The Most Hydrating Body Lotions to Heal Dry Winter Skin

Nine beauty and skincare experts weigh in on their favorite new products to effectively nourish and moisturize your skin during the coldest months of the year.

Tilda Swinton photographed by Tim Walker for W magazine.

As cliché as the term “self-care” has become, there’s something to be said for its importance—taking time to look after your mental and physical well-being, devoting part of your day to refueling. (I mean, it’s already the first week of the New Year and most of us have hit the ground running, as if winter break was some vague memory that happened back in October.) Spending time in some form of solitary silence, soothing your nerves—it’s all a priceless commodity to savor.

Many (present company included) consider a hot bath or shower, a lit candle, and a soothing body lotion in silence at the end of the day to be invaluable. The New Year should certainly be a time for festivities, but it’s also an opportunity to steal a few precious moments for yourself. Indulging in a new luxurious and hydrating body lotion that you can slather on this winter is just one way to prolong a post-bath moment of silence. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the most efficacious and super-lavish body moisturizers that will not only heal your snow, wind, and rain-exposed skin, but also serve as an excuse for some extended alone time.

This velvety, nourishing body cream gives soft-to-the-touch hydration, but more importantly (for all of us who are vain to the nth degree,) Sublimage La Crème Corps also provides skin with an unmistakably silky glow that lasts for hours after application. Makeup artist Lisa Aharon, who has created red carpet glam and cover looks for Rachel Brosnahan and Zosia Mamet, says she has implemented this cream into her own skincare routine this winter. “In the dry winter months, my nightstand is loaded with body balms and creams,” she says. “I have tested them all and I know which are worth my time. Chanel’s is my new favorite: not only will it absorb rapidly into the skin, it leaves behind the most beautiful glow. Obviously, it’s most beneficial to slather on before bed, but ahead of a night out, or if a client I’m working on has a lot of skin to show in front of the camera, it’s a perfect cream for the body that leaves skin looking very supple.”

This rich whipped body oil feels and acts more like a lotion or cream. It rapidly sinks into the skin, leaving no filmy residue—and is a favorite of the makeup artist Robert Rumsey. When creating cover looks for Billie Eilish and Gracie Abrams, Rumsey trusts Retrouvé’s skin treatment to effectively hydrate his clients’ skin below the neck. “So many body oils are sticky and never absorb,” he says. “They damage the clothes on set and stylists want to kill you. Baume Ultime Body Oil absorbs while moisturizing skin deeply. It looks great on camera and actually has tremendous benefits for the skin.” Retrouvé’s water-free formulation is packed with antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin C, as well as their sustainably grown signature pressed avocado oil.

Quite possibly one of the most soothing body balms I’ve ever tried, this formulation deserves to be integrated into your daily skin regimen year-round. Makeup artist Kira Nasrat, the creative maven behind Jessica Alba’s beauty looks, agrees. “When I want to pamper myself or my clients, I use the Rose Bliss Balm by Shiffa. I can use it on all skin types, and it leaves the skin soft, smooth, and moisturized. No matter the climate you’re in, it’s a great treatment for dry skin,” she says. “A little does go a long way and I like warming the product by rubbing a small amount between my palms then massaging it into the skin—arms and legs need to look red carpet-ready, too! Because it’s so hydrating you don’t need to add any highlighter to the body; your skin is glowing from the actual balm. And I love the rose petals—the scent is so beautiful.”

If you’re looking to pamper yourself with an opulent body lotion, we present your ultimate indulgence. Made from Sisley’s finest plant essences, this body cream glides on smooth and works to soften the rougher areas of the body, like elbows and knees. “Sisley has one of the most elegant body creams on the market,” says makeup guru Amy Oresman, renowned in the beauty world creating Zoe Saldana and Eiza Gonzalez’s more transformative looks. “ The rare ingredient of saffron flowers makes it special—saffron flower is thought to help enhance mood, reduce PMS symptoms, and may act as an aphrodisiac. The smell is heavenly, and my clients float away with a smile after a lathering.”

Yes, you can enjoy a decadent body balm that not only smells gorgeous, but effectively hydrates the skin. While indulging in Tahiti’s whimsical scent, which has the power to transport you to balmy beachside summers, the hero ingredient Monoi di Tahiti glides like velvet on your skin. “Super hydrating, beautifully fragrant, it leaves the skin silky-smooth and nurtured,” says makeup artist Romy Soleimani—known for creating some of the most luminous cover looks for Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, and Phoebe Dynevor.

There’s no one better than a seasoned dermatologist to analyze what’s really effective in protecting our skin during winter. Esteemed East Coast derm Dr. Lian Mack not only trusts this lotion for her own skin, but her clients’ as well. She also incorporates a “soak and smear” method using Monat’s body serum post-shower or bath, she says. “The molecules are smaller in this body serum and therefore more easily penetrable for the skin barrier—you can feel it when you apply it,” Mack adds. “This technique involves patting yourself dry immediately post-shower. While your skin is still damp, I recommend applying a moisturizer. When you moisturize slightly damp skin in this way, it locks in the moisture.”

To treat the most parched, cracked hands and heels, this remarkably fast-absorbing treatment uses raw, high-grade plant ingredients to smooth your skin to perfection over time. The consistency is intense in terms of ingredients, but still a remarkably light cream to be used primarily in the evenings before bed. Like all of Odacité’s formulations, this skin remedy is all-natural, cruelty-free and non-toxic, using olive and safflower oils, with an intensive dose of shea butter. Natural fruit and sugar alpha hydroxyls work to gently exfoliate the skin to its smoothest possible state. “The Odacité Intensive Therapy Hand & Foot Balm is my new go-to product,” says master makeup artist Darci Snider. “With our current health crisis of COVID-19 and constant hand washing, and my work as a makeup artist, not only do I love but I also appreciate more than ever the clean ingredients and texture of this nourishing cream. Pro tip: With winter here and my hands and feet needing extra care, I add a few small drops of my facial serum into this cream. A good suggestion is the Odacité Pure Elements Mo + P (Moringa Petitgrain) Facial Serum (great for dry skin). It’s an extra bonus to intensify moisture for your hands and feet.”

Two attributes we loved about this body moisturizer are the consistency—light, silky, super absorbent upon application—and how hydrated the skin actually became. The moisturizing benefits lasted for a noticeably long time; you don’t need constant reapplication for the product to work. Epicuren has been a longtime favorite for aestheticians, derms, and celebrities renowned for beautiful skin (Kim Kardashian and Kate Bosworth) for good reason. The products are high-grade, not exorbitantly priced, and a little goes a long way with their formulations. Aesthetician Sophia Parameter regularly incorporates this luxurious body cream into her facials. “All of my facials are so result-oriented and antiaging, but I never skimp on the relaxation part and massaging of hands and feet on my beautiful clients,” she says. “For over 20 years, I’ve offered the Epicuren After Bath moisturizers in treatment and for retail. The shea butter in this lotion mimics our own natural skin factor; the B vitamins work to energize the skin, which is left hydrated but not greasy.”

La Roche-Posay has long been the definitive European body care brand. The Lipikar Balm AP + is consistently a favorite, helping to relieve the driest of skin. This soothing lotion provides a potent 48-hour dose of moisture that simultaneously works to repair your dry skin barrier and rebalance the microbiomes using a specialized blend of prebiotics consisting of La Roche-Posay’s signature thermal water and a post-biotics aqua filiformis. Dr. Mona Gohara, a renowned Yale-trained dermatologist frequently on speed dial for East Coast A-listers, has been a longtime fan of the Lipikar AP+ formulation for her patients. “It’s always a go-to,” Gohara says. “It’s packed with glycerin and shea, both of which drive and lock moisture in. Also, if my patients suffer from skin sensitivities, the niacinamide component reduces inflammation. It’s safe to use for those who suffer from eczema and even acne.”

For use before or alongside this brand’s namesake moisturizer, The Body Serum is a healing, daily hyaluronic acid treatment for skin. A rapidly-absorbing gel moisturizes skin, intelligently formulated with five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid for multilevel hydration. The formula also contains niacinamide for barrier support and ceramide NP to help skin retain moisture.

Hydrate your skin at the end of the day using the power of essential oils, lavender, and eucalyptus. This non-toxic, cruelty-free body lotion bears soothing aromas along with organic aloe juice, shea butter, and coconut oil to nourish and protect your skin from the more frigid elements. “I love Body Cream No. 08 because its lavender and eucalyptus scent instantly transports me to the spa,” says West Coast facialist Claire Porter. “It’s packed with antioxidants like methylsulfonylmethane and green tea and absorbs on the skin super quickly, so applying it all over doesn’t feel like a chore.”