Body oils are extremely helpful If you're looking for silky smooth skin, not to mention they are quick to use and easy to apply and benefits to the skin show up pretty much immediately. In this guide, I will run through what body oils are, their benefits and how to easily incorporate a body oil into your skin care routine.
I believe that although body oils might have been around for a long time, but they are just as relevant today for looking after our skin as they were centuries ago.
What is a Body Oil and How Does it Work?
A body oil is specifically formulated to moisturise and nourish the skin.
They are typically made from a combination of natural oils, such as safflower oil, jojoba oil, or apricot oil, which are known for their hydrating properties.
When applied to the skin, body oils form a protective barrier that helps to lock in moisture and prevent water loss. This helps to keep the skin hydrated, soft, and smooth. Additionally, body oil can also provide other benefits for the skin, such as improving elasticity, improving the skin's appearance and soothing irritations.
I believe the best oils are made with 100% pure plant oils, though you can often find a mix of natural plant oils with synthetic alternatives. Plant oils are more expensive, but they also give more skin benefits.
Organic body oils, made with organic plant oils are even better. These are minimally processed - usually just cold processed, and by the time they reach you, they are still very close to how you find them in nature.
On the flip side, if an oil has been heat processed, de-odorised and undergone a chemical extraction process many of the skin loving properties will have been lost.
What is the difference between Body Oil & Body Lotion or Cream?
Unlike traditional lotions and creams, body oils create a protective barrier that locks in moisture and helps maintain the skin's natural moisture balance. This means that for dry skin a body oil delivers longer lasting hydration and more potent ingredients directly to the skin.
A lotion or cream will often contain water or a hydrosol, and often humectants, which attract water to the skin. This can be helpful if skin is dehydrated.
Body lotions usually have a lighter texture which means they tend to evaporate off the skin more quickly, while a pure plant body oil will give a longer lasting feeling of hydration.
Body Oil Benefits
Body oils work by providing multiple layers of benefits that contribute to the overall health and appearance of the skin.
Skin Hydration & Emollient Properties
Body oils excel at skin hydration, penetrating deeply to replenish moisture levels and combat dryness. These oils possess emollient properties that create a barrier on the skin's surface, effectively sealing in moisture and preventing water loss, thus maintaining optimal hydration levels over time.
Antioxidants & Protecting the Skin
Body oils serve as a vehicle for delivering a concentrated dose of nourishing antioxidants to the skin. These antioxidants, derived from natural sources like botanical extracts and essential oils, help to neutralise harmful free radicals and protect the skin from environmental stressors, contributing to a more comfortable skin.
Softer, Smoother Skin
The application of body oils also plays a vital role in smoothing and softening the skin's texture. Rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients, these oils deeply penetrate the skin's layers, supporting the regeneration of healthy skin cells and promoting a smoother surface. As a result, skin imperfections and rough patches can diminish, giving way to visibly softer skin.
The Best Body Oils
Different plant oils bring different skin benefits to the party. They will all hydrate, but each has slightly different characteristics and a different skin feel which means they can be better or less suited to your skin, depending on your own skin type. These are my favourites.
Rich in vitamins A and E this nourishing oil deeply hydrates and revitalises the skin, replenishing moisture levels and promoting a supple, radiant complexion. It's also lightweight and non-greasy which allows for quick absorption, leaving the skin feeling silky and smooth without any residue, which makes it good if you want an 'on and gone' feel to your body oil.
It is rich in antioxidants and can protect the skin from oxidative stress and environmental aggressors, meaning better looking and feeling skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties which can soothe irritated skin, and it is extremely gentle, making it suitable for sensitive or problematic skin types.
Jojoba oil is similar to the natural oils produced by the skin, making it an excellent choice for all skin types. Because of this affinity with the sebum in our own skin, it is suitable for people who dry skin types and more oily types. It helps to balance oil production, moisturise the skin, and reduce inflammation.
Argan oil is packed with antioxidants and fatty acids that help to hydrate and nourish the skin. It can improve skin elasticity, improve the appearance of skin, and protect against environmental damage.
Safflower oil is extremely hydrating due to its high linoleic acid content which is why I consider it one of the best body oils. It strengthens the natural skin barrier which in turn helps to alleviate dryness and maintain hydration levels, leading to a smoother, softer skin.
It is non-comedogenic making it an excellent choice for tricky skin, including acne-prone or sensitive skin. It is lightweight and easily absorbable, resulting in nourished skin without clogging pores or causing breakouts.
Tips for Applying Body Oil for Maximum Hydration.
Applying a body oil is a great way to hydrate and nourish your skin, but here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure maximum hydration, and no oily residue on your clothes. Its up to you to adapt to your needs, a richer application massaged into skin before bed, or a subtle veil of scent and glow ahead of an evening out.
Body Oil for Dry Skin & De-Stressing
Apply to wet skin out of the bath or shower to seal in extra moisture. If you have extremely dry skin you might want to apply a second application to very dry areas, eg shins or your torso. I like to warm the oil in my hands before applying it to my body, and then wrap myself up mummy style to relax and let the beautiful plant oils do their thing.
Body Oil for Daily Fast Application
In a rush? Have 2 minutes to get ready and out of the door? In which case, I recommend applying body oil to wet skin as you get out of your shower. This will help seal in moisture to keep your skin comfortable through the day, give your skin a beautiful veil of scent, and mean that your clothes are not going to be greasy as you get dressed.
Body Oil for Glow
A night out or on holiday? For a spot of glow on an evening out, I recommend sweeping a little body oil over areas you want to accentuate - your décolletage, or shoulders in a summer dress. As well as softer skin his will help to give a subtle glow to the skin, and a beautiful skin feel.
A Body Oil Massage or Spa Evening
For a little skin tender loving care, have a warm bath and then apply the oil evenly to the skin, little by little so it absorbs into the skin. Start by applying the oil to areas that tend to be drier, such as elbows, knees, and feet. Then, work your way up, applying the oil to the rest of your body in long, sweeping motions. This will not only help the oil to absorb better but also promote relaxation and improve circulation. Hydrated, silky soft feeling skin is yours for the asking!
Body Oil Wrap Up
Body oils are an easy and quick way to look after your skin, add in some moisture and a subtle scent. It takes moments to apply post shower, and for many of us, this is enough for comfortable skin through the day. If your skin needs extra moisture, apply a second layer to those areas that need it most. Or go the full monty and invest in a mini spa treatment, with a spot of massage for super soft feeling skin and all those therapeutic benefits, calming, de-stressing or soothing depending in your mood.