15 Of The Best-Smelling Body Lotions — Every Scent Profile Imaginable
We'll be frank: Fragrance in skin care isn't for everyone. If you'd rather use something fragrance-free, we have a list of 11 of our favorites for you. Nevertheless, while some people may be sensitive to fragrances, that doesn't mean everyone is. If you're one to reach for products that delight your senses, you're in luck because we've put together a list of the best-smelling body lotions that actually keep your skin hydrated, without any harmful chemicals.
Why choose a scented body lotion?
Why use scented body lotion you might ask? Well, it can actually be an aromatherapeutic experience. Here's what that can look like: Using a citrus-scented body lotion in the morning can help awaken the senses. On the other hand, reaching for something with lavender and eucalyptus notes may help you relax before bed. So what scent you choose should depend on what sort of end result you're going for—more on that later. Keep in mind that this isn't a new practice, as scented cosmetics have been used for ages.
In fact, evidence from Ancient Egypt tells us that aromatic oils were likely being used before 4500 B.C. The ancient Egyptians are renowned for their knowledge of cosmetics and fragrant ointments—with their most famous herbal preparation being "Kyphi," which was a multipurpose spiritual blend of 16 ingredients.
Now, while we can't promise these body lotions are crafted with 16 different fragrance notes, we can tell you that they smell divine and will keep your skin hydrated and soft, sans harmful additives.
Best-smelling body lotions.
- Best fresh: mbg neroli postbiotic body lotion ($30); shop.mindbodygreen.com
- Best floral: Carter+Jane Lilac Snow Oil Butter ($48); carterandjane.com
- Best citrus: Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Body Lotion ($28); sephora.com
- Best subtle: Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion ($8); amazon.com
- Best CBD: Prima Skin Therapy Ultra-Rich Body Butter ($32); prima.co
- Best fruity: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Pink Dream Body Cream ($28); sephora.com
- Best musky: Ursa Major Perfect Zen Body Lotion ($28); credobeauty.com
- Best relaxing: Pipette Relaxing Body Lotion ($14); amazon.com
- Best lavender: Dr. Bronner's Organic Lotion in Lavender Coconut ($10); amazon.com
- Best herbal: Grown Alchemist Body Cream-Mandarin Rosemary Leaf ($26); dermstore.com
- Best sweet: Native Coconut and Vanilla Lotion ($11); target.com
- Best naked: Kate McLeod Daily Stone ($38); katemcleod.com
- Best marine: Repêchage Vita Cura® Cellusea™ Body Contour Cream ($70); repechage.com
- Best nutty: Drunk Elephant Sili™ Body Lotion ($20); sephora.com
- Best tropical: Saltair Island Orchid Body Lotion ($14); saltair.com
Best fresh: mindbodygreen neroli postbiotic body lotion
If you're looking for a body lotion that does it all and smells good, well here you go. The mbg postbiotic body lotion hydrates the skin and traps moisture for all-day nourishment. Unlike many body lotions, this blend includes pre- and postbiotics that work to support the skin's microbiome (which plays a role in overall skin health). The scent is created thoughtfully: For top notes, you'll smell bergamot, ylang-ylang, and petitgrain. In the middle, neroli is the predominant note. The base is warm cedarwood. Say yes to microbiome care that doubles as an aromatic experience.
Pro: Great for everyday use
Con: Subtle, slightly floral scent (in case you're looking for something stronger)
mbg neroli postbiotic body lotion ($30); shop.mindbodygreen.com
Best floral: Carter+Jane Lilac Snow Oil Butter
If floral scents are your go-to, you should probably purchase this product ASAP. Infused with Lilac Absolute Oil from a very small farm in Bulgaria, this blend will mentally transport you to a dreamy flower field in seconds. The consistency of the oil butter is unlike many other body lotions or body creams. It hydrates deeply and, thanks to the botanical oils, leaves your skin glowing.
Pro: Leaves skin glowing
Con: Small amount
Carter+Jane Lilac Snow Oil Butter ($48); carterandjane.com
Best citrus: Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Body Lotion
For those who shower in the morning, adding citrus scents to your body care routine can help awaken the senses. If this is you, then you may want to reach for this body lotion, as it whips together a trio of citrus notes: Italian lemon, orange, and grapefruit. This lotion is great for brightening the skin as well because of its high concentration of vitamin C.
Pro: Great for the morning
Con: Citrus oils & extracts can be irritating for some
Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Body Lotion ($28); sephora.com
Best subtle: Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion
For those who like a little bit of scent in their products but shy away from strong fragrance, this is a great option. This body lotion helps ease dry skin and leaves it hydrated hours after application. Nourishing ingredients like grape seed oil and vitamin E work together to leave skin feeling smooth and actually help the overall health of your skin too.
Pro: Great for dry skin
Con: Not vegan
Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion ($8); amazon.com
Best CBD: Prima Skin Therapy Ultra-Rich Body Butter
If you want to add a little CBD therapy into your daily routine, this ultra-rich body butter by Prima is a great way to do so. The cream contains 275 milligrams of CBD, blended together with shea butter and five different organic oils including two of our favorites, jojoba, and hemp seed oil. The natural fragrance is made of an aromatic blend of citrus, clove, geranium, and ylang-ylang essential oils. This formula is great for spot-treating extra-dry areas like the elbows and the knees.
Pro: CBD helps soothe the skin
Con: Not the best for full-body, daily use
Prima Skin Therapy Ultra-Rich Body Butter ($32); prima.co
Best fruity: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Pink Dream Body Cream
If you love the smell of fresh-cut watermelon in the summertime, we've found a product that mimics that same scene. You may not see watermelon on skin care ingredient lists often, but watermelon seed butter creates a lightweight and creamy texture that helps moisturize skin. This body cream uses natural AHAs that gently exfoliate the skin to reveal a bright, more even-toned complexion on the body. Pro tip: Don't use this body lotion right after you shave, as the exfoliating ingredients may trigger a burning sensation.
Pro: Great for dull skin
Con: Not the best for post-shave
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Pink Dream Body Cream ($28); sephora.com
Best musky: Ursa Major Perfect Zen Body Lotion
If you like thin lotions that take minimal effort to spread, this lotion is a great option. Aloe vera juice and glycerin work to create a hydrating layer on the skin without leaving a heavy, creamy film. The musky scent comes from sandalwood, rosemary, and cedarwood oil to create a natural aroma when applied. The consistency is great for those hot summer days when your skin needs hydration but you cringe at the thought of layering on a thick body cream.
Pro: Great for summer
Con: Strong scent
Ursa Major Perfect Zen Body Lotion ($28); credobeauty.com
Best relaxing: Pipette Relaxing Body Lotion
This one is a great option for someone looking to stick with natural ingredients, like expecting and postpartum moms. The blend of rose, bergamot, and mandarin orange oils help to ease stress and lift your mood. This lotion uses squalane, which helps to moisturize the skin without a heavy residual feeling. This blend is dermatologist tested, pediatrician approved, and safe for sensitive skin, so you can hydrate your skin worry-free.
Pro: All natural
Con: Doesn't contain active ingredients
Pipette Relaxing Body Lotion ($14); amazon.com
Best lavender: Dr. Bronner's Organic Lotion in Lavender Coconut
This one is perfect for aromatherapy on a budget. Dr. Bronner's products smell divine and hydrate the skin, thanks to the organic essential oils packed alongside ultra-hydrating ingredients like jojoba and coconut oil. This blend is a traditional lavender lotion reimaged. These products are highly emollient, so a little goes a long way.
Con: The pump top isn't the most travel-friendly
Dr. Bronner's Organic Lotion in Lavender Coconut ($10); amazon.com
Best herbal: Grown Alchemist Body Cream Mandarin Rosemary Leaf
Rosemary is not the most common scent used in body care but is definitely one that has a cult following. If you're a rosemary fanatic, look no further than this rosemary leaf and mandarin body cream. Made with a blend of nourishing oils, this cream may feel greasy going on, but it soaks into the skin quickly.
Pro: Absorbs quickly
Con: Greasy feeling going on
Grown Alchemist Body Cream-Mandarin Rosemary Leaf ($26); dermstore.com
Best sweet: Native Coconut and Vanilla Lotion
Sometimes a certain smell can make you feel like you're somewhere else, even if it's just for a few minutes. This lotion will give you the energy of a sweet island escape. This is a lightweight body lotion that rubs in with ease, and you don't have to use much product to get adequate hydration. You definitely get a bang for your buck with this large bottle that's under $15, too.
Con: Large bottle isn't travel-friendly
Native Coconut and Vanilla Lotion ($11); target.com
Best naked scent: Kate McLeod Daily Stone
If you're looking to cut down on plastic, this moisturizing sphere is a great place to start. Simply warm the stone with your hands and glide along warm skin (use right after a bath or shower for best results). The lotion will melt into your skin, leaving behind an ever-so-subtle scent of rose, frankincense, and neroli—notes often used in "skin"-type scents. You may smell the scent as you apply, but it won't stick on you like other strong fragrance blends.
Pro: Sustainable option
Con: Can be difficult to apply
Kate McLeod Daily Stone ($38); katemcleod.com
Best marine: Repêchage Vita Cura® Cellusea™ Body Contour Cream
It can be difficult to find a firming lotion that smells like, well, anything. Luckily, this body contour cream by Repêchage changes that pattern. This cream is thick but spreads easily with minimal residue and contains a biopolymer complex that works alongside caffeine and Coenzyme A to smooth and tighten the skin. The scent is fresh and gives off a marine profile with hints of citrus. Apply this cream to your whole body or just to areas you want to keep firm.
Pro: Helps smooth skin
Con: Price point
Repêchage Vita Cura® Cellusea™ Body Contour Cream ($70); repechage.com
Best nutty: Drunk Elephant Sili™ Body Lotion
This lotion is a perfect option for those who love the scent of shea butter. This lotion works to restore dull, dry skin and protect from free radicals. The five-ceramide blend helps to fill spaces between the skin cells, giving a smoother finish to the skin. Marula butter is rich in antioxidant polyphenols, lipids, and fatty acids, which together help to restore and protect the skin barrier.
Pro: Protects skin barrier
Con: Thin consistency
Drunk Elephant Sili™ Body Lotion ($20); sephora.com
Best tropical: Saltair Island Orchid Body Lotion
How best to describe this scent? Perhaps it's as if you brought a bouquet to the beach. The duo of coconut oil and cupuaçu butter works to keep your skin hydrated, while orchid extract adds a hint of vacation-fit floral notes. Other standout ingredients include niacinamide and ascorbyl glucoside, which work in unison to even skin tone. The texture is thick enough to stay on your skin but never gives a greasy feeling.
Pro: Smells like vacation
Con: Not fit for body acne
Saltair Island Orchid Body Lotion ($14); saltair.com
How to use aromatherapy in body care.
As we mentioned before, different scents have different purposes in the world of aromatherapy. If you're wondering which scent profiles to look for, here's a quick guide:
- Citrus scents: Any citrus-based scent will help to invigorate the senses. This makes citrus notes great to use in the morning, either in your body wash or in a scented lotion post-rinse. Look for lemon peel, grapefruit, bergamot, and orange notes (either in essential oil, extract or synthetic; opt for synthetic versions if you have easily irritated skin, as citrus can be strong).
- Peppermint: Any sort of mint works to awaken the senses as well but can also offer a refreshing feeling to the skin, similar to how your mouth feels after using a minty wash. If you enjoy that cool, refreshed feeling, then look for peppermint extract or essential oil in your products.
- Eucalyptus: Perhaps the most popular essential oil, eucalyptus works to relax the mind and body. This is why you will often smell eucalyptus when you walk into a spa. This oil is typically blended with other relaxing essential oils to create an ahh-worthy aroma. Pro tip: Eucalyptus bundles can be hung from your showerhead for even more aromatherapy benefits.
- Lavender: As we all know, lavender is the poster child of essential oils. It can be used to aid in relaxation and is a perfect ingredient to look for in any creams you'll lather on before hopping into bed.
- Rose: Who doesn't love the soft and subtle scent of a rose? In one study, participants who smelled rose essential oil had a significant decrease in breathing rate compared to the placebo group. And not only were the effects physical, but the participants also rated themselves as calmer and more relaxed1 afterward.
- Neroli: Neroli, made from the flower of bitter orange trees, is a nice balance between floral, citrus, and earthy. Neroli essential oil not only has mood-boosting properties, but it's also actually great for the skin: In a review2 of the biological activities of citrus oils published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, researchers said neroli is a "strong antioxidant."
mbg review process.
At mbg, high standards are earned—and there are no shortcuts. Our beauty editors stay up to date on the latest ingredient research and innovation. It's a dynamic, continuously evolving space, and it's important we look into the science so we can make informed choices about which formulas earn our stamp of approval (figuratively speaking).
Our high standards also come from testing products—many, many products. Our editors and writers rigorously test and research the products featured in our roundups to offer you the best, most informed recommendations. When we write reviews, you can trust we spend quality time with the formulas: We don't simply rave about products we've slathered on the back of our hand. We endorse products we've tried and loved.
Learn more about our testing process and clean beauty standards here.
If you're a fan of scented lotions, this should be your go-to guide. While not all fragrances are created equal, natural fragrances can be formulated to be beneficial for the skin, except for those who are sensitive to it. Using a scented body lotion can be an aromatherapeutic experience, so you should make the most of it by selecting a lotion that highlights scents that match the feeling you’re after. If you want to level up your in-shower experience as well, check out this list of eight ways to add aromatherapy into your shower routine.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.