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In the past, body lotions and scrubs have been pretty basic. Hydrating (always), exfoliating (with various degrees of success) but, for the most part, not exactly sophisticated or particularly active in their ingredients and formula. But with the rise of professional type at-home skincare products for the face (think at-home peels, powerful retinols, and potent peptide-rich formulas), it was only a matter of time before the products designed for below the neck got a much-needed upgrade. After all, things like wrinkles, sagging, and dark spots aren't just regulated to our face. The new class of body creams, peels, and scrubs are packed with active ingredients to help your limbs look (and feel) as smooth as your complexion.
Below you'll find a Byrdie-approved list of the best, most advanced skincare products for the body.
Best Overall: Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Lotion
Retinol for the body is a game-changer and you can trust that with Paula's non-nonsense approach to product formulation, this cream delivers skin-smoothing results. It's also packed with skin-nourishing antioxidants and Shea butter. Use at night or in the daytime layered under SPF.
Best Mist: Soleil Toujours Aloe Antioxidant Calming Mist
We're all for face mists here at Byrdie HQ, so why shouldn't our bodies get in on the misting action too? This one is ideal for anyone dealing with sunburn, heat rash, itchy skin, or dehydration. It's packed with organic aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and antioxidant-rich green tea.
Best Cream: Augustinus Bader The Body Cream
Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Victoria Beckham loves the face version of this new body cream (we're fans of it, too). The proprietary complex TFC8 contains amino acids and vitamins, along with other molecules like Shea butter and aloe leaf, to trigger the skin's stem cells to work as efficiently as possible for younger-looking skin in just a few weeks. Editorial Director Faith Xue is a fan, saying, "My limbs are perpetually dry, not to mention easily-irritated, and this body cream made a huge difference—I couldn't believe how soft and silky my skin felt with zero irritation or itchiness."
Best Mousse: Farmhouse Fresh Back to Youth Ageless Body Mousse
This 93% natural formula boasts gentle retinyl palmitate (a combination of retinol and palmitic acid), fatty acid-rich jojoba oil, and firming peptides to smooth the skin with no irritation. The peptides—Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate and Polyglyceryl-10 Dipalmitate—have been found to tackle wrinkles, making this ideal for the places on the body where fine lines can start to appear, like the chest, neck, knees and backs of hands. It also comes with a small spoon so you use just the right amount every time. It's ideal if you like the idea of a retinol body lotion, but your skin is a little more sensitive to active ingredients.
Best Scrub: Oskia Renaissance Body Scrub
We're obsessed with this chemical and mechanical exfoliator, which is enzyme-rich and densely-packed with Himalayan sea salt. It comes in a plastic-free jar with gorgeous illustrations by influencer and photographer Emma Hoareau, who worked with Oskia on bringing the product to life.
Best Peel: Pixi Glycolic Body Peel
Made with glycolic and lactic acids, you simply massage this peel into the skin, hop into the shower, then rinse off before applying your lotion or oil. Using this daily will gently lift away dead, dulling skin to reveal smoother, brighter limbs in no time.
Best Nighttime Treatment: Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment
Think of this as an indulgent nighttime moisturizer for your body. With lightweight argan, baobab and coconut oils, Vitamins a, c and e, alongside collagen-boosting peptide, this will leave your skin feeling plump and pillowy-soft by morning.
Best AHA: Ren AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum
This serum is another acid-rich product but, unlike the Pixi peel, should be left on the skin. AHAs gently slough at the skin, while hydrating lactic acid and xylitol draw in moisture. It smells like fresh citrus, softens rough, dry patches, and leaves the skin glowing.
Best Cleanser: Mio Clay Away Purifying Body Cleanser
Breakouts aren't just something that happen to our face. This clay-rich cleanser draws impurities out of the skin on our body, while witch hazel helps to clarify pores. For any areas of real concern, you can leave this on for two minutes as a quick mask.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Lancer The Method: Body Nourish
This satisfying body scrub boasts 10% glycolic acid to tackle skin texture and discoloration. It also contains marula oil and Shea butter to limit any irritation and leave your skin soft and smooth.
We're giving top honors to Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Lotion (view at Paula's Choice) since it's such a powerhouse. Packed with nourishing antioxidants and shea butter alongside retinol, this lotion will leave your skin feeling silky smooth and moisturized. Have sensitive skin? You can't go wrong with Farmhouse Fresh Back to Youth Ageless Body Mousse (view at Walmart). It will give you firm, hydrated skin without any irritation.
What to Look for in Body Products
From lotions to serums to peels to scrubs, there are a plethora of body products out there that will help you reach your skin goals. Lotions and serums are easy to incorporate into your daily and nightly routines whereas peels and scrubs need to be washed away. Which type you buy will largely depend on what skin concern you're trying to address and how much effort you want to put into using them.
Target Your Skin Concerns
Pick a product that will address your specific concern whether it is soothing sunburns, targeting fine lines and wrinkles, unclogging pores, or something else. Body products with retinol, peptides, and antioxidants are great for targeting wrinkles whereas products with AHAs are great for smoothing texture and discoloration.