The Best Time to Apply Body Lotion

A must-have product in our skin-care arsenal (read: soft, hydrated and smooth skin). Whether we’re targeting ashy elbows, dehydrated legs or rough skin patches around the body, slathering on a moisturizing cream is key to getting and maintaining silky skin. It turns out, though, that there is, in fact, a right time and way to apply your body lotion. To get more information, we turned to board-certified dermatologist and consultant Dr. Michael Kaminer

The Best Time to Apply Body Lotion and Moisturizer

Apply Body Lotion After the Shower 

According to Dr. Kaminer, one of the best times to apply body lotion is directly after showering. “Your skin has the most moisture when it’s wet, and most moisturizers work best when skin is already hydrated,” he says. He explains that after your shower, water evaporates off your skin quickly, which can leave your skin feeling dry. Dry skin can become itchy and incredibly uncomfortable. Plus, it can exacerbate the look of tell-tale signs of aging skin, including wrinkles and fine lines. The best way to keep those unwanted side effects at bay is to apply lotion immediately after a shower while skin is still slightly damp.

Apply Body Lotion Before Exercising

If you’re exposing your skin to the elements (think: jogging in the park or around the block), prep your skin beforehand with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer. If the weather is particularly chilly or the air is dry, this can help reduce the dryness that may occur once your workout session has ended.

Apply Body Lotion After Shaving

In addition to removing unwanted body hair, shaving also removes the top layer of surface cells similar to an exfoliator. To help protect newly exposed skin from dryness, as well as soothe any razor irritation, apply a body lotion or moisturizer after shaving.

Apply Body Lotion Before Bed

Moisture is pulled out of the skin as we sleep, so applying a body lotion or moisturizer right before bed is key. Besides, soft and smooth skin is always a nice feeling as you slip into the sheets.

How to Apply Body Lotion and Moisturizer

Applying body lotion and moisturizer the right way is not as simple as slapping some body butter onto your skin and forgetting about it. To really maximize the benefits of your body lotion and moisturizer, you’ll want to follow the following steps. 

BODY LOTION STEP #1: Place a quarter-size amount of your favorite body lotion or moisturizer into the palm of your hand.

BODY LOTION STEP #2: Rub the lotion or moisturizer between your palms for a few seconds to warm it up.

BODY LOTION STEP #3:  Use both hands to massage the lotion or moisturizer onto a small area of skin in gentle circular motions.

BODY LOTION STEP #4: Repeat the above steps as needed to cover your entire body in lotion or moisturizer. Depending on how dry your skin feels, you can be more liberal with the amount of product you apply. Be more generous on areas of thick skin, such as your elbows or knees.

The Best Body Lotions and Moisturizers for Every Skin Type, According to Our Editors  

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion Daily Repair Moisturizing Lotion

This lipid-replenishing lotion is formulated with La Roche-Posay’s exclusive Prebiotic Thermal Water, shea butter, glycerin and niacinamide. The lotion works to bring all-day hydration to normal to dry skin types, including sensitive.  

Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Shea Soufflé

This moisturizer nourishes and softens the skin without the use of silicones, parabens, petroleum or mineral oil. The formula is powered by almond oil, restores softness for up to 24 hours and never leaves behind a sticky or greasy feel. It’s especially great for dry skin or rough patches. 

Lancôme Nutrix Royal Body Butter

When it comes to rich and luxurious body creams, Lancôme never disappoints. Formulated with shea butter and chestnut peptides, this body moisturizer for dry skin can soothe rough or extra dry skin, increase your natural lipid production and help your skin retain moisture. 

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps

Looking for a body moisturizer that’s elegant and rich? This is the one for you. Revive extremely dry skin with this beloved all-over body moisturizer that leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth and beautifully hydrated without leaving behind a trace of greasy residue.

CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin 

If you have dry, rough, bumpy or Psoriasis-prone skin, this moisturizer is a great fit for your routine. It’s formulated with salicylic acid, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin D to exfoliate and moisturize while also working to repair the skin’s moisture barrier.