The 12 Best Body Oils, According to Experts and Editors
May 20, 2023
I’m whole-heartedly *obsessed* with every product on this list.
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If you're part of the dry skin club (hi, yes, me), you know the importance of hydration. Body lotions, serums, and creams are likely your MVPs—and they should be. But if you’re looking to take your skin to a whole new level of hydration (and get a little glow while you’re at it), body oil is going to be your best friend. There are dry oils, shimmery oils, extra-nourishing oils. The options are plentiful and adding one to your body care routine should be a no-brainer.
“Body oils sit on top of the skin and act almost as a barrier to occlude the skin and prevent trans-epidermal water loss,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky. “Body oils help to make the skin soft and supple, while adding an immediate glow to the skin.” In short: It’s a win-win.
Given the laundry list of pros, I’m going to assume you’re interested in adding the best of the best to your routine. And should that be the case, I’m happy to report that you’re in luck. I, along with the rest of the Marie Claire team, kind of have a thing for body oils. We’ve tried dozens over the years. We know which cult classics live up to the hype and the new releases that deserve a spot in your bathroom. So, without further ado, read ahead to shop the best body oils of all time.
“Body oils should contain a mix of fatty acids and ceramides for best results. The addition of antioxidants is an added bonus,” says Dr. Zubritsky. “Look for ingredients like jojoba oil which closely mimics our body's natural sebum. Other oils like rosehip seed oil (rich in omega fatty acids and known to regenerate and heal skin), sunflower seed oil (rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant known to protect against environmental aggressors), and coconut oil (an excellent hydrator with antifungal and antibacterial properties that can be used even in those with eczema) are also excellent choices.”
This is always going to be a personal preference, but nevertheless something that’s very important to consider. You’ll typically find two types of body oils: Glow-giving oils and dry oils. The former you can expect to be a little silkier, whereas the latter will dry down quickly without a shimmery sheen.
The Best Derm-Recommended Body Oil
“I'm a huge fan of the Body Oil from Necessaire,” says Dr. Zubritsky. “It’s full of several different nourishing oils and is enriched with several vitamins, minerals, and omegas. It melts into the skin and leaves it feeling soft and supple without being overly greasy.” It feels extremely lightweight, absorbs into the skin, and leaves a visibly glow on the skin. It’s also fragrance-free, which makes it a nice alternative for anyone who doesn’t want to overpower their actual perfume.
Pros: Vegan; Derm-recommended
Cons: Requires a lot of product for full coverage
The Best Multi-Purpose Body Oil
“I love Avene's Skin Care Oil. It fortifies and protects the skin with antioxidants and contains Avene's Thermal Spring Water to reduce irritation and calm skin,” says Dr. Zubritsky. “It absorbs quickly and is relatively lightweight in feel.” The biggest pro however, is its multi-purpose composition. It’s non-comedogenic and approved for acne-prone skin, so feel free to use a few drops as a face oil. If you really want to go wild and crazy, you can also use some of this dry oil on the end of your hair to seal split ends and add some shine.
Pros: Derm-recommended; Multi-purpose
Cons: Spray is a little messy
The Best Botanical Body Oil
Our Beauty Director Deena Campbell is *obsessed* with this luxurious formula, and it’s not surprising why. Applying this product is a wildly aromatic experience. The strong scent of lavender instantly transports you to a serene, soothing state of mind. The formula itself is just as noteworthy. It’s deeply hydrating, boosts skin’s radiance, and, while it’s not a substitute for SPF, filters 25 percent of the sun’s UV rays.
Pros: Editor-approved; Lightweight texture
Cons: Scent is strong for those who don’t like fragrance
The Best Post-Sun Body Oil
“After a little too much sun, I fully realized the potential of great body oil on my skin. My hands-down favorite is this one from Tata Harper—it's not sticky and applies like silk. It also does wonders for dry scalps and dead ends. The smell, a bit herby— but not overpowering— offers a woosh of instant relaxation and lingers all day long. Plus, the application is ultra-easy with the bottle's sleek pump mechanism that prevents oil from getting everywhere.” — Sara Holzman, Style Director
The Best-Smelling Body Oil
I love fragrance, don’t get me wrong. But there are times when I don’t want to smell too overwhelming. Those occasions, I believe, are the perfect opportunity to let body oil take the lead. This particular oil, while nourishing, hydration, and silky smooth, is my go-to because of its refreshing fig scent. My nose is met by subtle whiffs throughout the day and consistently compliments. If I’m feeling a little extra adventurous, I’ll occasionally use just a drop of product in my hair to make sure the fig is smelled by everyone who walks by me.
Pros: Smells great; Editor-approved; Extra nourishing
Cons: Slippery bottle—be careful
The Best Glowy Body Oil
I like to glow year-round, but *especially* during the summer months when dresses, shorts, and skirts are of the essence. I’m not one to go all out with body glitter, but I do appreciate a soft shimmer. Enter: Alo’s Head to Toe Glow Oil. I have a stockpile of bottles at home—it’s that good. The formula isn’t sticky and it doesn’t pill. Instead, I find it feels hydrating on my skin thanks to ingredients like marula oil, avocado oil, and aloe, while still managing to dry down relatively fast.
Pros: Soft shimmer; Great ingredients
Cons: Some say it feels a bit sticky
The Best Luxury Body Oil
A gorgeous texture, stunning bottle, and phenomenal glow are all of note with this body oil. However—the true allure boils down to the incredible ingredient profile. It features the brand’s proprietary repair and renewal complex, and is balanced out by a slew of oils, vitamins, and nourishing ingredients such as squalane and vitamin E. As a result, your skin is going to feel more supple, look smoother, and be incredibly hydrated.
Pros: Great ingredient profile; Celebrity-loved brand
The Editor-Favorite Body Oil
I’ve waxed poetic about the limited-edition Baccarat Rouge Shimmering Body Oil in the past. Alas, the sparkly rendition is saved for the holiday season, so when I can’t get my hands on it—it’s the OG body oil to the rescue. It delivers the same intoxicatingly amazing scent as the eau de parfum, but is available at a fraction of the price. Because I’m consistently reaching for it, I’ve found that all of my items have started to smell like Baccarat Rouge.
Pros: More affordable than the perfume; Lightweight
Cons: Smell fades fast
The Best Shimmering Body Oil
Molly Sims launched her beauty brand just a few months back, and a handful of the brand’s products have already made their way onto my all-time-favorites list. The best of ‘em all, in my opinion, has to be this uber-shimmery body oil. I lather it on my legs and arms (of course), but my favorite hack is to place just a pit on my collarbones—it reflects the light perfectly. The formula itself is infused with grapeseed oil and vitamin E to lock in moisture.
Pros: Light scent; Very nourishing
Cons: Too glittery for some
The Best Body Oil for Mature Skin
Body oils are sensory-oriented, but rest assured they also pack in loads of benefits. This Costa Brazil option for instance, is an anti-aging powerhouse. Plant-based antioxidants and vitamins work in tandem to reduce fine lines, firm the skin, and restore hydration. Superfruits like passionfruit then swoop in to brighten your overall skin tone and provide lasting radiance. It’s a triple threat—and it has one of the best textures in the game. It’s mastered the whole glowy-never-greasy feel.
Pros: Anti-aging benefits; Smells great
The Best Body Oil for Oily Skin
You may know (and love) Aesop already for its trend-setting fragrances and chic hand soaps, but one of my favorite products from the popular brand is its body oil. Because this formula is so highly concentrated, all it takes is a single teaspoon and you’re covered. It’s also perfect for adding to other lotions, unscented body creams or butters, or even a warm bath for an extra luxurious, hydrating experience. I’m also obsessed with the scent.
Pros: Works well with other products; Last a long time
Cons: Not extremely hydrating
The Best Dry Body Oil
I can’t get enough of this body oil from Lake & Sky. Formulated with their signature 11:11 fragrance, its subtle scent never clashes with my perfumes during the daytime, nor does it feel too strong to wear at night. Unlike other oils, it’s also lightweight and quick-drying, so I never end up feeling greasy after application. The bottle is also incredibly chic, turning the application process into something I look forward to day after day.
Pros: Never greasy; Quick drying
Cons: Doesn’t deliver same intensity of scent as fragrance
Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in general medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, cosmetics, and pediatric dermatology. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she graduated summa cum laude from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA with a degree in Cell/Molecular Biology where she participated in collegiate soccer. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States. She then completed her medical school training at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA where she graduated at the top of her class and was inducted into the esteemed Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She completed a year of internal medicine training during her transitional year at Kettering Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. She then pursued her residency in dermatology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where she served as chief resident. She is passionate about all things dermatology, especially debunking skincare myths and educating the public using her social media platforms. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and serves as one of their social media ambassadors. She is also an editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), the leading evidence-based peer-reviewed medical journal for dermatologists, and routinely reviews submissions for publication. She has contributed to numerous beauty articles as a skincare and dermatologic expert including Women's Health, Byrdie, InStyle magazine, Forbes, CNN, MSN, Esquire magazine, BuzzFeed, Allure, Yahoo!, The EveryGirl and many more. She has lectured at several national and local conferences and was the guest speaker for Grand Rounds at numerous dermatology residency programs across the country. Dr. Zubritsky utilizes her skills to optimize patient care and strives to form personal connections with her patients in order to build a strong, trusting relationship. She is thrilled to be providing dermatological care on the Mississippi gulf coast and surrounding areas at Premier Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center.
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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