Body Cream vs Lotion

To moisturize with body cream or body lotion?

“Do I need a body cream or body lotion"?


Glad you're asking. 

It's a question that many of us have asked ourselves over the years. But is there a difference? And if there is, what does this mean when shopping for a body moisturizer? Get ready to absorb some useful information for your skincare routine. We're laying it on thick (see what we did there?).


First up: What’s the difference between body cream and body lotion?

So YES. There IS a difference between body cream and body lotion. The ingredient lists are different, which makes the texture and function of each different as well.

Body Creams


Body creams have more oil in them and less water. They are thicker and tend to leave a greasier residue. This sits on top of the skin as a barrier to seal in moisture.

Body Lotions


Body lotions have less oil in them, and more water. They are non greasy and are much lighter on the skin.

These simple differences dictate how a product functions, as well as who it is best suited for. 

The viscosity level of a product refers to how slowly or quickly a product moves. This affects how it absorbs into the skin. The slower a product moves, the higher its viscosity. If a product moves quickly, it has a lower viscosity. Both affect skin's moisture levels in different ways. Keep this in your mind when shopping for a body product. 

Let's smooth away some of the questions and sink into the deeper layers of this discussion.

What is body cream used for?

Body cream is used to treat dry to extremely dry skin and improve moisture levels. Its high viscosity means that body creams remain in place on the skin for a longer period of time. With consistent use, it helps prevent skin from cracking and makes it feel healthy and soft. Creams tend to contain ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils.  

When to use it

Body creams are great when your skin needs hydration and moisturization. It is best to apply body creams when your skin is damp and freshly cleansed. The little bit of moisture helps deliver the ingredients into the skin. It is especially effective as a nighttime treatment to soothe and prevent skin dryness. Even if your skin condition is good, creams are great in the winter months to help protect the skin from the cold. Our skin will gladly take all the help it can get in those colder months! However, the oils in body cream can wreak havoc on acne prone or oily skin, so beware!

Pro tip! Apply your body cream right after your shower. Your body warmth will help melt the body cream into your skin even better!

What is body lotion used for?

Body lotion is used to hydrate and protect slightly dry to normal skin. It's a great moisturizer option for acne prone skin, as well as sensitive skin. It can even be used for slightly dry skin. It has a high water content, and its low viscosity means it moves across the skin easier. It will not clog pores or trap dead skin cells.

When to use it

Body lotion can be applied at any time but is also best to apply it when your skin is cleansed and still damp. This ensures that the lotion is readily absorbed. Depending on your skin type, body lotion can be used all year long. It is great for in the morning and during the summer months because it absorbs quickly.

Which is better: Body cream vs lotion

Every board certified dermatologist will tell you the same thing: it all depends on what your skin needs! It's important to know your skin type and be mindful of environmental factors in your everyday life. Some skin types can use both products all year long but at different times of the day.

It’s important to keep in mind that some body lotions contain ingredients like salicylic acid, which will lightly exfoliate the skin. These products could irritate sensitive or deeply cracked skin, so be mindful when using.

If you have severely dry or oily skin, it is best to speak with a board certified dermatologist to determine your best moisturizing strategy.


Benefits of cream

Body creams are the saviour of dry skin and help prevent moisture loss. Creams are better for the evening so that they have more time to absorb. Their higher percentage of therapeutic oils make them more of a healing treatment for dehydrated skin. Creams create a barrier which helps protect problem area from moisture loss. .

Shea Butter is often found in body creams because it is anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant and very healing. This makes body cream a great tool in an ant-aging skin care routine. Mature skin is thinner and more prone to moisture loss so it needs the help of a cream that can strengthen its barrier.  

Benefits of lotion

So what are the benefits of a body lotion then?

Since body lotions contain less oil, they don’t leave a greasy residue. Lotions deliver hydration but don’t clog pores, making them great for acne prone skin. The summer heat is also a great time to smooth on a lotion which allows for sweat and dirt to leave the skin. 

As noted above, some body lotions also contain salicylic acid for light exfoliation. These products are great for unclogging pores. They also keep pores clear of blackheads and dirt. 

Dry skin

Dry skin is thirsty for a rich, heavy body cream. For those with extra dry skin, reach for a body butter. Look for these ingredients:

  • organic shea butter
  • cocoa butter
  • glycerin
  • vitamin e
  • ceramides

These create the perfect recipe for major skin hydration! Some of the extra thick formulations have petroleum, which can be used to slug. This creates a protective barrier to aid in soothing and healing.

Fair skin

There are differing opinions as to whether fair skin requires a different strategy when moisturizing. Every skin colour can encounter the same skin issues at different times. It's important for fair skin to be protected, so choosing a body moisturizer with an SPF in it is key.

Dark skin

When darker skin tones get really dry, it is sometimes described as “ashy” because of the ash/flaky texture of the skin. It is especially obvious on areas such as the ankles, elbows and knees. These areas love thick body creams and body butters to moisturize and prevent future dehydration. 


Proceed with caution when using a body cream on your face. It may cause more breakouts or an overly shiny appearance. You can use some creams to slug throughout the week, but it's best to avoid such a heavy cream. Instead, first use a serum with antioxidants and hydrating ingredients. Apply a face cream after.

Thankfully, we’ve got you covered when it comes to hemp moisturizers for the face. We love to apply the empyri hemp facial serum to damp skin first. It contains natural, virgin oils chosen for their nourishing properties. And it absorbs deeply to hydrate skin where it needs it most. We follow it with the facial moisturizing cream with hyaluronic acid. It heals rough, dry and uneven skin, and protects from environmental damage.





Hands need some major hydrating and moisturizing power. This is especially true when hands are constantly washed and need protection from outside irritants. If you don’t have a hand cream available, choose a body cream instead. Apply a thick layer as a protective barrier before bed. This technique can also be used on feet.


Can I use both together?

Applying both body cream and body lotion at the same time isn’t necessary. If needed, each product can be used at different times during the day. Body lotion is great for a day cream because it absorbs quickly so you can get a move on your day. And a body cream can be used at night for a richer overnight moisturizing treatment. 

Whether you choose a body cream or a body lotion, both are a great option to partner with empyri cold pressed bar soap with hemp oil. Its cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil is the ideal moisturizer, rich in Omega 3 & 6. And its hydrolyzed cannabis sativa (hemp) seed extract is clinically proven to be a powerhouse source of hydration


What if I have crepey skin?

If you have crepey skin on your body, choose a body cream that uses all 3 types of moisturizers: humectants, emollients and occlusives. We've recommended our favourite products for crepey skin on arms and legs here. 


To Wrap Up

We all want to keep our skin healthy and nourished. It’s important to know your skin type so that you can better understand how to keep your skin moisturized. We all know the importance of moisturizing and hydrating your body; Body creams and lotions are your best allies.


Do you have oily skin? Shop for a lower viscosity body lotion. Maybe you have very dry skin? Grab a thick body cream or butter and lay it on. Either way, your skin will show its appreciation with a healthy glow.


You Are Loved. 


Jennifer Grant with Hemp Roots


Author Bio: Jennifer is the president and founder of empyri.  Jennifer’s passion for formulation and product development was set ablaze in 2019, when she incorporated the healing power of cannabis roots into her long-standing three-step skin care system. Armed with scientific evidence on the actives in cannabis roots and seeds, a clean and conscious brand was born. Using her masters degree in bio-chemical engineering, Jennifer is forging a path to ...READ FULL BIO