Save or Splurge? CeraVe daily moisturizing lotion vs. Equate

Comparing CeraVe daily moisturizing lotion and the generic Walmart version. Spoiler alert: They're more similar than you think!

I’ve never tried Walmart beauty or personal care products before, but the other day, I was browsing the Walmart website and I noticed that Equate (Walmart’s house brand) makes a generic version of CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion. This post will compare these two products’ ingredients side by side to see if you it’s worth splurging on CeraVe, or saving a few bucks by buying Equate instead.

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion Review

Equate Beauty Moisturizing Lotion vs. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion ingredients

Equate Beauty Moisturizing Lotion ingredients

water (aqua), glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate ceteareth-20, ceramide np, ceramide ap, ceramide eop, sodium hyaluronate, cholesterol, dimethicone, polysorbate 20, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, potassium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, cetyl alcohol, disodium edta, phytosphingosine, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, benzyl alcohol, carbomer, xanthan gum

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion ingredients

purified water, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, behentrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20 and cetearyl alcohol, ceramide 3, ceramide 6-ii, ceramide 1, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol, dimethicone, polysorbate 20, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, potassium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, cetyl alcohol, disodium edta, phytosphingosine, methylparaben, propylparaben, carbomer, xanthan gum

It looks like CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion and Equate Beauty Moisturizing Lotion contain many of the same ingredients, including glycerin, sodium hyaluronate (same as hyaluronic acid), cholesterol, phytosphingosine, and dimethicone.

Upon first glance, it looks like the two main differences appear to be:

  • the type of ceramides: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion uses ceramide 3, ceramide 6-ii, and ceramide 1, while Equate uses ceramide np, ceramide ar, and ceramide eop. (However, like sodium hyaluronate vs. hyaluronic acid, it turns out that these are actually just different names for the same ceramides.)
  • different preservatives: CeraVe uses parabens, while Equate uses iodopropynyl butylcarbamate and benzyl alcohol as preservatives

But first impressions can be wrong

It turns out that these products are a lot more similar than they look. According to this report on ceramides, ceramide EOP is the new name for ceramide 1, ceramide NP is the new name for ceramide 3, and ceramide AP is the new name for ceramide 6-ii. This means that these two products essentially contain the same ceramides (and even list them in the same order), even though they sound different. I’m not sure why CeraVe is using ceramide names that retired in May 2014, but it looks like Equate/Walmart is more in touch with the times in this case.

Consult this Personal Care Council document for more details about International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) name changes.

My dad the chemist’s review of Equate Beauty Moisturizing Lotion vs. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Dear Emily,
f there two products are marketed by the same company,the performance should be the same, if they are done by two different companies,I would choose the product marketed by the larger company ( more well-known in the market), the difference on the ingredients between these two are just preservative system, which doesn’t impact performance at all.


My dad notes that the different types of preservative systems used in these two products doesn’t give one an edge over the other. He thinks that when products include beneficial ingredients like ceramides and sodium hylauronate, you should choose the more well known company over the generic/cheaper brand, since these ingredients tend to be expensive (so they may be included at lower concentration in a cheaper product).

Conclusion: Try ‘em both

Interestingly, this comparison introduced me to the fact that certain INCI ceramide names have been retired for years now, but are still appearing on CeraVe’s ingredient labels. Before you make a snap judgement that two products contain different types of ingredients, make sure that they’re not listing the same ingredients, just under different names. That said, you do get what pay for, so it may be true that expensive ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid will be included at higher concentrations in the name-brand product (CeraVe, in this case).

That doesn’t mean that the Equate version of this product isn’t worth trying—it’s possible that it may be moisturizing enough for you. But if you truly need a daily moisturizing lotion that delivers the benefits of ceramides and sodium hyaluronate, it may be safer to splurge and go for the name brand (CeraVe) in this case.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t tried the Equate version, but I really like CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion. It’s really lightweight and non-greasy, but it moisturizes my skin enough to keep it from getting itchy.

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