We have always maintained that skincare shouldn't stop at the bra-line. Body oils are, as far as we’re concerned, an essential element in an anti-ageing arsenal – and our chosen technique to combat papery, dry and flaky skin is to apply a body cream or butter and then ‘seal’ it with a body oil (such as one of the following), taking that extra skincare step at least a couple of times a week. Our testers, however, trialled these as stand-alone products – and were nevertheless seduced by some beautiful fragrances and impressive results.
GOLD & BEST NATURAL AWARD Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Oil
No question that yet again, the divine rose fragrance – always so, so consistently popular with our testers over the decades – helped nudge this AA oil towards its high score. Here, it’s blended with neroli and geranium specifically to uplift spirits and ‘awaken your soul’, in a fabulously skin-nourishing oil blend dispensed from a pump-action glass bottle. (Truly aromatherapeutic oils are always packaged in glass, as essential oils do weird, warping things to plastic.) Aromatherapy Associates tell us that this is suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women – and not all bodies are, NB.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘Top marks for this lovely fragranced oil, which was absorbed within a few minutes so I didn't have to wait long to get dressed. It comes in a glass bottle with a plastic pump lid. My skin was immediately soft, a lot more nourished and beautifully fragranced. My elbows, knees and upper arms were much more hydrated and smooth. My skin generally looks and feels nourished and more loved so younger’ • ‘Love the beautiful sturdy glass bottle on my dressing table! The rose scent is beautiful and the oil is very quick to absorb and nourish dehydrated skin. You only need a very little as its so rich and easy to apply. My skin had a glow from the start and it was particularly effective on my dry feet and elbows, my legs look very moisturised. My scars, stretch marks and dry patches all look 100 times better. I took it with me to the South of France and my limbs looked super glowing with a sexy sheen. I would absolutely buy it for myself and as presents’ • ‘I suffer with keratosis pilaris on my upper arms and this oil really helped smooth it out and make the skin look smoother with continued use. The product is much kinder on the skin than other creams prescribed for this condition. The rose fragrance is very light and subtle, akin to Turkish Delight’ • ‘Skin felt really smooth and looked radiant, it was really effective on dry areas: the dry skin on my elbows almost disappeared. I would definitely repurchase this. It felt very luxurious and absorbed really easily. A nice pampering treat’ • ‘My husband says the aroma smells of goodness (great philosopher).’ • ‘After several days of using the product skin felt very soft and smooth, this continued with continued use of the product and I did not need to apply a full pump of oil to the problem areas such as knees, as using it on a daily basis kept skin nourished and moisturised. Areas of stretch marks and cellulite seem to have visibly reduced with continued use of the oil on a daily basis. Also, I work on my feet and my heels often get dry and cracked from prolonged standing. This oil kept them moisturised’ • ‘I was really impressed it sinks in easy, had a shower applied this body oil, brushed my teeth and I could put my clothes on without any stickiness. I used 2 pumps for the whole body and that was being generous. My skin felt so soft and supple, but I was blown away by the sheen it left on the skin. My lower legs looked ten years younger, I really mean that! They were perfectly smooth and looked like I had leg make-up on …..It is that good. I saw a massive difference; the tone of my usually blotchy skin seemed much more even most of the time. I also felt a huge difference in smoothness: it was like a baby's skin’ • ‘If you suffer from dry skin this is a must. I dry body brush before my shower then leave my skin slightly damp after to make the oil go further and make it easier to massage in. I noticed a huge difference especially on my lower legs, which are always dry due to shaving and fake tanning. In a couple of days my skins were smooth and looked well nourished. The blotchy red rings on my upper arms have greatly reduced, due to the oil and possibly massaging it in. I now wear summer tops without being self-conscious’ • ‘Try the oil on your décolleté for an evening out!’
£47 for 100ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil
This hangs on to last year’s Silver position in the Beauty Bible Awards. Technically, it’s designed for use on legs, which are particularly prone to dryness as they have very, very few oils glands of their own. But our recommendation is to extend the use of this oil – which has already notched up many other awards – all over from neck to toe, enjoying the rich blend of peach kernel, jojoba, coconut, evening primrose and rosehip oils wherever skin’s in need of nourishment. (It happens to be Sarah's all-time favourite.) The distinctive fragrance of this oil (which comes in a tall, chic, white pump-action bottle) is down to a blend of 13 essential oils – including sandalwood, patchouli, rose, ylang ylang and tuberose.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This sorted out my horrible winter legs instantly - the scaly dry skin along my shin disappeared and the general appearance of my previously blue-white skin had a nice healthy glow. I put the oil on my right leg and nothing on the left and the difference was so marked I had to even it up after a week or so!’ • ‘Although it's called 'dry leg oil', it's gorgeous to use all over the body. After a few days, my skin looked better; after a week, it looked like I'd been on holiday to a particularly nice spa. My stepdaughter also used it to massage into her tattoo to keep it moisturised - it was the only moisturiser I had to offer but she said it was perfect and gave the tattoo a lovely additional sheen. The oil is now under lock and key’ • ‘This feels like a treat. It’s very satisfying as skin is instantly and visibly hydrated and healthier, less puckered and crabby looking. It’s relaxing because it smells so lovely and it looks enticing on the dressing table. It has become a firm favourite for summer dressing and would be lovely to decant into smaller pots to take on the plane for long haul flights’ • ‘The cylindrical container with pump dispenser is very practical, as oily products can get messy. The improvement is visible almost instantly. As I used it regularly, at nighttime, my skin felt silky to touch, was soft and looked hydrated. I am a big fan of This Works and this is definitely one of the best body oils I have ever used’ • ‘Skin looked smoother and moisturised, it lost that parched look. My dry legs and scaly shins were vastly improved. Bare legs look much better’ • ‘It has a lovely silky, oily texture, no stickiness. Very easy, absorbs well without leaving any tackiness on skin yet leaves a moisturised feel without disappearing completely. I use a fair amount on my legs because I have keratosis pilaris’ • ‘After a week, I noticed the areas of KP were smoother and the overall skin on my legs much better, plumper and suppler looking. I would definitely repurchase this both for myself and as a gift. It retails at a good price point…making it more affordable than other natural body oils’ • ‘I really like the company's ethos and sentiments and would like to explore other products in the range. Apart from being a good oil for moisturising, it smells beautiful and is almost like wearing perfume…I find it relaxing also to apply before bed’ • ‘The skin becomes moist and it seems to increase flexibility, after a week you start to see improvements in elasticity. I have always had red elbows due to dry skin and it has made a big difference there, also around the knees and to the cellulite on my thighs’ • ‘I would buy this product again especially in the summer when I wear shorts down to the beach and cycling; it makes my pasty legs look a whole lot better!’
£39.50 for 120ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD Voya Angelicus Serrata Nourishing Body Oil
Voya hails from the wild west coast of Ireland – a visit’s definitely on our bucket list to their spa, which has revived a long-standing tradition of seaweed bathing. With 99% certified organic ingredients (including, yes, a seaweed extract), this luxurious, pump-dispensed oil is enriched with evening primrose and antioxidant rosehip, in a sunflower base, to help skin elasticity, giving off glorious wafts of essential oils of lemon, basil, cedarwood, vetiver and mandarin as you massage it into skin with circular movements (they advise).
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This beautiful thick yellow oil is a PLEASURE to apply. It smooths over the skin like melted butter, sinks in beautifully and after a few minutes drying time, you can pop your clothes on. My skin felt moisturised but not greasy. I do not usually use a body oil (though I do have terrible dry skin) and I thought they would be greasy, impractical and stain clothes. Now, I would only ever buy a body oil. This product has converted me.’ • ‘The effects on my skin within ten minutes were amazing! My skin looked and felt years younger. The dryness and wrinkling disappeared like magic. It was particularly effective on my forearms where I have signs of sun damage. With continued use I have noticed my skin looks smoother, it feels amazing and even my little bit of psoriasis on my elbow has disappeared. It promises to improve cell structure and skin elasticity and definitely lived up to its claims. I love it: my skin feels fantastic and looks good too’ • ‘There was an increased softness in my skin straight away. Some days I put it on my body before bed. My skin was noticeably different the next morning. It was soft and supple. It just feels more comfortable. I noticed fantastic improvements after about a week. I have fairly dry, flaky, very unsightly patches on my elbows. After a week, my horrible scaly elbows had been replaced with normal soft skin! Secondly, the skin on my legs is also very dry and thick. I suffer from ingrowing hairs and can easy see 20 ingrowing hairs at a time. Exfoliation and heavy duty moisturisers did not work and I am used to attacking my legs with a needle on a weekly basis. This oil made such an improvement in my skin that my ingrowing hairs did not come back! They have plagued me for years and in the space of about three weeks, they are all gone!’ • ‘This product has changed my habits. It is SO beautiful, luxurious and effective. In fact, I am just going to apply some now – it is quite addictive! And healthier than wine or chocolate’ • ‘My legs get very dry after shaving and this did wonders. Skin was left feeling and looking healthier and smoother after one use. It promised to improve skin elasticity and definitely did that. The bottle and packaging give it a quality and expensive feel. I love how, after I massage it in, my body feels soothed and moisturised and looks very healthy’ • ‘This is quite thick so best to apply on damp skin. It left a slight sheen and was very good on elbows’ • ‘This is the first serum that actually improved my skin, making it look fresher and with more clarity. I smile more because my skin is brighter – and everyone looks prettier and younger when they smile! I love this product, which is definitely the best body treat I have tried.’
£35 for 100ml - click to buy