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The Difference Between Lotion and Moisturizer

The Difference Between Lotion and Moisturizer

The terms “lotion” and “moisturizer” are often used interchangeably, and it’s easy to understand why: Both words refer to products that help hydrate and protect the skin. But these words aren’t exactly the same, and understanding what sets them apart can help you decide which products are best for your skin.

Is Moisturizer the Same as Lotion?

We’ve already established that moisturizer and lotion aren’t the same, but the real answer is a bit more nuanced than that. Simply put, “moisturizer” is an umbrella term for any product that can deliver moisture to your skin. So, while all lotions are technically moisturizers, not all moisturizers are lotions. With that in mind, there’s no need to have a lotion vs. moisturizer debate when looking for the best skincare product for your needs. Instead, you’ll want to decide between different types of moisturizers, which include not only lotions but also creams, butters, and balms.

The Difference Between Lotion and Moisturizer (and Other Formulas)

Now that you know lotions are just a subcategory of moisturizers, let’s look at how these and other types of moisturizers are different. Each formula has its own unique properties, and understanding the variations among each can help you find the right product based on your skin’s specific needs.


Serums are potent formulations designed to deliver targeted solutions to specific skin concerns. They are typically the most lightweight among skincare products, making them ideal for quick absorption and deep penetration into the skin's layers. Unlike other moisturizers, serums contain higher concentrations of active ingredients that penetrate deeply into the skin for maximum efficacy. One prime example of a serum is our Hyaluronic Body Serum. This ultra-hydrating daily body treatment instantly increases hydration by 161% and improves the skin's natural moisture barrier.*

*Based on a third-party clinical study after 1 use.

New wave hydration

Hyaluronic Body Serum


In the world of moisturizers, lotions have the lightest formula. Their primary ingredient is often water, along with other hydration powerhouses (like the hyaluronic acid in our Undaria Collagen™ Body Lotion). They go on lighter than other products in the moisturizer family, so they won’t lock in hydration to the same degree. But they absorb quickly, making them an excellent option if you’re always on the go. Plus, if you live in a humid environment or work out frequently, a lightweight formula can be beneficial for preventing clogged pores.

Lightweight hydration

Undaria Collagen™ Body Lotion


As their name suggests, creams feature a thicker, richer formula than lotions. Their composition has less water content than lotion and is instead fused with hydration-boosting ingredients, like the seaweed in our Atmosphere Protection® Cream.

Lightweight barrier moisturizer

Atmosphere Protection® Cream

For people with dry skin, creams are often the best choice for ensuring ample hydration is not only delivered but locked in. No matter your skin type, it’s a good idea to upgrade to cream in the winter. In the cooler and drier weather, moisture evaporates off the skin quickly, which can lead to issues like dryness and premature aging. Creams help to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier, controlling dryness and the issues that come with it. You’ll therefore want to be especially mindful to choose creams for the sensitive skin on your face and especially around your eyes. From our Advanced Protection Cream, which delivers powerful anti-aging hydration, to the targeted formula in our Advanced Repair Eye Cream, our array of cream-based products have all your skincare needs covered.

Top anti-aging hydration

Advanced Protection Cream
Editor's Pick

Targeted age repair

Advanced Repair Eye Cream

Body Butter

Depending on their concentration of ingredients, body butters may fall somewhere between lotion and cream in terms of their thickness, while some may even be a bit richer than your typical cream. No matter how they’re formulated, you can expect body butter to glide on your skin for a rich, hydrating experience. With high-performance ingredients, like Undaria seaweed, ceramides, and shea butter, our Undaria Algae™ Body Butter redefines hydration by delivering 72 hours of moisture. Its formula can transform even the driest of skin, making it smooth and supple.

Anti-aging body skincare

Undaria Algae® Body Butter
Editor's Pick


Boasting an even thicker formula than creams is the balm. These versatile, oil-based products blend the hydrating properties of a lotion while adding the unique benefits of a serum. Their formula is usually designed to achieve a specific skincare outcome. Our Anti-Aging Body Balm is one example — it features a densely nourishing formula that contains passion fruit, coconut, and acai oils to keep your skin hydrated all day and prevent signs of aging. Yet, at the other end of the spectrum we have our fast-absorbing Blemish Balm, which hydrates while delivering clarifying ingredients to promote an even-looking skin tone.

Silky, firming hydration

Anti-Aging Body Balm
New Jumbo Size

Acne control moisturizer

Blemish Balm with Plant Based Salicylic Acid
Award Winner

Having several types of moisturizers to choose from means there’s a lotion, cream, or other product designed to meet your unique skin care needs. Whether you’re looking for head-to-toe, lightweight moisture or you’re seeking a luxuriously creamy formula to help fight the signs of aging, our body moisturizers and facial moisturizers are designed with a range of skincare needs in mind.