Lotions are least effective at replacing and retaining lost moisture in very dry skin. But they disappear after application very quickly, making them the most convenient to use and possibly helpful for normal and oily skin.
Creams are heavier than lotions and are therefore more effective at sealing in moisture for normal to dry skin.
Ointments, such as Vaseline, are thick and are best for preventing moisture from escaping from the skin, but you may find that they are inconvenient to use regularly.
Healthcare professionals advise women with very dry skin against using soap and alcohol-based astringents (toners), which typically dry out the skin.