We purchased Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy Body Lotion so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
I’m super dedicated when it comes to my skincare routine: My morning starts with a triple-cleanse session, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, and SPF. But I’m a bit more lax when it comes to my body. If I’m being real, most days I leave the house without a drop of lotion on my limbs. I know, I’m not proud of it.
I’ve skimped on skincare from the neck down for a long time now, but I’ve decided it’s time I stop being lazy and get glowing. (I guess you can call it adulting). So I turned to none other than the OG drugstore staple, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Daily Skin Therapy.
Back in the day, I could find this iconic cream everywhere, from my grandma’s bathroom counter to the lockers of my high school friends. I decided to bring it back, and the scent is already sparking memories.
PALMER’S COCOA BUTTER DAILY SKIN THERAPY
BEST FOR: Dry, parched, flaky skin.
USES: A daily moisturizer to restore hydration and heal dry skin all over the body.
POTENTIAL ALLERGENS: Do not use if you have a chocolate allergy.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Cocoa extract, coconut oil, vitamin E.
CLEAN?: No; contains liquid paraffin and PEG-8.
ABOUT THE BRAND: Palmer’s brand was founded over 170 years ago and was one of the very first to launch a full body care brand made of pure cocoa butter.
About My Skin: Sensitive with keratosis pilaris
It’s so strange how different the skin on my face and body are. My face isn’t the least bit sensitive—I can withstand anything from retinol and peels to dermaplaning without having to worry about post-treatment breakouts. But when it comes to the skin on my body, it’s a very different story. If I shave my legs, I have to wait at least a day before applying any kind of scented lotion; otherwise, I get a stinging rash that lingers all day.
But my biggest skin complaint comes courtesy of the bumps on my arms. I don’t know if it’s the cause of my lotion-free negligence or plain genetics, but I deal with keratosis pilaris. For me, it’s not the visible red pinholes you see in the hair follicle on the backs of the arms, but rather a bumpy, sandpaper-like texture on the sides of my biceps. Sometimes it gets so bad that if I scratch my arm, the bumps inevitably bleed and scab. And while I’ve found it annoying for a while now (because they’re more textured than visible, it’s more of a nuisance than anything), it wasn’t until it started spreading down my arm past my elbow that I knew I had to do something about it.
The Feel: Thick, non-greasy, and super hydrating
The yellow-tinted cream pumps out a formula thick enough to frost a cake. With a bit of massaging, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula absorbs deep into the skin (you can actually feel it hydrating beyond the surface) without leaving behind a greasy feel, so don’t worry about leaving oily fingerprints on everything.
The bottle boasts a “24-hour moisture” label, but to be honest, I’ve woken up the next day and still felt like my skin had a hydrated bounce to it. Up until I shower and wash it off, I can still feel that my skin has moisture in it.
The Ingredients: Lots of sweet-smelling moisturizers
- Theobroma Cacao Extract (Cocoa): The benefits of cocoa butter for the skin are well-extolled here at Byrdie and by dermatologists alike. It helps heal the skin, moisturizes, and has a long shelf-life to boot. It’s also high in antioxidants, which help fight free-radical damage (the stuff that leads to aging and dark patches).
- Glyceryl Stearate: A water-based ingredient found in many moisturizers, glyceryl stearate is commonly used in emulsion products, as it helps other ingredients bind (thereby creating that thick, lotion-like consistency we all know and love).
- Coconut Oil: This occlusive ingredient helps trap moisture below the skin and, of course, smells pretty great, too. Coconut oil also exfoliates and plumps the skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines.
The Scent: Distinctive and chocolatey
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Daily Skin Therapy lotion has a distinctive smell you can’t miss—it smells like a freshly mixed chocolate ganache. If you’re sensitive to scents, and specifically to chocolate, this lingering smell might be too much for you. Admittedly, the first couple of days of using it, the scent was a bit strong for me, too—I held my breath a bit when applying it, and I kept catching whiffs of it throughout the day, which gave me a sweet tooth—but as I got used to it, the chocolate smell didn’t bother me as much.
How to Apply: Slather it on
Dispense a couple of pumps onto dry or damp hands and liberally apply to wherever your skin is dry (that means your legs, hands, even your stomach). We find that applying the product to damp skin works best, as it helps the water absorb into the skin.
The Results: Calming and deeply moisturizing
After only a couple of days of slathering on this thick, cocoa-scented cream, I noticed the bumpy texture of my arms began to smoothen out a bit. I could still feel them on my upper arms, but they weren’t rough or scabbed like before. After a week, my arms are so soft, and I have only a couple of bumps that indicate I had keratosis pilaris. I don’t know if it was the blend of cocoa extract, coconut oil, and vitamin E that did the trick, or if incorporating any kind of lotion into my body care routine did it, but I couldn’t be happier with the results.
The Value: As good as it gets
Five dollars for a 13.5 oz. bottle is about as affordable as it gets. If you’re looking for an unpretentious cream that does your body good, you can’t go wrong with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Daily Skin Therapy. And if for some reason you decide it’s not a good fit, you’ve only lost out on a few bucks—so why not give it a try?
Similar Products: You’ve got options
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion: Another accessible drugstore option, this body lotion from cult-favorite brand CeraVe ($13) also provides 24-hour hydration and is great for normal to dry skin types. It also doubles as a moisturizer for your hands and face, so feel free to rub this on wherever your skin could use some extra attention.
Kiehl’s Creme de Corps: Like the idea of a thick, cocoa butter-infused formula and willing to shell out a little extra cash? This Kiehl’s body cream ($20) may be your answer: The rich formula makes for a truly luxurious experience, then goes on to nourish dry skin while improving barrier health. Read Byrdie’s full review here.
If you’re dealing with keratosis pilaris, dry, flaky patches, or sensitive skin, my suggestion is you go out and stock up on Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy Body Lotion, stat. Even with a scent that might take some getting used to (at least it did for me), this is one of those skincare staples you’ll find yourself reaching for whenever you need some extra hydration that designer-scented lotions just can’t give you. At the very least, keep it nearby for when areas like your knees, elbows, hands, and feet need a quick boost of moisture.