Emollients vs Moisturizers

Ever wondered what the difference is between a moisturizer and an emollient? When buying cosmetics the terms are often used interchangeably, leaving most consumers scratching their heads and wondering which is better.

Well according to dermatologists, an emollient typically describes a single ingredient, whereas a moisturizer describes a finished product made up of several ingredients, including some emollients.

Additionally, moisturizers are generally used to combat dryness by adding moisture, while emollients are used to soften and soothe the skin.

Examples of emollient used in many over the counter moisturizers include Isopropyl Myristate, Myristic Acid and Cetearyl Alcohol. More natural emollients include Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Lanolin.

Beauty Tip: The best time to apply moisturizer is about five minutes after you have gotten out of the shower and your skin is still slightly damp. At this point your pores are still open and any crème applied will be locked in once your pores close.


  1. I always thought of ‘thick’ when hearing/reading the term ’emollient’. Moisturizers are lighter, probably because they’re made of so much stuff as you’ve mentioned. Thanks for this tidbit!

  2. I think I’m about to get up on the Shea Butter. Either that or Aveeno Oatmeal Moisturizer. I might just do both. I’m having a battle right now with dry skin. Thanks for the tip BS! 🙂

  3. Shea Butter oil/creme and Coconut oil/creme are the best products for you skin and hair. I also use olay hydrating moistuizer and olay sunscreen on my face. Been using these products for about four years and I always feel clean and supple after every use. Drinking lots of water helps as well. I learned that drinking at least six glasses of water a day help maintain weight especially if you love food like me. It allows you to cheat a little.

  4. @ Lisa if you cannot find pure Shea Butter product check the ingredient labels. Make sure shea butter is listed early in the list and not at the end. Ingredients are usually listed from greatest amounts to least. Stay away from ingredients that start off with mineral oil and/or petroleum for they clog pores in skin and weighs down hair.

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