We’ve always had high scores for body lotions, over more than 22 years of Beauty Bible testing – a reflection, we feel, of the pleasure factor that body lotions deliver. They are pure ‘me-time’. But in fact for this category we set the bar high, since we also asked questions about firming, tightening and general skin improvements that would categorise these as ‘anti-ageing body lotions’. The following can, of course, be enjoyed at any age (with the emphasis on enjoyment) – but if you are over 40, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by this ‘fab four’.
GOLD AWARD -Temple Spa Peace Be Still Calming Skin Balm
Yet another winner for Temple Spa in these Awards – this got lots and lots of 10s – with a body treat described as a 'Calming Skin Balm'. It's 'aromatherapy and treatment in one', they promise. It's not thick and unctuous balm in the style of a cleansing balm, yet still rich. Key skin-saving ingredients include panthenol (vitamin B5), sodium PCA (to lock in moisture), radiance-boosting nutmeg and coriander, to warm and stimulate both body and mind. There are plenty of other aromatic ingredients including lemon and coriander, making for a 'Mediterranean' scent. Although it excelled as a body treatment, several testers also used Be Still on their faces (Temple Spa suggest that), to soothing effect.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘10/10. I love this wonderful comforting balm, which smells really nice with a beautiful light fragrance. It leaves skin so soothed and moisturised and is so calming and gentle that you can even use it on your face – it’s perfect for my sensitive skin’ • ‘Top marks! Such beautiful luxurious skin care that I feel really pampered. This calmed my skin instantly and my skin felt smooth. I have now used it for three weeks and the benefits are just amazing. I feel my skin is moisturised, smooth and well hydrated. My skin is now velvety soft’ • ‘I really liked the very chic container, the silkiness of the balm and the herbal smell, which reminded me of a spa and is very relaxing to use at night. It’s very easy to smooth in, very quickly absorbed and gives instant hydration. After three days, my skin was calm, smooth and more hydrated all day, not just after application. Anti-ageing wise, the improvement in hydration helped with fine lines and left skin smooth. I would buy this’ • ‘The product is in a good-sized cylinder with a pump dispenser. The cylinder feels nice to hold and the pump dispenser is smooth and delivers a good amount of product. The light balm smooths on to skin easily and is quickly absorbed but you still have time to enjoy massaging in the product. Skin feels smoother and more moisturised immediately. After a few weeks use there was a noticeable difference to my upper arms and the backs were definitely smoother’ • ‘This is a lovely product, very smooth, soft and with a wonderful aroma of lemon and coriander. I feel this would be a product more for warmer months, as it is lovely and cooling; for colder months I would probably use a richer body lotion’ • ‘This has been invaluable on holiday, I honestly believe this has saved my sunburnt skin; I've found I've healed much quicker than expected with no itching or peeling. Used on both my face and body with great effect. My skin feels smoother too and I like the subtle glow it leaves’ • ‘I loved this product very much. I was amazed how well this worked and how quickly. It didn't irritate my skin and left it feeling so soft and smooth with no flaky patches left at all. The scent was so nice to use at bedtime, very relaxing. And I loved that it could be used on face and body. A true multi-tasker.’
£19 for 150ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD Avène Cold Cream Nourishing Body Lotion
Avène are renowned as the go-to for sensitive skins, and this offers 'all the virtues of cold cream in a light, non-greasy formula for the body'. Natural botanical oils of sesame, safflower and coconut are included to leave skin velvety. Quite liquid yet nonetheless rich, this was found excellent for even the driest skins – mirroring Avène's own trials in which 71% of testers observed a reduction in skin dryness. NB The scent was a bit 'Marmite' - some loved it, others not so much.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘A brilliant body lotion, which I will definitely buy. It was surprisingly rich for a fairly runny lotion. My skin felt and looked moisturised and supple immediately. I trialled it on one leg and one arm for a week and that side looked younger and in better condition. A a pleasure to use’ • ‘10/10. This was amazing, I usually avoid body lotion, preferring a richer cream or butter as I have dry skin, but this glorious lotion delivered! It was a great consistency, neither too thick nor runny, and felt so soft on application. My skin glowed as soon as I first applied this and felt so nourished. After a few days, I noticed that the texture of my skin had improved. It felt softer and almost glowed. My knees, elbows and ankles, which are always extremely dry, looked so much better. Perfect!’ • ‘This has the most beautiful, fresh and comforting fragrance. It was like being wrapped in a clean blanket! This product has been a game-changer. It makes getting ready after bathing so much speedier and my skin looks great. I had never used this range before but since you introduced me to the brand I have bought another product and loved it too’ • ‘This body lotion is a wonder product! I am totally converted! It is so much quicker to absorb than the rich creams I am used to, but completely delivers when it comes to moisturising. It smells divine too, subtle but so fresh and clean. I love it. My skin looks better than it has in years, despite it being winter and subjected to the usual layers, central heating etc. This is my favourite ever body product. It has a real glow to it and my horrible, wrinkly knees have lost at least ten years’ • ‘I have very dry skin, which gets worse in winter and the skin on my legs and arms gets quite itchy. The lotion got rid of the feeling of discomfort immediately. This has been such a positive surprise. During and after pregnancy I was off put by heavily- scented products but this was such a pleasure to use’ • ‘Love this and highly recommend. The texture is gorgeous –Silky, easy to spread, not granular and also soaks/rubs in easily so that it’s absorbed by the time you are ready to get dressed. Clarity of labelling is one of the things I like about Avène products. Also, there is no rubbish in them and pharmacists are always happy to sell them, as they trust the brand’ • ‘I liked using this product and it absorbed very quickly into my skin, which felt hydrated and moisturised all day’ • ‘My skin didn't feel parched when I trialled this and I didn't suffer from any eczema on my legs, which I sometimes do. The thing I liked a lot about the product is that the fragrance lingered so you could smell it for a long time after it was applied, people did comment on how nice the smell was’ • ‘Great for use after shaving or waxing, and left no residue on clothes. Acts as a great make up remover, too, I found after leaving mine at home one trip…!’
£20 for 400ml - click to buy
BRONZE and BEST NATURAL AWARD Aurelia Firm & Replenish Body Serum
This may be called a 'serum' but it's a lotion in a generous pump-action jar. With a lightweight texture, it's designed 'to nurture skin and mind' – and the scent of uplifting mandarin, chamomile, lemongrass and angelica root (a.k.a. the 'oil of angels') delivers on that, according to testers. (Aurelia recommend 'a moment of mindfulness' when applying to enjoy the blend of essential oils). It can also be used after sun exposure, they tell us. Aurelia's signature, rich-in-essential-fatty-acid African botanicals – including Kigelia africana and baobab – are blended with shea and cocoa butters and argan oil.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘10/10. It says in the blurb that it deeply hydrates and gives skin a velvet softness and I agree! I thoroughly enjoyed using this serum/lotion, which made my body feel just lovely and soft and skin looking plump. I would love to receive it as a gift and will be hinting at Christmas and my birthday’ • ‘I've used many high-end body serums, oils, lotions and butters; this product is my all time favourite. I think this is the only body lotion that I'll continue to buy. I love the light texture and I'm amazed at how moisturising and nourishing it is while being so light, non oily and easily absorbed. I'm very impressed with the ingredients and results’ • ‘After three days I noticed my skin felt softer with less dryness to my heels and knees. After a week I had no dry areas, my skin was firm, soft and conditioned all over. The product promises to firm, hydrate and replenish skin, I felt it did so perfectly. I have already purchased this product because it was so pleasurable to use and I noticed such an improvement in my skin condition’ • ‘This was an exceptionally efficient serum, which immediately improved the texture of the skin, evened out the dry wrinkled look and made it feel like silk. The smell is divine and lingers a long time on the skin, which made me want to keep sniffing my arms to get another hit of the aroma. It really is beautiful’ • ‘The fragrance is DIVINE - it's quite strong and very floral, but I loved it. It's not at all artificial smelling - just like you've inhaled a gorgeous bunch of flowers. The scent made using it a real treat’ • ‘Smells great, applies wonderfully and you feel like you are giving your skin a real boost! It says it’s uplifting and it is! I love the list of the different things you can use it for’ • ‘The aromatherapy fragrance is really lovely and fresh. The product went on smoothly and silkily and my skin did feel softer and more supple – and it left a sexy sheen; it softened my elbows rather well too’ • ‘This is a great product that makes an immediate difference to skin and is easy to use due to the thoughtful packaging. It absorbs really quickly into skin meaning that you can get dressed straight away. You don't need a lot as a little goes a long way: you can do each limb with two small pumps of product. I noticed right away that my skin feels softer and smooth; it also looks healthy and glowy on application. It is particularly effective on dry knees, I felt it really got into this area and made a big difference. I noticed over time that my skin seemed to be less dry overall, as though it was better retaining moisture.’
£48 for 250ml - click to buy
BEAUTY STEAL AWARD Sanctuary Spa Silky Smooth Body Lotion
This was only a teensy 10th of a percentage point, score-wise, behind Aurelia – a great show for such an eminently affordable product. (Several of The Sanctuary's products have done well in these Awards, and as long-standing fans of the range, we're SO not surprised.) With a skin-quenching blend of argan and aloe vera in a loose-textured emulsion, it sinks in fast to leave skin moisturised and replenished, offering up subtle wafts of The Sanctuary's signature amber-y vanilla scent as you apply it. It comes in a tall, pump action bottle – bathroom-friendly, since it's plastic.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
This product pretty well lives up to all its promises. It is super easy to apply: press the push pump dispenser and the lotion comes out instantly without clogging. It has a very strong, citrus fragrance, which I really like a lot. It smooths in very easily. It is lightweight and spreads quickly without dragging. Skin feels softer and silky smooth straight away. Even winter legs, even elbows… It can’t reverse ageing but it can help prevent old skin looking older! It makes the bathroom smell like a pamper parlour’ • ‘It promises 24-hour moisturisation and I think that’s right; it is really good. It left my skin silky soft, smoother and a lot more hydrated. It made the skin on my arms look healthier. I would buy this’ • ‘Rich creamy lotion that glided over skin and absorbed very quickly. My skin felt instantly very moisturised. I noticed longer-term improvements to the look and feel of my skin, particularly on areas such as my shins and knees and after shaving. My skin looks and feels very silky and soft and dewy and feels more comfortable’ • ‘I would certainly buy this good value product. The silky creamy texture is really nice to use, goes in quickly and instantly gives smooth hydrated skin, that feels soft and in good condition’ • ‘A great everyday body lotion. Dispenses easily from its pump. Is light and easy to massage into skin, leaving no greasy residue. Absorbs very quickly. Quick to use, so perfect before work etc. A good everyday body lotion when you don't have much time. It's economical, lasts ages and is good value. I will buy it and would recommend!’ • ‘The best feature is that this ‘Spa in a Jar’ (!) moisturised the drier areas of my body - heels, elbows, shins - even though the texture is quite light. A great lotion after showering in the morning when you want to dress quickly and do not have time for heavier creams to sink in’ • ‘I did one half of my body with this, the other side with a market leader that is twice the price. I could feel a difference in the texture of my skin. This side was better than the other and left my skin smoother and softer. The other one seems to sit on the surface leaving it tacky. I couldn't see any difference to sagging or stretch marks but it didn’t promise that. I shall definitely try more from this range’ • ‘This is a seriously impressive product, easy to use, with results visible at once. My skin is not particularly dry, but like all more mature skin, it needs its moisture fix to look smoother and healthier. This delivers those benefits and more. It has a light and lovely fragrance, a silky texture and is a pleasure to use.’
£6.50 for 250ml - click to buy