Smell Ya Later: The Beginner's Guide To Scented Oils

Spring is so close we can practically feel the sunshine on our faces, but first we have to slog through the thoroughly dreary month of March. Between the increased moisture in the air (what up rain) and the still quite chilly temperatures, keeping your skin balanced and hydrated can be quite the challenge. Enter scented oils: We consider these slippery skin treatments to be one of life's little luxuries and use them obsessively to give our skin a radiant, healthy look.
We know they can be a bit intimidating — many women consider them messy, confusing to use, or are just worried they will cause breakouts — but we swear that once you make the switch and add oils to your beauty routine, your skin will look amazing. To help demystify the slick stuff, we asked Cowshed Spa director Douglas Drummond to create a primer for skin oil novices. Read on for his tips on how to incorporate them into your existing routine, plus get a peek at some of our fave face and body oils.
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Choose Your Oil
"When buying any body oil, I would look for one whose ingredient list is short, and understandable," says Drummond. "If you cannot pronounce half the ingredients, you may not want to be putting it on your body."

"The first ingredient on the list should be some kind of oil, such as grapeseed or jojoba oil, and not alcohol," he adds. "I would also look for one that is natural — the less tampered with, the better the product will be for your skin. Make sure it is a scent you like and can live with as scented oils tend to last longer on your skin than you realize. At Cowshed, all of our oils are created to have therapeutic benefits for both mind and body. You can choose your scent based on your mood, or need for that day, something most lotions in standard brands don't offer."

Cowshed Grumpy Cow Uplifting Bath & Massage Oil, $31.95, available at Cowshed.

Photo: Courtesy of Cowshed
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Application
"Oils are usually applied right after a shower or bath, while skin is still a little damp," says Drummond. "This allows for quicker and deeper penetration into the skin. Oils are a concentrated form of moisture instead of using a lotion that has other ingredients. Oil can also act as a barrier to the harsh elements of the winter, protecting your skin from wind and cold."

"Apply them right after you towel off from your shower, while your skin is still slightly damp. They will penetrate quicker when applied this way."

Sans Activator 7 Body Oil, $50, available at Woodley & Bunny.

Photo: Courtesy of Woodley & Bunny
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The Perfect Dose
"Oils are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way! With the face oils we recommend a dropper of oil. The body oil depends somewhat on your size, but again a little goes a long way, so start with just a bit in the palm of your hand and go from there. Err on the side of caution as you can always add more!"

Apivita Wine Elixir Anti-Wrinkle & Restoring Face Oil, $55, available at Dermstore.

Photo: Courtesy of Apivita
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Making Scents
"At Cowshed, almost all of the practitioners use oils for a dual purpose — to moisturize and as a fragrance," says Drummond. "We encounter people with all sorts of allergies and some have a sensitivity to strong scents. Scented oils will penetrate the skin and leave a lingering but mellow scent, not an overpowering perfume type odor."

"When using a body oil, the scent of the essential oils sinks in and mellows. The beauty of using body oils is that they can be paired together to create the scent you like or the mood you desire! The fact that I can be my own little perfumist by layering different oils is really interesting to me."

Diptyque Satin Oil For Body And Hair, $58, available at Nordstrom.

Photo: Via Nordstrom
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Hydrate & Glow
"I prefer to use oils as I have really dry skin in the winter. I love that they are a heavier moisturizer than just lotion," says Drummond. "People associate body oils with luxury. They leave your body feeling incredibly hydrated with a gorgeous glow you cannot achieve from lotion alone."

"Most oils are formulated with different combinations of essential oils to aid in therapeutic benefits for the body, mind, and spirt. These essential oils penetrate the body and can help calm, invigorate, relax, uplift, and detoxify your body. The scent they leave softens and lingers on your body, never overwhelming a room. Beautiful!"

Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Oil, $28.95, available at Dr. Hauschka.

Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Hauschka
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