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If a body oil is not yet a part of your daily skincare routine, we suggest changing that sooner rather than later. We’re not saying you should eliminate lotions and creams from your line-up entirely, but rather that oil can be an excellent and useful addition and/or occasional substitute in your moisturizing M.O.
For starters, an oil gives your skin something that other moisturizing products can’t, namely that healthy glow everyone and their mother crave. And, of course, it’s an excellent way to knock out dryness, whether you use it solo or with a lotion or cream. (FYI, if you’re using body oil on its own, apply while your skin is still slightly damp post-shower to lock in moisture. If you’re pairing it with a lotion or cream, use the oil last, as a final step to seal in all the moisture from the other products.) If the idea of putting oil on your skin still has you concerned about the potential for an unwanted, greasy after-feel, don’t stress. Today’s body oils are more lightweight and fast-absorbing than ever, sinking in so quickly that you can even slip on your skinny jeans right after.
Try any of these standouts and see for yourself why we’re all about the best body oils.
Best Overall: One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil
Fun fact: This was the body oil that first got us hooked on body oils. It’s packed with antioxidants—shea oil, which is rich in vitamins A and E, as well as added vitamin C—and also contains papaya enzymes for an ever-so-gentle exfoliation. Use it on its own to give skin a gorgeous sheen, or mix a few drops in with or under your moisturizer. We also give it big points for the easy-to-use, pump-top applicator.
Best Budget: Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
Good luck finding something this oil can’t do. Various plant extracts and vitamins are suspended in an oil base, in a formula that is ideal for use on stretch marks, burns, and even hyperpigmentation (as well as dry skin, duh), giving you even more bang for your buck. It has a slightly powdery scent and silky feel and comes in several different sizes, all at wallet-friendly prices.
Best for Dry Skin: Herbivore Botanicals Jasmine Body Oil
Yes, you are correct in recognizing that any oil is a great pick for dry skin. That being said, this one really gets the job done. Several different oils—including camellia flower, grapeseed, and coconut to name a few—do the immediate hydrating job, but it’s the use of jasmine sambac oil that’s really noteworthy here. Along with providing immediate moisture, the ingredient boosts your skin’s natural moisture levels and elasticity, too. (It also gives the oil its signature, addicting scent.) Plus, despite how moisturizing it is, it still soaks in in seconds.
Best With Shimmer: NARS Cosmetics Monoi Body Glow
Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould recommends reaching for this oil when you want a major glow up (slathering this on is the next best thing to spending a week in the Caribbean). The coconut oil base is enhanced with some pretty intense chocolate shimmer to impart a sun-kissed glow, so much so that it almost verges on the cusp of being a self-tanner. It’s equally lauded for its addicting scent—tropical, sweet, and slightly floral.
Best Multi-Tasker: Everyday Oil Mainstay
Jojoba oil is a natural oil produced from the seed of the Chinensis plant, a drought-resistant shrub native to southern Arizona, California, and Mexico. It mimics natural sebum and conditions and seals moisture in the skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.
Gould also loves this do-it-all oil. The blend of organic, cold-pressed plant oils (coconut, olive, argan, jojoba) can be used on the face, body, hair—you name it. Also nice: There are two options to choose from, one that’s infused with all-natural essential oils for an uplifting yet calming scent, and a variant that’s completely unscented.
Best Spray: Rahua Body Oil
Spray-on oils make application easier-than-ever. There are a bunch out there to choose from, but Gould is partial to this pick. The dry oil mist feels even lighter going on than many other oils, though still gives you plenty of hydration; credit a wide mix of different plant-based oils. Bonus points for a chemical-free ingredient list.
Best Anti-Aging: Tata Harper Skincare Revitalizing Body Oil
This oil is a staple for Byrdie’s Editorial Director Faith Xue. “I use it to lock in my body lotion before bed, and it’s my favorite part of my nightly ritual,” she says. It’s a squeaky clean formula that also has plenty of youth-boosting benefits, thanks to a wide array of protective antioxidants and vitamins from the plant-based oil. It’s pricey yes, but a little goes a long way, so one bottle will last quite a while.
Best for a Massage: Mineral Sousa Body Oil
Lavender oil (aka lavandula angustifolia) is a type of essential oil that comes from the flowers of the lavender plant, which grows in various regions such as France and Bulgaria. Its main components are linalool, linalyl acetate, lavandulol, geraniol, and eucalyptol, which have antibacterial as well as anti-fungal properties.
Xue recommends loading up on this guy to help soothe muscle aches, thanks to the anti-inflammatory CBD that’s in the mix. The blood orange, jojoba, and lavender oil base make it nice and hydrating, so yes, you could just use it as a standard moisturizer. But given the relief it delivers to achy muscles, we say bring it with you to your next massage (or ask an S.O. to rub you down with it).
Best Splurge: MUTHA Body Oil
The price tag may be steep, but this luxurious formula is worth it for so many reasons. It boasts seed oils that are sourced from, wait for it, the plant’s reproductive parts, where they’re in their purest form. It makes for a whopping dose of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and other skin-loving vitamins that will make your skin look better both immediately, and over time. The oil and accompanying body butter were Byrdie GM Leah Wyar’s favorite products of 2019; she even called the oil, “the most non-greasy I’ve ever tried.”
Best Shower Oil: Kopari Beauty Coconut Shower Oil
Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the avocado. For the skin, it contains vitamin E to help nourish and soothe, as well as oleic acid to promote collagen production.
Shower oils are the gateway to body oils—you’ll get similar hydrating benefits, but because you’re ultimately rinsing it off, it can feel less intense than a straight-up dry oil. Try using one instead of your standard body wash and be prepared for a major difference in how silky smooth your skin feels.
More specifically, try this one, made with coconut, passionfruit seed, and avocado oils. It starts as oil but transforms into suds as you mix it with water, choice for anyone who still wants that more soap-like experience.
Best Antioxidant-Rich Formula: Free and True Body Prophet All Over Creamy Serum
Packed with antioxidants and essential oils, this fortifying formula is choice for protecting the skin against free radical damage. Inside you'll find olive leaf extract, sea buckthorn berry, pumpkin seed oil, aloe vera juice, comfrey extract, geranium oil, and rose flower extract. While it's best applied before or after sun exposure, this divine smelling blend can be used year-round.
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Body Oil
There aren’t a ton of body oils to be found at the drugstore, but happily, this is the only one you really need. With somewhat of a cult-like status (dermatologists have been raving about it for years), it relies on lightweight sesame oil to impart just the right amount of hydration. Use it directly on the skin, or add some into a bath; it works just as well either way.
Best for Sensitive Skin: The Honest Company Organic Body Oil
Generally speaking, body oils tend to be a pretty inert product category that’s well-tolerated by sensitive skin. That being said, not all oils are created equal; many can contain common irritants, such as fragrance. Not this guy. It’s hypoallergenic, made with 95% organic oils (including jojoba oil, a known anti-inflammatory, and skin soother), and is so gentle that you can even use it on babies.
Along with jojoba oil, this body oil contains tamanu, olive, avocado, and sunflower oil, all of which are USDA-certified organic. Hypoallergenic and non-toxic, the formula is super gentle, leaving skin soft and nourished.
Best for Face & Body: Bathing Culture Outer Being Face & Body Oil
We’ve long touted the benefits of using an oil on your complexion though, traditionally, many face and body oils differ in how heavy they are and can’t always be used interchangeably. Lucky for you, this dual-purpose pick, a go-to for Byrdie’s Senior Social Media Manager Kelly Gallagher, works for both.
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich oils work wonders on your skin all over, without ever feeling too rich or greasy. Along with a litany of plant-based oils, it also relies on squalane, an oil-like substance that mimics the sebum naturally-found in our skin, part of the reason why it absorbs so nicely.
Best for the Bath: SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Body Oil
Your weekly bath provides a relaxing respite for your mind, but you can also make it a time to score extra skincare benefits by adding some of this oil into the tub. Both coconut oil and milk, along with a list of other (certified organic, fair-trade oils) make this plenty moisturizing, though it still mixes well with the water, rather than creating a film on top as some other oils can. Up the ante even further and apply some directly onto the skin after you towel off post-soak.
While money doesn’t always equal better beauty, there’s no denying the Mutha Body Oil is something special. For starters, it smells incredible — super clean, somewhat herbaceous, but slightly floral. And the texture is perfect — nourishing but not greasy in the slightest. The pure plant oils are super luxe, as well. And if convenience is your jam (as it is for team Byrdie), then we can’t recommend Kopari’s Beauty Coconut Shower Oil enough. You simply use it in place of body oil, and you’re still left with a veil of hydration despite rinsing. Lastly, we’re big fans of One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil for its high concentration of antioxidants, gentle exfoliation, and the way it subtly brightens the skin.
What To Look For When Buying A Body Oil
No one wants to feel overly greasy/slimy post-application, so go for a lightweight body oil that quickly absorbs. The time of day you apply can weigh in as well. If you’re putting it on in the morning, you definitely want something thinner, whereas at night you can spend some time really working into the skin before you slip (quite literally) into bed.
Often, one of the best things about applying body oil is the beautiful scent. Choose something that appeals to your senses or suits your mood. Similarly, you could try a zingy citrus blend during the day, and something soothing (like lavender) at night.
The skin on the body is lower stakes than the skin on our face, but it’s still worth finding an oil blend that works for your concerns. Facialist and aesthetician Melanie Grant breaks down a few common oils for us:
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is highly comedogenic and can trap sebum, grime, and dirt within the pores, so avoid it on the chest, shoulders, and back if you’re prone to congestion. Otherwise, it's a nourishing, inexpensive choice.
- Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is quite close to the molecular structure of our skin's own natural sebum, making it less likely to block pores. It boasts high levels of anti-inflammatory vitamin E, as well as strengthening vitamin D and naturally occurring vitamin A.
- Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil is rich in essential fatty acids as well as vitamins A and C, making it a great option for preventing and treating scars, tightening pores, and promoting collagen synthesis in the skin.
- Sweet Almond Oil
Almond oil is often praised for its vitamin E content and deeply moisturizing properties, so it’s best suited to dry and dehydrated skin types. It's a great carrier for your favorite essential oils, too.
- Buriti Oil
Buriti oil is particularly beneficial for addressing tonal inconsistencies and signs of sun damage in mature skins. It's one of the richest known sources of antioxidant beta-carotene which not only shields from free radical damage but promotes healthy cell function.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil contains vitamins A, D, K, and E, as well as naturally occurring squalene that seals in hydration and prevents trans-epidermal water loss. It's best used for normal to dry and dehydrated skins.
- Mineral Oil
There is conflicting feedback around mineral oil. Though its main function is to act as an emollient, I’d recommend a more nutrient-dense option so you get more than just skin conditioning.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough body oils for skin from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.