The Difference Between Wet and Dry Body Oil—And Which One You Should Choose for Summer
After decades of being vilified, oils have been making a comeback as of late. From oil cleansing to oil serums to single ingredient facial oils like argan oil, using oil in your beauty routine is now practically as common as avocado toast. But what about using body oil in the summer, when it’s more likely to rub off on your car seat or office chair?
That’s where dry body oils come in—you can slather them on your legs and not have them feel heavy or thick on your legs when you head out the door. Dry oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and won’t leave a sticky feeling on the skin. Traditionally oils like borage, rosehip seed, sesame, grapeseed and sunflower fall into the dry oil category.
Wet oils are heavier and tend to sit on your skin’s surface, where they can be wiped off by clothing. Wet oil can also create more of a protective barrier against sun and environmental damage. They are boons in cold weather, when locking in moisture can help keep you warmer. Typical wet oils are neem, coconut, castor, jojoba, tamanu, baobab, sweet almond, hemp seed and apricot kernel.
So which one should you choose when it comes to the summer months? We think a combo will do your skin the best, because today’s formulations offer both the necessary quick absorption of a dry oil, with the nourishing benefits of a wet oil. One key tip? Apply any body oil while your skin is damp from a bath or shower. It’ll help increase absorption and leave skin feeling soft and silky.
If you’re looking to add a nurturing but light body oil to your routine, here are three we’re currently loving.
This Simper Goods blend is a nourishing and luxurious body oil that features the wet oils of jojoba and olive oil as its top ingredients. But the blend of plum seed, rosehip seed, sunflower and meadowfoam make it a dreamy, highly nourishing complex that soaks right in. The luscious fragrance of cocoa, bergamot, neroli and vanilla will have you wishing you could bathe in it.
This lovely bottle features nut oils of macadamia, coconut and kukui—all traditionally considered quite heavy. Coconut, for example, is so heavy that when used alone, the room temperature must be 72 degrees or above. But Marine + Vine’s body oil is blended with potent Tahitian Monoi and passionfruit oils to give it balance so that it can be sprayed (yep, it comes in a spray bottle, one that doesn’t get clogged) year-round. With a light tropical floral fragrance, it leaves skin luxuriously supple, smooth and radiant.
Classic ingredients of sweet almond, coconut and apricot kernel oils would lead you to believe that this Native Nectar Botanicals is a heavy oil—but it’s blended with safflower and calendula, which give it maximum absorption. Rose otto, neroli, sandalwood and dried roses team up to make this a truly special blend that soaks right into skin and nourishes completely.
Interested in other beauty tips? Read how to choose the best toner for your skin type, or try this skin quiz for personalized skincare results.
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