I have a complicated relationship with the colder seasons—mostly because I am not a fan of short, dark days—but I absolutely love that this is the perfect time to really double down on cozy “me time.” Finally, we can ditch the cold brew and go back to sipping hot cocoa surrounded by candles, wrapped up in a fuzzy warm blanket. And baths—long, gloriously indulgent baths!
Apart from switching to a more nourishing shower gel in autumn to combat increasing dryness, I also reach for my collection of body oils more regularly again. Body oils are just such a wonderful skin treat, full of moisturizing ingredients that help keep skin supple, smooth, and soft.
Now, body oils can be a bit daunting to use, and I feel there is quite a bit of misinformation floating around about them: too sticky, too complicated to use, impossible to work into skin without an hour-long massage ritual. They just get this bad rep of being “high maintenance” compared to body lotions and creams.
Body oils get this bad rep of being “high maintenance” compared to body lotions and creams. But this couldn’t be further from the truth!
But this couldn’t be further from the truth! I actually prefer using body oils to thick body creams that take forever to sink into the skin, and with a few easy tips there is no need to learn complicated massage techniques. (Although indulging in those can of course be a rather lovely moment of self-care!)
How to Apply Body Oil
The most important tip I can give you in regards to using body oils is that they are best and easiest applied to damp skin, right after you step out of your shower. In fact, I have my body oil of choice usually with me in the shower, which also helps with the cleanup if oil drops spill during the application process.
Using oils on damp skin has two-fold benefits: Firstly, the oil can be spread more easily and evenly, and thus dissolve more effectively on a slightly damp surface. Secondly, even though oil and water do not mix as such, most body oils are designed to form a protective barrier on top of watery products, locking in all that hydrating goodness.
A little goes a long way with body oils, which is why they are often more cost-effective than lotions or creams. Start with a small amount in the palm of your hand, no more than maybe half a teaspoon, rub your palms together to distribute the oil evenly, and then work your way down your body, applying a tiny bit of pressure to help absorption. There is no need to be super vigilant about this, however, I often just haphazardly slather some oil on my hands and run them up and down my skin when I am in a rush, and it works just fine.
Now, after applying the oil, make sure not to rub it all off again with your towel. If you have the time, snuggle up in a bathrobe or large towel and let your body dry by itself, with the oils slowly sinking in, making your skin feel baby soft. Or if you are short for time, just pat your body dry instead of going for incessant rubbing.
If you aren’t into the idea of undiluted body oils but still want to reap some of their nourishing benefits, you can also mix a few drops into your body lotion or balm of choice.
A little goes a long way with body oils, which is why they are often more cost-effective than lotions or creams.
The Best Body Oils
Interested in trying the beauty of luxurious body oils as a cold weather skin treat for yourself? Here are a few product suggestions to get you started!
Jurlique Rose Body Oil
Australian natural brand Jurlique was founded by a botanist and a biochemist, who became fascinated with the power of herbal extracts in skin care. So these two really know their plants! I have a deep love for this brand, and their body care products in particular give me such a sense of pampering, of doing something good for my skin.
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The Jurlique Rose Body Oil smells, of course, deliciously flowery, exactly like fresh-cut, fragrant roses. This isn’t your usual, uncomfortably cloying fake rose scent, but a lovely supple, sweet but not too overpowering fragrance. The oil is also one of the richest ones on this list and thus perfect for dry or mature skin.
L’Occitane Supple Skin Oil
I have been a fan of French beauty brand L’Occitane since my childhood days, and their almond body care range contains some of their star products, if you ask me. The L’Occitane Supple Skin Oil mainly uses sweet almond oil, which is great for most skin types—not too rich or too thick and generally well-tolerated even if you have sensitive skin.
This body oil actually has a surprisingly light texture and can be used both for indulgently long massages on dry skin, as well as a quick, moisturizing treatment after a bath or shower on damp skin. It smells heavenly too, like delicious sweet almond paste!
Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
If you struggle with stretch marks or other types of blemishes that make you feel insecure about your body, you are not alone. The Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil has been formulated to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks and scars, and helps to overall improve skin texture and firmness.
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Bio-Oil can be used all over, both for face and body, though I prefer it as a body oil. Its patented PurCellin ingredient complex was developed to create an exceptionally lightweight texture, enriched with a number of fragrant oils such as rosemary, lavender, and Roman chamomile.
Clarins Body Treatment Oil Anti-Eau
Clarins has been producing body oils long before they became fashionable, and their Body Treatment Oil Anti-Eau is a true classic. French brands are masters at creating that fantastic “dry oil” texture many modern oil products try to emulate. A dry oil is, as the name suggests, less heavy than regular oils, and has been developed specifically to be used on dry skin, with a lighter texture that is more readily absorbed.
Now, Clarins actually advises to apply this oil on damp skin and then rinse with cold water afterwards, but I honestly don’t think this is needed. It works perfectly fine as a regular massage oil and is great for normal to oilier skin, with a fresh, slightly herbal scent.
Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalizing Body Oil
The Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalizing Body Oil is perfect for anyone who prefers lighter, fresher scents and natural skin care products. This is also a great unisex body care product, as indeed most Dr. Hauschka products tend to be.
German organic beauty pioneer Dr. Hauschka uses only carefully selected natural ingredients for their products. In the case of this body oil, the main ones are cold-pressed sunflower seed and jojoba oil, two lighter oils perfect for normal to oilier skin types. Horsetail and mistletoe extract help to vitalize skin and are said to improve circulation, while lemon and lemongrass essential oils give the oil an invigorating fragrance.