Main content
Someone lightly touching their shoulder in a bath towel.


How and When To Apply Body Lotion

Body lotion is a post-shower staple, but using it correctly is essential. Here at Kiehl’s, we explain how to use body lotion for soft, smooth skin.

Nearly every shower routine consists of the same basic steps: Shampooing, conditioning, and—perhaps most importantly—washing your body. Soaping up helps remove impurities, like dirt and sweat, from your skin’s surface, leaving it cleaner. But if your body care routine begins and ends with body wash, you’re missing out on an important—and potentially crucial—step: Moisturizing. Just as you reach for a moisturizer after washing your face, you should be aiming to use a body lotion after every shower (even if your skin doesn’t feel dry).

As with all things skincare, slathering on body lotion haphazardly isn’t enough: For the best results, you need to apply your body lotion properly. Here, we’ll teach you how. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about body moisturizers and teach you how to make the most out of your post-bathing body care routine. Softer skin awaits, ahead.

What Is Body Lotion Used For?

We’re guessing you know what body lotion is (and what it’s designed to do), but just in case, we’ll recap. A body lotion is a type of moisturizer designed specifically for the skin below your neck. These formulas usually help moisturize and soften the skin and can help protect it against dryness. Additional benefits, such as soothing or helping to manage skin concerns, depend on the formula and the ingredients used.

How Often Should You Use Body Lotion?

Showering and bathing, particularly in hot water, can strip your skin, leaving it feeling dry. While there are things you can do to limit dryness—such as keeping your showers short, bathing in lukewarm water, and using hydrating body washes instead of harsh soaps—the best way to keep your skin from getting too dry is by moisturizing after every shower (or bath). You can also apply body lotion as needed throughout the day to areas that need extra TLC, such as your elbows, hands, and heels.

Body Cream vs. Body Lotion: Which Is Better?

You may hear the terms “body lotion” and “body cream” used interchangeably, but in reality, the two products are slightly different. Generally speaking, lotions are lightweight and spread easily, while creams are richer and provide more intensive hydration. Body creams may also contain a higher percentage of oils than body lotions, which are often (but not always) water-based.

Which Body Moisturizer Is Right For You?

At Kiehl’s, we offer a range of body moisturizers, from lightweight lotions suitable for all skin types to heavier creams for parched skin. Here, find our favorites.

For All Skin Types:

Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter

The beloved Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter has been a Kiehl’s customer favorite since its debut in the 1980s, and for good reason. The rich yet non-greasy formula with cocoa butter, shea butter, and squalane provides intense hydration, leaving the skin feeling deeply moisturized. It’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, and can be used daily or as needed for softer, smoother feeling skin over time.

For Ultra-Lightweight Hydration:

Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion

First launched in the 1960s, Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion is a Kiehl’s favorite for its silky, lightweight texture and fresh scent. The aloe vera and oatmeal-infused formula helps nurture the skin, leaving it feeling soft and moisturized, and it’s suitable for all skin types (including sensitive skin).

For Dry Skin:

Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Butter

Don’t let the name fool you: Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter is indulgent but not heavy. The unique air-whipped formula with jojoba butter and honey absorbs quickly, providing long-lasting moisture while managing to feel light on the skin.

For Extremely Dry Areas:

Intensive Treatment & Moisturizer for Dry and Callused Areas

Cold winter air, indoor heating, and hot water can all leave your skin feeling extremely dry. Address those ultra-rough feeling areas with Intensive Treatment & Moisturizer for Dry and Callused Areas. The thick cream with avocado oil and shea butter is uniquely designed to help soothe and soften very dry skin on rough areas like the elbows and knees. Use it daily or as needed to help keep your skin feeling smooth and moisturized.

Kiehl’s Tip: DIY an overnight treatment for dry hands by applying a thick layer to clean skin, then covering up with breathable cotton gloves. Go to sleep, and when you wake up, your hands will feel softer and noticeably more moisturized. (This overnight moisturizing trick works well for dry heels, too!)

How To Use Body Lotion Correctly

If you immediately dry off after stepping out of the shower, you may want to rethink that habit. For the best results, body lotion application should occur while your skin is still damp. This helps trap water in your skin, preventing it from getting excessively dry. Note that your skin doesn’t have to be sopping wet—as long as you apply your lotion within a few minutes of stepping out of the shower, you should be good. And, as mentioned earlier, you can reapply your lotion to dry areas throughout the day as needed for additional skin-softening benefits.

As for how much to use, it’ll vary depending on the formula, but generally, we’d say about an ounce (or a shot glass’ worth) is enough for your entire body. Of course, if you’re shorter or taller than average, you may need less or more product, respectively. Use your judgment—so long as your body is covered in a relatively even layer, you should be good. Finally, after applying your lotion, wait a few minutes and allow the formula to absorb before getting dressed (you can do your facial skincare routine in the meantime).

Can You Use Body Lotion On Your Face?

Can and should are two very different things. While you can technically use body lotion on your face, we don’t recommend doing so: Body lotions simply aren’t designed for facial skin. Instead, moisturize your face and neck with a formula designed specifically for your face, such as our iconic Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane. The fast-absorbing moisturizer with squalane and glycerin absorbs quickly, providing lightweight hydration that lasts up to 24 hours. The fragrance-free moisturizer also helps strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier, leaving your skin visibly softer and healthier-looking with continued use over time.

It’s suitable for all skin types, but if you prefer oil-free skincare products, try Ultra Facial Oil-Free Moisturizer instead. Best suited for normal and oily skin types, this ultra-light gel moisturizer seeps into skin immediately with a cooling burst of lightweight hydration. The non-comedogenic formula also helps control shine and visibly minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores over time. We recommend using it morning and night for skin that looks and feels balanced and fresh.

Kiehl’s Tip: Always complete your morning skincare routine with broad-spectrum sunscreen, like Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+. Apply an even layer to all exposed skin on your face and body at least 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply it every two hours (or more frequently, if you’re swimming or sweating).

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device