When you’re dealing with super dry skin, it’s time to think beyond basic lotion. Adding a body oil to your moisturizing M.O. can prove to be invaluable when it comes to defeating dryness, especially if you're getting your skin in top shape for the big day. This is especially important if you're having a winter wedding and might be dealing with chaffed skin because of the temperature fluctuation outside.
Oils are emollients, meaning they work by softening and smoothing the surface of the skin, making it feel (and look better) almost instantly. Not to mention that they also leave skin with a gorgeous sheen, something you don’t get from lotion alone. And if the word oil conjures images of being covered in greasy residue, don’t worry; the latest iterations are more lightweight than ever, imparting plenty of hydration but still absorbing lightning fast. To use body oil, simply apply a few drops—a little goes a long way—all over, immediately post-shower or bath, while skin is still damp.
Read on for our favorite go-to body oils.
Best Overall: Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil
There’s a good reason why this tried-and-true staple is such a cult classic. It boasts both grapeseed oil (rich in good-for-your-skin antioxidants) and squalane. While the latter technically isn’t an oil, it is a top-notch hydrator that mimics our skin’s natural oil.
The lightweight formula comes out via an ultra-fine mist that absorbs and dries quickly, leaving skin feeling soft and velvety, never greasy. Top tip: Use it solo or layered under your favorite lotion or cream if your skin really needs extra moisture. Oh, and the delectable vanilla and almond scent is just a bonus.
Best Budget: Weleda Relaxing Body & Beauty Oil
Sweet almond and sesame oils are blended with lavender essential oil in this wallet-friendly formula. It’s that relaxing lavender scent that makes this a favorite of ours to use at bedtime, though it’s delightful any time of day. And speaking of use, this is another standout multi-tasker; it works equally as well on skin as it does on hair, and a few drops can also be added to a bath for those who really want to soak in the skin-softening benefits.
FYI, this is just one of the brand’s six variants of body oils, which include birch cellulite firing oil, sea buckthorn replenishing oil, arnica massage oil, pomegranate regenerating oil, and wild rose pampering oil.
Best Multi-Tasking: Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil
Fact: Oils aren’t just great for your body, they can also work wonders for your hair. That being said, you typically want to use separate formulas for each; this is the exception to the rule, a perfect choice for anyone who wants to streamline their hydration routine.
The combo of rosehip, absinthium, and shea oils work just as well to quench dry skin as they do to hydrate and soften dry strands. And to that point, it can be used on damp hair before air-drying or styling, or on dry hair to tamp down errant frizz and add shine, and it works well on all hair textures.
Best for Sensitive Skin: The Honest Company Organic Body Oil
Body oils can be a major boon for those with sensitive skin—so long as you choose the right one. That means opting for one that’s free of common irritants, think synthetic fragrances and colors, among other things.
This one fits the bill, without any potential irritants. Instead, it touts over 95% organic oils—jojoba, olive, sunflower, coconut, and more—for a deeply hydrating and nourishing, yet super gentle formula. It’s so gentle that it can even be used on babies, and also happens to ring it at a very affordable price point, so go ahead and load up with reckless abandon.
Best Natural: One Love Organics Botanical C Body Oil
While it may not necessarily seem like it, some body oils can be packed with synthetic and ingredients and potentially-questionable chemicals. Not this guy. It’s certified-organic, relying on organic shea oil to both hydrate and help soothe skin and calm inflammation.
True to its name, there’s also vitamin C in the mix, a potent antioxidant to help protect skin from damaging free radicals, always a good thing. And as if that weren’t enough, it’s also unique in its use of papaya enzymes, which work to ever-so-slightly exfoliate dead cells, further helping to combat dry and dehydrated spots.
Best Mist: Glossier Body Hero Dry-Touch Oil
For those who still can’t get on board the body oil train, an oil mist, like this one, is the way to go. Lighter than other oils, the ultra-fine mist absorbs even faster than any other oil, not to mention makes for super easy, mess-free application.
This particular pick relies on a trio of nourishing and soothing oils: sunflower seed, grapeseed, and oat. It also touts sea fennel extract to help even out skin tone and up the radiance factor even further. And the intoxicating scent that will keep you coming back spritz after spritz? That’s a combo of orange and neroli.
Best Tinted: Kora Organics Sun-Kissed Body Glow Oil
Consider this the official antidote to dry, pasty winter legs. Date oil, rosehip oil, and sunflower seed oil take care of the hydration part of things, all loaded with essential fatty acids that also help plump and soften skin to boot.
But arguably our favorite part is the subtle tint (it’s temporary and washes off) that works surprisingly well on a wide array of skin tones to impart a perfect sun-kissed glow, as the apropos name suggests. The formula is also vegan and cruelty-free and comes in recyclable packaging, always a nice plus.
Best with Shimmer: Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil
Any type of body oil is going to leave your skin gorgeously glowy, but if you’re looking for more than just a little sheen, try this option. The shimmer factor is just right—substantial enough to be noticeable, but not so much that it ever veers into garish glitter territory.
It’s ideal for spritzing (yes, it has a spray top the ensures you get just the right amount of product) on arms and legs, and it also pulls double duty as a fragrance. The scent is warm and spicy, a blend of florals and amber inspired by a vacay on a tropical island.
Best Luxe: Mutha Body Oil
A splurge-worthy pick if there ever was one, this option is packed (and we mean packed) with botanical oils that do way more (and we mean way more) than just hydrate. Case in point: There’s organic rosehip oil in the mix, paced with vitamin A to mimic the anti-aging effects of retinol.
Grapeseed oil is rich in linoleic acid that helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, while apricot seed oil improves skin’s elasticity. It’s also worth pointing out that the brand’s founder created the formula while she was pregnant (in related news, try using it on stretch marks) and it’s squeaky clean, compromised of 100% botanical oils and that’s it.
Best Extra-Hydration: Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Ultra Hydration Body Oil
Yes, all body oils are going to be supremely hydrating, simply by definition. But, if your skin is next-level parched, this is the one to try. The star of the show is coconut oil, arguably one of the richest, most hydrating oils there is. (To that point, make sure you reserve this pick for your body only since it can potentially lead to clogged pores on your face.)
The addition of olive and jojoba oils ups the moisturization ante even further, making this a surefire way to quench every last inch of dry skin. And yet, somehow, by the magic of the body oil gods, this still absorbs shockingly fast without leaving behind even the teeniest tiniest trace of residue.
Body oils can be a great addition or swap for standard lotion. You can’t go wrong with the Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil, a cult-classic that comes in a lightweight mist. If you’re ready to splurge, try the Mutha Body Oil, a squeaky clean formula that can also be used during pregnancy. On the flip side, the Weleda Relaxing Body & Beauty Oil is a nice drugstore option, great for using before bed, thanks to the calming, lavender scent. And if you want an option that pulls double-duty, try the Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil, which works equally well to moisturize both your skin and strands.
What to Look For in a Body Oil
The oils it uses
Seems obvious, but certain oils are better for different things. Extra dry? Coconut oil is your BFF (though it can clog pores, so if you’re prone to body breakouts, skip it on those areas.) Super sensitive? Jojoba oil is very well-tolerated because it mimics the oil our skin naturally produces, and is also anti-inflammatory. Not all oils are created equal, so do your research and learn about which ones are best for your particular skin needs.
Scented or not
For some, a scented body oil is a great way to score, subtle all-over fragrance. That being said, for those with sensitive skin, added fragrance can be a common irritant, so look for fragrance-free options.
Generally speaking, body oils that come in a spray format will be even lighter than their counterparts that come in a pump or dropper.
What are the best scents for body oils?
It’s totally a matter of personal preference. Some options out there do contain added fragrance, which can range from very mild to very intense. Others rely on essential oils to add natural fragrance, while fragrance-free variants (obviously) contain none. Think about one, whether you want fragrance to have scent, and two, when you’re going to be using it. If it’s going to be a bedtime product, look for calming scents like lavender or chamomile. Planning on using it in the AM? Choose energizing fragrances, think citrus or peppermint.
Why trust Brides?
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She loves using body oil on its own during the summer and layered over lotion for extra moisture during the winter.