Those who are a step ahead on the moisturizing game (the French, the organic beauty obsessed), however, are crazy into body oils: They’re the purest and most potent way to deliver high-quality moisturizing goodness straight to your skin, say formulators and fans.
May Lindstrom, a veteran natural beauty product developer, may be body oil’s head cheerleader. “When you’re using creams or lotions, you’re getting a diluted product: oil, plus water, plus preservatives,” she explains. “Frankly, I don’t want you to be putting your dollars into paying for water when your shower takes care of that quite nicely.”
Her application technique—also championed by Osmia founder Sarah Villafranco, MD—is simple. First, step out of the shower with your skin still soaked; then, apply your oils immediately. [Water on your skin] is the perfect carrier to drive gorgeous oils and nutrients deep into your skin, they say, helping it to soak in much faster. So, myth busted, you don’t have to worry about getting it all over your hair, clothes and anything else you touch.
Still feeling loyal to your Lubriderm? Many drugstore lotions use alcohol and preservatives which end up further drying out already thirsty skin, so watch out for those. “I prefer to skip all this and get straight to the good stuff,” says Lindstrom (hence the name of her own body oil).
Here, we’ve assembled 12 of the least greasy, most deliciously moisturizing body oils around. They’re so awesome, in fact, that you just might be convinced to kick your lotion habit for good.
For this oil, MyHavtorn blended its signature firming and antioxidant-rich sea buckthorn oil with rapeseed, sesame, safflower, and avocado oils. And despite how lush the combination feels, it soaks in quickly, making it a great oil to use after a morning shower. Plus, it has a gingery scent (thanks to a blend of lemongrass, rosemary, juniper, and ylang ylang oils) that is uplifting and energizing.
This oil is a bit of a luxury, but True Nature Botanicals is definitely worth the splurge. It’s formulated with apricot kernel, sesame seed and watermelon seed oils so it goes on ultra-light and helps to plump cells, restore skin’s elasticity, and form a protective barrier to lock moisture in. Plus, it’s scented with tuberose, neroli, rosewood, and star jasmine, so it leaves a subtle floral fragrance on your skin (a body oil and perfume in one!).
Rich in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, sweet almond oil moisturizes while cherry seed oil nourishes the skin from the outside in. (Keep this in your bag as an on-the-go hand and cuticle treatment.) Aura Cacia’s new line of fruit seed oils also includes one with blueberry seed oil, perfect for after-sun recovery.
If you’ve got stubborn sun damage or stretch marks that you’re looking to heal, this soothing serum delivers. It’s got a special Moroccan olive oil rich in polyphenols (which are anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants), along with detoxifying cucumber seed oil and prickly pear seed oil for “faster” skin cell turnover. The best part, though, is that it gives your skin an all-over golden glow, making it the perfect oil to apply before a night out.
Cocovit Coconut Oil, $38
By now, we all know the many benefits (and myriad uses) of coconut oil. It’s a potent moisturizer, a non-toxic eye make-up remover, great alternative to shaving cream—and it tastes great in your stir fry. (Just saying.) Cocovit’s coconut oil is made with ultra-fresh Indian coconuts and is totally organic. Apply it liberally to your body for seriously smooth, conditioned skin and if a little gets in your hair…lucky you, it’s a natural conditioner, too.
Jiva Apoha Amma Oil, $60
While some body oils are utilitarian, others are best reserved for special moments. Such is the case with Jiva Apoha’s beautiful healing oils, infused with seriously good vibes from Brooklyn founder Angela Shore. Amma, made with sesame and sunflower oils and combined with sandalwood, palmarosa, and jasmine essential oils, is meant to honor the “nurturing and protective feminine spirit.” Use this before meditation or when you need a little love during a long workday or times when you’re able to set an intention for your morning beauty ritual.
There are a few things to love about this oil, first of which is the chic packaging that will look great on your bathroom counter. Of course, there’s also the fact that it is formulated with camellia flower oil (high in omega-6s and omega-9s said to increase skin’s elasticity and promote a healthy glow), grapeseed oil (high in linoleic acid and vitamins to help tone and tighten skin), and jasmine sambac oil (which deeply moisturizes and boosts elasticity…while also providing an intoxicating fragrance).
Made from a combination of sunflower, camellia seed, argan, avocado, and shea oils, this luxe Osmia concoction is majorly moisturizing (and made by a genius MD, Sarah Villafranco). However, what makes it particularly special are the high-vibe, therapeutic essential oils that scent it. Spicy ginger and cardamom mix with organic (and rare) rose otto and vetiver for a scent that’s both grounding and energizing. It’s also a natural aphrodisiac…just sayin’.
While many of the other oils on this list are designed to energize, this one from Indie Lee is all about relaxation. Made with fast-absorbing jojoba oil (known for being closest to the skin’s natural sebum), this soothing blend is perfect to apply to sore, tired muscles or to help you chill out after a long day. Bonus: it’s an all-purpose oil that can be used on hair, face and body. And the scent is not a bit floral, which is great for those not looking for anything too girly or heady.
The first thing you’ll notice about this handmade, ultra-concentrated oil is the delicious scent of sweet almonds mixed with uplifting citrus notes. The second thing? The insane velvety texture created by the combination of moisture-locking jojoba and baobab seed oils, plus omega-rich echium and chia seed oils, which help reduce inflammation—so it’s also a practical purchase for those with freak-out prone skin and shaving irritations.
S.W. Basics Body Oil, $20
For a body oil that will get the job done (and not break the bank), S.W. Basics should be your pick. In the unscented version, the mix of sesame, macadamia, and avocado oils means that it smells deliciously light and nutty (like peanut butter, in a good way). There’s also a lemongrass option that is lovely and refreshing. The ultra-simple blend (combined with its ability to penetrate deep) makes this one a budget-friendly choice that feels like a splurge.
For treat-yourself moments, May Lindstrom truly knows what she’s doing. A super rich and decadent body treatment combining hard-working oils like jojoba, macadamia, and sea buckthorn (plus aromatic extras like cocoa, ylang ylang, and rose absolute), this is the product to have on hand when you want to dole out some self-love in the form of a body care ritual. Lindstrom calls this her “fabric-free lingerie”—trust us, your skin will thank you.
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