Is Body Cream Lotion? Learn the Differences Between These Moisturizers

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Is body cream the same thing as body lotion? This is one question that has lived rent-free in our heads. Your favorite moisturizer brand has one bottle named body lotion and another named body cream and you are lost in between. Which should you go for?

Body cream and body lotion are not the same types of moisturizers. Therefore, you can start by agreeing with the fact that they have different consistencies. The former is a thicker moisturizer, and the latter is a lightweight moisturizer.

However, there is more to their differences than that. They come in at different times in your skincare routine and perform other different functions. These functions are different from their moisturizing and hydration benefit.

Let’s take a quick look at what differentiates a body cream from a body lotion.

What Is Body Cream?

A body cream is an all-day moisturizer. This means that it keeps your skin moisturized for 24 hours. Your body cream is occlusive. So, when it absorbs into your skin, it seals in moisture.

Body creams are thicker, fragranced, oil-based skin moisturizers that work exceptionally well in contact with dry skin. They are great body moisturizers for the skin around body parts like your elbows, knees, feet, and hands.

Moreover, you can trust a body cream for body whitening, smoothening, and of course maximum hydration.

During harsh weather conditions like winter, a body cream is your best bet. The emollients penetrate your skin to deliver and retain moisture, making your skin soft.

You should use a body cream if you are looking to prevent and treat dry, cracked skin. Also, normal skin types can use body cream to prevent dryness and all that it comes with.

What Is Body Lotion?

The body lotion is a lightweight moisturizer that quickly absorbs into your skin and works instantly. Upon application, you can feel that your skin is already supple and looking smooth. Just like a body cream, lotion hydrates your skin but with less oil.

As a result of the less oil, a body lotion is best suitable for oily skin. It contains humectants and emollients that help it to attract and retain moisture in your skin, leaving it soft and smooth.

You’ll find that your chest, back, and shoulders will fare better with a body lotion. This is because they are naturally oily and acne-prone areas. So, they need less oil and more water for hydration. Moreover, you can use lotion on your arms, stomach, and thighs.

The quick absorption rate of body lotions makes them gives your skin a lift with a natural glow. In addition, lotions are a quick fix for skin irritations that come with itching and skin flaking. And they are best used during the warmer months.

Body Cream vs Body Lotion

The formulas

The body cream is more occlusive than body lotion. Body creams are more viscous moisturizers with a 50:50 water-to-oil ratio. They use moisture-trapping ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil.

These ingredients make them thicker, and they take a longer time to absorb into your skin. On the other hand, a lotion contains more water than oil and is less viscous. It is lightweight and quickly absorbs into your skin to supply moisture and hydration.

Their different formulas influence their packaging. While body creams come in pots, body lotions are usually packed in bottles and tubes.

Furthermore, while body creams last for 24 hours, your body lotion is more of a quick fix. It rather meets your skin’s immediate and urgent need for moisture.

The oil concentration in body cream can leave a greasy residue on your skin. This is why it is best used during the colder months when your skin needs all the moisture retention it can get.

Body lotion leaves no residue and is your best option for the summer sun and temperature.

Their functions

As I mentioned earlier, body creams provide ultra-hydration; they penetrate the layers of your skin and seal in moisture. Moreover, you’ll need just a little dollop for maximum coverage and effectiveness during colder days.

Body lotion, on the other hand, provides surface-level moisture and soothing relief which cannot measure up with that of body cream. Its consistency and formula make you use more to get the same result as a body cream.

Additionally, while dry skin can find maximum nourishment and hydration from body cream, a lotion will not be so much of a good idea for people with dry skin.

On the flip side, if you have oily skin, you will enjoy the soothing, surface-level moisture lotion provides. Rather than leaving your already oily skin greasy and sticky, it smoothens and gives your skin a lift instantly.  

Is Body Cream Better Than Body Lotion?

Both skincare products are great for your skin. Whether you moisturize your skin with a body cream or body lotion depends on your skin type and the issues you’re looking to address.

The superiority of one to another is only considered based on why, when, and where you want to apply one.

For instance, the hands are one part of your body that tends to become excessively dry. If you’re looking to moisturize it, a thicker formula like cream is the best you can give your hands.

The quick fix of a lotion will not penetrate deep to repair what excessive dipping in water may cause. On the contrary, you’ll prefer the lighter feeling of a moisturizing, non-comedogenic lotion on your face over a viscous cream.

Furthermore, at different times of the day and the year, body cream or a body lotion will be preferable. During winter, a body lotion can scarcely provide dry skin with all the hydration and skin repair it needs. Then, you need a body cream.

On the other hand, oily skin will be satisfied with a lotion during the hot summer and winter. And, if you get rough feet or excessively dry hands during summer, a cream will better take care of that.

In addition, while body lotion suits daytime use, a body cream works well at night to enhance skin moisture and hydration when your body enters self-repair.

At different times, your body needs different levels of moisture and hydration. So, you should be able to detect this and treat it to the formula it needs. Body cream and lotion are essential for moisturizing if your skin will continue to look its best.

Can You Use Body Cream and Body Lotion Together?

Body cream and lotion are team players that can work together on your skin to achieve the best results.

For instance, if you have combination skin, “If it’s not taking care of the dry skin areas, you might need to use two different products: a lotion for the T-zone and a cream for the dry areas,” says Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, a board-certified dermatologist.

Another alternative way to use them together is to use a separate formula at different times of the day. Use body lotion during the day and body cream at night. However, you should use them according to the demands of your skin.


Is body cream the same thing as body butter?

No, it is not. Body cream and body butter are not the same skincare products. Although they may seem similar and satisfy similar body needs, they have their differences.

Body butter contains more oil than cream and has a thicker consistency compared to body cream. The essential oils penetrate deeper and supply long-lasting moisture.

Body butter moisturizes and hydrates those areas with very dry skin areas that your cream cannot completely hydrate.

Also, the thicker consistency and longer absorption rate of body butter is the reason why it is better for overnight use

Should you apply body cream or lotion to your face?

Using body cream or lotion on your face will not cause any long-term damage. However, skincare products tagged “body” are specially formulated to work for your body. And those tagged “face” are specific to care for your face.

All over the body, the face is the most sensitive skin area and needs to be treated with extra care. So, you should use products that are specific for face moisture because a body cream or a lotion may contain chemicals, oils, and fragrances that are not good for your face.

Should you apply body cream or lotion immediately after a shower?

To effectively use a moisturizer and maximize the ingredients contained in it, the best time for application is after a shower. Apply it when your body is still damp. After a shower, your skin pores are open to receive the ingredients and seal in moisture.

Additionally, if you exfoliated or shaved, immediately after a shower is the best time to restore moisture to your skin with a moisturizing cream or lotion.

Should you use body cream or lotion?

Your choice of moisturizer depends on your skin type and the issues you intend to address. Also, it depends on the seasons and the time of the day.

Lotions are lightweight moisturizers that hydrate your skin and are more suitable for daytime and warm temperatures. Body creams, on the other hand, are thick moisturizers that work better for harsh winter temperatures and are best for overnight use.


The major differences between body cream and body lotion stem from their unique formulas and oil-to-water ratio. It may not seem much, but it is essential that you know these differences and how each of these moisturizers work for your skin.

Creams are thicker and make your skin greasy compared to when you use a body lotion. And not so many people can take on that grease, especially oily skin types. Conversely, certain skin types cannot get sufficient moisture from lightweight lotions.

Above all, you should use a moisturizer that hydrates your skin and will not lead to skin breakouts or aggravated skin conditions.

Most importantly, your body moisturizers are not meant for your face. The skin on your face is more delicate than the skin on other parts of your body. So, you should use skincare products as labeled.

Thanks for reading.

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