The best body oils serve two purposes: Sure, they lock in moisture like nothing else, but they also add a touch of luxury to your body-care routine. Using a body oil takes moisturizing from a chore to a full-blown experience. You may think you are rubbing yourself down with a body oil after a shower (always moisturize your body when it’s damp!), and suddenly you’re no longer in a tiny apartment bathroom—instead you’re in a gorgeous spa somewhere in the Italian countryside preparing for a date with Timothée Chalamet.
Fantasy aside, these multitaskers really do have a lot to offer—they can impart an incredible scent, nourish more deeply than body lotion, and leave skin soft and smooth, nixing dryness and dullness in one velvety layer. (Pro tip: Apply it after shaving or exfoliating, and let us know how it goes.)
Ellen Marmur, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, says this extreme softness results because oils mimic the natural lipids found in our bodies and, “like serums, they sink in between the cells and create a better, smoother skin surface.” Also, adds dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, oils have natural emollient ingredients that help soften rough skin. Because of these qualities, they can be especially helpful if you suffer from super-dry skin or eczema (heavier oils, such as avocado oil, are particularly good for this).
A quick word of warning: If you’re prone to breakouts on your shoulders or back, consider sticking with body lotions or creams, because—as with your face—certain oils can exacerbate body acne and breakout. If you do reach for an oil, Zeichner recommends looking for ingredients like tea tree, jojoba, or rosehip oils, which are luxe yet lightweight enough for all skin types.
Finally, make sure you give it a moment to sink in before applying sunscreen. Intrigued? Read on for the best body oils to incorporate into your skin-care routine for smooth, comfortable skin from head to toe.