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12 best body oils that will leave skin nourished and silky soft

Whether scented with essential oils or fragrance-free, these glow-getters will soak in quickly

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Wednesday 09 November 2022 11:33 GMT
These multi-tasking elixirs can sometimes double as bath, shower and hair oils
These multi-tasking elixirs can sometimes double as bath, shower and hair oils (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

Body oil is a hydrating skincare buy offering all-over moisture as an alternative to creams and lotions. Known for being easily absorbable and creating lingering skin softness, body oils can be applied either after a bath or shower, or onto dry skin in the morning and evening.

Also creating a chance to have a bit of body-care luxury, the application process of enveloping the skin with intensely moisturising oil is an excuse for an at-home massage or some me-time.

Usually packed with nourishing ingredients to care for skin, there are both fragrance-free and scented options to choose between. When it comes to perfumed picks, citrus, floral or fresh notes can be found in essential oil components, which also have aromatherapeutic benefits. Plus, it’s another way of wearing your favourite scent.

Leaving skin feeling supple and silky, body oils can add a glowing sheen whether you’re preparing to go out or simply seek some TLC skincare. You might not have dry skin but applying a body oil is a quick way of ensuring rough patches are evened out. Similarly, if dryness is your skin type or you’re prone to parched areas, you’ll be looking for soothing oils to smooth and hydrate.

The beauty of body oils is you can add moisture and get dressed straight after, thanks to them soaking into skin efficiently. Additionally, they might also double up as bath, shower and hair oils, making a multi-tasking addition to your daily product line-up.

How we tested

With all the above in mind, we’ve researched the best body oils to buy, including different fragrances and consistencies. We sampled a selection of body oils over several weeks of testing, looking at the formula, skin finish and price point. We checked out essential-oil-infused products, as well as fragrance-free picks. Read on for our guide to the best tried-and-tested body oils to suit all budgets

The best body oils for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – REN Clean Skincare Moroccan rose otto ultra-moisture body oil: £35, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best budget buy – Palmer’s cocoa butter formula moisturising body oil: £5.45, Boots.com
  • Best for relaxation – Aromatherapy Associates deep relax bath and shower oil: £37.50, Aromatherapyassociates.com
  • Best for dry skin – Aveeno skin relief body oil spray: £6.19, Boots.com
  • Best fragrance-free body oil – By Sarah London body oil: £48, Bysarahlondon.com
  • Best body oil selection – ESPA signature blends aromatherapy bath and body oil collection: £35, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best citrus scent – Aesop breathless: £27, Aesop.com
  • Best for multi-purpose use – Lixirskin universal oil: £39, Lixirskin.co.uk
  • Best dry body oil – Liz Earle superskin dry oil for body: £28.80, Boots.com
  • Best luxury buy – Susanne Kaufmann marigold body oil: £52, Susannekaufmann.com
  • Best sweet scent – Molton Brown delicious rhubarb and rose vibrant body oil: £40, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best for rich moisture – Von Norten relaxing body oil: £23, Vonnorten.com

Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan rose otto ultra-moisture body oil

Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan rose otto ultra-moisture body oil.jpg
  • Best: Overall
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Moroccan rose otto

The first thing we noticed about this body oil is how deeply moisturising it felt on our skin. Just a small amount offered intensely hydrating nourishment, and our skin looked satisfyingly glowy, thanks to the moisture boost. Plus, the glass bottle has a dropper top for mess-free use.

Ingredients include rose otto oil and macadamia oil, and that’s reflected in the sweet botanical scent, which we thought smelt brightening and uplifting. Suitable for normal to dry skin, we found that rough patches were smoothed, and the rich moisturised effect felt soothing, too.

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Palmer’s cocoa butter formula moisturising body oil

Palmer’s cocoa butter formula moisturising body oil.jpg
  • Best: Budget buy
  • Product size: 250ml
  • Scent: Cocoa butter

Presented in a tall bottle with a press-down release lid, the vitamin-E infused formula has Palmer’s signature sweet and creamy cocoa butter scent, which is instantly appealing. The body oil is quite a runny consistency, so we were careful not to make a mess during application. But this does mean it spreads easily across a large area of skin, so rubbing it on post-shower was a very quick task.

Our skin felt smooth and sheeny after use, and while there was a bit of a shiny residue, the oil soaked in well and left our limbs glistening. We also enjoyed adding it to bath water for skin-softening as we soaked.

  1. £5 from Boots.com
Prices may vary
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Aromatherapy Associates deep relax bath and shower oil

Aromatherapy Associates deep relax bath & shower oil.jpg
  • Best: For relaxation
  • Product size: 55ml
  • Scent: Vetivert, camomile and sandalwood

Undeniably a treat splurge, this bath and shower oil has become a relaxation go-to for us, and the square glass bottle does look suitably expensive on any shelf.

Ingredients include vetivert, camomile and sandalwood, making for a rousing essential oil scent, which felt both centring and calming. The 55ml bottle is compact, but we found a tiny amount of the rich oil goes a long way when it comes to smoothing skin dryness and leaving a feeling of lingering nourishment.

We liked to apply before bedtime to wind down much more easily, between inhaling the spa-like scent and appreciating the easily absorbed moisture.

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Aveeno skin relief body oil spray, 200ml

Aveeno skin relief body oil spray.jpg
  • Best: For dry skin
  • Product size: 200ml
  • Scent: Subtle and sweet

Aveeno is a brand known for offering dry-skin relief, and this hypoallergenic body oil is also suitable for those prone to experiencing product irritation. The spray applicator nozzle ensures simple application and just one spritz delivers a generous layer of rich moisture.

Hydrating ingredients include oat oil and jojoba oil, and we noted a subtle sweet scent, which we could pick up on after we’d got dressed too. The formula soaked in fast, with no stickiness at all, and we saw an even finish to areas of dryness or rougher skin patches. We used it on our little ones too, as the oil is gentle enough to offer calming moisture.

  1. £6 from Boots.com
Prices may vary
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By Sarah London body oil

By Sarah London body oil.jpg
  • Best: Fragrance-free body oil
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Unscented

Presented in a glass apothecary-style bottle, this is a fragrance-free option containing no essential oils, so great if you prefer an unscented buy. Moisturising ingredients include jojoba oil, evening primrose oil and vitamin E, and it’s designed to be added to damp skin.

We slathered the oil onto our body after either a bath or shower, and really enjoyed how luxurious it felt. The formula is rich, so this oil envelops skin with intense moisture. We could feel – and see –significantly softened skin, plus noticeable hydration on parched areas after application.

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ESPA signature blends aromatherapy bath and body oil collection

ESPA signature blends aromatherapy bath and body oil collection.jpg
  • Best: Body oil selection
  • Product size: Seven 15ml bottles
  • Scent: Varies across the seven oils included

A useful body oil buy if you’d like to try a few scent variations, ESPA’s signature blends collection contains seven 15ml bottles in different aromatherapy options. These include fragrances to suit different moods and situations, such as the restful, positivity, restorative, soothing, energising, connection and fortifying bath and body oil blends. Also handy for travelling, each dinky bottle contains potent scents, which we found ideal for creating a spa-style body treatment.

The midweight formula glides onto skin and absorbs easily, leaving a light layer of moisture and tempting scent to soak up. Our favourites were the peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary combination found in the sharply awakening energising pick, as well as restful soothing lavender, clary sage and bergamot blend.

Out of stock at the moment but due back soon, add it to your wish list to receive a back-in-stock email.

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Aesop breathless

Aesop breathless body oil.jpg
  • Best: Citrus scent
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Woody and citrus

This brown glass bottle has a handy stopper, ensuring droplets of oil come out for precise application, or it can be removed, should you prefer to slather on more at a time. We really enjoyed the brisk and brightening scent, which was immediately noticeable and uplifting for our senses.

The botanical blend includes blood orange, jojoba seed and laurel leaf, and we happily soaked up this citrus freshness. Its formula is midweight without being runny, and the oil slides onto skin before soaking in and creating a silky-soft layer of moisture.

  1. £27 from Aesop.com
Prices may vary
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Lixirskin universal oil

Lixirskin universal oil.jpg
  • Best: For multi-purpose use
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Grapefruit, peppermint and bergamot, among others

This body oil is intended for use on the skin, hair and nails, as well as in the bath and shower. From an aesthetic perspective, we really like the pink glass bottle’s design (created by artist Alexandria Coe), and its twist-off lid ensures easy application access.

We warmed up the oil in our hands as instructed, before popping it all over. We noticed a reviving scent – ingredients include grapefruit, peppermint and bergamot. The lightweight formula spreads easily across skin, and we saw it soak in to leave a silky, sheeny layer that made our limbs look and feel moisturised.

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Liz Earle superskin dry oil for body

Liz Earle superskin dry oil for body.jpg
  • Best: Dry body oil
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Cranberry, borage and rosehip

This tall glass bottle features a metallic spray nozzle applicator, which we found made use in a rush much easier. Whether we fancied spritzing some oil onto our dry skin in the morning or at bedtime, the spray delivered an even amount of oil distribution, which we then rubbed into skin.

It’s a lightweight oil that soaks in efficiently and offers optimum skin softening. We appreciated the comforting botanical scent comprising cranberry, borage and rosehip seed oils, too.

  1. £28 from Boots.com
Prices may vary
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Susanne Kaufmann marigold body oil

Susanne Kaufmann marigold body oil.jpg
  • Best: Luxury buy
  • Product size: 250ml
  • Scent: Floral

The round glass bottle that this body oil comes in has minimalist branding and makes a stylish addition to our bathroom cabinet, while its dropper stop enables mess-free use. Suitable for all skin types, the oil has a pretty, floral scent. Ingredients include moisturising marigold extract, soothing St John’s wort and hydrating olive oil and sunflower oil.

We saw the golden-coloured liquid smooth onto our skin and create a glistening glow, while leaving intense hydration and a softening effect. Plus, that fragrance clung to our skin, so we could detect its welcome botanical brightness throughout the day.

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Molton Brown delicious rhubarb and rose vibrant body oil

Molton Brown delicious rhubarb and rose vibrant body oil.jpg
  • Best: Sweet scent
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Sweet and sunny floral scent

This chic glass bottle features signature Molton Brown branding and looks suitably luxe to match its price point. An oil in one of our all-time favourite blends from this fragrance brand, the rhubarb and rose combination is a sweet and sunny floral scent.

We added drops of the body oil onto our skin and noticed the light liquid had a slightly runny finish, which meant it could reach our entire limbs and torso without much effort. It also contains hydrating argan oil, and we could see this from the supple skin effect we felt and saw.

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Von Norten relaxing body oil

Von Norten relaxing body oil.jpg
  • Best: For rich moisture
  • Product size: 100ml
  • Scent: Lavender, geranium, orange and ylang ylang

What’s clever about this glass bottle is there’s a stopper requiring a push-down mechanism to open it, which means the top securely closes to minimise the risk of spillage.

When spreading the formula onto our skin, we noticed this essential oil-infused body oil is richly moisturising while still feeling relatively lightweight. It smells divinely tranquil too, with the scent coming from lavender, geranium, orange and ylang ylang. It absorbs very quickly, and our skin happily drank up the hydration provided, while we also saw a soft glowing sheen to our arms and legs.

  1. £23 from Vonnorten.se
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Body oils

Our overall best buy is REN Clean Skincare’s Moroccan rose otto ultra-moisture body oil for being intensely moisturising and having a brightening, uplifting scent. Meanwhile, if you prefer an unscented option, we love using By Sarah London’s body oil on damp skin for noticeable hydration. Finally, Palmer’s cocoa butter formula moisturising body oil is a purse-friendly pick that left our skin softened and limbs glistening.

For relaxing evenings spent indoors, read our review of the best bubble baths for a soothing soak

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