Even though oils have been getting some serious buzz for the past year for their moisturizing benefits, we typically restrict their use to our face and hair — not our bodies. Lotions have always been our go-to for supple limbs. Why? Oils can be downright intimidating. They're sorta complicated, can be frustratingly messy, and just leave a greasy sheen — on your skin and your clothes — if you're not sure what you're doing.
But, it's high time you give these slick substitutes a serious shot, for a few reasons. "There are far less preservatives in an oil than there are in a lotion," says dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi. Julia Lemigova, founder of Russie Blanche, agreed. "Oil is so much more natural — you know where it comes from," she says. "When you take a look at the ingredients list on a lotion, it sounds very technical. A good oil is just the oil — nothing added, very easy to read."
New to body oils? Tanzi suggests looking for ones that are specifically moisturizing, like lavender, coconut, and almond. If the oil you're eyeing is a blend of a couple, just make sure one of these hydration winners is well represented.
Once you've picked out your greasy go-to, timing is everything. "Definitely use the oil after the shower to seal the skin with hydration," says Tanzi. To minimize the mess factor in your bathroom, Lemigova suggests applying them while you're still in the shower but after you've turned off the water.
The oils should absorb fairly quickly into wet skin, but if you're still feeling slick, there are a few things you can do. "Splash a little bit of cold water on yourself to get rid of the residue," advises Lemigova. "Don't rinse it, but a tiny bit of water can help remove that greasy sensation." If you're a little gun-shy about adding H2O, Tanzi has another method. "If the skin is too slick, use a towel to gently blot the excess so the skin is soft but not greasy," she says. Just don't rub — this will undo all the work you did getting your limbs supple.
It may take a little time to get used to the sensation of the oils, as they're different from your typical moisturizers. But, the benefits are worth the adjustment time. Your skin stays softer for longer, and you know exactly what you're slathering over your limbs. And, there's nothing scary or complicated about that. Click through to see our picks for winning body oils.