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The Best Creams To Slather Over Your Papery Body


I am quite positive that you own body lotion. Even men who use six-in-one gels to clean their hair, face, and feet reliably have a bottle of Lubriderm stashed... somewhere. But the road to elbows that look like crinkle cookies is paved with good intentions, and that cream collecting dust under your sink can’t help you if you never use it. Which, you might not, at least not regularly, for several reasons that really all come down to comfort and ease. Getting recently-lotioned legs stuck in a pair of skinny jeans is a torture not to be wished on one’s worst enemy, while falling asleep wrapped in white sheets and body oil is a fast-as-anything way to ruin said white sheets.

If you want to keep your body moisturized while temperatures are too low to frolic carefree and pants-free through the streets, you have to choose a cream that will work for you. Namely, work with the time of day you’re going to use it. You know yourself best! So are you...

The One Whose Life Comes Together Before Breakfast

Waking up early and AM cardio sound brutal, but hey, you do you. Ditto for moisturizing in the morning. But there are a few things you can look for in a moisturizer to make it a little bit better. It should be a cream and not an oil, because you don’t want funky stains on your clothes. But it can’t be too watery, because jeans (and many other types of pants) are made of cotton, and cotton will drink up all that good moisture and leave your legs swearing you didn’t take three minutes out of your already hectic morning to slather them in cream. A body serum will sink in fastest, but here’s my suggestion instead: go for a rich, paste-like cream. Your pants might put up more of a fight, but a cream will hold up to clothing so your moisturizing won’t be for nought. Apply a few minutes before you get all pants-ed up and, when you take them off at the end of the day, you’ll still feel a smooth barrier of protection between bare skin and raw denim. Look, there’s no perfect solve for this except for maybe: have you considered a wider pants silhouette?

Santa Maria Novella Idrasol Cream: thick, whipped, Italian, smells like Play-Doh rose gardenia
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm: harder to rub in but extremely nourishing, unfragranced so smells faintly of deli meats

The One Who’s Somehow Free To Be You And Me At 1PM

Are you just as likely to be spotted out and about on a weekend as Bigfoot? A Sunday meal prepper? A freelancer who’s WFH this very minute? Have you got a hot minute to lounge around naked, and a roommate who doesn’t mind? (Or perhaps prefers it?) It’s time you cozy those bare legs up to a body balm. The texture feels something like what would happen if you crossed a body lotion with your carry-everywhere tube of Aquaphor: nourishing, protective, and greasy-in-a-good-way. It’ll give parched, ashy skin a glowy shine slickity split, but it doesn’t sink in particularly quickly. So on days when you’re bestowed the luxury of a mid-morning shower, and before you completely towel off, rub some body balm all over and just hang out. Watch a new episode of Love Island, water the houseplants, chop a carrot, send some emails—do whatever you’ve got to do. By the time you’re finished, your moisturizer will have done its job, too.

La Mer The Renewal Body Oil Balm: luxurious, shiny, smells like old-fashioned lipstick
Frank Body Coconut Body Balm: exactly the same as the La Mer, with a lot more coconut scent

The Pre-PM Life Liver And Post-Dinner Lubricator

You don’t care what your legs are doing during waking hours. Dry? Super dry? Eh, it’s all covered up. But when the sun sets and it’s time to get into cozy PJs and fluffy sheets, your preference for softness extends to your body. The name of the night moisturizing game is buttery moisturizers with a little give and take: you take a few more minutes than you would in the morning to let them sink in, and they give you moisturized extremities without ruining your sheets. You might even want to turn your body butter into a cozy ritual, massaging away tight calves and the tension between you and a coworker that always seems to build up in your wrists. Wake up happier (and with happier skin). Everybody wins.

Mutha Body Butter: melty, lemony, comes in a huge tub you’ll probably never finish
Nuxe Rêve de Miel: buttery, French, smells like Nuxe

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG