The Best Baby Lotions Of 2021

Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD
Reviewed by Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MDWritten by Neve Spicer Updated on September 8th, 2021

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Caring for your baby’s delicate skin requires you to purchase their products thoughtfully. Little ones can respond negatively to harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that can be present in soap, detergent, and, of course, lotion.

A high-quality baby lotion with natural ingredients can work wonders when resolving some common skin concerns, but knowing what to look for — and what to avoid at all costs — is essential. If you’re eager to shop smart, check out our guide to choosing the right lotion for your little one, plus review our top 10 picks.

FAQs

What are some factors to consider when choosing a lotion for my baby?

  • Allergies: Since your baby’s skin is very sensitive and at risk of being damaged, they’re more prone to experience an allergic reaction when coming into contact with harsh, chemical-based ingredients, fragrances and dyes. It’s important to choose mild, hypoallergenic lotions, soaps, and other skincare products for your baby, which are likely to minimize irritation.
  • Natural vs. problem ingredients: Chemical ingredients like BHA and parabens often show up in commercially made lotions acting as preservatives, but can deliver some nasty side effects that are harmful for anyone, especially your baby. BHA is used to stabilize food and beauty products, but may also be a human carcinogen. Parabens extend the shelf life of lotions, but may also disrupt hormones. Better to choose smaller bottles of products which do not use these additives — they’re less likely to spoil before the container is empty, so you and baby can avoid such chemicals.

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What does “hypoallergenic” mean?

A word that’s close to the mind of parents who may, themselves, have sensitive skin, the word “hypoallergenic” indicates that a product is made with ingredients that are not known allergens, and, hence, less likely to trigger a reaction than it’s counterparts.

Parents should be aware, however, that the use of the term in packaging is not regulated by the US FDA. This means that, while the presence of the word ‘hypoallergenic’ is still a good indication that efforts have been made to avoid causing allergies, it’s still wise to rely on trusted brands and to check labels, especially if you know your little one is prone to allergic reactions.

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Does my baby’s lotion have an expiration date?

Although not listed on the package with the same veracity as food expiration dates, all cosmetics and beauty products do have an expiration date, including your baby’s lotion. That said, if you’re buying lotion in small amounts and using it on a regular basis, it’s unlikely their lotion will go off before it’s time to replenish the supply.

Even when opting out of baby lotions that use harmful BHA and parabens, products that use natural preservatives like Vitamin E won’t spoil overnight, or even in a few months. Generally speaking, a bottle of lotion can be kept after opening for about two years without risk of it spoiling.

Storing lotion in a cool, dry place is best for its shelf life, while a bottle can usually be stored unopened safely for about three years.

If being vigilant about the potential dangers of spoiled lotion, the two main indicators that a lotion is out of date are a change in smell (especially if sour) and a change in texture. Using spoiled lotion needn’t be risky, but nor is it recommended — it’s less effective than it was in its prime, and any bacteria living in the lotion will be delivered to your baby transdermally.

So, if you find a bottle in the cabinet from when your older kids were small, replace it with another for the new baby.

What are essential oils?

A common component in cosmetic and aromatherapeutic products, essential oils are potent plant extracts derived through distillation via steam and water, or via a cold press delivery method.

These potent extracts are strongly scented, hence their role in aromatherapy, and it’s suggested that certain essential oils, when used properly, can play a role in healthy skin care and in the resolution of some skin conditions.

It’s important to note that essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted form, as this could irritate. Instead, these oils are typically included in small amounts in natural lotions, soaps, and cosmetics, or are diluted carefully by hand in a carrier oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, coconut, or jojoba.

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What are some signs that my baby needs lotion?

Both dry air in your home and bathing can sap your baby’s skin of moisture, leaving it dry. Though the naturally flaky appearance of a baby’s body in their first weeks of life generally gives way to healthy, emollient skin, it’s not uncommon for dry skin issues to occasionally appear. Some signs that your baby could benefit from the use of a natural, hypoallergenic baby lotion include:

  • Itchy, irritated skin
  • Rashes
  • Cracking and flaking
  • Patches of ashy grey skin

What kinds of baby lotions do I have to choose from, and how do they compare?

No two skincare products are the same. There are three product types you’ll come across when shopping for your little one. Ointments, creams, and lotions can all play their part in a baby’s healthy skincare, though some are better at resolving specific conditions than others.

  • Ointments: The thickest of these three products, ointments typically have a ratio of 80% emollient to 20% water. They’re often used to treat rashes, eczema and other skin conditions, as their thickness allows the creation of a barrier that stays in place.
  • Creams: Thinner than ointments and more moisturizing than lotions, creams have a half and half balance of oil/emollient and water. They’re great for problem areas with especially dry skin, and can also be effective with mild eczema, especially with the inclusion of soothing natural ingredients like colloidal oatmeal.
  • Lotions: Perfect for daily use, lotions are thinner than creams, and absorb easily without leaving residue on the skin. They’re best for regular maintenance of healthy, moisturized skin, though may not be dense enough to impact some skin conditions.

What are some childhood skin conditions that can benefit from the use of baby lotion?

  • Dry skin: If your baby is experiencing itching, irritation, or cracking and flaking skin, dry skin is a common culprit. Regular use of a hypoallergenic baby lotion after bath time can help soothe these patches and restore comfort to your little one. Also, bathing every other day can reduce dry skin.
  • Eczema: Itchy, rough, crusty patches appearing on your baby’s cheeks or near their joints don’t look quite like traditional dry skin, but are triggered by a similar condition, eczema. It’s uncomfortable for baby, who may be quite irritated by these patches; it’s also inheritable from parents with eczema, so you may well sympathize with their experience, having a good sense of what they need. Fragrance-free creams and ointments are recommended here, applied several times a day to help soothe and rehydrate their skin. Colloidal oatmeal is a natural ingredient which has proven effective in treating eczema.

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Our picks of the best baby lotion

Best organic baby lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Lavender and grapefruit
Key ingredients: Sunflower oil, aloe vera, shea butter, jojoba seed oil, glycerin
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 12 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

If you’re in search of a hypoallergenic, naturally sourced, pleasantly scented lotion for your baby, Puracy’s Soothing Organic Baby Lotion (check price on Amazon) is our favorite. This mild, softening lotion contains pink grapefruit and lavender essential oils, creating a fragrance that’s both bright and calming.

The lotion is enriched with shea butter, aloe, jojoba seed, and sunflower oil, all natural plant-derived emollients that will leave your baby’s skin smooth, supple, and comfortable. Another bonus? It’s safe for use on all skin types, including cradle cap, eczema, or exceptionally sensitive skin.

At a glance
  • It’s mild enough to be safe for use with cradle cap, eczema, and general sensitive skin concerns
  • Everything present in this lotion is plant derived, including the essential oil-based lavender and grapefruit fragrance

Best budget buy

Our opinion

Scent: Fragrance free
Key ingredients: Shea butter and cocoa butter
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 17 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

When running a household with multiple young children, a great lotion at a budget cost in a family-sized bottle is a helpful find. It’s what fragrance free, hypoallergenic, pediatrician and dermatologist-tested Babyganics Daily Lotion (check price on Amazon) provides, making it the perfect pick for parents with a squad that’s too demanding for small-sized products.

This lotion uses shea butter, olive oil, and avocado oil to offer lasting moisture, all of which are included in Babyganics’ exclusive, all-natural NeoNourish oil blend. The formula supports and nurtures delicate skin, applying smoothly without leaving a sticky residue. Its’ mild formula is also gentle enough for very sensitive skin, and won’t irritate conditions like eczema and cradle cap.

At a glance
  • The formula uses an all-natural patented NeoNourish oil blend that offers soothing moisture that won’t exacerbate skin conditions
  • It’s cost effective and comes in a family-sized bottle, so it’s great for homes with more than one young child

Best fragrance-free baby lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Fragrance free
Key ingredients: Dimethicone
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 8 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

Conditions such as sensitive skin and eczema are often inherited, so parents of kids with sensitive skin often already choose mild, fragrance-free products that minimize flare-ups. CeraVe (check price on Amazon) is a trusted brand that effectively treats dry skin; in fact, it’s the top skincare brand recommended by dermatologists.

This formula is designed to be baby-friendly, offering a mild lotion that absorbs quickly, while protecting and maintaining baby’s naturally delicate skin barrier. CeraVe Baby also offers up to 24-hours’ worth of moisture, so there’s no need to frequently reapply to irritating dry skin spots.

At a glance
  • CeraVe is the number one dermatologist-recommended skincare brand, so you know it’s a name you can trust
  • This lotion hydrates their skin for up to 24 hours, so there’s no need to reapply frequently, and product lasts longer

Best baby moisturizing lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Lightly scented with “iconic fragrance”
Key ingredients: Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E, vitamin F, sweet almond oil, shea butter, glycerin
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 10.14 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

Lotions that leave a greasy finish aren’t necessarily better at moisturizing; in fact, it’s possible for a product to deliver great moisture without leaving any residue at all. Mustela’s Hydra Bébé Body Lotion (check price on Amazon) delivers plant-based moisture through nourishing jojoba, sunflower, and sweet almond oils as well as vitamins E and F, shea butter, and plant-sourced glycerin.

A signature ingredient featured in Hydra Bébé is avocado perseose, sourced from molecules that protect the avocado plant during growth and act to preserve and protect your baby’s delicate skin after application.

Once applied it soaks right in, offering immediate comfort and smoothness. It also features the brand’s iconic fresh, natural fragrance, so there’s no medicinal smell left behind.

At a glance
  • It’s made from 97% plant-based ingredients, including the company’s patented avocado perseose, sourced from enzymes which protect both growing plants and your baby’s skin cells

Best baby lotion for sensitive skin

Our opinion

Scent: Fragrance free
Key ingredients: Pro-vitamin B5 and shea butter
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 13.5 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

Shea butter delivers rich natural moisture that helps to smooth and repair dry, cracked skin. This is one of the star ingredients in Eucerin Baby (check price on Amazon). This pick comes from a trusted brand that’s recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians, with which sensitive-skinned parents may already be familiar.

The fragrance-free, hypoallergenic formula delivers intense moisture, adding extra nourishment with added pro-vitamin B5. It’s affordable while also ideal for children with sensitive skin who respond unfavorably to scented products, and an excellent lotion for helping soothe flare-ups of eczema in babies and toddlers.

At a glance
  • It’s hypoallergenic and fragrance free, so perfect for babies and toddlers who have very sensitive skin and ideal for use with eczema
  • Eucerin is a brand recommended by both dermatologists and pediatricians

Best natural baby lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Fragrance free
Key ingredients: Aloe, olive oil, rooibos extract, calendula extract, shea butter
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 8 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

Love the thought of a plant-based lotion, but eager to skip over the essential oil scents present in other products? Earth Mama’s Simply Non-Scents Baby Lotion (check price on Amazon) lives up to its name by delivering a soothing and moisturizing lotion that ditches synthetic and harmful ingredients. Instead, soothing herbs and oils, including that of calendula, an anti-inflammatory herb that’s closely related to chamomile, are used to deliver smooth and soothed skin.

Since this all-natural organic product doesn’t contain preservatives like parabens and BHA, Earth Mama lotions are conveniently marked with a ‘Best By’ date so you can be sure the lotion is at peak quality before it’s used. Storing it in a cool, dry place will extend its shelf life.

At a glance
  • It’s all natural and uses powerful anti-inflammatory calendula, while remaining unscented

Best baby face lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Fragrance free
Key ingredients: Avocado perseose, schizandra
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 1.35 fl. oz
Packaging type: Tub

Mustela’s baby body lotion is one many that parents can trust to soothe their little ones, also extending to their Soothing Baby Face Cream (check price on Amazon), a perfect pick for sensitive faces and gentle enough to be safely used on a newborn.

The cream’s formula contains patented avocado perseose, sourced from a protective enzyme in avocado plants, and schizandra, a berry extract which soothes and tones skin while improving overall appearance.

The comforting cream delivers all-day moisture without unpleasant greasy residue on the face; despite the name, this product is thinner than the average cream, though still packs a moisture punch and works wonders for a rashy little face!

At a glance
  • It’s safe to use on baby’s face, a place especially prone to irritation from excessive moisture
  • The cream’s formula is so gentle that it can be used safely on a newborn

Best hypoallergenic scented lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Light natural floral scent
Key ingredients: Calendula, sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 13.5 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

For sensitive-skinned parents, relying on a brand you have personal experience with makes you feel better about your choice. Cetaphil (check price on Target) is one of the world’s most popular brands of sensitive skin products and comes highly recommended by both dermatologists and pediatricians.

Their Baby Daily Lotion is mild and gentle, with a thin, non-greasy texture that’s very similar in texture to their adult range. This lotion absorbs into the skin quickly to soothe and moisturize dry patches with its sweet, all-natural fragrances of calendula, sweet almond oil, and sunflower oil.

It’s safe to apply this lotion to your baby’s face, so you won’t need a second lotion to soothe their chapped cheeks. It’s available with a flip-top, which some parents find convenient while on the move.

At a glance
  • The formula offers powerful moisture in a hypoallergenic formula that applies easily and absorbs quickly thanks to a texture that’s a bit thinner than the average lotion — it’s similar to other lotions in the Cetaphil line
  • Soothing calendula and sweet almond oil make this lotion smell great without artificial fragrance

Best lotion for babies with dry skin

Our opinion

Scent: Original (honey)
Key ingredients: Sunflower seed oil and shea butter
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 12 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

Natural and effective beeswax-based Burt’s Bees (check price on Walmartproducts have become beloved not just by moms, but by fans of beauty and comfort around the world. Their all-natural, nourishing product line extends to babies, perfect recipients for products that minimize the use of harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances, in favor of plant and nature-based solutions.

Their nourishing baby lotion contains sunflower seed oil and shea butter, as well as olive, coconut, and grapeseed oils. Soothing calendula and chamomile relieve rashes and irritation, with even buttermilk playing a role here, providing skin-improving hydroxy acid. It’s richer and more emollient-feeling than some baby lotions, so is especially good for dry, cracked patches, while not seeming to absorb into the skin quickly.

At a glance
  • The richness of this formula makes it great for dry, cracked patches
  • Redness and irritation are soothed thanks to the presence of calendula, chamomile, and aloe leaf juice

Aveeno baby daily moisture lotion

Our opinion

Scent: Fragrance free
Key ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal and dimethicone
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Size: 18 fl. oz
Packaging type: Pump

No brand is more highly recommended by pediatricians than Aveeno (check price on Walmart), a company that have proven themselves expert at caring for sensitive-skinned customers for years through a range of hypoallergenic, colloidal oatmeal-based soaps, lotions, and other cosmetics.

They even have their very own line of baby products that are perfect for sensitive little ones, including this fragrance-free daily moisture lotion which is gentle enough for newborns.

The naturally soothing colloidal oatmeal this formula draws from is sourced from oat kernel flour, while naturally derived dimethicone and glycerin round out the product to offer moisturization, hydration, and protection for baby’s fragile skin. The formula is highly absorbent and non-greasy, yet still delivers abundant moisture, keeping skin hydrated for up to 24 hours.

At a glance
  • Aveeno is a trustworthy brand that takes high-quality hypoallergenic cosmetics seriously
  • This lotion is so gentle that it can be used on a newborn

And the winner is…

A lotion that’s hypoallergenic, yet still has a pleasantly bright and calming fragrance, Puracy Organic Baby Lotion (check price on Amazon) is effective at delivering lasting moisturization to soothe and heal dry skin. It’s perfect for use on all skin types and can be helpful in treating eczema and cradle cap.

An affordable price and a convenient pump distribution system (decorated with a sweet giraffe!) also put this lotion at the top of our list.

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Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD
Reviewed by Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MDWritten by Neve Spicer Updated on September 8th, 2021

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