Moisturizing our body is equally as important as our faces, but body lotions don’t always get the same amount of air time. And with cold weather knocking on our door, I thought what a great time to share the best natural body lotions. That way when the winter months hit, you are prepared to add a good body lotion to your skin care routine and say goodbye to dry skin!
*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
What makes conventional body lotions toxic?
Unfortunately, the majority of lotions (and really all personal care products) on the market come with some toxic chemicals included in their ingredient list. And if you are applying it every day to nearly your entire skin surface, it is definitely a product I would swap out sooner rather than later. Here are a few ingredients in body lotion (although there are many) that you should be on the lookout for:
- Fragrance/Parfum: A group of chemicals responsible for the scent (or even lack of scent) of a product. There are thousands of chemicals that can be included under the blanket ingredient “fragrance” and don’t have to be disclosed to preserve trade secrets. Just some of these thousands of synthetic fragrance ingredients are linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies and sensitivities.
- Parabens: Used as a preservative in your beauty products or for fragrance, parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity. When looking on the ingredient list the ingredient may start with things like ethyl-, butyl-, methyl-, etc and end with -paraben.
- Petrolatum: As the name indicated this comes from petroleum. You may also see other names like mineral oil. And when it is applied to the skin it has an ‘occlusive’ effect, meaning it keeps anything in (or out) which is what helps keep moisture in. But, there is also strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body with cosmetics being a big contributor to this. And the worst part, they can’t be metabolized so it adds up over time. And with studies indicating possible carcinogenic links due to contamination, endocrine disruption, and more it is an ingredient I would avoid slathering all over my body.
- Phenoxyethanol: Used as a preservative. This is a confusing one at times because there are clean sources of it and if it is used in concentrations less than 1%, it is safe. However it can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane (probable human carcinogen) so it is imperative that you know your product has a clean source of it.
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): A petroleum based compound, it is used as an emollient in cosmetics. It is created when ethylene oxide (known carcinogen via inhalation) is reacted with other, less harmful ingredients. In this reaction process, by-products such as 1, 4 dioxane (probable human carcinogen) are created. Manufacturers could remove these but unfortunately many do not.
- Retinyl Palmitate: This is a synthetic alternative for Retinyl Acetate which is a natural form of Vitamin A. This is an antioxidant that is used in many anti-aging beauty products. However, there are different studies (here is one by the U.S. National Toxicology Program) that indicate the use of this ingredient can not only increase the incidence of tumors, but also the rate at which they grow.
Why opt for a non-toxic body lotion?
Hopefully looking through that list of ingredients that you will find in many (if not most) conventional body lotions is reason enough to choose a nontoxic option. But here are 2 more reasons to stick with a body moisturizer that uses only clean ingredients:
1) When we put on body lotion we need to know that we are putting it on the largest organ in our body. Yes, the skin is our largest organ. And when you consider that we absorb at least some of whatever we put on it, all the more reason to use lotions that don’t have any harmful chemicals.
2) The ingredients that you will find in clean lotions are actually going to help you with different skin concerns. Plus, they are nourishing and add some serious hydration to your skin!
What are the best ingredients that can be found in natural lotions to really improve your skin hydration?
There are several ingredients that you want to look for when searching for a natural lotion. These are non-toxic ingredients that are what make the best organic body lotions really standout amongst the crowd. The main ingredients I like to take note of include:
- Essential Fatty Acids- The body doesn’t produce essential fatty acids on it’s own, so they need to absorb them either from diet or from application. Ingredients like almond oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, avocado oil are examples of essential fatty acids.
- Glycerin- They cause the skin to draw water to it. Helping to retain moisture in the skin.
- Ceramides- These are liquid molecules that are found in the skin cells and help cells avoid moisture loss. Help to restore skin barrier function so moisture isn’t lost.
- Hyaluronic Acid- Draws moisture to the skin and can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. Really helps the skin retain moisture levels.
What is the difference between body cream, body lotion, and body oil?
When picking out a new body product, all these different names can be so confusing. Here is what each of these actually are:
A body oil is similar to what our own skin naturally produces to hydrate our skin. It basically mimics our own skin oils. An oil is best after you shower and your skin is still slightly damp. It will help lock in moisture and really seal it in. If water isn’t on your skin when you apply an oil it will likely sit on top of the skin and feel greasy. That’s why it’s important to add an oil to slightly damp skin. Also, be sure you’re not using too much! Often people complain of greasy skin after applying a body oil but it’s because they’ve applied too much. A little goes a long way when using a body oil.
A lotion is going to penetrate the skin deeper because of the water content in them. As they go deeper into the skin they are able to bring other nutrients with them. It really comes down to personal preference on whether you prefer a body oil or body lotion. I like using a combination of both.
Finally a cream is going to have a thicker consistency than a lotion. It is still a mixture of water and oil, but it has a higher oil concentration.
What is the best way to apply lotion?
The best way to apply lotion is in upward motions all over your body. This helps to give you a little lymphatic massage at the same time and really get your circulation moving. It’s best to apply to skin that is dry and will soak up the moisture as opposed to body oil that does better with slightly damp skin. Start with a small amount of lotion and work that into your skin, before adding more. You can always add more after if your skin still feels dry.
Best Nontoxic and Natural Body Lotions
I am sharing my favorite tried and true body lotions that utilize natural ingredients. They are all a great option for almost anyone, but I am including who they would be best for!
OSEA Undaria Algae Body Butter (Best For Dry Skin)
Scent: It has a citrus scent. Smells so good!
Consistency: The consistency is thicker. Comes in a jar and you scoop it out.
Review: If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know my love for OSEA’s Undaria Algae Body Oil runs deep. I absolutely love it! So when I heard they were coming out with an Undaria Algae Body Butter I was beyond excited! This body butter is just as you would expect: rich, creamy and provides deep hydration. It of course has the famed undaria seaweed and then whipped shea butter and ceramides. It provides 72 hours of hydration! So you can say goodbye to dry, crepey skin and hello to soft, smooth, and of course healthy skin. Plus, with all the star worthy ingredients this body butter really acts more like an age-defying product than any other body butter I’ve used. This is one product that you’ll want to use over and over again.
Aleavia Prebiotic Lotion (Best for Skin Sensitivities)
Scent: They have a grapefruit or an orchid scent. You can also get unscented. I love the orchid scent!
Consistency: This is a more lightweight formula – feels like a traditional lotion. It comes in a pump bottle and isn’t as heavy as a body butter.
Review: This is a newer product for Aleavia and I was so excited when I saw it! This is going to feed the good microorganisms on your skin and help soothe it. Not only does it contain antioxidants but also fruit oils to truly nourish the skin. This is the best body lotion for anyone with eczema, rosacea, or just skin irritation. They have an unscented version as well as a Grapefruit and an Orchid scent. They both smell great!
Josh Rosebrook C Body Cream (Best Anti-Aging)
Scent: Smells like citrus.
Consistency: It has a thicker consistency like a body butter.
Review: This is a power packed body butter! It has a highly stable form of vitamin C plus niacinamide. This helps to improve the skin barrier and fade hyperpigmentation, dark spots and improve skin creepiness. It feels so good on the skin! I love that it not only hydrates my skin but also is giving it all the nutrients to keep it aging well – also great for mature skin!
Free + True Body Prophet (Best Luxury)
Scent: Love how it smells- with hints of ylang ylang, rosemary and pomegranate. Such a light scent, nothing overwhelming.
Consistency: It’s slightly thinner than a lotion but not an oil. It feels like a really thin lotion to me in the best way!
Review: Obsessed with this body lotion! They actually call it a body serum. In my mind it’s a cross between a body oil and a lotion- it’s like a creamy lotion/oil. Whatever, you want to call it, it’s so good. I was introduced to the brand in a Beauty Heroes box last year and fell in love with the product. For a beauty blogger to go through a product you know it’s a big deal! I literally scraped the bottle- it’s that good. I love how it comes in a glass pump bottle, makes it so easy for application. I also love how it smells. Such a light scent, nothing overwhelming. Plus, it has antioxidants that help to protect your skin and fight free radicals. The overall feel is like a lightweight lotion. It absorbs instantly into the skin and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. If you’re looking for a new body lotion that easily rubs in, hydrates but isn’t too heavy- this is it.
All Good Body Lotion (Budget Friendly)
Scent: You can either get lavender or coconut. Both smell good, I prefer coconut.
Consistency: Feels like a traditional lotion. Not thick but glides on the skin.
Review: I’ve fallen hard for ALL GOOD products! They are affordable, have great ingredients and perform. Their body lotion is no different. Love that it comes in a tube that’s easy to use. It feels rich in texture and it gives me softer and smoother skin. Love their coconut scent! A great buy for the whole family!
Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Fragrance Free Lotion (Budget Friendly)
Consistency: It feels nourishing, but not too heavy. Feels like a traditional lotion.
Review: I found this baby lotion over a year ago and really love it. I use it on all my kids and it works so great. It’s nice for sensitive skin since it’s unscented. It comes in an easy to use tube. Great for traveling too! I’ve even used it. I like that I can bring one body lotion for our whole trip instead of multiple. Plus, can’t beat the price!
And there you have it! All my favorite natural moisturizers with only the best ingredients.
What’s your favorite nontoxic body lotion?