How do you moisturize African American skin to keep it from getting ashy? Petroleum jelly works, but it’s greasy. Straight coconut oil or shea butter is more pleasant to use, but it has to be reapplied throughout the day. The problem is that none of these contain the crucial balance of humectants and emollients that Black skin needs.
That’s why we researched to find the best lotion for African American skin. We wanted something that absorbs quickly and keeps working all day without repeated applications.
Table of Contents
- Why African American skin deserves the best moisturizer
- Best Lotions for African American Skin in 2021
- Buttah Skin by Dorion Renaud Buttah Body Trio for Melanin-Rich Skin
- SheaMoisture Body Lotion for Dull, Dry Skin
- O’Keeffe’s Skin Repair Body Lotion
- CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
- Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
- Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
- Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy Solid Lotion
- Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream
Why African American skin deserves the best moisturizer
Black skin contains lower levels of ceramides. These essential lipids help form a barrier against moisture loss. Without enough ceramides, Black skin loses water faster than light-colored skin (1).
Therefore, preventing ashiness really starts with the way you wash. If you use soap that dries out the skin, it’s hard for any moisturizer to compensate. Check out our reviews of the best body washes for Black skin and find out how to keep your skin healthy and hydrated from the get-go.
Moreover, African Americans often struggle with combination skin where some areas are dehydrated but others are oily and acne-prone. That’s why straight emollients like Vaseline can cause trouble by clogging pores. Instead, it’s best to use non-comedogenic lotion. Check out our top picks below.
|The best lotions for African American Skin||Why we love them|
|Buttah Skin by Dorion Renaud Buttah Body Trio|
|Sheamoisture Body Lotion for Dull, Dry Skin|
|O'Keeffe's Skin Repair Body Lotion|
|CeraVe Moisturizing Cream|
|Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream|
|Vanicream Moisturizing Cream|
|Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy Solid Lotion|
|Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream|
Best Lotions for African American Skin in 2021
Buttah Skin by Dorion Renaud Buttah Body Trio for Melanin-Rich Skin
Pamper yourself with the best skin care products from a Black-owned business. This one understands how to care for African American skin. They put together this kit that’s like a trip to the spa. Not only do they include a charcoal polishing bar and a moisturizing body wash, but they offer the best body butter for glowing skin.
The brand was established in 2018 with the goal of uniting science and nature to nurture melanin-rich skin. They offer everything from soap to serums. Everything is fragrant and sleekly packaged, making it an excellent gift.
Speaking of fragrance, one of their key scents is Pharaoh’s Love. It’s a unisex aroma with floral notes underscored by and vanilla. Use the included body wash and it will linger on your skin for hours.
But since we’re here to talk about lotion, let’s take a look at this whipped body butter. It’s based on organic African shea butter infused with vitamins and antioxidants for skin repair and intense hydration. Reviewers say they saw a significant improvement in the appearance of their skin. Using the products in this kit banishes ashiness for good.
- It’s a complete kit – exfoliate and cleanse ashy skin with the body wash and polishing bar, then enjoy the luxurious body butter
- Based on African shea butter for maximum hydration and skin repair
- Exotic fragrance lingers for hours
- Made by a Black-owned brand
- Not inexpensive, but happy reviewers say it’s worth it
SheaMoisture Body Lotion for Dull, Dry Skin
As we age, we get dark spots. Unless you were smart enough to wear sunscreen from a young age, it’s inevitable. Try this body lotion to even dark skin tone. It was developed by a brand that was previously Black-owned until recently. They still offer some of the best skin care products for African American skin.
It’s called SheaMoisture for a reason as they include Fair Trade shea butter in pretty much everything they make. It’s an excellent natural moisturizer.
The lotion also has coconut oil, but no parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petroleum. It uses Songyi mushrooms to minimize discoloration and brighten dull skin.
The formula is fragrant, fast-absorbing, and non-greasy.
- Fabulous fragrance and fast-absorbing, non-greasy formula
- Features Songyi mushrooms to fade discoloration and brighten dull skin
- Free of parabens, phthalates, petroleum, and mineral oil
- If you don’t love the scent, the brand offers other options
O’Keeffe’s Skin Repair Body Lotion
Here’s a no-nonsense lotion that’s unscented and safe for sensitive skin. Diabetics and persons with eczema can use it.
But don’t scroll past just yet. This lotion works for an astonishing forty-eight hours after you apply it. For reals, it doesn’t even wash off in the shower.
It’s never greasy once it absorbs, and it provides instant itch relief. We checked the ingredients and found that it’s paraben-free.
The lotion comes in a handy pump bottle. If you like it, take a look at their other offerings including hand cream and foot cream that fix cracked skin overnight.
- Instant relief that keeps on hydrating for up to forty-eight hours even after washing
- Non-greasy and safe for sensitive skin, including diabetics and persons with eczema
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
This cream is made by a dermatologist-recommended brand. It carries the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance because it contains no ingredients that could cause allergic reactions or acne. Also, it’s fragrance-free.
Why do we recommend the cream instead of the lotion in a pump bottle? It’s because the cream is a thicker moisturizer like body butter and appropriate for clearing up ashy skin as fast as possible. It spreads easily and melts into the skin without feeling greasy. (But feel free to try CeraVe’s lotion. It has a thin texture that works surprisingly well to soothe irritation and dryness within a short amount of time).
The real reason we hope you try this cream is that it’s packed with three types of essential ceramides. They fortify the skin to prevent dehydration. That’s critical for African American skin.
It also has hyaluronic acid, a potent humectant that holds up to a thousand times its weight in water. Consequently, the cream offers twenty-four-hour hydration.
Users say it’s weightless yet it healed their extremely dry skin.
- Creamy and lightweight, it’s unscented and melts into the skin without feeling greasy
- Ideal for African American skin as it restores ceramide levels
- Maintains hydration for up to twenty-four hours
- Non-comedogenic and has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance
- Not cheap, but a little goes a long way
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
Cetaphil and CeraVe compete head-to-head. Cetaphil’s cream is also fragrance-free, non-greasy, and won’t clog pores. So why should you choose this one instead of the other?
It’s a tough choice and we personally like them both. To Cetaphil’s advantage, its cream was tested in clinical trials and proven to improve moisture levels for twenty-four hours. It also has sweet almond oil, the massage therapist’s favorite tool.
On the downside, Cetaphil’s formula lists petroleum as the third ingredient where it’s merely the seventh in CeraVe’s cream. Still, happy users have nothing but good to say.
- Fragrance-free, non-comedogenic cream absorbs quickly and isn’t oily
- Clinically tested and proven to improve moisture levels for twenty-four hours
- Contains sweet almond oil, a nourishing natural emollient
- Not as budget-friendly as some options, but very effective
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
Most people with severe allergies have heard about Vanicream, also known as Free & Clear. They make hypoallergenic skincare products with as few ingredients as possible. Not surprisingly, it has the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association and it’s safe to use on infants. You can even use it to moisturize your face.
Take a look at the label: it avoids more typical moisturizer components than it includes. There are only a dozen here. That’s because it has no perfumes or masking fragrances, parabens, lanolin, dyes, or other potential irritants. It also comes with a pump dispenser to prevent contamination.
- Only a dozen ingredients and no fragrance or masking fragrances, parabens, or other irritants
- Ideal for moisturizing sensitive or acne-prone skin
- Safe enough for babies
- Not flashy, but will never clash with your perfume
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy Solid Lotion
It’s hard to resist the chocolatey scent of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter products. Instead of reviewing the usual stuff, we chose the solid lotion because it’s luxurious and soothing like body butter. It’s ideal for fixing ashy skin.
It’s formulated to provide twenty-four hours of hydration to the driest of skin. Moreover, using it regularly can help eliminate scars.
It’s made with cocoa seed butter and sunflower seed oil to leave the skin silky soft. Unfortunately, it also has mineral oil, also known as liquid paraffin, and an artificial fragrance. Still, we’ve seen only a few complaints. Most customers are thrilled with how the lotion smells delicious and melts into the skin.
Not only does it relieve ashiness, but it also smooths cracked skin on elbows and heels.
- Relieves ashy skin for up to twenty-four hours and helps scars disappear
- Delicious chocolatey fragrance and buttery texture
- Those trying to avoid mineral oil and artificial fragrances should look elsewhere
Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream
If you’re sick and tired of ashy skin and nothing seems to work, we suggest trying Eucerin’s Skin Calming Body Wash followed by the Advanced Repair Cream. Even if you choose to only use the cream, you’re going to see a noticeable difference after only one use.
The moisturizer is full of ceramides and skin conditioners like amino acids. Since it contains urea and lactic acid, it helps remove dry flakes at the same time it draws in moisture. It literally repairs skin at a cellular level and keeps working for forty-eight hours after it’s applied.
What’s more, it’s dermatologist-recommended and fragrance-free. We checked the ingredients and didn’t see parabens or artificial colors, either.
Users say it has a medium-thick texture that sinks in quickly and leaves the skin silky.
- Exfoliates flaky, dry skin and moisturizes up to forty-eight hours
- Fragrance-free and contains no parabens
- Recommended by dermatologists for repairing extremely dry skin
Some say the best moisturizer is the one you’ll actually use. But we know from experience that African American skin gets dehydrated all too easily. You’re here because you want a better body lotion. You deserve the best blend of ingredients to hydrate your skin. We hope our reviews helped you find it.
If so, we’d love to read about your experience with it in the comments below.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086530/ J Clin Aesthet Dermatol., published 2014 Jun; 7(6): 25–32. Moisturizing Different Racial Skin Types, by Derrick C. Wan, MD, Victor W. Wong, MD, Michael T. Longaker, MD, MBA, George P. Yang, MD, Ph.D., and Fu-Chan Wei, MD, accessed June 9, 2021