Best Baby Lotions for Newborns to Toddlers


A good baby lotion will moisturize, protect, and nourish the skin to keep it hydrated, soothed, and protected from the elements.

In those first few years from birth to toddlerhood, a baby’s skin is especially sensitive to irritants like dyes, harsh chemicals, and fragrances. For this reason, it’s not recommended to use regular adult moisturizers on babies. 

Soothing and moisturizing their delicate skin with gentle baby-formulated lotions that are made with mild ingredients will help protect it from the elements, while also avoiding damage from the irritating ingredients in many adult moisturizers.

I’ve reviewed several baby lotions, testing not only how they work and feel but reviewing their ingredients, properties, and cost. In this article, I’ll share those reviews and top picks for baby lotions that are best for special needs like sensitive skin, eczema, budget-friendliness, and natural ingredients. I’ll also share my overall top pick for those just looking for the best all-around baby lotion. 

If you’re not up for reading all the details and just looking for the links in a nice swipeable table, here are the best baby lotions according to our review:

I’ll get into why I chose these lotions as our top picks, but first, let’s talk about what’s really important when choosing a baby lotion. 

How to Choose the Best Lotion for Your Baby

When shopping for baby lotion, first, consider your baby’s needs.  Does your baby have a condition such as cracking, a rash, or flaking? If so, focus on a product that provides advanced treatment for that, rather than a general moisturizer. 

The next consideration is skin type. Just like the rest of us, babies have different skin types, and some of these present more challenges than others.

Here are some of the more challenging skin types your baby may have: 

  • Sensitive skin: It easily gets red and rashly and may have more reactions to some products than other types of skin
  • Dry skin: This skin type is mostly rough and flaky
  • Eczema: Just like dry skin, eczema occurs when the skin becomes too rough. Also, the skin gets inflamed, red, or even oozy

Does Your Baby Have One of These Challenging Skin Types?

Dry Skin

If your baby’s skin is often scaly but not itchy, painful, or inflamed then he or she most likely has dry skin. When choosing a lotion for dry skin, look for products with gentle and natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, aloe, and cocoa butter.

Keep away from baby lotions made with drying and harsh ingredients such as surfactants and parabens because they will most likely make your baby skin worse.

Sensitive Skin

Skin that easily reacts to weather and other factors, usually by becoming rashy or red, is considered to be sensitive. The best way to take care of sensitive baby skin is by using lotions that are free of chemicals.

Even though fragrances and colorants added to lotions make them look and smell nice, such additives can do more harm than good. Always go for lotion ingredients that are holistic and safe. A good rule of thumb is to pick products that have a short and simple ingredient list.

Baby Eczema 

Both adults and babies can experience eczema. The identifying factors of this skin condition are inflamed and itchy skin that can ooze and get scabby. Eczema in babies is more common compared to eczema in adults. It is as a result of hereditary factors. 

Fortunately, there are baby lotions capable of treating the condition. The best eczema baby lotion will contain both moisturizing ingredients like cocoa butter, and calming ingredients such as chamomile or beeswax.

Things to Consider When Selecting Baby Lotion

  • Ingredients and Fake Terms

Always read the ingredients list and be critical about the claims made on the packaging. 

In some places, there is no regulation to marketing products that claim to be 100% natural. Some of them are not really free of preservatives or toxic additives. 

Ensure you carefully read the list of ingredients before buying and if you come across a chemical you don’t recognize, double-check to ensure the product is safe for babies.

  • Use hypoallergenic products

Get products that are hypoallergenic because they ensure your baby doesn’t get any allergic reaction. These products are created to have the least possible risk of allergies. They are ideal for the delicate skin of infants. These products are gentle even on the most sensitive skin.

  • Choose products free of dyes, parabens, and phthalates

Ensure the lotion you’re considering product doesn’t contain ingredients like alcohol or harsh soaps, because these can cause discomfort and allergic reactions. 

Additionally, make sure the products do not contain parabens, a preservative mostly added to cosmetic products.

Some studies have shown that parabens could be absorbed more by babies than adults, making them more vulnerable to any potentially dangerous effects, such as skin irritation, anxiety, and reduced learning performance. 

Also keep an eye out for dyes, which are not needed in baby lotions. Phthalates can also be dangerous ingredients; research has shown that they are linked with disorders such as asthma, low IQ, behavioral problems, neurodevelopmental problems, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorders. Avoid buying products that have a chemical name ending in ‘phalate’ on the list of ingredients.

  • pH balance

Use a pH-neutral baby lotion. This will better protect your baby’s skin against irritants in the environment. Baby lotions that are not neutral in pH balance can result in a dry, itchy, and irritated skin.

  • Absorbance rates

Thinner lotions are more viscous and not easily absorbed into the skin. They will remain on the skin surface for a longer time. Select the appropriate baby lotion depending on the absorbency rate that you want. The type of skin your baby has will guide you on the lotion to purchase.

Best Baby Lotions By Type

1) Best Baby Lotion for Sensitive Skin: Burt’s Bees Baby Ultra Gentle Lotion for Sensitive Skin 

Our Pick for Sensitive Skin
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

I’ve been a big fan of Burt’s Bees for a long time so I was really excited to find their Ultra Gentle Lotion for Sensitive Skin in their baby line. My excitement was warranted because this cream is super gentle.

The Ultra Gentle Lotion for Sensitive Skin contains natural ingredients including shea butter, jojoba and aloe but doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum or synthetic fragrances.

Burt’s Bees also says that this lotion was accepted by the National Eczema Association. I’m not sure what being accepted by them means, but I do find this lotion a bit thin and just not made for eczema the way that my top pick for eczema cream is (you can find my top pick for eczema below). With that said, if you’re not a fan of thicker eczema creams, maybe this is the one for you!

Pros:

  • 98.9 percent natural
  • Doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum or synthetic fragrances
  • “Accepted by the National Eczema Association”
  • Pediatrician tested
  • lightweight

Cons:

  • A bit thin (ie. not as rich and creamy as other options)

2) Best Baby Lotion for Eczema: Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream

Our Pick for Eczema Care
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/09/2024 12:09 am GMT

This baby lotion has been clinically proven to relieve irritation, itching, and dryness caused by eczema. 

This lotion gets absorbed quickly and contains colloidal oatmeal, which is good for protecting the skin. It also contains licorice root and ceramide-3, both of which are used to relieve minor irritation, and strengthen the moisture-protective barrier of the skin. 

Eucerin is okay to use on babies as young as three months. It is free of fragrances, dyes, and steroids and often recommended by dermatologists for treating eczema. 

Pros:

  • Immediately relieves itchy and irritated skin 
  • Long-lasting effect
  • Can be used as a regular lotion, not just for treating eczema

Cons:

  • Feels a bit sticky
  • The lotion takes more time to get absorbed into the skin
  • Doesn’t work for every case of eczema 
  • Has a unique fragrance some (like myself, who are very sensitive to smells) can find unpleasant

3) Best Budget Baby Lotion: Johnson’s Skin Nourish Moisturizing Lotion

Our Pick for Best Budget Baby Lotion
Johnson's Skin Nourish Moisturizing Baby Lotion for Dry Skin (Vanilla & Oat Scent)
$6.78 ($0.40 / Fl Oz)

Also available in Shea & Cocoa Butter Scent, as well as Aloe Vera Scent with Vitamin E.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/09/2024 10:47 am GMT

Johnson’s Skin Nourish baby lotion actually comes in three different types and scents:

  1. Vanilla & Oat,
  2. Shea & Cocoa Butter Scents, and
  3. Aloe Vera Scent (with Vitamin E).

While I don’t mind the aloe vera scent, my personal favorite is the vanilla and oat scent.

Side note: If you like shea butter scents, my husband tells me the shea and coco butter scent is fine as well; something just happened to me during pregnancy while using Palmer’s Cocoa Butter strech mark lotion, and I can not stand the scent of shea butter any more. Oh the joys of pregnancy!

Johnson’s baby lotion has of course been a household brand since the 1940’s. While the company has gotten some heat in the past for their products, this lotion is free of sulfates, dyes, and parabens. It’s also hypoallergenic and tested with pediatricians and dermatologists.

I do love how creamy and rich this baby lotion is and the scent, while strong at first, doesn’t linger forever like some lotions can, which I personally like.

Pros:

  • Affordable 
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Comes in three different scents
  • Rich texture, but not greasy
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Enriched with aloe and vitamins
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Hydrates the skin

Cons:

  • Has a strong scent
  • It can be overpowering for some infants and parents

4) Best Natural Baby Lotion: Earth Mama Organics Baby Natural Non-Scents Lotion

Our Pick for Best Natural Baby Lotion
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01/09/2024 10:35 am GMT

When it comes to quality products with a focus on natural ingredients, Earth Mama Organics is always a safe choice.

This lotion is ok for babies of all ages and you can use it anywhere as it’s made with organic botanicals, like Calendula and Rooibos, that are great for dry, itchy, red skin, and even baby bottoms (though I love their organic diaper balm as well, and recommend it for cloth diapers). As a side note, it worked really well to remove cradle cap for us!
 
Natural Non-Scents Baby Lotion is rated a one on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It is non-toxic and has no artificial fragrances, dyes, petroleum products, mineral oil, Vitamin E, phthalates, or parabens.

Earth Mama states that their Baby Natural Non-Scents Lotion is, “gentle, unscented, and blended with scent-free organic herbal ingredients to moisturize and protect sensitive, delicate skin.”

Pros:

  • Rated ONE on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, the lowest hazard rating a product can achieve.
  • Free from artificial fragrances, dyes, petroleum products, mineral oil, Vitamin E, phthalates, or parabens.
  • Great consistency and “spreadability” (it’s a word to us!)
  • If in the US can order directly from EarthMama.com.

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • A little hard to get outside of America (If you’re Canadian, like me, you can’t get it shipped directly, but you can still get it on Amazon.ca here)

5) My Top Pick, Best Baby Lotion Overall: Johnson’s CottonTouch Newborn Baby Face and Body Lotion

Our Pick for Best Baby Lotion Overall
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01/09/2024 03:23 pm GMT

My overall pick for the best baby lotion is Johnson’s Head-To-Toe Baby Lotion.

I know what you’re thinking; did I seriously pick a Johnson’s lotion as the best all-around baby lotion? What is this post sponsored?

Nope, this is not sponsored, I didn’t even get a free bottle, it just checks all the boxes and does so well enough to be the best all-around lotion for most situations.

Firstly, this is not the crummy old pink stuff from Johnson’s. The Johnson’s CottonTouch line is geared toward newborns with sensitive skin, so it’s not only gentle and mild on newborns, it’s pH-balanced, hypoallergenic, and free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes. 

It’s also lightly scented (not overpowering like their older lotions, which I personally hate), and light while still creamy feeling.

Even better, it’s cheap and plentiful! You can find this one everywhere!

While it’s made for newborns you’ll likely find yourself using it for a long time; I use it on myself often enough too!

Pros:

  • Suitable from birth
  • Has a very light, yummy smell
  • pH-balanced
  • hypoallergenic
  • free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes. 
  • Can be found in different quantities and in many retailers (including big-box stores)
  • VERY economical

Cons:

  • The scent doesn’t last long

thewriteduffy

April is Violet's mom. April founded Babies for Beginners in 2020, following the success of her first authority website, Cloth Diapers for Beginners. April is an author and experienced writer with 15 years of experience writing, publishing, and editing for various newspapers, magazines, books, and blogs.

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