May 30, 2023

woman smiling and moisturizing skin

When I was pregnant in Australia, my skin felt so dry, there were times I had to remind myself it’s not appropriate (and rather wasteful) to dive in a tub full of lotion. I walked past a small shop one day and decided to pop inside. Sitting on the shelf, I spotted a beautifully wrapped bar of—what looked like—soap from a local small-batch producer. Only it wasn’t soap, but a bar of body lotion. I quickly brought it to the register, and moments later, I was standing outside the store rubbing it on my arms, legs, and growing belly.

In a matter of seconds, I was a full-fledged bar-lotion devotee. Over a year later, I’m no longer pregnant or living in Australia, but I’m still committed to the bar lotion movement, and, given a chance, I think you will be too. Ahead I rounded up some of my favorites.

What is a Body Lotion Bar?

Body lotion bars are more concentrated than their pump and liquid counterparts. Unlike many traditional lotions, bars usually don’t contain fillers and additives. The concise ingredient lists usually boast power-packed butters, nutrient-rich oils, essential oils, and most don’t contain water. The result is a room-temperature bar that melts into warm skin. Of course, the solid no-mess factor makes lotion bars TSA-friendly and ideal for frequent fliers who don’t want to transfer liquid lotion into tiny travel bottles before taking flight.

Body lotion sticks have also been popping up on shelves, and the main point of difference is the application and packaging. The latter comes in a tube, roller, or stick that resembles deodorant. Body lotion sticks are great for smaller areas, but if your goal is to relieve dryness all over, you might enjoy the larger surface provided by a lotion bar. The option is also more sustainable, thanks to a lack of plastic packaging. So, in the end, you’re literally left with nothing (well, other than soft, supple skin).

Scroll on for the best body lotion bars on the market—and why we love them.

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Best Overall: Kate McLeod Daily Stone

kate mcleod daily stone
Kate McLeod Daily Stone $45.00

This daily must-have has everything you’d want in a body lotion bar from cocoa butter, nourishing oils (like sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, and coconut), a silky texture, and a subtle floral scent that’s universally appealing. It’s also waterless and plastic-free. You can pick it up in this reusable bamboo canister and purchase a minimal-packaging refill when your bar is finished. A sample-sized option is also available if you’re body bar-curious (or need to edit your collection).

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Best Before Bed: Pretty Frank Lotion Bar

pretty frank
Pretty Frank Vanilla Lavender Lotion Bar $14.99

Notes of lavender and vanilla make this our top pick for your nightly bedtime ritual. The relaxing aroma cues your brain that sleep is coming while shea and cocoa butter infuse skin with non-greasy moisturization (so you can slip into your jammies immediately).

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Best for Super Dry Skin: Linear Beauty Cocoa Butter Lotion Bar

linear beauty cocoa lotion bar
Linear Beauty Cocoa Lotion Bar $10.00

Rich in fatty acids, cocoa butter is a time-tested go-to ingredient that’s in basically every worthwhile formula aimed at combating dry skin. This mega-moisturizing bar also gets a nourishing boost from shea butter, sunflower, and beeswax. You can purchase it in a reusable tin or get single refills (or a pack of three if you’re one-and-done shopping).

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Best for Sensitive Skin: Moon Valley Organics Lemon Vanilla Herbal Lotion Bar

moon valley organics
Moon Valley Organics Lemon Vanilla Herbal Lotion Bar $13.19

Sensitive skin requires a different toolkit. If you’re prone to dryness and irritation, this bar is formulated with soothing and moisturizing ingredients like beeswax, calendula, and vitamin E derived from sunflowers, and it deserves a spot in your body-care arsenal.

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Best Eco-Friendly: Ethique Coconut & Lime Solid Body Bar

ethique coconut and lime body block
Ethique Coconut and Lime Solid Body Butter $13.00

Ethique corners the market on earth-friendly formulas, but it’s not just eco enthusiasts who love this vegan and cruelty-free bar (which replaces two 250ml bottles of liquid lotion). The tropical fragrance transports everyone who uses it to vacation mode, and it’s definitely worth having an extra one in your collection to pack when travel rolls around.

Bottom Line

While there’s no linear way to moisturize, people with drier skin, busy schedules, or those just interested in trying innovations might end up loving body lotion bars. Not only are they packed with good-for-skin ingredients, but they also help you get the most bang for your buck, considering you can massage your favorite formula into the very last swipe.