As we turn the corner on Winter, many of us are engaged in a full-on war on dry skin. My chronic dry skin problem is only exacerbated by my love of taking really hot showers and baths when I feel like I can't get warm. When intensive hydration is needed, I've had the best success using body oil.
Body oil is exactly what it sounds like and used like a lotion or cream. It absorbs best if the skin is still a little bit warm and moist. For best results, use it immediately after getting out of the bath after some minimal toweling off. It is a good idea to do this either in the tub/shower or on a rug or towel that can collect any stray drops. One drawback of body oil is that it can be a bit messy. One of my favorite products was a rice oil based product by Bath & Body Works. It was discontinued, unfortunately. The oil itself was great, but I really loved that it came in a spray bottle. This was brilliant because it can be spritzed on wherever. I suppose you could buy a 99 cent spray bottle and try this yourself.
In selecting a body oil to try, there are dozens and dozens of offerings in lots of price ranges. On the more economical side, Neutrogena Body Oil ($13 for 16oz bottle) is both effective and affordable. It has a "light sesame formula" but I promise that you won't smell like cooking oil in the slightest. I might be crazy, but I feel like the Neutrogena product is more thin and liquid-y than other ones that I've tried and it tends to slop all around if I'm not careful. Once I figured that out, though, it's been smooth sailing and the product hydrates my thirsty skin effectively.
Another drugstore favorite is Burt's Bees Lemon & Vitamin E Bath and Body Oil ($8 for 4oz bottle). Containing moisturizing ingredients like sweet almond oil, lemon oil, and vitamin E, this oil leaves a fresh lemon scent that most people find pleasant and not overpowering. Although I am pretty skeptical of the "100% Natural" descriptor, I do want to mention it because many people are interested in that.
The Body Shop"s Spa Wisdom Monoi Miracle Oil ($20 for 5 oz bottle) contains fairly-traded babassu oil as one of its special blend of hydrating oils. According to their website, Monoi is an ancient Tahitian word that means "scented oil." This product has some glamorous origins, coming from Pacific islands and created by "soaking Gardenia blossoms (Tiare flowers) in rich, purified coconut oil." If only I could sign myself up for that kind of treatment...
If cost is less of a concern, there are (unsurprisingly), many options from some more exclusive brands.Bobbi Brown's Beach Body Oil ($28 for 3.4oz bottle) is infused with summer-y Beach fragrance to remind you that it won't be dark and cold forever. It contains four essential oils (olive, sesame, avocado and jojoba) and vitamins E and C to soften and nourish skin. Plus, it also leaves a gentle sheen to give you that beach-side glow.
Similar to the rice oil product that I've been using, Fresh Rice Dry Oil ($48 for 3.4 oz) harnesses the nourishing properties that have long been associated with rice. Rice grain along with jojoba, rice bran, borage and grapeseed oils make up this rich and luxurious product. Lastly, L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil ($32 for 3.4oz bottle) contains highly concentrated almond oil for an especially intense hydration. Featuring three essential oils including peppermint, palmarosa and immortelle, it purports to be anti-aging and restorative as well as moisturizing.