What’s the Difference Between a Moisturiser and a Lotion?

The world of beauty can be confusing at times – especially when there are so many products out there purporting to do the same thing in slightly different ways. You don’t really need a beauty cabinet overflowing with every bottle and potion on the market. So just how do you go about editing everything down to achieve the perfect skincare capsule collection?

It’s all about understanding what products do and recognising the subtle variations that can appear on labels. Once you know what your skin really needs and what you need to buy, you’ll avoid unnecessary duplicates.

Let’s start with demystifying the raison d’être of moisturisers and lotions. They are both emollients. And yes, they both hydrate and condition – but there are differences between the two. This will help you determine which is right for you and when.


Moisturiser: the lowdown

1. Moisturisers are formed from a combination of oil and water-soluble components and are used to restore the outer layer of the dermis – banishing any dryness.

2. Moisturisers tend to be richer and creamier to the touch. They can feel heavy and thick.

3. Moisturisers are more associated with the face than the body.

4. Facial moisturisers can be used to quench thirsty complexions or regulate acne, or minimise the visual signs of ageing.

5. Body moisturisers can be used on a variety of skin types, from dryness-prone to scar-afflicted.

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Lotion: the lowdown 

1. Lotions are more on the water end of the spectrum. They come packed with active ingredients. From smoothing properties through to firming, lotions can have many actions.

2. Lotions are lighter, less ‘greasy’ and more easily absorbed by the skin.

3. Lotions are generally reserved for the body. But this is not a hard and fast rule.


So there you have it – you now know the differences between moisturisers and lotions. Both are essential for maintaining soft, smooth, youthful skin but each has their own specific benefits and actions