Body Oil Or Lotion – Which Is A Better Option For Your Skincare Routine?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Body oils and lotions help moisturize the skin, so what exactly is the debate about lotion vs. oil? Both of these products play a vital role in keeping your skin smooth and hydrated. However, each has its unique formulas and uses. Sometimes, choosing a body oil is better, and sometimes you must reach out for a lotion. You need to figure out which is ideal for your skin type and when to use one.

This article explores everything about body oil and body lotion – their differences, benefits, application, and how they work. Read on to make a conscious decision on which product to add to your daily skin care routine.

Body Oil Vs. Lotion: What Is The Difference?

Body OilLotion
What Is It Made Of?OilBlend of water, oil, and emulsifiers.
How It WorksHelps seal the natural moisture and works on your skin’s outer protective barrier. Prevents moisture loss and contains potent active ingredients that nourish your skin.Penetrates your skin and helps moisturize, soothe, and rejuvenate it. The creamy formula helps make your rough areas, such as the elbows, knees, ankles, and soles soft and supple.
When To ApplyAfter a shower (on damp skin)After a shower (on damp skin)
Best Suited ForDry skinAll skin types, based on the formulation and ingredients

Note: Even people with oily skin types can try lightweight, non-comedogenic body oils in moderation to reduce the skin’s natural tendency to produce oil. However, be careful about the kind of oil you use if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Now that you know the difference between body oils and lotions, let us find out their benefits in the next section.

Benefits Of Body Oils

1. Hydrate The Skin

Body oils help improve your skin’s barrier function and seal the natural moisture, keeping the skin hydrated. They are absorbed by the skin and have a reparative, moisturizing effect.

2. Regulate Sebum Production

Oils are well known for their absorbent properties. Many plant oils, such as jojoba, olive, coconut, argan, almond, and avocado oils mimic the natural lipids found in your skin. These similarities in structure can help repair the skin barrier responsible for oil production.

3. Even Tone The Skin

Body oils can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, scars, and stretch marks. They also brighten your skin, treat dullness and roughness, and offer a natural-looking glow.

Benefits Of Body Lotions

1. Keep The Skin Soft And Supple

Lotions can combat issues, such as cracking, itchiness, and tight skin, by nourishing the skin with the added moisture it requires. They deeply penerate your skin and help replenish its lost moisture and leave it supple, soft, and hydrated.

2. Provide Long-term Moisturizing Effect

A body lotion helps provide your skin with a generous dose of moisture all day long. After applying body oil, you can top it up with a lotion to keep your skin doubly hydrated. Unlike body oils that work best after a shower on damp skin, you can apply body lotions any time of the day.

3. Contain Nourishing Ingredients

Lotions with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera, vitamin E, and ceramides can help enhance the skin’s water-retaining abilities. Certain lotions contain both oil and water, which can prove beneficial for dry skin conditions.

It is also important to know how to apply body oils and lotions to achieve the best results.

How To Apply Body Oil

  • Use a body oil on damp skin right after the shower. This will help lock in the moisture easily. Also, remember that a little amount goes a long way.
  • Add a few drops of body oil to your bath. High-quality plant oils with rose or lavender essential oils can provide deep moisturization and make your bath water smell divine.

How To Apply Body Lotion

It is best to slather your body lotion onto your skin after a shower and massage it in until fully absorbed. You can also add a few drops of body oil to your favorite lotion for extra hydration.

When it comes to body oils or lotions, it would be wrong to say that one is better than the other. Both of these products are excellent at moisturizing your skin. So, which one should you opt for?

Body Oil Vs. Lotion – Which Is The Best?

Both body oils and lotions have their unique formulas, benefits, and uses. Therefore, it is best to keep both around, so you are prepared to treat your skin as per its needs.

Depending on your skin type, concerns,  and climate, use a combination of both body oil and lotion. You can layer body lotion on top of oil, similar to facial oils and moisturizers.

For instance, using only a body lotion during winters might not be hydrating enough for your skin. Hence, include a body oil in your skin care routine to prevent dryness in a cold climate.

Opt for lightweight formulas during the humid, summer months. Stick to an oil or body lotion that absorbs quickly and does not make you sweat.

Consider using body oil twice or thrice a week as a deeply nourishing treatment to hydrate and replenish your skin. Use the lotion as a daily moisturizer to help soothe and soften your skin.


The most significant factor to keep in mind while deciding between a body oil and lotion is your skin type. Make sure to assess the level of hydration and nourishment your skin needs and choose a product accordingly.

If you are still confused about whether a body oil or lotion is best for you, why not give them both a try. Use a few drops of body oil after a shower and apply your favorite body lotion whenever your skin feels dry to provide it with an excellent hydration boost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use body oils instead of lotions?

No, body oils and lotions serve different purposes. Consider your skin type, issues, and seasonal conditions before choosing one over the other.

What goes first – body oil or lotion?

Do not use body oils right before your lotions or creams. Since body oils are heavier, your lotion might not penetrate the skin and work effectively. Hence, layer the oil on top of your body lotion for optimum results.

When should you use body oil?

Ideally, you should use body oil after a shower on damp skin (preferably within three minutes of wiping). It helps lock in water and reduces the chance of moisture loss.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).