Lotions vs Cream: What's the Difference

Lotions vs Cream: What's the Difference

The debate between lotions vs. creams is one of those funny beauty topics most of us don’t even consider until we actually learn the difference. What constitutes a lotion? What is a cream? Why does lotion vs. cream even matter? Both are used to hydrate and restore moisture to the skin, so what’s the difference and how do you know which one is right for you? We’ll discuss all of that so you can make the best possible decisions about how lotions and creams best fit into your skin care routine.


Main Takeaways: The difference between lotions and creams has much to do with the oil and water content of the product. Knowing when to use each will help elevate your skin care game considerably.

Good to Know: Determining your skin type will help determine whether you need a lotion or a cream.

Recommended Products: Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer, H2 Oh Yeah Hydrating Moisturizer, and Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer.


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What Is the Difference Between Lotions vs Creams?

Generally speaking, a lotion will have a higher concentration of water than oil, which is part of what makes it liquid and not solid. Many lotions contain very little oil at all. If you put a drop of lotion in your hand, it won’t feel thick or greasy.

Creams, on the other hand, are generally much thicker in terms of feel. That’s because they contain more oil--sometimes as much as 50%. For that reason, creams often have more power in terms of being able to moisturize the skin and lock in hydration.

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How Do I Know Whether I Need a Lotion or a Cream?

Knowing whether you need a lotion or a cream depends on what your skin type is and what you’re trying to do in terms of moisturizing your skin. Do you need light hydration, or do you need to infuse your skin with a lot of moisture? Are you thinking in terms of something to use every week or so, or is this part of your everyday routine? No matter what you’re looking to do, you should easily be able to find a lotion or a cream that’s right for you.

Lotion vs. Cream: What’s Right for Each Skin Type

Choosing one over the other depends on your skin type and skincare goals. For example, if you have combination skin, you might want to choose a lotion for those areas that are more oil rich.

If you have oily skin, chances are, you’ll most likely be drawn towards a lotion as it will have less oil than a cream. However, there are plenty of face creams that work with oily skin like our Crème de la Cream brightening moisturizer. Whatever you do, do not skip hydrating or moisturizing the skin just because it is oil-rich. Oily skin often lacks the proper amount of water in the skin, causing it to become dehydrated.

Crème de la Cream

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Creams are highly recommended for those with dry skin. Because they contain more oil than lotions do, creams will help restore moisture to your skin more effectively than a lotion. H2 Oh Yeah hydrating moisturizer works to deeply hydrate and nourish dry and dehydrated skin.

H2 Oh Yeah

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Because mature skin often becomes more dry as it ages, creams will help restore the skin and fill in the lines that can become more apparent when skin is dry. An anti-aging face cream like Youth Fairy is antioxidant rich and works to smooth and nourish mature skin.

Youth Fairy

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Can I Use Lotion and Cream Together?

The short answer is yes, although it’s still important to figure out what you’re using them for. If you have combination skin, you might want to use a lotion on the days your skin is feeling a little oily and a cream on the days it’s feeling dry. Or use a lotion in the morning and a cream at night. However, laying a lotion and a cream at the same time really is not effective.

Remember, you can switch out lotions for creams depending on the season, or to adjust to day-to-day weather. On a humid summer day, you might want to switch to a lotion and switch back to a cream when the weather gets dry and cold. This rule goes for the face and the body.

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Lotion vs. Cream for the Body

Just as we’ve discussed lotions and face creams, there are lotions and creams for the body as well. When it comes to this, it’s almost more a matter of what kind of feel you’re looking for, rather than what skin type you have, as skin on the body is rarely very oily. If you just can’t stand a greasy feel, then you might want to go for a lotion; but if you have dry skin or skin that’s cracked or flaky, a cream is probably in your best interest.

As you can see, there are many effective ways to use lotions and creams. The key is simply to choose the one that’s right for your skin.