this thing's incredible

This £12 Body Moisturiser Outperforms Every Luxury Lotion I’ve Tried

Photo-Illustration: retailer

I like my skin to be so soft that I’m in danger of sliding right out of my seat. In my quest to attain baby-soft skin, and in my job as a beauty writer, I can confidently say I’ve tried nearly everything on the market, from super-whipped, thick creams from expensive bath and body brands, to high-tech body serums from cosmeceutical companies and luxurious oils from natural brands. But nothing is ever quite as good as CeraVe Moisturising Cream.

There are actually quite a few barriers to my ultimate goal of cashmere softness. Firstly, I have allergy-prone skin that especially hates essential oils and fragrance. Secondly, my skin is naturally on the dehydrated side, so I need something ultra-hydrating. And finally, I use self-tanner pretty much year-round, and a lot of ingredients found in body lotions like exfoliating acids and moisturising oils can make my tan fade unevenly.

My search represented a Venn diagram of cheap, effective, and unscented. So when the dermatologist friends and fellow /r/SkincareAddiction lurkers I consulted insisted that CeraVe was a single perfect circle, I listened. However, until 2019, it was tricky to find in the U.K, so my first purchase in 2017 was online and included insane shipping costs from the U.S. When it ticked as many boxes as I’d hoped, I began stocking up on every trip to the States, sometimes packing two or three tubs into my case. Usually, body cream application would go something like this: Apply, possibly wince at post-shaving sting, feel a bit greasy for an hour or so afterward, and before long, my skin would feel rough once more. However, the first time I used CeraVe, it absorbed with zero irritation or stickiness, and hours later, my skin still felt soft, supple and smooth.

Here’s what makes it special. First, the formulation. It contains three essential ceramides, which are fatty acids that help your skin retain moisture. Ceramides are also what helps keep your skin barrier strong, which has the dual benefit of locking in hydration, and also keeping potential irritants out. It also has hyaluronic acid, which also helps bind water to the skin. We all have ceramides and hyaluronic acid naturally in our skin, but never enough. In fact, people who have eczema and psoriasis usually have far fewer ceramides than normal in their skin — which makes sense when you remember that eczema and psoriasis usually present as dry, itchy patches. I don’t have eczema, but I do have dehydrated skin, so it’s nice to know that this lotion is doing more than just sticking a plaster over the problem; it’s actually helping my skin in the long run.

I can use this whenever I want, and it also doesn’t give me heat rash (another fun allergy surprise I sometimes get in summer). It spreads easily on wet skin, but I can also use it for spot touch-ups on dry skin, and then immediately get dressed again without sticking to my clothes. It’s suitable for use with fake tan, and it’s also totally fine to use this lotion on your face. A number of dermatologists I know actually suggest it for facial use if you have super-sensitive skin and/or want a very streamlined routine. At £12 for almost 500ml of product, I feel happy applying it with wild abandon. I’d estimate that one tub stretches at least two months, but even when I am nearing the end of a tub and scrimping somewhat, even a light coat leaves lasting softness.

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This £12 Moisturiser Betters Every Luxury Lotion I’ve Tried