7 Best Baby Lotions, Tested by a Mom of Four

Keep your little one’s skin oh-so smooth, hydrated and healthy with the help of a nourishing baby lotion.
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Updated March 4, 2024
parent putting lotion on baby's hand
Image: Tubby Todd
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In a nutshell:
Based on the author’s firsthand product testing, we chose CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion as the overall best baby lotion, due to its ease of use and effective moisturizing across a variety of skin types.

Baby’s skin is much more sensitive and delicate than yours, meaning it’s extra important to keep it hydrated and nourished. But with all the baby skin care products out there, it can be difficult to know which lotion is best for your child’s skin type.

Trying to settle on just one lotion can be overwhelming. I should know—I’m a mom of four young kids and I’ve been through this several times. Ife J. Rodney, MD, founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics tells us, “For baby lotion, keep it simple. Baby skin is super sensitive. It really needs gentle, simple moisturizers.” And to make your search as simple as possible, I tested a range of baby lotions, creams and ointments with my own children to see which performed the best and what options fell flat.

Read on to discover top-rated products based on our testing and find expert-backed tips to help you find the perfect formula to soothe your little love.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Baby Lotions

Image: Korin M.

We analyzed the market and put the top products out there through rigorous testing to ensure our final picks are the best. Here’s how we arrived at our list of the best baby lotions:

  • I personally tested the top baby lotions on the market, applying them to my one-year-old daughter once a day over three days, evaluating each lotion for ease of use, scent, texture, effectiveness, ingredients and value for money.
  • We consulted with four dermatologists and a pediatrician for advice on what to look for in these lotions. The baby lotions that were chosen met the criteria they recommended.
  • To see how these lotions worked for a variety of families, we conducted exhaustive market research, scouring forums and message boards and reading user reviews to find out what parents across the country looked for in a lotion or cream for their child.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Best Baby Lotions

Overall best baby lotion

CeraVe Baby Lotion
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Creamy, but not too thick
  • Easy to dispense
  • National Eczema Association seal of acceptance
Things To Consider
  • There is a mild scent that dissipates
  • Not thick enough for some

Of all the products we tested, the CeraVe Baby Lotion worked best with a broad range of baby skin types. The lotion is free of added fragrances, but I found that it has a mild, pleasant scent that dissipates once the lotion is absorbed. Surprisingly thick for a pump dispenser, the lotion has a smooth texture that glides easily over the skin, and contains several ceramides to seal in moisture.

The CeraVe Baby Lotion has the coveted National Eczema Association seal of acceptance, meaning it’s free from ingredients that are known to aggravate eczema. After applying the lotion my daughter’s skin felt moist, but not greasy—she has a few dry patches on her back, and the lotion seemed to help soothe them without irritating the area. At around $10, this lotion is a good value. And given its thickness, you can get a lot out of this bottle—a little goes a long way.

Quantity: 8 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Niacinamide, vitamin E

Our product tester says:
“This was the best at delivering good moisture in an easy-to-dispense package.”

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Best everyday lotion

Pipette Baby Lotion Fragrance Free
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Good everyday lotion
  • Clean ingredients
  • Travels well
Things To Consider
  • No pump top
  • Small container

Pipette’s baby lotion has a slew of features you want in a lotion for a newborn—it’s not only dermatologist-tested, pediatrician-approved and hypoallergenic, but also certified clean and nontoxic by the Environmental Working Group. This lotion is creamy, but still feels light on the skin, rubbing on easily without leaving a residue.

The lotion is fragrance free with a natural, light scent. It absorbs easily and quickly, and feels more like an everyday lotion than a heavy cream you would use for a child with particularly dry skin. Keep in mind that Pipette’s bottle is a flip top—not a pump—so you’ll need to actually pop open the cap and squeeze some out before applying it to your child. An upside of this, though, is that the bottle travels well, and can be thrown in a diaper bag or purse without worry. Note that while the sticker price is low, the container is small—but given the consistency, I’d estimate that you can expect to get one or two months of use out of a tube.

Quantity: 5.7 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Glycerin, ceramides

Our product tester says:
“The lotion is light, has a good consistency, and rubs in easily.”

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Best baby face lotion

Evereden Nourishing Baby Face Cream
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Rubs on easily
  • Soothing
  • Thick
Things To Consider
  • Pump takes trial and error to figure out
  • Expensive

Many babies do just fine with using regular baby lotion on their face. But if you want to invest in a specialized face lotion, the Evereden Nourishing Baby Face Cream is a great choice. This lotion, which includes jojoba oil and colloidal oatmeal, has a surprisingly thick texture, allowing you to get a lot of mileage out of a small amount. It’s unscented and absorbs well into the skin. Just be aware that you might have to rub a little longer than you would with other creams, given its thick texture.

The container is unique, with a circular pump that dispenses lotion from the center. (It can be a little tricky to figure out how much force to use at first.). The lotion is unscented and doesn't have any weird smells. At almost $30 for less than two ounces, this price is on par with some adult skin creams, but if you’re looking for a splurge product specially made for faces, this is a great, non-irritating option.

Quantity: 1.7 oz. | Active ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, colloidal oatmeal

Our product tester says:
“The texture is pretty thick—the cream will stand straight up when it comes out of the container.”

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Best lotion for toddlers

Mustela Hydra Bebe Baby Body Lotion
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Pump bottle
  • Creamy and smooth
  • Absorbs easily
Things To Consider
  • Pricier than average
  • There is some plastic to remove before using

Toddlers have slightly different skin than babies—and more of it. That’s why it’s so important to find a lotion that’s gentle enough for their still-sensitive skin, but with enough volume to cover their body. The Mustela Hydra Bebe hit all the right notes, delivering quality lotion in a large package (over 10 fluid ounces!) without an excessive price tag.

The lotion has a creamy, smooth texture that quickly absorbs into skin. It also features jojoba, almond oil, and glycerin, and is easily dispensed with a pump that allows you to turn it off and on. It didn’t irritate my daughter’s skin, which felt well hydrated afterward—even her dry spots. It doesn’t hurt that the bottle is adorable too, featuring cartoon avocados. While the price is on the higher end, you’ll likely get a lot of use out of this bottle before needing to purchase more.

Quantity: 10.1 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Almond oil, avocado extract, glycerin, jojoba

Our product tester says:
“My daughter has a dry spot on her back and this was effective at hydrating it.”

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Best for sensitive skin

Face and Body Lotion Sensitive
Image: Honest
What We Love
  • Unscented
  • Nice texture and consistency
  • Travel-ready container
Things To Consider
  • Lotion doesn’t absorb right away
  • No pump

Sensitive skin is common in babies and making sure your child’s lotion won’t irritate their delicate skin is crucial. The Honest Company Hydrating Face + Body Lotion has a special sensitive formula that’s fragrance-free and made with soothing ingredients like safflower oil, jojoba esters, shea butter and vitamin E. But what I found really notable was the texture—Honest’s lotion packs the moisturizing power of a cream, but with a lighter feel that’s easy on skin. There’s no pronounced scent, although it smells like calendula when you really try to find a smell. The cream is dispensed from a squeeze bottle with a flip cap, making it easy to toss in a diaper bag and use on demand.

The lotion moisturizes well and doesn’t leave a residue, but it took a few extra rubs than others to be fully absorbed. My daughter has a few sensitive areas on her body, and this moisturized well without irritating them. At around $10 for 8.5 fluid ounces, you’ll likely get a couple months out of this bottle if you use it regularly.

Quantity: 8.5 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Safflower oil, jojoba esters, shea butter and vitamin E

Our product tester says:
“It goes on easily and is a good option for parents who want something that's a step below a heavy cream.”

Buy Now

Best baby lotion for the whole family

Eucerin Baby Body Lotion, Fragrance Free Baby Lotion
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Good value
  • Pump top
  • Pleasant, natural scent
Things To Consider
  • May not be heavy enough for some
  • Pump dispenses a lot

There’s no law that says baby lotions can only be used on little ones. If you can find a lotion that covers the moisturizing needs of the whole family, it’s a definite win. Meet the Eucerin Baby Body Lotion. This lotion has a texture that’s somewhere between a liquid and a cream, making it a good fit for nearly everyone. I didn’t just try this one out with my daughter—I swapped it in for my usual lotion for a few days and felt like my skin was well hydrated, even on dry winter days.

The lotion is free of fragrances, dyes, and parabens, and didn’t irritate the skin of anyone in my family. The packaging is a breeze to open—just turn the pump top and you’re ready to use it. You’ll get a lot of moisturizer from one pump, so be mindful of that when you start using it. The Eucerin Baby Body Lotion is fragrance-free and has a natural, pleasant scent that doesn’t linger. At just over $8 for a 13.5-fluid ounce bottle, this is a good deal.

Quantity: 13.5 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Shea butter, vitamin B5, glycerin

“It's lighter than a cream, making it good for everyday use, and it's free of fragrances, dyes, and parabens.”

Buy Now

Best baby lotion for dry skin

Dream Cream
Image: Tubby Todd
Buying Options
Tubby Todd|$20
What We Love
  • Thick lotion
  • Works well on dry patches
  • Plant-based ingredients
Things To Consider
  • Expensive
  • No pump dispenser

Tubby Todd has built up a cult following thanks to its Dream Cream, a thick lotion that can even be used on newborns. Dream Cream uses natural extracts and plant-based ingredients, for a non-irritating and nourishing experience. The lotion is fragrance-free and unscented—I couldn’t detect anything, even when I sniffed hard. My daughter has several dry patches on her back, and I thought that Dream Cream did a great job moisturizing them—once it was rubbed in, her normally dry skin felt moist. Just be aware that, because this is a thick cream, it takes a few more rubs than lighter lotions to seep in.

The lotion is packed with natural ingredients, including safflower seed oil, sweet almond oil, and shea butter. Tubby Todd Dream Cream comes in a squeeze bottle with a flip cap, so you can take it on the go, and while pretty packaging isn’t a reason to buy a lotion, it doesn’t hurt that Dream Cream’s bottle is in soothing shades of blush and looks good sitting out. The only downside to Dream Cream is its price tag: At $20 for a 4-ounce lotion, that’s much more expensive than other baby lotions on the market. But if you have a child who struggles with dry skin, you may decide that the price tag is worth it.

Quantity: 4 oz. | Active ingredients: Safflower seed oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter

Our product tester says:
“It's very hydrating and worked well on dry patches my daughter has on her back. Afterward, those patches felt moist—not rough, like usual.”

Buy Now

Why Use a Baby Lotion?

“Baby skin is so sensitive because it’s adjusting to life outside the womb,” explains Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. What’s more, baby’s skin barrier continues to develop during the first year of life, says Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD, a board-certified pediatrician and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In the meantime, the top layer of baby’s skin is thin, compared to that of older children and adults, which makes it more susceptible to water loss and dryness. This is where baby lotion can help restore hydration and keep your little love feeling soft.

When to Use a Baby Lotion

Baby doesn’t need lotion within those first four weeks after birth, says Phillips-Walker. However, if you plan on cleansing or moisturizing your newborn’s skin during that time, choose a formula that has a pH level between 4.0 and 6.0, contains ceramides and has no soap, advises Lauren Hoffman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. Once they’ve passed the four-week mark, go ahead and find a baby lotion that’s sensitive—meaning it’s unscented and free of alcohol or other allergens. Then, apply it immediately after baths to help lock in moisture. Simply pat your child until they’re almost dry, then massage your lotion of choice into baby’s skin from head to toe, says Hoffman. If more frequent dryness, flaking or cracks occur, use more as needed.

It’s also important to remember that not all infant lotions are created equal—a baby cream or ointment may work better for your little one, depending on their skin type. The difference between the three boils down to the percentage of water and oil in the formula. Whereas lotions are often more than 70 percent water, creams contain at least 50 percent cream, making them thicker and better at protecting skin from irritation and dryness, explains Phillips-Walker. During winter weather, Phillips-Walker recommends that parents apply creams to cheeks, elbows, noses or any other area in need of added hydration. On the other hand, lotions are more readily absorbed, making them perfect for daily use and the summer months. If baby’s skin is dry and cracked in places, an ointment will be the best treatment method, says Phillips-Walker. Baby ointments are thick and greasy, but they’re ideal for children who suffer from extremely dry skin or conditions such as eczema.

What to Look for in a Baby Lotion

When it comes to baby lotions and their ingredients, simpler is often better. Here are some things to look for on the label when shopping for the best baby lotion for your family:

  • Fragrance and dye-free. Dimaggio recommends unscented and dye-free baby lotions, as added fragrances and chemicals can cause rashes.
  • Ceramides. Ceramides are a type of lipid that helps retain moisture, making them an important ingredient in skin care products for people of all ages. Formulas containing ceramides have also been proven to reduce eczema flare-ups, adds Hoffman.
  • Hyaluronic acid. Found naturally in the skin, this ingredient promotes hydration.
  • Paraben-free. Avoid baby lotions that contain parabens, a chemical preservative that can irritate delicate skin.

You may have heard at one point that parents should avoid baby lotions with olive oil and sunflower oil. A 2015 study showed a link between directly massaging sunflower oil or olive oil into babies’ skin and delayed skin development, but since then, studies have not shown a link between those ingredients and harm, Rodney says. And according to Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, president of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, there’s no reason to worry about it.

“Sunflower oil has also been more extensively studied on preterm infants and newborn skin and, overall, appears to have a beneficial impact on outcomes, including reduced infection rates when used in premature infants,” Maguiness says. Other oils have also been tested on baby skin and none has found to be more beneficial than the other, she says. “We have more to learn about specific natural oils, and right now, there is insufficient evidence to recommend one type of oil over another,” she says. Meaning, if a lotion has avocado oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil, you should be just fine.

If your child has particularly dry skin, consider this hack from Rodney: “Apply a thin layer of Vaseline on top of cream-based moisturizers. It will help to really seal it in.”

About the writer

Korin Miller is a writer who’s written dozens of health features for The Bump. She specializes in commerce, wellness and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Women’s Health, Forbes, WSJ, SELF and more. Korin is a mom to four kids, ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old. She has a master’s degree from American University and lives by the beach.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.


Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, is a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. She earned her medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens.

Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and a spokesperson for the AAP. She is also a clinical assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Walters earned her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and she was previously a resident at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Lauren Hoffman, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and a cosmetic dermatologic surgery fellow at UnionDerm in New York City. She completed her medical degree and her dermatology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Ife J. Rodney, MD, is the founding director of Eternal Dermatology Aesthetics, and has more than 15 years of experience across all aspects of cosmetic, surgical, and medical dermatology. She completed her undergraduate degree and dermatology residency at Howard University in Washington, DC, and held a dermatopathology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, FAAD is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and president of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.

Acta Dermato-Venereologica, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil or no Oil for Baby Dry Skin or Massage: A Pilot, Assessor-blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial (the Oil in Baby SkincaRE [OBSeRvE] Study), March 2016

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