Moisturizing Lotion
16 fl. oz. for $13.99
Last Updated:07.08.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Cetaphil's Moisturizing Lotion has a no-frills, straightforward name, and is a no-frills, straightforward product as well. This lotion can certainly make skin feel softer, but it lacks a more sophisticated ingredient list, ultimately making it an average, two-star product when it comes to really being able to moisturize skin.

True to its claims, Moisturizing Lotion is lightweight, and easily dispensed from its pump-style bottle (it also comes in a smaller squeeze tube). It absorbs quickly into skin, and thanks to some emollients (such as glycerin), will make skin feel more moisturized. There is only one antioxidant, though (vitamin E), and this lacks some great additional emollients and anti-irritants that could help to soothe skin.

We should point out that while Cetaphil claims this lotion is fragrance-free, it contains farnesol, an ingredient whose chief function is adding fragrance to a product (Source: International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, 11th edition, 2006, page 864). This shouldn't be an issue for most skin types, but it is something to consider if you have very sensitive skin.

One final note: Cetaphil claims this product is "non-comedogenic," which it claims means that this won't clog pores. Non-comedogenic is largely a marketing term, with no real indication of how a product will affect your skin. See More Info for details on non-comedogenic claims in skincare products.

Ultimately, while this isn't a bad moisturizer, it's just not as good as many other options, including quite a few at the drugstore. You can find those other options on our list of Best Body Care Products.

  • Lightweight lotion absorbs easily into skin.
  • Emollient ingredients will make skin feel moisturized.
  • Lacks a more sophisticated ingredient list to truly moisturize dry skin.
  • Not completely fragrance-free as claimed.
More Info:

Non-Comedogenic: Labels like "non-comedogenic" or "non-acnegenic" seem like safe bets, but are actually unhelpful because these terms were coined under test conditions that are not even remotely applicable to how you, or anyone for that matter, use skincare or makeup products. The "non-comedogenic" myth got its beginnings from a 1979 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. This study examined the potential of various ingredients (cocoa and shea butters, lanolin and waxes, among others) to clog pores and lead to the formation of comedones—hence the term "comedogenic."

Under the conditions of this study, 100% pure concentrations of ingredients were layered five times per application over a period of two weeks, without cleansing the skin at any time. The manner in which these tests were conducted is not remotely similar to how we use skincare or makeup products—plus very few products are formulated with 100% of any one ingredient. What really determines whether an ingredient present in your skincare or makeup products is likely to trigger a breakout is how much of the ingredient is present in the formula and what else you apply as part of your skincare routine.

The researcher largely credited for developing the concept of comedogenic, Albert Kligman, said as much in his 1972 study, "Acne Cosmetica":

"It is not necessary to exclude constituents which might be comedogenic in a pure state. The concentration of such substances is exceedingly important. To exile such materials as lanolin, petroleum hydrocarbons, fatty alcohols, and vegetable oils from cosmetics would be irrational. What is ultimately important is the comedogenicity of the finished product (Archives of Dermatology, 1972)."

Last, the terms non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic are not regulated so they're not beholden to any agreed-upon standards. Any product, from the richest cream to the thinnest lotion, can use these claims and not have to prove they really don't clog pores or trigger acne breakouts.


Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion is specifically formulated to soothe your chronically dry skin. Once applied, your skin feels soft and smooth. It is non-greasy, non–irritating and non–comedogenic (won't clog pores), leaving you feeling more comfortable in your own skin.


Purified Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Macadamia Nut Oil, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Farnesol, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid.

Brand Overview

Cetaphil At-A-Glance

This familiar, widely distributed skin-care collection is manufactured by Galderma, the same company that markets the prescription products Differin and MetroGel.  Given the dermatology heritage of Galderma, it's surprising the Cetaphil line hasn't advanced beyond the basics. Yes, most of what's available is a safe bet for those with sensitive skin!

If you're in search of simplicity, this is a good line to consider. We should note that many of the formulas omit more complex anti-aging ingredients, but they can always be used alongside a serum or treatment of your choosing.

Strengths: Inexpensive; mostly fragrance-free products; affordable and widely available; offers complete ingredient lists on its website; the sunscreens offer sufficient UVA protection.

Weaknesses:A few formulas could be updated with more complex ingredients, but forgoing that there is a lot to like here.

For more information about Cetaphil, call (817) 961-5000 or visit www.cetaphil.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Wrong on this one

When I need to get back to the basics after any major breakout, to Cetaphil I go. Moisture is the need and this is the solution. No worries about irritation. It's gentle. does the job. Coupled with jojoba oil and that's all that is need to get back on track to clearer skin. Through the years, this is the only constant in the skincare arsenal.

Reviewed by

I have had skin conditions such as dermatitis since age 1. I have never went to a doctor that did not insist I use this product. If used consistently it does improve skin. Cetaphil lotion & cortisone cream are often mixed together for eczema treatment. If you are speaking strictly from a cosmetic view point, fine. I strongly disagree.

Reviewed by
Cetaphil best least complicated lotion

I have seborrhoreic dermatitis of the forehead. I literally have tried Cortisone all the way down the chain to Vaseline. AND the difficulty is not being able to find a stripped down cream FRAGRANCE FREE! Until I can see the dermatologist in Sept 2015 I was stuck. CETAPHIL LOTION (basic one) Filled the spot. I am exhausted in asking and surfing the net to find everyone searching for a cure and there is not one. The cause is a malazzezia yeast. And has to be treated as such.

Reviewed by
I love cetaphil

I love this stuff. It's one of the only drugstore moisturizers that doesn't break me out. While I have oily skin, I also have very sensitive skin and am incredibly prone to allergic reactions. Thankfully both the gentle cleanser and moisturizer do not bother my skin or make me break out in itchy hives. It's nice to have at least one brand I can rely on, although I wish they didn't add fragrance as it is an allergen.

Reviewed by
jessica, e
Nice for the price

I'm 63 with combination skin. I use a retinol product several nights a week, and Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion is great to use on top of the retinol. It is gentle, lightweight, non-irritating. It was recommended many years ago by a dermatologist. I only use it at night because it has no sunscreen.

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