5 Hydrating Ingredients to Look for in a Body Lotion or Cream

Photo: ©Martí Sans / Stocksy

Is the cold weather making your skin feel crepey? There’s an easy way to get your smooth back. Applying an ultra-nourishing body lotion or cream on the daily will get rid of dry skin fast for softness from head to toe—but any old formula simply won’t do.

All hail naturally derived humectants! These non-synthetic agents reign supreme by harmoniously interacting with skin to quench, heal, and lock in moisture. When added to lotions and creams, humectants ensure long lasting hydration with regular use.

Be on the lookout for these skin-saving ingredients the next time you add full body moisturizers to your cart. Plus, check out my suggestions for maintaining velvety skin throughout winter.

Hyaluronic Acid

I’m crowning hyaluronic acid the king of all hydrating ingredients. This champ is known for holding around 1,000 times its own weight in water. The sugar molecule draws water into the skin and holds it to instantly plump for long-term nourishment. So, consider your thirsty skin quenched.

My Pick: Caudalie Nourishing Hyaluronic Body Lotion, $25

I love how the formula features hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient paired with collagen-preserving grape polyphenols and soothing grape water to address aging skin with a non-sticky finish.


Anti-inflammatory, healing, softening provitamin B5 does it all and more. Also known as pantothenic acid, provitamin B5 is a conditioning humectant that stabilizes the skin barrier to prevent water loss, as well as relieves itchiness, redness, and pain. Get some ASAP!

My Pick: Peter Thomas Roth Mega-Rich Body Lotion, $18

This mega-rich lotion combines the power of provitamin B5 with antioxidant-rich vitamin E to soothe, soften, and moisturize dehydrated skin. And at $18 a pop, you can moisturize without breaking the bank.

Colloidal Oatmeal

This ingredient sounds soothing, and it is. It over-delivers for silky-soft skin. Colloidal oatmeal is widely known for quelling itchiness, irritation, rashes, and eczema that often crop up during the chilly season.When infused into a body cream, these finely ground oats serve as a dry skin salve that locks in moisture and creates a protective barrier against the elements.

My Pick: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Nude Fragrance-Free Body Cream, $40

Complete with a cocktail of colloidal oatmeal, vitamins A, C, and fatty acids, this fragrance-free body cream balances, calms, and hydrates the driest, most sensitive skin types.

Shea Butter

Chances are you’re no stranger to the strengthening and restorative benefits of shea butter. Extracted from African shea tree nuts, shea butter contains various fatty acids that condition, fortify, and balance extremely dry skin. Plus, it contains vitamin A, which stimulates natural collagen production to decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

My Pick: Sisley-Paris Velvet Nourishing Body Cream With Saffron Flowers, $150

Formulated for dry to very dry skin, this velvety body cream regenerates, nourishes, and comforts with shea butter and saffron flower extract for a powerful, non-greasy way to get skin back on track. As an added bonus, the cream features a naturally derived honey and orange blossom scent for a soothing sensory experience.

Jojoba Oil

This golden oil is produced within the seed of a jojoba plant (or Simmondsia chinensis) thriving in dry climates. (It’s incredible how something so hydrating can grow in such arid areas!) This humectant is chock-full of vitamins, including C, B, and E to fight dryness, oxidative stress, and bacteria with its antimicrobial properties. Not to mention, it’s noncomedogenic so it won’t clog your pores while it seals in moisture.

My Pick: La Mer The Body Crème, $200

This rich body crème envelopes skin with a splurge-worthy concoction of jojoba oil, rare blue algae, hand-harvested sea kelp to regenerate skin, smooth and impart a radiant glow.

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