When I heard about Body Hero, Glossier's first body care launch, I calmly shrugged it off like the jaded, aloof beauty consumer that I am — and, by "shrugged it off," I mean that I frantically watched about 1,000 reviews on Instagram Stories. The lotion looked nice and all, but the oil body cleanser? *cue Jessica Simpson voice* Take my breath awaaaay.
I have a multi-step skin care routine that I repeat twice a day, and I spend a lot of my free time researching new products, but my interest pretty much stops at the neck. For whatever reason, I can't be bothered to get excited about skin care for what Glossier calls "the other 90 percent" of me. Possibly because, if I put as much effort into skin care on my arms and legs as I do my face, I would never leave the bathroom. When I read about the brand's Daily Oil Wash, though, I got excited about showering for maybe the first time ever. A cleansing oil for your body? These are truly modern times we are living in!
It turns out that Glossier didn't invent the oil-as-body wash concept — in fact, there's a highly foreshadowing Into The Gloss article from two years ago on the subject — but with the release of Body Hero and the new Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser from Kiehl's, it seems that cleansing oils for below the neck are hitting the mainstream in earnest. Curious about the hot young thing in body wash? Read on for the details.
What Is Body Cleansing Oil?
Cleansing oils, or oil body washes, or whatever you want to call them, are all the same thing: cleansers for your bod that contain oil. If you spend your life in search of that "squeaky clean" feeling, it probably sounds counterintuitive to slather yourself with oil while you bathe. I, however, am perfectly content to stew in my own filth. Kidding! But, seriously, I am not one of those "fresh as a Clean & Clear commercial" ideologues; I fully embrace the idea of oil cleansers, no-poo hair regimens, and *gasp* not showering every single day.
And, as it turns out, I'm on the right track. According to Huffington Post, cleansing oils "[mix] with the preexisting oils" on your skin and, as Dr. Ariel Ostad told the publication, "[w]hen you rinse it all off, the ‘good oil’ takes those ‘bad oils’ and dirt along with it." And, as The Cut's Ashley Weatherford notes in her review of Body Hero, "proper moisturization starts in the shower."
Why Should You Use It?
Swapping your lather-and-loofah routine for an oil-based cleanser could be the answer if your skin often feels tight and reptilian after you bathe, a situation that is likely to be exacerbated if, like me, you take showers that feel as if you're sunbathing on the actual sun.
According to Newsweek, "[l]ong or frequent showers remove protective oils that the skin naturally produces." Therefore, taking a cleansing oil into the bath with you could be the solution. Refinery29 indeed reports that cleansing oils for the body can help prevent some of the aforementioned oil-removal (duh) "and they protect [the skin's] moisture barrier — thanks to an absence of the skin-drying detergents found in many other cleansers."
R29 also points out that people with conditions like eczema or body acne might want to steer clear of cleansing oils because they can potentially make those conditions worse. But if you have dry or relatively normal skin, you might want to stock your shower with them in preparation for winter.
Which One Should You Use?
Having tried several for this article, I've found that, no, cleansing oils won't leave you feeling taut and sparkly like a dish in a Dawn commercial, but they will get you moisturized and, yes, clean. Here are a few stand-out options.
Glossier Daily Oil Wash
Being a Glossier stan is my entire brand — as YouTuber Arden Rose put it on Twitter, "Glossier could spray paint a piece of sh*t pink and I would buy it." — so naturally I dubbed myself "an oil wash woman" the minute this hit my doorstep. It helps that this is good. This baby pink bottle contains more oil than your New Age-y Aunt Maggie's kitchen: soybean, coconut, olive, grapeseed, you name it.
The wash foams up mildly when wet and leaves a layer of moisture on the skin even after rinsing. I almost felt hydrated enough to skip post-shower moisturizing, but I didn't (Glossier sells a matching Daily Perfecting Cream that is equally hard to pass up). The only downside is that the oil wash smells strongly of neroli and orange blossom, and the scent lingers — if you're not a fan, it might be a dealbreaker.
As always with Glossier, the packaging is a cut above: the bottle comes with a red screw-on cap so it doesn't spill in transit, and the pump is bagged separately and features a detachable stopper so you can travel with it if you so choose. In the immortal words of Derek Zoolander, it's one "really really ridiculously good-looking" body wash.
Kiehl's Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil to Foam Body Cleanser
If you're already devoted to the iconic, sweet-smelling gateway drug that is the original Kiehl's Creme de Corps lotion, the Smoothing Oil to Foam Body Cleanser is a natural progression. Replete with hero ingredients like grapeseed and castor oil, this cleanser indeed feels moisturizing and luxurious, if a little lighter than the Glossier option. Be forewarned: the "foam" advertised on the bottle is a very gentle froth, rather than the bold, ever-multiplying lather you experienced with the acne cleanser of your youth. To me, that's the benefit, because I know it's not drying me out.
The Soothing Oil to Foam Body Cleanser comes in the signature Kiehl's apothecary-style bottle, so if you prefer your packaging straightforward, this is a great pick for you. If you have super dry skin you might prefer Glossier's version because the moisturizing effect is longer-lasting, but if you don't tend to get as scaly as I do in the dead of winter, Kiehl's Creme de Corps is a great option.
The Seaweed Bath Co. Awaken Purifying Detox Body Wash
Finally, the best of both worlds. The Seaweed Bath Co. Awaken Purifying Detox Body Wash combines a typical shower gel formula with a blend of rosemary and mint essential oils. It also contains bladderwrack seaweed, green coffee bean extract, French clay, spirulina, and coconut oil. The scent on this stuff is so energizing, great for morning shower people. It's like a shot of espresso for your skin and nose!
And further good news for foam-lovers (very bad latte pun intended): Awaken Purifying Detox Body Wash does lather up like a traditional body wash. But thanks to the inclusion of those oils, it's still more nourishing than many of the available options. This one is ideal if you want to add healthy oils to your shower routine but just can't get past the idea that foam equals clean.
Doesn't your skin feel softer just because you're thinking about ditching your harsh body cleanser for a nice, soothing oil? Your skin will thank me once December rolls around.