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These In-Shower Moisturizers Ended My Lifelong Grudge Against Lotion

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I hate putting on lotion. I find the process of getting out of the shower, drying off, slicking on cold, greasy lotion, then waiting around for it to sink in completely unbearable. What’s worse than wiggling into jeans that feel glued on or sliding around in heels because your feet are still slippery? Unfortunately, due to my deep-toned dry skin and desire to stay youthful, lotion is nonnegotiable. I accepted that this was the card I’d been dealt until one auspicious Christmas, when I received a game-changing gift from my aunt.

My aunt also bequeathed me my beauty obsession. Hair, nails, skin, and general pampering are her forte. My mother is not as skin-conscious as she, and I swear I’ve seen my father use Dawn dish soap in his bath before. My aunt, however, is the walking version of a Sephora reviews page — she knows it all. And every year for the past ten Christmases, she’s given me an epic skin-care basket filled with all of my favorites. I’ve discovered some of my holy-grail products in these hauls — like Aveda’s Rosemary Mint Bath Bar and Origin’s Smarty Plants CC Cream — as well as new things I might not have considered trying.

A couple years ago, she gifted me two bottles of Curél Hydra Therapy. The so-called wet-skin moisturizer claimed that it could deliver extensive, greaseless moisture — all you had to do was apply it in the shower and towel-dry after. While versions of these moisturizers have been on the market for a while, I had always been skeptical. I figured they were just as slimy feeling as the lotions I loathed, and not that fast-drying. Yet the Hydra Therapy followed through on its promises — my skin was so gleaming I looked like a glazed doughnut (without being as sticky as one). This formula, along with a few others, is now in my regular, everyday rotation, but that hasn’t stopped me from eyeing more I want to try. Read on for all the wet-skin moisturizers I use, and the ones I plan to add to my growing collection.

Wet-Skin Moisturizers I Can’t Stop Buying

This is the one that kicked it off. My aunt who gave it to me must have noticed that I was starting to develop reptilian scales. Curel’s formula is water-activated, so it is best used right at the end of a shower, before the drying process, when your skin is really wet and your pores are open. I keep mine in the shower and slather it on after I shut the water off but before I towel off. I rub it in just like I would an ordinary lotion, and then (and only then) do I towel-dry. And voilà — baby-soft skin. It’s filled with ceramides to lock in hydration and restore the skin barrier. Best of all, it’s quick drying and non-greasy. There is even an anti-itch formula that delivers even more intense moisture — perfect for the winter or for those with eczema.

Hydra Therapy is unscented and comes in only two formulations. So when it comes to versatility, Jergens takes the cake, with a whopping four variations of its wet-skin moisturizer. You can choose from formulas enriched with shea butter/oil, almond oil, argan oil, or coconut oil. In my opinion, the coconut version smells the best, but the shea butter/oil formula just cannot be beat. Its skin-softening properties are seriously shocking. Plus, since it doesn’t have a pump (like Hydra Therapy), it’s easy to travel with — hotel showers can be so drying.

Rich is the word that comes to mind when I think of this stuff. Ro’s is loaded with almond oil, shea butter, cupuaçu butter, fair-trade cocoa butter, argan oil, and vitamins — so it feels lavish when it goes on the skin. And a little goes a long way — a good thing given its steeper price point. Unlike Curél and Jergens, you actually rinse Ro’s off (like a hair conditioner). The best part: Ro’s is vegan, cruelty-free, ethically sourced, and comes in a 100 percent recycled package (which you can return to the store to be recycled again).

Another Lush favorite, Buffy is basically just a hard bar of shea and cocoa butters mixed with ground almonds, rice, and aduki beans to slough away dead skin cells. It is the only wet-skin moisturizer I’ve used that has exfoliating properties. I usually run it under the shower stream to get it wet, rub it into my skin with slight pressure, then rinse it off. Afterward, dry skin? I don’t know her [Mariah Carey voice].

Wet-Skin Moisturizers I’d Like to Try

When I was growing up, African Black Soap was a staple in my family’s Nigerian household. African Black Soap is known to allegedly help with various skin conditions, like hyperpigmentation, acne, and stretch marks. It deeply cleanses, clarifies, exfoliates, moisturizes — hell, it may even pay your rent. Needless to say, I am extremely curious to see the ingredient in action within a wet-skin moisturizer, especially from a brown-girl-friendly brand like SheaMoisture.

I am clearly a fan of products that contain shea and/or cocoa butters, which I love for their distinct, bakery-esque smell. Though many of the aforementioned wet-skin conditioners contain cocoa butter, I’ve yet to come across one that replicated its heavenly scent. Additionally, coming from a classic brand like Nivea — an institution in hydration for over a century — this has to be good.

The French company is most known for its cult-classic shea butter hand cream. I have two tubes in my nightstand drawer and keep mini-tubes in my backpack, suitcase, car, and purse. To quote Frank’s RedHot commercial star Jean Hamilton, “I put that shit on everything.” While L’Occitane’s shower oil is advertised as a body cleanser, one Sephora reviewer said that she uses it as she would a wet-skin moisturizer and that it works just as well.

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These In-Shower Moisturizers Ended My Grudge Against Lotion