If there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s that there are no two greater compliments than, “You smell good” and “Your skin is glowing.” And nowadays, you don't have to stack a zillion beauty products to achieve the goal of smelling divine and having soft, hydrated skin—investing in a quality body oil fragrance lets you have the best of both worlds (and keep the flattering remarks coming.)
A body oil fragrance is a multipurpose product that helps simplify your routine, meaning fewer purchases and less time spent layering product after product. “Body oil fragrances not only moisturize and protect the skin’s barrier but also offer the added benefit of a longer lasting and more intense scent to the wearer,” says Sopreye Chaine, fragrance enthusiast and content creator behind the Instagram account, ScentsandStuff. Below, Chaine and other pros share their tips for picking scented body oils that pull double-duty as a moisturizer and a perfume. Plus, their picks to shop for yourself.
The best body oil fragrances, at a glance:
- Best firming: Sol de Janeiro, Bum Bum Firmeza Body Oil, $52
- Best budget: Saltair, Pink Beach Body Oil, $22
- Best for dry skin: Osea, Undaria Algae Body Oil, $52
- Best for sensitive skin: Moroccanoil, Dry Body Oil, $48
- Best for summer: Ellis Brooklyn, Sun Fruit Body Oil, $70
- Best for long-lasting hydration: Kopari, Golden Aura Body Oil, $39
- Best for daytime: Tatcha, Hinoki Body Oil, $58
- Best lightweight: Prima, Beyond Body Oil, $56
- Best for nighttime: Alo, Head-to-Toe Glow Oil, $48
- Best shimmering: Tom Ford, Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil, $34
How are body oil fragrances different from perfumes?
The key difference between body oil fragrances and perfume oils is that rather than just offering a nice scent, body oil fragrances moisturize and hydrate the skin. “Since oils are rich in emollient and occlusive properties, they help to support the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture,” says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, FAAD. “Many oils also have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.” These functional fragrances contain nourishing oils, such as jojoba, almond, or coconut oil, imparting hydration and softening benefits to the skin’s barrier.
Additionally, Chaine says perfumes and perfume oils differ in that they’re, “a concentrated form of fragrance that typically lacks the moisturizing properties of a body oil.” As such, “they have a higher concentration of aromatic compounds and are specifically formulated to provide a long-lasting scent.”
The two also differ when it comes to the application and longevity. “Perfume oils are usually applied sparingly to pulse points such as your neck and wrists as they are very potent,” says Chaine. Contrarily, body oil fragrances are lathered on from the neck to the toes, the same way you would rub on a body cream.
What to look for
If you're into body oil fragrances, good news! There are tons of options out there for every taste—be it woody, citrusy, coconutty, spicy, or something in between. Chaine suggests thinking about scents that truly vibe with you and suit your style. Also, check that the fragrance isn't too faint or too strong for your liking. Our advice? Grab a tester or give it a whiff in-store before committing to the full-sized bottle
When you're on the lookout for a body oil fragrance, Dr. King suggests being ingredient-savvy. Go for the good stuff —natural ingredients that treat your skin right, especially if your complexion is a bit touchy. She suggests jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and argan oil as they're loaded with omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Dr. King advises that these carrier oils should make up most of the product’s formulation to be the safest for sensitive skin.
Speaking of sensitive skin, be sure to brush up on your allergens, too. If you are sensitized, Dr. King recommends avoiding body oil fragrances that contain notes of lime seed oil, lemon peel oil, limonene, linalool, citronellol, tea tree oil, ylang-ylang, lemongrass oil, sandalwood oil, clove oil, jasmine absolute oil, and narcissus absolute oil, as these properties are a common cause of contact dermatitis.
Fragranced body oils have become a lot more popular in recent years. “As layering has become the new beauty craze, brands have leveraged that opportunity to create complementary body oils for their fragrances," says Chaine. She adds that incorporating a scented body oil into any fragrance layering routine enhances the longevity of your chosen scent because body oils are more concentrated than traditional perfumes as they are formulated with less or no alcohol. “Plus, layering allows you to tailor the fragrance to your liking, experimenting with different combinations to create your signature scent by pairing your fragrance with a body oil that has a matching or complementary scent," she says.
Body oils have a reputation for being messy, so how you apply them matters. Luckily, body oil fragrances are offered in different forms, such as a rollerball, spray, dropper, or pump—pick whichever works best for you.
Shop the best body oil fragrances
Key notes: pistachio and salted caramel
If you love Sol De Janiero’s Bum Bum cream because of its iconic nutty, sweet gourmand, vanilla aroma, and nourishing properties, you’ll also love its Bum Bum Firmeza Body Oil. The Brazilian olive oil and Guaraná Caffeine+ Complex visibly firm and de-puff the skin, while the microalgae extract helps with skin aging and inflammation. “I love this body oil for its firming effect… and its non-greasy hydration that leaves my skin silky,” Chaine says. “The delightful blend of pistachio, salted caramel, and vanilla notes makes it an aromatic treat for the senses.”
The oil is super emollient; a little goes a long way, so you can justify the $52 price tag as the bottle will last you a long time. So whether you’re heading to a pool party or going out with the girls for a night in the city, apply a few pumps all over your body and watch your skin glisten.
Key ingredients: Guaraná Caffeine+ Complex, microalgae extract, Brazilian olive oil
Size: 3.4 fl. oz.
- Soothes and de-puffs
- A little goes a long way
- Scent doesn’t last all day
Key notes: coconut, almond blossom, vanilla
Saltair Pink Beach Body Oil is a fan favorite for good reason—it understands the assignment. It features kukui and squalane, which soothe and moisturize the skin; cacay and moringa, which tackle the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines; and fermented saururus, which ensures you’re left with a non-greasy feeling. But the best part is undoubtedly the scent, which smells like a tropical island surrounded by pink sand and cool, blue water. (The only thing missing is a frozen drink.)
Pro tip: Mix it with Saltair’s complimentary body lotion or a cream of your choice for the ultimate glow. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Key ingredients: fermented saururus, kukui, cacay, moringa, and squalane
Size: 4 fl. oz.
- Absorbs quickly
- Only available in one size
Key notes: grapefruit, lime, and cypress with mango and mandarin
Dry-skin shoppers, listen up: If you struggle to hydrate your skin during the winter, Osea’s Undaria Algae Body Oil will be your new BFF. First, it’s packed with sun-kissed citrus and passionfruit notes, a mood booster to start your day on the right foot. Second, it features undaria seaweed, white lupin, and botanical oil, which knock out dryness, soften skin, and leave your skin glowing. It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin, meaning it won’t transfer onto your clothes.
Key ingredients: undaria seaweed, white lupin, botanical oil blend
Size: 1, 5, or 9.6 fl. oz.
- Makes skin glow
- Deeply hydrates
- Take a while to soak into the skin
Key notes: spicy amber and sweet florals
If you know and love Moroccanoil for its hydrating hair products and signature delicious fragrance that can be noticed a mile away, then its Dry Body Oil is for you. The argan, olive, and avocado oils work together to combat dry and flaky winter skin, while the citrus, vanilla, and amber scents lend a musky, calm, and well-rounded aroma. The best part? Since it’s a dry oil, it is easily absorbed by the skin and does not leave any oily residue on the surface. Plus, it comes with a spray applicator, which makes it easier, cleaner, and faster to dispense the product onto the skin. Apply it at night with the Moroccanoil Body Butter ($38) to wake up with baby-soft skin.
Key ingredients: argan oil, essential fatty acids, olive and avocado oils
Size: 3.4 fl. oz. or 1.7 fl. oz.
- Easy to apply
- Scent is light
Key notes: fresh fig, jasmine, vanilla planifolia
We don’t know about you, but once the summer rolls around, we yearn for one thing: sun-kissed, glowing skin that smells like a tropical fruit basket. That’s exactly what Ellis Brooklyn’s Sun Fruit Body Oil delivers.
This body oil fragrance is like summer in a bottle. It’s scented with the brand’s iconic “Sun Fruit” fragrance, which is beachy and tropical, thanks to fresh fig, pear, orange blossom, and coconut notes. Plus, it has skin-loving ingredients like jojoba oil and squalane, which leave your barrier fresh and nourished. Apply this all over your body in the morning, and watch how the formula leaves your skin with a subtle yet flattering sheen and a glorious scent that goes anywhere with you.
Key ingredients: squalane, jojoba oil, calendula flower extract
Size: 3.2 fl. oz.
- Strong scent—might be polarizing for those who don’t like fruity fragrance
Key notes: jasmine, toasted sugar, and a hint of musk
Hyaluronic acid is an active ingredient in many skin-care products but is rarely included in body care, which is why Kopari set out to create the Golden Aura Body Oil. This product features hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient, allowing the moisture to penetrate deep down beneath the skin and combat dehydrated skin (aka rough, dull skin that creases and wrinkles easily). It provides immediate hydration but also lasts all day. The body oil has 24K gold, squalane, sunflower, shea, and coconut oil to moisturize the skin further and improve elasticity and skin tone. To round it all out, the oil has notes of toasted sugar, jasmine, and sweet, creamy musk that smells like a better version of your natural skin scent.
Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, squalene, sunflower, shea, and coconut oil
Size: 3.3 fl. oz.
- Deeply hydrates
- Slight shimmer
- Strong coconut smell—may be polarizing for those who don’t like coconut fragrance
Key notes: Hinoki wood
If winter makes you want to lather yourself in a soft, clean, earthy fragrance rather than a sweet one, make Tatcha’s Hinoki Body Oil your next purchase. This body oil fragrance is part of the brand’s new Forest Awakening line, which features hinoki and is made from cypress trees to calm the mind, meaning less stress, a boosted mood, and better sleep. The woody and earthy fragrance is like a breath of fresh air. It’s offered in a 1-ounce and a 3.38-ounce bottle, but we love the travel-sized option because it allows you to keep your skin hydrated anywhere in the world.
Key ingredients: natural hinoki oil and Forest Awakening essential oil blend
Size: 1 fl. oz. or 3.38 fl. oz.
- Invigorating scent
Key notes: fresh botanicals
Picture this: You’ve had a long, busy day, come home to take a warm shower, and are looking for something to hydrate and calm your skin. Enter: Prima’s Body Body Oil. This healing oil contains many skin-loving ingredients, but the two main ones are hemp CBD and magnesium to relieve aches and pains and relax your body. It has a silky-smooth texture that doesn’t leave any residue but instead improves the texture of your skin. We can’t forget to mention the intoxicating blend of botanicals that make you feel like you’re inside a luxurious spa. Trust us, you’ll look forward to coming home to this body oil fragrance each day.
Key ingredients: Broad-Spectrum Hemp CBD (600 mg), magnesium, helichrysum
Size: 6 fl. oz.
- Doubles as a muscle rub
- A lot of product is needed since it’s lightweight
Key notes: bright citrus blend with spice and vanilla
This oil has amazing, effective ingredients like amla, turmeric, marula oil, aloe, avocado oil, castor oil, and botanicals, which leave all skin types supple, dewy, and glowing. It’s ultra-rich yet rapidly absorbent, and it locks in moisture for a nice glow from head to toe. Plus, the citrus blend, spice, and vanilla fragrance evoke a sense of comfort and grounded elegance that makes you want to snuggle under a blanket with a book on a dark and cold evening.
Key ingredients: vitamin C-rich amla, turmeric, marula oil, aloe, avocado oil, castor oil, and potent botanicals
Size: 3.2 fl. oz.
- A little goes a long way
- Pump can get stuck
Key notes: bergamot, pistachio, coco de mer
Want to take your evening glam or summertime look to the next level? Add Tom Ford’s Solei Blanc Body Oil to your routine. This lightweight body oil imparts a beautiful, golden goddess-like shimmer. It features jojoba seed oil, an excellent skin softener, and olive fruit oil to maintain hydration.
“I love this body oil, especially in the summer—it captures the sultry vibe of sun-kissed skin with an amazing fragrance of white florals, amber, sandalwood, and adds a touch of shimmering gold,” Chaine says. “It’s like bottling the allure of a perfect tan on a white sand beach.” Pro tip: When heading out for a winter date night, apply some to a makeup brush and gently brush the oil on your collarbone, shoulders, and down the front of your arms to give yourself that glow-from-within look.
Key ingredients: jojoba seed oil and olive fruit oil
Size: 1.5 fl. oz.
- Slightly shimmery
- Fragrance can be overwhelming for some
How should I apply body oil fragrance?
Like traditional body oils, scented body oil should be applied on damp skin after showering. The dampness will help lock in moisture and keep your skin smooth and hydrated all day. Chaine notes that if you are layering your fragrances, you should apply the body oil fragrance before any perfumes. “This creates a hydrated base layer that enhances the longevity and projection of the scent,” she says.
What’s the shelf life of a body oil fragrance?
“Fragranced body oils typically have a shelf life of one to two years but can last for much longer if stored in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat,” says Chaine. While many fragrance body oils come in beautiful packages you may want to show off on your bathroom counter, Chaine warns that you should never keep them in the bathroom. This is because the bathroom contains moisture from the shower or bath, creating humidity, which can alter the scent of the fragrance or make it less powerful.
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