Have you ever stood in an aisle full of baby lotions of all different types, sizes, and brands and been overwhelmed by all the choices? There are so many options, from organic creams to dermatologist-endorsed ointments to lotions with bold promises to help your baby sleep better at night. The simple process of moisturizing and protecting your baby’s dry skin can suddenly feel like a complicated task.
This is why we’ve spent many days sorting through countless skincare products for babies, testing them and listening to the experiences of others to weed out those that are overpriced, brands that make false claims, and lotions that feel anything but soft on your baby’s skin.
To save you time and make your choice easier, we’ve compiled this list of the best baby lotions that hold up to their promises and work to keep your baby’s skin soft and moisturized in all conditions.
- Non-greasy formula
- No harsh chemicals
- Made in the USA
- Quality organic ingredients
- For babies suffering from eczema
- Protects & moisturizes
- Clinically tested & proven effective
- Approved by National Eczema Association
- Light and non-greasy
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Hypoallergenic and ultra-gentle
- Doesn't contain harsh chemicals
- Organic ingredients
- Smells good
- Acts as protective moisture barrier
- Gentle & hypoallergenic
- Pediatrician-recommended brand
- Gives full 24 hours of moisture
- Over-the-counter eczema relief
- Rubs in well
- Maximum relief and healing
- Moisturizes for 24 hours
- Tested by pediatricians
- Quickly absorbed
- Won't clog pores or worsen acne
Does a Baby’s Skin Need Lotion?
For most babies, moisturizing lotions are not necessary, but they can help protect their skin from moisture loss, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors or in water (1).
If your baby’s skin is dry or prone to chafing, a little baby lotion can go a long way toward hydrating and keeping it soft.
These are some common skin conditions that may benefit from topical lotions or moisturizers:
- Dry Skin: Dry skin is caused by environmental factors, exposure, or unknown reasons. It typically looks dry, flaky, or ashy. Dry skin is easily treated with regular moisturizers of any type, though extremely dry skin may be best served by an ointment.
- Eczema: Many babies suffer from eczema, which looks like a red, bumpy rash but does not appear in the diaper area (2). It typically appears on the face first but can spread to other areas of the body. It’s itchy. Eczema should be treated with thick cream, ointment, or special eczema creams that will not only moisturize the skin but protect it as well.
- Baby Acne: While the exact cause of baby acne is unknown, it’s prevalent in babies. Baby acne looks like small red bumps or tiny pustules — basically just like adult acne but smaller. Baby acne is not itchy or painful and typically resolves on its own after a few months. Most doctors recommend simply washing and drying a baby’s broken-out skin without adding lotions or moisturizers (3). However, if you feel that your baby is experiencing dryness in addition to acne, you may choose to use an oil-free product.
When to Apply Baby Lotion
Use lotion or another moisturizer anytime you notice dry skin or another condition that could benefit from hydration.
The best time to moisturize your baby is immediately after their bath when their skin is still damp. This will serve two purposes:
- It will trap the moisture from bath time in your baby’s skin.
- It will prevent your baby’s skin from drying out after the bath.
As odd as it seems, excessive baths cause skin dryness in babies. The water from the bath removes natural oils from your baby’s skin (4). If your baby is eczema-prone, limiting soap use at bath time will help decrease dryness.
You may also want to apply lotion regularly in the winter when the weather is cool and dry, as it can irritate your baby’s skin and rob it of moisture.
How to Choose the Best Baby Lotion
When choosing a lotion for your baby, it’s best to consider the following:
- Skin Condition: Are you trying to treat a medical skin condition, or are you simply trying to keep your baby’s skin hydrated? If treating a skin condition, look for products designed to help with that particular issue.
- Ointment, Cream, or Lotion: For severely dry skin or conditions such as eczema, look for ointments. These tend to be the thickest formulas and are best for healing and trapping moisture in the skin. Creams are thicker than lotions and, as they are made with a higher oil content, they tend to have a more oily feel that doesn’t rub into the skin. They are good for treating frequently dry baby skin and protecting the skin from further moisture loss. Lotions are water-based products that generally rub in well and provide light moisture for regular skin.
- First Ingredient: Look at the ingredient list. The first ingredient is the main component of the product. If it’s water, it will primarily provide hydration. If the first ingredient is oil, it will offer your baby’s skin protection (but feel greasy). Make sure that the product you choose fits your needs.
- Fragrances: If you’re applying lotion along with a baby massage as part of a bedtime routine, you may want a lavender scent to help with nighttime calming. If you want your baby smelling sweet after a bath, something honey-scented may be the right choice. And if your baby has sensitive skin, avoid fragrances altogether as fragrance additives have the potential to irritate the skin.
The Best Baby Lotions of 2021
Here are the top baby lotions currently on the market.
1. Puracy Organic Baby Lotion
Not only is this made with certified organic ingredients, but it’s also plant-based, non-toxic, vegan, gluten-free, and not tested on animals. Puracy Organic Baby Lotion was developed by doctors and is suitable for babies with the most sensitive skin — even those with eczema.
The formulation is lightweight and includes natural oils that will both moisturize and nourish the skin. With the lavender and grapefruit scent, your baby will smell wonderful, too.
And with the company’s 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, you can be sure you’ll be pleased with your purchase.
- It’s not greasy.
- It contains no harsh chemicals.
- Made in the USA.
- It contains a fragrance that can be an irritant for some babies.
- Some parents find the scent overpowering.
2. Weleda Baby Calendula Face Cream
This nourishing cream is made of 96% organic ingredients, so you can feel good about putting it on your baby’s sweet little cheeks. It’s formulated to be safe for your baby’s skin and is even suitable for extremely sensitive or eczema-prone skin.
The calendula (a botanical extract) soothes inflammation, and because it’s a cream, it’s thicker than a lotion — meaning it won’t drip into your baby’s eyes and cause irritation. This formula is made of ingredients that are easily absorbed into the skin and doesn’t contain any chemical preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or petroleum-derived ingredients.
- It’s full of quality organic ingredients.
- Suitable for babies suffering from eczema.
- Calendula is anti-inflammatory and soothes irritated skin.
- No chemical preservatives.
- It’s expensive for the size.
- May feel greasy.
3. Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment
Aquaphor’s unique combination of active ingredients delivers hydration to the skin and locks it in but still allows oxygen to reach the skin. This creates an environment that soothes and protects irritated skin and creates ideal conditions for effective healing.
It’s been clinically proven to restore healthy skin and is recommended by many pediatricians. Overall, this is a great all-purpose ointment, and it can also be used as a moisturizing product, diaper ointment, and on minor cuts and scrapes.
- This is a versatile product.
- Offers protection and moisturizing without unnecessary medication.
- It allows the skin to breathe and heal more quickly.
- It’s clinically tested and proven effective.
- It’s greasy feelings.
- It’s thick, so it takes longer to rub in.
- Contains petroleum, which should be used sparingly.
4. CeraVe Baby Lotion
This great lotion by CeraVe is fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free. It was developed in conjunction with pediatric dermatologists to make it suitable for a baby’s sensitive skin. The National Eczema Association even accepts it as a suitable treatment for eczema.
It contains a skin protectant and ingredients that moisturize skin for 24 hours. And while some “fragrance-free” products still have a discernible scent, reviewers agree that this product doesn’t have any scent.
- It’s accepted by the National Eczema Association.
- Some reviewers claim it healed their baby’s acne.
- It’s light and non-greasy and rubs in easily.
- It’s suitable for delicate or sensitive skin.
- It’s not organic.
- The consistency may be a little too thin for some.
5. Just Hatched Baby Body Lotion
This is a water-based formula that doesn’t contain anything besides what your newborn’s skin needs. It simply provides gentle hydration without harmful sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.
It’s hypoallergenic and offers a light coconut milk scent. And this light but lasting moisturizer comes at a highly affordable price.
- It’s hypoallergenic and ultra-gentle.
- It doesn’t contain harsh sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.
- It’s affordable considering the quality.
- It has a light fragrance.
- It’s a thin texture, so you don’t get a thick moisture barrier.
6. Earth Mama Calming Lavender Baby Lotion
This blend is made with non-synthetic calming lavender and warm vanilla to give your baby a fresh, lovely scent that’s pleasant and calming but not overpowering. Organic, herbal ingredients add scent without the risk of irritation that comes with more chemical fragrances.
A nurse and herbalist developed this line, so it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. And with the top ingredient being aloe, it provides a natural moisture barrier to protect your baby’s skin while moisturizing it.
- Contains organic ingredients.
- Smells really good.
- It provides a protective moisture barrier.
- Not suitable for babies with acne.
- The lavender may be harsh on ultra-sensitive skin.
7. Aveeno Baby Lotion with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal is a powerful skin soother. If your baby has chapped, cracked, or red skin, this lotion provides moisture without exacerbating the problem. It also contains dimethicone, a medicated yet gentle protectant, to create a barrier between irritants and your baby’s sensitive skin.
The best part? This lotion lasts for a full 24 hours, so you don’t have to worry about reapplying. Because it was formulated specifically for babies, you can use it daily. It’s also hypoallergenic, non-greasy, and free of parabens and fragrances.
The bottle holds 12 ounces of lotion. You can apply it anywhere on the skin, but it’s not designed to be tear-free, so we suggest being especially careful if you use it on your baby’s face. Make sure it’s well absorbed before you let your baby rub or touch their skin.
- The formula is gentle, hypoallergenic, and free of harmful chemicals.
- Colloidal oatmeal is a powerful skin soother.
- Lasts for a full 24 hours.
- Not tear-free, so you need to be extra careful when applying to your baby’s face.
8. Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
Eczema ointments can be greasy and thick. One reason we love this lotion is that it has a light, creamy feel without sacrificing quality. The formula contains a number of healing ingredients, including dimethicone, glycerin, and a triple oat complex featuring colloidal oatmeal, oat kernel extract, and oat kernel oil.
We especially like that the formula was developed alongside dermatologists specifically for babies with eczema. Some lotions and creams claim to provide relief but are full of damaging fragrances and chemicals. With a seal of approval from dermatologists and pediatricians, you can rest easy.
This lotion works to reduce itching and irritation while strengthening the natural barriers of your baby’s skin. You should also notice a decrease in extra-dry skin flare-ups. Because it’s a lighter formula, you can use it as needed.
While this cream is great for providing relief, you should continue to work with your pediatrician to find the best treatment plan for your baby’s eczema.
- Great over-the-counter relief for baby eczema.
- Light formula is non-greasy and perfect for daytime use.
- Features triple oat complex for maximum relief and healing.
- Because it’s a lighter formula, it’s not ideal for overnight use.
9. Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Baby Lotion
This water-based lotion is tested by pediatricians and made up of 98.6% natural ingredients to ensure your baby only gets the best. It’s infused with natural moisturizing ingredients like aloe and shea butter for even the most sensitive baby skin. And you won’t have to slather it on multiple times a day as it moisturizes for a full 24 hours.
Free of parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum, it ensures nothing harmful touches your baby’s skin. And although it contains a fragrance, it’s one derived from natural sources so as not to irritate sensitive skin.
- All-natural product.
- It moisturizes for 24 hours.
- Contains no formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
- Tested by pediatricians.
- This product has a scent.
- The thick formula takes more time to fully absorb.
- Contains dairy (possible allergen).
10. California Baby Everyday Moisturizing Baby Lotion
This is a thinner lotion that’s quickly absorbed, meaning it won’t be thick or greasy on your baby’s acne-prone skin. And since it’s non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging), it won’t exacerbate it, either.
It contains a natural antioxidant and plenty of organic ingredients, and it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, oat-free, and nut-free to eliminate the possibility of allergic reactions. If you’re desperate to find a way to moisturize your baby’s dry but acne-prone cheeks, try this since it’s not likely to irritate it.
- It’s light and quickly absorbed.
- It is allergen-free (except coconuts).
- It will not clog pores or worsen acne.
- It does not offer a protective moisture barrier.
- It’s expensive.
- Smells of lavender and calendula, which some may find unpleasant.
11. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen
This is a baby sunscreen that protects your little one from UV rays without using chemicals that may cause health problems. Neutrogena has combined safe and effective zinc oxide and titanium dioxide with other ingredients that are gentle enough to be slathered liberally on a baby’s skin.
The National Eczema Association has given it their seal of acceptance, assuring you that it won’t irritate your baby’s skin or exacerbate their skin conditions.
- Provides UVA and UVB protection.
- Approved by the National Eczema Association.
- It’s not primarily designed to be a daily moisturizer.
- It can leave a white hue on the skin.
- It may stain some fabrics.
12. Johnson’s Baby Lotion
Sometimes, classic is best. There’s a reason Johnson’s brand is the empire it is today: it’s because their products work. This has been tested by dermatologists and is designed to be mild on your baby’s skin.
It’s a water-based lotion that’s light enough for everyday use and also contains non-comedogenic mineral oil, so it may even be appropriate for your little one suffering from baby acne. The formula is hypoallergenic, so it’s safe for sensitive skin, and it moisturizes for a full 24 hours.
- This product is affordable.
- It was tested by dermatologists.
- It’s hypoallergenic.
- Not an organic or all-natural product.
- It contains a (very distinctive!) fragrance.
- It doesn’t provide a protective barrier.
The Bottom Line
The top two contenders were neck-and-neck, but in the end, Puracy Organic Baby Lotion won out as the best baby lotion. It eases our minds that they use organic ingredients because we know that whatever goes on baby’s skin goes into their body, .
It’s lightweight and non-greasy yet still suitable for babies with eczema, and even though it has a scent, it was designed to be gentle for your baby and is derived from natural sources.
A baby’s skin is so soft that it doesn’t need improvement, just a little gentle care. Find the perfect product for your little angel, and you’ll preserve their satiny soft skin for as long as possible.