Body Care Essentials
Body care, it’s the most overlooked category in the skincare world. If you’re anything like me, you have 99+ products for your face and maybe ONE body wash, one scrub, and an old aveeno lotion from 2005 rotting in your bathroom cabinet. 😂 It’s so funny how many of us treat our faces like royalty, doing 10-20 step routines, but then ignore the rest our body.
Anyways getting older and managing an auto immune disease has definitely caused me to reevaluate how I treat my body. I already did a thorough write up on shower essentials, and for me, that was step 1. But what do I use AFTER I get out of the shower? And how do I manage both dryness and dehydration?
If you have dry skin, the following system is a no brainer. But if you have oily skin, you should still be focused on hydrating and protecting the skin! It will help decrease oil production overall. Most of us are dehydrated and since bodycare is so overlooked, it’s helpful to create a daily system so you take care of it regularly. If you have 20 minutes to do your skincare routine, why not add in an extra 10-20 for your body too?
Here’s my 6 step body care system! My approach to body care is still much simpler than my facial care, but much more thorough than it used to be. It consists of:
IN THE SHOWER\BATH:
Step 1. Cleanse – body wash
Step 2. Exfoliate – body scrub (I only do this 2-3 times a week)
Step 3. Treat – shower oil or gel
AFTER THE SHOWER\BATH:
Step 4. Hydrate – water based serum
Step 5. Moisturize – body oil
Step 6. Protect – body moisturizer or cream
Step 7. Sunscreen - (daytime only) spf 50+
I’ve been skipping the body wash lately because my skin is SO dry it can’t deal with soap of any kind, even PH balanced ones. But I think this 6 step system is ideal for all skin types – dry, combo, normal, or oily. Thankfully all of the body creams and moisturizers I’ve found are extremely light and more focused on hydration, so this won’t leave you a greasy, oily, mess nor will it stain your sheets. :)
Now let’s get into some products recommendations! I tried to include products in 3 different pricing categories, cheap\affordable, mid-range, and luxe\bougie. Take your pick...
STEP 1 – CLEANSING
For body washes, I’m always focused on moisture and hydration myself. Many shower soaps & body washes can be extremely stripping to the skin. On top of that, the hot shower water is also stripping, so it’s easy to go overboard. I tried to include body washes that are moisturizing but also cleansing. One of these is better for oily skin, one for dry skin, and the other one is perfect for all skin types…
Nubian Heritage Lemongrass & Tea Tree Body Wash – the Nubian Heritage line is perfect for those who love affordable\cheap body care. You can get a 13 oz body wash for only $13! The Lemongrass & Tea Tree, Lavender & Wildflowers, and African Black Soap body washes in particular are perfect for oily skin. I find they give a deep cleanse but aren’t super stripping. Within these formulas, they included glycerin & aloe for hydration, and the essential oils are really good at balancing out sebum production. All in all this line is far too stripping for my dry skin, but perfect for combo and oily types. They also have a ton of other body washes on their website so if you have dry skin and want an affordable body wash, be sure to take a look! My personal favs are the Goats Milk & Chai, Olive Oil & Green Tea, Mango Butter, and Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver body washes.
Sol de Janeiro brazilian 4 Play moisturizing shower cream-gel – this is the perfect body wash for normal skin types! It works for someone dry\dehydrated like myself, and is also a favorite of my oily skin friends. I don’t find it stripping but I certainly need to use a moisturizer afterwards. The cream-gel texture is not the thickest\creamiest, but it IS more moisturizing than the Nubian Heritage body washes I mentioned above. This one makes you smell like pistachios and caramel. It’s only $25 per 13 oz!
Elemis Frangipani shower cream – the Elemis frangipani monoi line is like something out of my dreams, it’s by far the best smelling body care line I’ve ever come across! This shower cream is something I recommend to severely dry skin care types like myself. It manages to cleanse the body without stripping, and in fact, acts as a protecant against the hot water. I leave the bath smelling like frangipani flowers (they use the natural extract so it isn’t perfume-y!) This is $40 for only 6 oz but a little goes a very long way. Definitely the most luxuruious body wash I’ve ever used, and the most expensive too. I’ve had it for 3 months and I’m not even halfway through the bottle yet so this should last for quite some time.
STEP 2 – EXFOLIATE
You can (and should) use Krave Beauty’s kale-lalu-yAHA 5% glycolic toner, or Tula’s 10% glycolic gel all over your body. But the downside is, it gets super expensive! That’s why I tend to recommend physical exfoliants more often when it comes to body care. They’re cheaper and more widely available. That said, if you can afford to use AHA’s on your body, by all means, go for it! Just make sure to protect your skin afterwards, and always wear sunscreen. Please see the disclaimer below:
DISCLAIMER: your body, like your face, doesn’t need to be exfoliated every single day. In fact, you can easily OVER exfoliate and damage your moisture barrier. It’s important to give the skin time to heal and take a break from acids & scrubs. Therefore I recommend only including this step 2-3 times max per week and you ALWAYS need sun protection afterwards. I thought this was a given but many people have asked me if it’s really necessary. Answer - it is. You need to wear spf every single day whether you exfoliate or not. Please always wear sunscreen, all over your face and body. Anyways, exfoliation will help prevent body acne if you’re prone to it (I know I am!), keep your skin looking young & vibrant, help reduce cellulite, you name it! But please always make sure to follow up with a good moisturizing routine afterwards, and give your body frequent breaks.
Nubian Heritage Patchouli & Buriti Hand & Body Scrub – this is a dry skin savior! It is sugar based, not salt based, and it includes a ton of nourishing moisturizers like sunflower, olive fruit, shea butter, cocoa butter, macademia oil, jojoba oil, mango butter, etc. The sugar granules aren’t too abrasive either. I find this gives a really nice exfoliation but doesn’t strip my skin. That said, I think this is definitely too much oil for an oily skin type. Normal & dry bodies will appreciate it much more! $13 for 12 oz.
Frank Body Original Scrub – this is another super affordable scrub! Only $17 for 7 oz. But this one is better for normal to oily skin types, IMO. It is salt & coffee based, perfect for combating cellulite and circulation problems. This one also has brown sugar and sweet almond oil, but the texture is quite crumbly and hard. Thankfully it’s not the most abrasive body scrub I’ve come across although I would defintiely not recommend this to those with dry skin.
Natura Brasil’s Acai Body Scrub – this is a perfect body scrub for all skin types. It emulsifies with water so it’s not as messy or difficult to scrub off. It’s not super creamy but it’s also not very stripping. A perfect sugar based scrub for any body. $25 for 7 oz
Herbivore Botanical’s Coco Rose Body Polish - this is also a sugar based scrub but not the most moisturizing IMO. It doesn’t emulsify with water but it’s perfect for oily types because it has more exfoliating properties than the two scrubs above. It’s not harsh per say, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to dry skin types. This comes in at $36 for 8 oz.
STEP 3 – TREAT
I consider this step essential after using a physical exfoliant. The hot water is still running and it dehydrates your skin SO quickly. That’s why I like to follow up with a shower oil, to prevent further damage to your moisture barrier. If you have oily skin, do not fear! These shower oils emulsify with water and wash off super easily. In fact, I rarely see any of them leftover on my skin after the shower. What they DO leave me with is protected skin, however. That little bit of protection goes a long way when it comes to scorching hot water beating down on your body.
Sephora Collection Moisturizing Shower Oil – this is a two in one shower oil and lotion that cleanses you AND moisturizes in the shower. The texture is like an oil but it emulsifies with water and becomes milky upon application. Very easy to wash off, very nourishing. I don’t find it the MOST moisturizing but it’s an amazing product for the price point. I would definitely recommend this to those with oily and combo skin, though if you have normal skin you can probably still get away with this. Dry skin types need to look elsewhere (aka below). $7 for 6 oz.
Natura Brasil’s Pitanga Triple Phase Shower Oil – this is one of the best body care inventions ever to walk the face of the earth, IMO. I only wish it came in a larger size because I go through these bottles so quickly!! A little doesn’t go a very long way, haha. This shower oil has three distinct layers, an oil layer, a water layer, and an emulsified layer. When you shake it up it becomes a beautiful milky texture, and it’s perfect to apply after exfoliating. This is very unusual as far as shower oils go, because it washes off so easily and it deals with both moisture AND hydration due to the water\oil layers. I think those with oily skin would love this just as much as those with dry skin. It’s very light & hydrating, but also protective. And it only costs $24 for 6 oz, although like I said, I go through this very quickly (it’s addictive).
Jo Malone London’s Lime Basil & Mandarin Shower Oil – this has a hefty price point of $45 for 8 oz, but if you like bougie shower oils, this is one to check out for sure! It doesn’t fully emulsify with water, but it partially does. So it won’t leave you greasy. That said, I do think this is better suited for dry skin types like myself. It’s the perfect layer to finish off your shower treatments with. Plus all of the Jo Malone scents will make you smell like a queen. So you don’t need perfume afterwards!
STEP 4 – HYDRATE
This is one of my favorite body care steps and probably the one that is MOST overlooked by skincare enthusiasts! I also happen to think it’s the most important step, because 99%+ of the population is severely dehydrated – whether they have oily, combo, normal, or dry skin. So please, for the sake of your skin, don’t forget to hydrate your body!
Kikumasamune High Moist Lotion – this is one of my favorite skincare products ever, and was one of the first products that got me hooked! To be fair, I hate using it for my face (which is how it is designed) so when I say it’s one of my favorites, it’s not because I’ve had amazing results from this one. Indeed, the reason this is a HG product is because it makes an amazing and very affordable body hydrator\serum. It comes in a huge 16 oz bottle for only $14 which is insane. The texture is extremely watery\liquid so it’s difficult to apply. I prefer to decant some into a spray bottle and just spray all over my body. It has hyaluronic essence to help lock the hydration in. Indeed, this is a skincare product pretty much ANYONE can afford (it’s only 80 cents per oz!), so I recommend starting here if you’re on a budget. The products below are more hydrating and have better textures, but this one can’t be beat for the price point. It works best for oily skin folks who don’t want to have a heavy hydrating layer. This WILL dry extremely sticky so be aware, but it goes away after a few minutes. Perfect for an everyday body care hydrator but not going to give you crazy results if you’re struggling.
Iunik Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Toner – this is my second affordable recommendation and a product that does a much better job at hydrating the body. But unfortunately it’s also not as good of a deal per oz. This one is $21 for 6.6 oz. It is very thick and perfect for extremely dehydrated skin. If you’re trying to heal your moisture barrier, I’d go with this one over the kikumasamune lotion above. This WILL foam up after you apply so that’s frustrating, but a little goes a very long way. I’ve repurchased this one several times and have never been disappointed. It didn’t work at all for me as a facial care product so I started using it on my body and haven’t looked back since! Perfect for normal, oily, combo, AND dry skin types – this will work for everyone.
Aqutop Dual Effect Signature Tone Up Water – if you have dry skin like I do this is the BEST body care serum\essence\toner I’ve ever come across. Unlike the products above, this ISN’T a rejected facial care product turned body care product. In fact, this is one of my holy grail facial care products too! It’s just soo good that I had to include it in this blog post. $29 for 8 oz and worth every single penny! The texture is identical to water but it contains not only humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, but also beta glucan, niacinamide, collagen, panthenol, betaine, etc. The reason this is perfect for dry skin is it also contains lecithin and Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride which help to actually LOCK IN the hydration. Basically this is a non greasy ester & emolient ingredient that will help to moisturize without leaving grease or keeping the water based ingredients from penetrating (you know, since oil can penetrate water, but water can’t penetrate oil?) It’s hard to explain, but basically this is a toner that actually SEALS IN tons of hydration, and leaves your skin glowing. In theory this is the only water based product you need to use, but you can also layer other water based products on top and they’ll absorb like a dream. That is how I know the caprylic/capric triglyceride works so well. Unlike oils, it doesn’t keep the water based products from absorbing. It simply offers a MUCH better product overall that hydrates like nothing else. Essentially this product is 10x better than May Coop’s Raw Sauce which used to be my holy grail hydrating toner. Aqutop’s Tone Up Water isn’t often talked about in the skincare community but it’s a hidden treasure in my opinion and I wish more people could experience it. $29 for 8 oz.
HydroPeptide Perfecting Body Serum – this product is actually DESIGNED to be a body care serum, and it’s the only one I’ve ever found! How refreshing! This is a powerful anti-aging body treatment that helps to stimulate natural moisturizing factors in the skin, tighten\firm\tone to treat sagging skin, and stimulate collagen production. Basically this is an anti-gravity type of formula, and it actually seems to work! Of course this won’t replace diet, exercise, genetics, etc. But I did see some mild results from this one, especially with regards to cellulite. It doesn’t get rid of cellulite, per say. But it certainly seems to conceal it better. Best of all, I love the feeling on my skin.The formula is thick and luxurious, like a high quality serum but since it’s water based, it’s not greasy at all. The serum is cooling to the touch due to the peppermint - it’s very refreshing. I like using this to wake up in the morning. Definitely on my repurchase list, although it is quite pricey. $68 for 6.7 oz
STEP 5 – MOISTURIZE
So I’m splitting this step up into 2 parts. The first part is just your basic body oils, the second part is glittery\glowy body oils. I would only use the glowy body oils for daytime use, or a night out on the town. They’re basically a body highlighter & moisturizer all in one! If you’re doing a night routine and you’re at home, I recommend choosing a regular body oil so you don’t stain your sheets with mica particles. ;)
Natura Brasil’s Castanha Dry Body Oil – this is one of my favorite body oils for any skin type, but I think those with oily skin will appreciate it the most. It has a spray mechanism that works BEAUTIFULLY for easy application of the product. No greasy hands, greasy dropper tops, or accidentally tipping over your precious bottles! That’s right, all you have to do is spray it on your body and use your hands to pat it in. It’s so easy to get your back, too! Plus it’s only $24 for 3 oz. I love the scent of Natura products and I’ve already repurchased this one multiple times. If you want a no-fuss body oil that takes 3 minutes to apply or less, doesn’t get messy on your countertops, and doesn’t leave your skin greasy – this is for you.
Palermo Repairing or Hydrating Body Oils – these two body oils are gorgeous. The repairing one is better for dry skin in my opinion, it features meadowfoam seed oil, raspberry oil, borage oil, hemp, & cucumber – which are incredible moisturizers for dry skin. The hydrating body oil is lighter in texture, it has grapeseed, rosehip, jojoba, apricot, almond oil, etc so it’s better for acne-prone oily skin. Neither one will leave your skin feeling clogged, although they are a little thicker than the Natura dry body oil above. $56 for 4 oz
Elemis Frangipani Monoi Oil – this is one of my favorite body oils of all time and definitely the one I recommend the most for dry skin. Even though I’ve repurchased Natura’s dry body oil, it doesn’t compare to the silky soft smooth skin this frangipani monoi oil leaves me with. It also smells like heaven. Seriously. Like you just applied a high end fragrance, and you can’t stop sniffing yourself. The only trouble is you have to warm the body oil before applying so it melts, but it’s well worth the trouble IMO. I place mine in front of a heater and it’s done in 1 minute or less. The packaging is also super luxurious – high quality red glass with a unique stopper. If you have dry, painful skin after the shower, definitely check this one out. $56 for 3 oz
SHIMMERY BODY OIL EDITION
So these aren’t “necessary” but they’re a great option if you’re going out after your shower! You don’t need both a body oil AND a shimmer body oil, so simply replace the suggestions above with these ones if you want a moisturizer that’s going to highlight you at the same time.
Sol de Janeiro Glow Oil in Ipanema or Copacabana – so these aren’t “cheap” by any means but the duo is totally worth it IMO! Both of these oils are super lightweight and leave your skin glowing. The ipanema color is very light, almost invisible until it hits the light. The copacabana one is a little darker, and if you have light skin, you could even use it like a bronzer. This duo is gorgeous and smells like caramel, so it’s definitely worth picking up. My only complaint is this is heavy on the silicones & Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer (a class of rubber I believe?) which I prefer to avoid whenever possible. But if you’re oily, these are SUPER lightweight and easy to blend, so you might love these. $55 for 5 oz (two bottles).
Herbivore Botanicals Rose Quartz Body Oil – I don’t regret this purchase for one minute! This is one of the most gorgeous body oils in my collection. It’s pretty lightweight but very moisturizing. I would recommend this to all skin types. It also has a gorgeous jasmine\orchid scent to it and is made with all natural ingredients if that’s important to you. The shimmer is super subtle, similar to the Sol de Janeiro glow oils above, but with a more pink tint to it. $48 for 4 oz
HydroPeptide Nourishing Glow Body Oil - this is gorgeous! A very lightweight body oil with champagne highlights\mica. This one is more pigmented than the Rose Quartz & Ipanema\Copacabana oils above. It’s also a tad more glittery IMO. You can definitely see it on your skin in all sorts of lighting, so if you want a highlighter that makes a statement, this is the one for you. $78 for 3 oz
STEP 6 – PROTECT
This is a step most of my oily friends will want to skip. But it’s such an important step to finish off your routine! In fact, if you’re going to skip any step, then skip the body oil portion. A moisturizer is important to seal all the hydration in for the evening. It provides occlusive ingredients that protect and repair the moisture barrier overnight. So if you want your body care routine to count, stay tuned for these suggestions!
Bali Body Moisturizing Lotion – so this isn’t my favorite lotion, but it’s a decent body lotion IMO. The best thing about it is it’s FRAGRANCE FREE – so if that is important to you definitely pick this one up! It does leave a white cast like 90% of the body lotions I’ve tried but it quickly disappears. This one is perfect for oily and combo body types, it will give you some protection without leaving you a greasy mess. It does contain silicones so be careful of potential pilling. $20 for 5 oz
Natura Brasil Castanha Body Milk – if you’re sensitive to silicones, this is a body lotion for you! It’s super light and dewy, heavy on the hydration especially. Perfect for dehydrated skin of all types (dry, oily, normal, and combo)… it’s heavily fragranced and smells beautiful. This isn’t a super complex formula, it’s similar to the Bali Body lotion above – but without the white cast and occasional pilling. $24 for 6 oz and well worth repurchasing! I would recommend this to all skin types – anyone who wants a light body lotion that won’t pill.
Lowengrip Body Balm – this was a surprise favorite of 2018 and by FAR my go-to body lotion these days! This one does have silicones but for some reason never pills on me! It always has the most gorgeous balmy texture, but is super hydrating, not greasy. Imagine if the Castanha body milk was thick – that’s what this body balm is like. It’s heavily fragranced as well but thanfkully disappears upon application. SO worth repurchasing, and I already have. The best body lotion for the best price IMO. Perfect for dry skin but light enough for combo skin too. I think oily skin types might want something lighter. $22 for 6 oz
Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream – ok I don’t need to say much about this cult favorite since it’s already so well loved and known! This smells like pistachios and caramel, what more can I say? It’s delicious. Bum Bum does contain silicones right at the top of the ingredient list but so far I haven’t had any trouble with pilling which is unusual! It also doesn’t leave a ton of white cast. Initially there’s a bit of it, but it goes away pretty soon. Bum bum is filled with skin loving ingredients like cupuacu butter, acai oil, coconut oil, etc and I think it would work great for most skin types (as long as you don’t mind a ton of fragrance and coconut oil). Dry skin will especially appreciate this option. $45 for 8 oz
HydroPeptide Firming Moisturizer – ok I’m heartbroken about this one because it truly is the best body lotion I have ever tried. Period. But it pills like crazy, even when all I combine it with is their body serum. You’d assume that a brand’s own products would be compatible, right? Unfortunately not in this case (I had the same issue with insytutum’s lifting cream, it happens more often than it should!) This one pills worse than any other body lotion in my possession, so I’m very torn. It leaves little balls all over my pillow, sheets, pajamas, etc. But if you can somehow find a way to mitigate the intense pilling, this is literally magical otherwise! It has peptides, it has caffeine, it has vitamin c, niacinamide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, etc. Seriously, this is like a facial cream for your body! The ingredient list is SO much better than any of the other body lotions I mentioned above, there’s really no comparison. I would repurchase and recommend this in a heartbeat if it didn’t pill. I truly think it does more for the skin than most of the facial care I’ve tried (yes, it’s that good).
If you end up purchasing this one, make sure to use it separately – straight out of the shower. I wouldn’t recommend combining it with anything else as its potential to pill is crazy high. Don’t use a serum, or god forbid, a body oil! It’s hard for someone like myself with dry skin to skimp on their body care routine, but I’m not sure how else to use this one up. It’s too good to give away but like I said, the pilling almost mitigates all the good effects (I had to use a body brush to get all the gross little balls off my body, it took forever and dried my skin out even worse than before). This one is a $98 for 6 oz but if you check out the ingredient list that is an insane value for the price! If this was a facial cream (and it very well could be, it’s that nutrient dense), it would come out to only $16 per oz, which is insane. When you think of it that way, this is a very good deal for the ingredients it contains. I just don’t know what to say about that pilling. It’s awful. It’s intense. It happens every single time.
STEP 7 – SUNSCREEN
This is only necessary if you’re doing your body care routine in the daytime. If you’re doing it at night, you can skip this step (but make sure to ALWAYS wear spf in the day time, especially before you leave the house!) My favorite sunscreen of all time is Lagom’s Cellus Sun Gel which is made for the face (no white cast, yay!) but it’s not cheap enough per oz to use on your entire body.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea Sunscreen SPF 45 - ok so this DOES give a pretty hefty white cast like 99% of the body sunscreens out there but once it sinks in, it sinks in for good. I feel like this lasts a lot longer than many sunscreens I’ve tried. Perfect for dry skin $6 for 4 oz.
Supergoop Antioxidant Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C SPF 50 – this is a very light mist that gets used up pretty quickly, but it’s still a fantastic deal per oz IMO. Make sure to reapply this one, it sweats off easily! I’m not convinced that mists are as good as applying SPF with your hands, BUT this is spf 50 and as long as you reapply every few hours, you should be ok. Perfect for oily skin! $19 for 6 oz
Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology SPF 50 – this is the best sunscreen I’ve used, hands down. It has no white cast, it’s water resistant, it lasts for hours, incredibly affordable, non-comodegenic…. What more could you want? This is WAY more effective than their mousse IMO. It doesn’t feel like a heavy sunscreen, more like a light hydrating lotion. Perfect for all skin types, and it’s only $48 for 18 oz ($2.60 per oz) This will last you forever!
Cle de Peau Beaute UV Protective Emulsion High Protection Body SPF 30 – so this one has a lower SPF content than the sunscreens mentioned above, but it IS a gorgeous formula that’s worth reapplying. Basically this is a sunscreen with all the benefits of a high end skincare cream. It’s got botanical extracts, anti-pollution complex, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and literally zero white cast! I’ve never experienced a body sunscreen like this before. It does contain silicones and so it definitely pills if you try to combine it with other body care products. BUT since I wear this in the daytime (and do my body care\shower routine at night), I have no issues with pilling whatsoever. This is perfect for all skin types but especially dehydrated ones. At $80 for only 2.5oz though it IS very overpriced. If you can afford it and are an SPF addict, I’d say go for it – it’s worth trying at least once in your life (even if you just get a smaple). But for every day body care needs, I’d DEFINITELY go for something cheaper. The options above are gorgeous and less than half the price for more than double the size. :)
So that concludes my body care favorites! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you were able to find the right body care products for your budget. A lot of people have asked me what I think is absolutely essential to include in a body care routine, my answer is this:
If you’re dry, you can skip the body wash. Your routine would look something like the following:
Step 1. Shower Cream\Oil
Step 2. Water Based Serum
Step 3. Body Oil
Step 4. Moisturizer
If you’re oily you skip the body oil. Your routine would look something like this:
Step 1. Body Wash
Step 2. Body Scrub
Step 3. Water Based Serum
Step 4. Moisturizer
If you’re in a rush, at the very bare minimum, I would include the following:
Step 1. Water Based Serum
Step 2. Body Moisturizer
This ensures your body will at least have SOME protection from the elements. It will keep your skin from getting too dry or dehydrated. I hope you guys found this post helpful and I hope you find the perfect body care products for your routine! I tried to include ones from every tier and ones for every skin type. If I missed something – let me know – and I’ll try to hunt down a good recommendation for you. With gratitude & affection always, Xx Frankie