Natural medicinal healers following ancient teachings maintain one rule when it comes to moisturizing the human body: “If you can’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.” Simple, yet wise words that have carried relevance since body lotion became a hot commodity within the Western world. But not always words that were followed–that is until natural body moisturizer started to gain popularity.
In this article we discuss the following:
- What is Natural Body Moisturizer?
- Ingredients to Avoid in Body Moisturizers
- Why Opt for Natural Body Moisturizer?
- The Best Natural Face Moisturizers
- Natural Body Cream vs Body Lotion
- DIY Natural Body Moisturizer
What is Natural Body Moisturizer?
It’s no secret that big brand moisturizers are definitely not edible by any standard, and the idea of putting some into your mouth screams borderline insanity. So if they’re not good enough for the inside of our bodies, why are they good enough for the outside?
The truth is that more and more people are waking up to the fact that natural lotion is better for our bodies and for our environments. Natural body moisturizer is a pure alternative to big brand moisturizers that are made using synthetic ingredients and chemicals.
Common misconception has resulted in the notion of “natural” pertaining to a product that is usually inaccessible or largely overpriced. This is particularly true when it comes to products within the beauty industry such as natural body moisturizers.
The irony is that few of these products are as exclusive or inaccessible as the market has made them out to be. In fact, there are probably natural body moisturizers sitting in your kitchen pantry right now; unbeknownst to you are their moisturizing properties.
Some brands have taken these natural, everyday ingredients and turned them into profitable products for retail. Natural body moisturizers are now widely available; mostly in health and wellness stores or online. Drugstores have been reluctant to take on natural products, as most stores have been partnered with big brand names for years and don’t want to risk a change in suppliers.
The goal of products such as natural body moisturizers is to be as pure as possible; pure in contents, pure in manufacturing processes, and pure in retail value. The best place to start producing something pure is to make use of readily available botanical ingredients that are naturally abundant to the Earth.
In using botanicals to create a beauty product, manufacturers are faced with the opportunity for their natural body lotion to either be organic, vegan, or both. It’s important to note that these labels are not interchangeable, and that just because a natural body moisturizer is proudly cruelty free, does not mean that it is automatically organic.
The word “natural” can be an umbrella term when it comes to certain products. In reference to natural lotion, the phrase is insinuating that the product is made using botanical ingredients which may or may not be of organic and vegan/cruelty free origin.
So what’s the difference anyway?
An organic body lotion will be a natural moisturizer made using organically produced botanicals. Like organic produce you buy at the supermarket, organic botanicals are plants and herbs that don’t use pesticides, steroids or hormones in their growing process. In turn, this means that you won’t encounter any trace amounts of these toxins in the use of the end product.
An organic lotion is about as pure as natural body moisturizers get.
Then there is the vegan aspect. A vegan body lotion will be made by a manufacturer who does not use any animal-derived ingredients in their formula, nor do they test their product on animals before sending them out for public sale.
In today’s society, most natural body moisturizers are automatically vegan as being cruelty free is an important part of most environmentally conscious manifestos. Most consumers who make use of natural beauty products make a point of being cruelty free in their day to day lives as well, so it’s in the best interest of manufacturing brands to follow suit and cater to the demand.
To tell if a natural body lotion is organic, vegan, or neither, simply assess the packaging label for the official logos of each qualification bracket.
Ingredients to Avoid in Regular Body Moisturizers
The immense growth in popularity of natural self-care products has led to deeper investigation into the world of cosmetic manufacturing. Some results have been alarming, as it appears big brand manufacturers have been getting away with murder (excuse the pun) for decades.
With big brands, the goal has always been profits. Cutting corners via synthetic, harmful ingredients is one of the easiest ways to ensure profit optimization, and if customers are absorbing treacherous chemicals into their blood streams in the process, then so be it.
Thankfully we’ve come to a point where we can conduct research of our own, and upon analysis, decide for ourselves if certain ingredients are something we are happy to offer refuge to within our own bodies.
It boils down to personal preference and belief, but if we were you, these would be the ingredients we’d make an effort to avoid in our cosmetics and body lotions. Remember, if you can’t put it in your mouth…
Parabens. Parabens. Parabens. We know not of a more crucial red flag to the natural functioning of the human body.
Whether you opt to switch to natural self-care products or not, do your body the service of switching to, at very least, a body lotion without parabens and phthalates.
You’ve likely become accustomed to seeing “paraben free” being proudly proclaimed on the packaging of even some well known brands. The truth about parabens was exposed a few years ago, after decades of speculation, and has sparked outrage within the consumer communities.
Parabens are a type of preservative used in most beauty products in order to keep them from developing mold over time. They essentially kill off the natural life force in all accompanying ingredients, making them as alive and healthy as plastic. Bacteria, good or bad, is unable to grow in a paraben saturated environment.
This might sound harmless in the bigger scheme of things, but unfortunately parabens also have the unique ability to mimic estrogen once they reach the bloodstream. This is very confusing to the human body, especially for individuals who are already living in excess of estrogen.
As a result, parabens can be directly linked to the emergence of breast and skin cancer in women and stunting fertility levels in men. In Denmark, parabens are taken so seriously as a threat that it is illegal to use any products containing them on children under the age of 3.
Any body lotion that claims to “even out skin tone” is a lotion that you need to be cautious of.
Hydroquinone is a powerful chemical with the ability to lighten skin. In other words, hydroquinone is a type of bleach.
Hydroquinone kills off the melanocytes that are present in one’s skin. These are the cells that produce our melanin, in turn giving our faces their unique tones, freckles and blemishes. One’s ability to tan is also associated with one’s melanocyte count.
If you have hyperpigmentation on your body, hydroquinone might sound like a dream solution. However this is another chemical that is not regulated in the manufacturing process, and long term use of it has shown to permanently damage the melanocyte processes of the skin, eventually leading to more pigmentation than before and heightened signs of aging, even on young skin.
Petrolatum is an ingredient often found in self-care products aimed at targeting dry or flakey skin.
Petrolatum isn’t always harmful to human beings. Refined petrolatum has been approved by numerous medical institutions around the world that are dedicated to better understanding, and regulating, the skincare industry.
The issue is that manufacturers have resorted to using cheap imitation petrolatum in their products, and they are not required to declare when they do so. Mock petrolatum has proven to be increasingly harmful to the human body.
Petrolatum seals off the skin from the outside world. In the process, one’s skin shows the illusion of supple hydration, when in reality no new moisture can enter, nor be produced. This results in consumers using more of the product, expecting more of the results, and absorbing more of the toxins.
Using a body lotion that is creamy or white in appearance? You’re probably absorbing oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a stabilizing agent that is used in creamy substances to make them better to lather. You’ll find it in most body lotions, face creams and sunblocks.
Because of its thickening abilities, oxybenzone is able to block out UV rays to a certain extent, offering great SPF protection to the lotions in question. To the outside of the body, oxybenzone is beneficial, but to the inside is a different story.
Oxybenzone has been repeatedly linked to harming the endocrine system of the human body, which in turn can lead to skin and breast cancer due to the heavy hormone disruption that takes place.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
Beauty products that don’t need an SPF rating to be significant usually make use of a stabilizing agent known as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) instead.
SLS is a type of emulsifier, and has the ability to thicken solutions like lotions and face creams. SLS is also found in things like engine degreasers and floor cleaners; still want to lather it all over your body?
Studies are currently underway to have SLS classified as a dangerous carcinogen with ties to certain types of cancer.
Everyone wants a body lotion that smells as good as it feels. A sweet scented lotion is an attractive product, even to the most conscious consumers. Unfortunately, wonderful scents come at a price, and almost guarantee that the product itself is filled to the brim with masking chemicals.
Masking chemicals are given the job of masking the smell of all the other chemical ingredients used in the formula. If you’ve ever been in a paint shop, or factory, you’ll know that chemicals stink and it takes a great deal of masking power to render these stenches unnoticeable.
Scent masking chemicals are usually coal-derived, making them harmful to anyone with existing respiratory conditions.
If you’re wondering why not just use potent natural fragrances such as the scent of pine leaves, or ground cinnamon, the answer is that natural fragrances cost more to use, in turn making the products less profitable. This is obviously a no-go for big brand manufacturers, so synthetic fragrances are seen as the superior choice.
Phthalates go hand in hand with parabens and are another name you need to start looking out for in your everyday self-care products. Phthalates are what gives lotions their flexibility and pliability; a moisturizer that is easy to spread is automatically a more attractive product.
What’s interesting is that while parabens affect women more severely than men, phthalates actually affect men and children more significantly. They target one’s hormones and reproductive systems, and have been linked to conditions such as ADHD, diabetes and even cancer.
In addition to controlling the texture of a moisturizer, phthalates also work to make synthetic fragrances last longer. When used with this intention, manufacturers are not required by law to list phthalates as an ingredient.
This means that parabens are much easier to avoid when compared to phthalates. Phthalates are used carelessly in just about every non-natural lotion and cream on the market; and to top things off, said products likely won’t tell you that there are phthalates within. Switching to pure moisturizers is the only way to avoid absorbing them once and for all.
Alcohol is found so widely in different beauty products that few of us even question its role anymore.
In self-care products, alcohol is used as a binding agent to hold all of the other ingredients together. Alcohol binds and preserves, leaving the rest of the chemicals unaffected and able to serve their individual purposes.
That being said, we know that alcohol is one of the most powerful disinfectants on the planet. It kills germs and bacteria in its wake, but in the process it also dries up the surface in question. The idea that hydration oriented products can contain the most powerful drying agent in the world is simple irony, and proof that big brands want little more than for you to merely have the illusion of hydration.
Using alcohol on the skin daily has proven some alarming long term effects. It strips the skin of its unique ability to self-regenerate; something that is important to be able to do, especially the older we get.
Alcohol makes it near impossible for skin to renew naturally, which can lead to an increase in blemishes and pigmentation later on.
Why You Should Use a Natural Body Moisturizer
The aforementioned list of ingredients to avoid should be reason enough to switch to natural body moisturizers today. In fact, it should be reason enough to switch all of your beauty products over to natural as soon as possible.
Even if statistics don’t support the notion that everyone who comes in contact with parabens, phthalates or oxybenzone will have harmful side effects, the idea that there is even a chance should be enough for us all to steer clear. Especially when there is zero chance of disease incurring through the use of pure botanical products instead.
What you need to understand is that the skin is the most direct way of making contact with the blood stream without physically breaking through the surface. Copper bracelets proved this to us when they showed trace amounts of copper being absorbed right through the wrists and into the blood for beneficial results.
Support Small Businesses
Natural lotion self-care products are by no means mainstream as of yet. This means that most pure moisturizers are being made by small players within the industry, who likely are pursuing the business due to a genuine passion for health, wellness and bettering the environment.
They’ve taken it upon themselves to cater to the demand for healthier and more sustainable self-care products, not only for small profit but also so that the industry might expand overtime and give them the opportunity to reach more people in the process.
By opting to use a natural body moisturizer, or any natural self-care product, you are investing in the initiative being taken by the small business in question. This might be a local brand who sells their products as a ‘side hustle’, or a more focused brand with intention to grow over time. Your support means everything in both of these regards.
We owe it to our bodies and our future health to make smarter, more informed choices about what we put onto our skin. In the same breath, we owe it to our future health to also make smarter, more informed choices about the manufacturing processes we support and their effects on the environment at large.
There is no way to produce, heat, or refine chemicals without excreting more chemicals out into the atmosphere; these things go hand in hand. The beauty industry is one of the leading contributors to carbon emissions, as well as to the growing endemic of plastic waste filling the floors of the oceans and bellies of the sea creatures.
Opting for consciously made products, such as natural moisturizers, is an easy way to say no to the harmful manufacturing processes used by major corporations playing in the beauty industry.
Manufacturing aside, opting for an organic lotion also means that you’ve eliminated the use of harmful pesticides and steroids that cause lasting destruction to the air that we breathe and soil that we eat from. We probably don’t have to tell you that caring about the environment is something we need to start doing more of if we’d like to have an environment to live in in 10, 20, or 50 years from now.
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of switching to natural body moisturizers is that you are not bound to the consumerist market if you wish not to be. Natural moisturizers are so pure in compound, that one can actually make them in their own home using everyday ingredients likely already in your pantry.
If you’ve been unable to find a natural body lotion that you love, or simply live somewhere where these kinds of wellness products are inaccessible, then making one at home is an equally as effective solution.
The 13 Best Natural Body Moisturizers
Best Lotion for Dry Skin
Nécessaire The Body Lotion
Say it with us: Vitamins A, B3, C, and E. That’s right, all of these hydrating agents are packed into this simply packaged body lotion, amongst other natural ingredients. Nécessaire is without question the best natural body moisturizer for dry skin.
Omega 6 and 9 do well to combat any presence of dryness, while meadowfoam oils prompt moisture production. Users report noticeably healthier skin even after short periods of use, making this one of the best paraben free body lotions on the market.
In addition to being free of parabens, Nécessaire’s lotion is also free of phthalates, petrochemicals, sulphates and skin irritants.
Best Lotion for Extremely Dry Skin
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Aveeno’s unique formula contains the nourishing secrets of raw oatmeal. Oatmeal as a plant has the powerful ability to soothe skin to the point where it is able to draw in more moisture than usual capability.
This is a lightweight and non greasy lotion, which makes it ideal for individuals with severe dryness that manifests physically as eczema or psoriasis.
Best Body Lotion with SPF
SuperGoop! Body Butter
We love this natural lotion by SuperGoop!. The formula offers a broad spectrum of coverage at 40 SPF. It’s packed with antioxidants and essential oils; the scent of eucalyptus, clove and vanilla is subtle, but present.
Protect your arms, shoulders and chest from the harmful day to day sun by simply opting for a SPF based moisturizer instead of a regular cream.
Best Anti-Aging Body Lotion
Philosophy Amazing Grace Firming Emulsion
This product is one of Philosophy’s best. The combination of Vitamins E and C within the lotion work to form a protective layer over the skin in order to protect it from harmful external environments and weather conditions.
The result is a body lotion that firms the skin to the point where aging seems to slow down, and even reverse.
The lotion is lightly fragranced making it ideal for all day wear.
Best Lotion for Dry Itchy Skin
Mustela Stelatopia Emollient Cream
This lotion is made entirely from plants and is one of the best fragrance free body lotions available. Originally intended for the skin of babies, this formula is one of the most gentle you’ll find, albeit being a powerful opponent to dry, itching skin.
The general discomfort that comes from skin itch can make one feel alone in a crowded room. Mustela’s lotion soothes the discomfort before attending to the dryness, which means it works with your body to prompt better surface conditions from the moment it is applied.
Best Body Lotion for Glowing Skin
SheaMoisture Shimmering Body Lotion
Your skin should glow naturally, there’s no question about that. But sometimes a little added shimmer goes a long way.
Meet SheaMoisture’s shimmering body lotion made from all things coconut and shiny. Fair trade shea butter is used in the mix, adding a powerful hydration factor. This is a wonderfully affordable natural body lotion.
Best Lotion for Sensitive Skin
Weleda Skin Food
Weleda’s Skin Food is known as one of the most gentle formulas on the natural product market. It’s been dermatologically tested, so sensitive skin was in mind from the initial production process.
The lotion is free of parabens, phthalates, and mineral oils. The lotion also has a calming effect on actively inflamed skin, helping bring redness back into balance.
She Plants Love Bare Butter
She Plants Love’s Bare Butter is formulated without essential oils making it perfect for those with sensitive skin. It’s also multi-functional in that it can be used on both skin and hair. With only 6 active organic ingredients, this butter is a product that you can feel confident about using on yourself and your family (including your little ones).
Best Body Oil for Dry Skin
Goop Beauty G.Day Body Oil
Goop took it to the next level of hydration when they released their body oil. This tiny bottle contains some of the most important nourishing oils in the world including black pepper oil from India, rosehip oil from Bulgaria, and red ginseng oil from Korea.
Japanese shiso leaf ties it all together giving us one beautifully oily body lotion without chemicals.
Rain Organica Meadowfoam and Fog Body Oil
It might sound weird to use an oil that you would put in your salad on your skin, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your skin. Now before you reach for the olive oil or coconut oil, keep reading.
According to Brandy Searcy, founder of Rain Organica, fragile oils like hemp seed, flaxseed, and pumpkin seed are the best natural moisturizers. Why? Because these oils have high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential in our diet because they keep our body, including our skin, healthy. Dry, flaky skin can especially benefit from topically applying oils rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids because these fatty acids help repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Your skin will reward you with a nice healthy glow by using one of these oils instead of oils high in Omega-9 like olive oil or saturated fatty acids like coconut oil.
If you’re looking for the perfect mixture of oils rich in omega-3 and omega-6 for your body, then Meadowfoam and Fog Body Oil by Rain Organica is an amazing choice and is 100% natural.
Best Cocoa Butter Lotion
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula
Palmer’s is one of the natural beauty brands that are easy to find in drugstores and supermarkets. Their cocoa butter formula makes for a great body lotion for anyone who is dealing with rapid weight gain such pregnant women.
Through intense natural hydration, the skin becomes more elasticated, resulting in fewer stretch marks and less susceptibility to aging.
Best Body Butter
Susanne Kaufmann’s Body Butter
This lavish body butter will stand proudly on your dressing table, perfectly complimenting your perfumes and cosmetics. The chic design is no match to the butter within; a hearty whip of olive oil, shea butter and honey.
The product is free of parabens, paraffin and any silicone.
Best Relaxing Lotion
YUNI SLEEPY BEAUTY Bedtime Body Essence
A lightweight body lotion that can be used as a soothing relaxation ritual to create the ideal environment for deep, restful sleep and help renew skin’s appearance overnight. As you relax and get ready for bed, massage in this light, silky-smooth night-blend featuring Melatonin, Ashwagandha Root, Passionflower and Chamomile. Exquisite aromas of Sage, Rose and Petitgrain help prepare your spirit for slumber while natural botanical moisturizers comfort skin with long-lasting hydration.
Natural Body Cream vs Body Lotion
What’s the difference, anyway?
You’ll see these two categories come up often when shopping for self-care products. Uninformed consumers might use each phrase interchangeably for the same products, but in truth there is actually a difference between a cream and a lotion.
The biggest difference between the two is thickness. A body cream is considerably thicker than a body lotion, and this is true whether the product is natural or not.
In natural products, however, the difference in thickness tends to be less obvious, as most of the most hydrating botanicals are used as base ingredients in both creams and lotions. Coconut oil, for example, can be used as a key ingredient in a thick face cream, or a runnier body lotion.
Sometimes manufacturers opt to refer to natural body creams and “body butter” instead. This implies a thicker, harder substance that will be difficult to smear across the body, but the end result of hydration will be well worth the effort.
The word lotion is used for those formulas that are easily pliable and almost glide across the skin without much effort. Depending on how a botanical ingredient has been melted, the pliability will vary.
DIY: Make Body Moisturizer at Home
Making natural body moisturizer at home is a trend that has taken over the pages of Pinterest and other public forums. Wellness following people from all over the world are experimenting in the kitchen, and coming up with different homemade moisturizer recipes by the dozen.
What’s wonderful about this type of endeavor is that you, as the product maker, are able to control each and every ingredient that goes into the making of the mixture. If you want only organic ingredients, you have that control. If you don’t want to absorb parabens through your skin, you leave them out. If you don’t want a product tested on animals, you make that choice. Businesses lose the authority of deciding these factors for you, and one regains control of their body in the process.
To make natural moisturizers at home you’ll need access to a stove, an electric beater and some sterilized jars for storing.
DIY Orange Mist Oil Natural Body Moisturizer
- 1/2 cup of Jojoba Oil
- 2 tsp Shea Butter
- 5 drops of Orange Essential Oil
- 1/4 cup of Coconut Oil
- 1/4 cup of Beeswax (leave out if vegan)
- 2 capsules of Vitamin E
- ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract
Preparation and Use:
- Melt jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax on the stove using a double boiler method (no direct contact with the plate).
- Cut open the Vitamin E capsules and pour into the mixture.
- Add vanilla extract and orange essential oil.
- Stir gently until folded into the melted mix.
- Pour the mixture into your empty jar and use a small amount daily as your body lotion.
- Do not refrigerate!
DIY Natural Body Moisturizer for Men
- 1/4 cup of Shea Butter
- 1 cup of Grapeseed Oil
- 2 tsp of Beeswax
- 10 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 2 capsules of Vitamin E
Preparation and Use:
- Melt shea butter, grapeseed oil and beeswax together on the stove using a double boiler method. A glass bowl works best.
- Remove from heat and add all essential oils and Vitamin E.
- Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and put it into the fridge.
- After about 30 minutes the mixture should be hard.
- Use an electric beater to whip the mixture until fluffy.
- Store in a cool place in a jar of your choosing and use as needed.
DIY Body Butter Recipe
- 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
- 3/4 cup of Cocoa Butter
- 20 drops of any Essential Oil
Preparation and Use:
- Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter into a mixing bowl.
- Once fully liquid, add the essential oil of your choosing.
- Mix well.
- Set the bowl into the freezer and allow to solidify.
- Once ready, take it out and use an electric beater to whip the mixture until light and fluffy, like whipped butter.
- Transfer into a jar and store in a cool, dark place. Lather on when needed.