The heat turned on in our apartment over the weekend. We heard the familiar click clank of the radiator first. Then the steam began to whistle out of the vent on the side. We’ve been schooling Faye on the word hot, which she breathes out like a dramatic onomatopoeia to match the sound of the radiator itself.
With a chill in the air and the attending heat, we’ve shifted in mere weeks from the humid sweatiness of summer into the time of year when starting the day properly moisturized feels necessary for basic survival. (An exaggeration to be sure, but don’t get me started on the tyranny of itchy legs under skinny jeans.)
I started using body oils as moisturizer back when we lived in Providence. I was wary of the mile-long ingredient lists I was seeing on the body lotions of even the brands called natural, and overwhelmed by the greasiness of other “lotions” that included too much shea butter or other greasy emollients. I opted for a one-ingredient alternative. Sweet almond oil massaged into my damp, freshly showered skin was absorbed quickly and did a terrific job of keeping me from getting too scaly, even in the middle of a harsh New England winter.
If you’d prefer something a little bit more complex, but still void of the preservatives and chemical emmolients of many moisturizers, there are some really lovely oil blends that take advantage of all sorts of lovely and healing plant and essential oils. A few favorites are below, plus a tip or two for helping you to ditch dubious moisturizers without getting too greased up (or dried out) in the process.
Do it yourself:
Sweet almond oil:
Consider this a gateway body oil. It’s mild, hypoallergenic, and subtly sweet smelling. As always, unrefined oils will have more “nutrition” and will be more fragrant than refined oils. If you wanted to up the game a bit, you could add a few drops of a soothing essential oil like lavender or sweet orange.
I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the scent of avocado oil, but lots of people swear by it for moisturizing needs. It’s full of vitamins A and E and fatty acids and often used in formulations for what the industry calls mature skin.
A super stable oil that’s most often lauded for being a close second to the oils we all produce naturally. (Sebum!) Also a common carrier oil for favorite essentials oils.
I’ve included links to organic body oils above for the curious, but you can find them just about anywhere, including, usually, your neighborhood grocery store.
Have someone else do it for you:
Evan Healy Sweet Blossom Hydrating Body Oil
Light, sweet, and restorative. Scented with neroli and ylang ylang.
One Love Organic’s Gardenia + Tea Body Serum*
I was intimidated by the impressive spray top of this body oil, but won over by the oil itself. A super silky body oil that leaves you glisten-y enough that you feel like you’re moisturized, but not oily. (For those who are fragrance averse, this might not be the oil for you. But the scent is lovely.)
Herbivore Botanical’s Jasmine Body Oil*
I’m a sucker for anything jasmine but a good jasmine scent can be kind of hard to come by. This body oil doesn’t disappoint in scent or efficacy. (Or display-worthy packaging.)
Portland Apothecary’s Hydrating Body Oil*
I used this body oil all spring long and loved it. A rich but still subtle scent of cedar and rose felt luxurious but never overpowering.
Notes about application:
People are sometimes wary about the…oilyness…of body oils. I’m here to say that save dousing on oil and immediately putting on a pair of tights, I’ve never experienced trouble with grease spots. To avoid the possibility, I apply oil right after my shower in the morning and let it soak in while I do other things around the bathroom like brush my hair and put on deodorant and inspect my eyebrows for stray hairs. For the best results, skinwise, I’d say start your body oil ritual before the worst of the winter weather is upon us so that you’re not trying to turn scales into silk.
What about you guys? Any favorite oils out there? Any favorite blends?
For more natural beauty posts, head HERE.
Disclosure: I am sometimes sent beauty products to review for this series. When I love them and think you might too, I write about them. Items that were sent to me for review are marked with an asterisk. All opinions are my own.