely as it comes in a pretty small tube.

Retinol is a common ingredient in facial skincare, but it works just as well on your body — especially if you’re someone who is prone to acne, dark spots, or bumpy skin. In this body lotion, retinol is paired with healing ingredients like hydrating cocoa butter and emulsifying squalane, so you have the ideal recipe to refine crepiness, reduce redness, and lock in deep moisture. Don’t forget, retinol increases sensitivity to UV rays and should always be worn alongside a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, so if you plan on applying this in the morning, layer on the sunscreen afterwards. Compared to other products on this list, it has a pretty small container for body lotion, so you may have to restock more often.

Price at time of publish: $18

Size: 6 fl oz. | Scent: Fragrance-free | Key Ingredients: Squalane, Cocoa butter, and Retinol

Best Scent: Nivea Oil Infused Body Lotion Coconut & Monoi Oil

Nivea Oil Infused Body Lotion Coconut & Monoi Oil

Walgreens

What We Love: This lotion smells like vacation in a bottle. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s a pretty light moisturizer, so we wouldn’t recommend it for super dry skin.

Here’s my personal take: Coconut scents are always the way to go. Vanilla can easily smell too heavy and fake, but coconut always has a way of feeling both fresh and rich — transporting you from your personal bathroom to a tropical island. “I reach for this when I want a scented lotion,” says Bauer. “The scent isn’t super noticeable once you rub it in, which is my preference. I want the experience of scent as I apply, while still being able to put on perfume without feeling overly fragranced.” Plus, coconut oil is full of fatty acids that build up your skin’s barrier and lock in moisture, while monoi oil is known to reduce inflammation, relieve itchiness, and soothe sunburns. Here, the fragrance isn’t just added fluff — the ingredients that create this dreamy scent actually contribute to the cream’s overall skin benefits. It’s a double win. 

Price at time of publish: $16

Size: 16.9 fl oz. | Scent: Coconut | Key Ingredients: Coconut oil and Glycerin

Best Body Butter: Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: The texture may be ultra rich and creamy, but this goes on so smoothly. 

What We Don’t Love: If you’re sensitive to scent, this one is strong. It’s an uplifting mix of floral and fruity, but it can be too much for some.

If you’re in the market for an ultra-thick, deeply hydrating product, this Soap & Glory Body Butter is for you. Body butters are meant to go on heavier than your standard lotions, but this one doesn’t feel goopy at all. “Though it’s thick, the formula still manages to sink into the skin and keeps me hydrated for hours,” shares InStyle’s Commerce Editor, Mary Honkus. Thanks to a mix of skin-loving ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, and vitamin E, it’ll provide long-lasting moisturization. For that reason, a little bit of product goes a long way, and you’ll get far more use out of a single tub than you might expect. Plus, the rose and bergamot scent is a serious mood booster.

Price at time of publish: $15

Size: 10.1 fl oz. | Scent: Rose and Bergamot | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, Rosehip oil, Vitamin E, and Aloe vera

Best Tinted: Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin + Firming Moisturizer

4
 Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin +Firming Moisturizer

Amazon

What We Love: This moisturizer gives your skin a natural glow all year long. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s nearly impossible to find a self-tanning lotion without a chemical scent — this one is better than most, but not perfect.

“I’ve been using Jergens Natural Glow for years,” says Emily Cieslak, Assistant Commerce Editor at InStyle. “Because it’s a gradual self tanner, it’s pretty much foolproof, so you never have to worry about waking up orange or with streaks.” But, make sure to pick the shade that best matches your skin tone so it doesn’t appear patchy or overdone. When applied carefully (always wash your hands after!) and blended thoroughly, you can achieve a subtle tan in about a week.

“Does it actually make my skin firmer? I can’t tell, but it’s never a bad idea having collagen and elastin in the formula. Compared to other self tanners, it’s hydrating and can in fact be used as a lotion,” adds Cieslak. Don’t forget to allow the product to fully absorb into your skin before getting dressed for the day — though it takes a few minutes it’ll save your favorite jeans from stains. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Size: 7.5 fl oz. | Scent: Caramel | Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, Collagen, Elastin, and Green tea infusions

Best for Eczema : Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream

Amazon

What We Love: Formulated with soothing oatmeal, this cream will relieve eczema-induced itchiness. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s worth noting that non-prescription, non-steroid creams can only do so much when it comes to more advanced Eczema flare-ups, including this pick. 

With a stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association, you can trust that you’re in good hands with this product. Aveeno is a long-standing drugstore main-stay who prides itself on clinical research and patient testing. This moisturizer was actually developed alongside input from leading dermatologists, and is an excellent first step before resorting to more heavy-duty prescription steroid creams. When it comes to very sensitive skin, fragrance-free is always the way to go, and we love that this creamy formulation is even gentle enough for babies and kids (mild eczema is super common in little ones). Ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and ceramides provide sweet, soothing relief for eczema itchiness and irritation. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 12 fl oz. | Scent: Fragrance-free | Key Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, Ceramides, and Glycerin

Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Ap+M Triple Repair Body Moisturizer For Dry Skin

La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+M Triple Repair Body Moisturizing Cream for Dry Skin

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: This formula is so gentle and safe, it’s even recommended for use on your face.

What We Don’t Love: The texture can feel a little oily.

La Roche-Posay is a cult-favorite brand popularized in the French pharmacy scene. Luckily, it found its way to the US and has been a staple within our affordable skincare lineups for over 20 years. Formulated with the brand’s patented Prebiotic Thermal Spring Water that contains a unique mix of natural minerals and antioxidants, this thick lotion provides relief for the most sensitive skin by actively working to repair the skin’s microbiome. We love that it’s dermatologist recommended and gentle enough for babies and even your face. 

“It’s great for sensitive skin because of the niacinamide it contains,” explains Dr. Graf. Though it can be used any time of day, it’s great as a nighttime moisturizer. Pro tip: Bauer recommends pumping some of the formula into a travel-sized tube for combatting dry airplane skin. If you aren’t a fan of more oily-feeling lotions, you may want to pass on this option.

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 13.5 fl oz. | Scent: Fragrance-free | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, Ceramide-3, Prebiotic thermal water, and Vitamin B3

Best Natural: Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion

Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion

Burts Bees

What We Love: The brand is seriously committed to using sustainably-sourced, all-natural ingredients.

What We Don’t Love: We love a bottle with a pump, but this one can sometimes get jammed.

Milk, honey, vitamin E, coconut seed oil… these are ingredients we wish we could just bathe in forever. And honestly, that’s kind of the point with this body lotion — it’s super nourishing and calming. Milk acts as a gentle exfoliant with soothing effects, while vitamin E works to repair your skin’s barrier and retain moisture. Filled with 99% natural ingredients (plus, it’s certified carbon neutral and has completely recyclable packaging), this is a lotion you can feel good about sinking into your skin. And speaking of which, it has a lightweight feel that absorbs quickly for a soft and smooth feel without leaving a greasy residue. We’re big fans of the subtly sweet scent, too. It’s also available in multiple sizes — just be wary of the 12 oz. option with the pump, as it can sometimes get jammed. 

Price at time of publish: $8 for 6 oz.; $10 for 12 oz. 

Size: 6 or 12 fl oz. | Scent: Milk and Honey | Key Ingredients: Milk, honey, Vitamin E, and Coconut seed oil

What to Keep in Mind

Container

When it comes to skincare products, pump bottles are always more hygienic than a jar you have to consistently dip your fingers into — this rings true for lotions, too. “Any item that is open to the air is exposed to possible contaminants,” explains Dr. Love. “Pump bottles are more hygienic because the product is not exposed to air or potential dirt and debris on our hands.” Lotions in pump bottles tend to come in bigger containers too, therefore they hold more product and usually last longer (Cetaphil Restoring Antioxidant Body Lotion can last you through multiple seasons). Squeeze bottles, similar to pump bottles are more hygienic, but sometimes product can get stuck inside. (Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion comes in both a squeeze bottle and pump option.)

An upside of jars, though, is that you can use up every last bit of product (and trust us, you’ll want to get every bit of Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter). Ultimately the container is a personal preference, but should still be considered before purchasing. 

Texture

Body lotions come in all different kinds of textures, from lightweight gels to thick body butters. Lightweight moisturizers (like CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion or Nivea Oil Infused Body Lotion Coconut & Monoi Oil) typically absorb faster and are more convenient for daytime use when you need to get dressed and run out the door, whereas super rich formulas may take longer to sink into your skin and feel better for nighttime hydration. We like to use Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion overnight because its jelly consistency takes time to absorb, a feeling we don’t mind when cozy in our robes.

Scent

Scent is a totally personal preference and depends on your own likes and needs. We love a lightly scented body lotion moment here and there, especially if the fragrance is derived from natural ingredients like Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion. But, if you’re really struggling with sensitive skin or a condition like Eczema, it’s best to stay away from scent when you can. “Synthetic fragrances are best to avoid because they contain ingredients that are drying to the skin and can cause irritation,” says Dr. Graf. Definitely tread lightly and find what works for you, but if you’re into fragrance and it doesn’t bother your skin, go for it! 

Your Questions, Answered 

When should I apply body lotion?

Let’s be clear: There’s never a bad time to apply body lotion. But, if you want optimal results, the best time to apply is right after you shower when your skin is still faintly damp. “Even the gentlest shower removes natural oils and moisture from the skin, so it’s important to replenish moisture loss and reinforce the skin barrier,” explains Dr. Love. “Ideally, this is done within three minutes of getting out of the shower. A delay in moisturizer application can lead to dryness and irritation of the skin barrier.”

What are the best body lotion ingredients? 

“A high quality moisturizer will be a combination of three groups of ingredients — humectants, emollients, and occlusives,” says Dr. Love. “Humectants are ingredients that draw moisture into the skin and include glycerin, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid. Emollients are ingredients that soften the skin and include shea and cocoa butter; and occlusives are ingredients that seal the skin barrier, preventing loss of skin moisture — petrolatum being the gold standard,” she further explains. Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion, La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Body Cream, and Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream each include all three groups of ingredients.

Why Shop With Us

Linne Halpern is a freelance beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer. She is a member of InStyle’s evergreen commerce team where she extensively researches and reviews countless products. For this story, she interviewed board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elyse Love and board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Jeannette Graf. She also turned to several other InStyle editors and beauty aficionados to hear about their favorite products and why they love them. 

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