Gone are the days of those super-slick body oils that left your skin slippery, shiny and congested. Today’s oils are created with care, many packed full of organics, mood-enhancing essential oils and locally sourced ingredients. They should make your skin feel soft and smooth, as it would after a luxurious spa treatment.
They may be a little more intimidating to use than traditional moisturiser, but come summer they’re the perfect way to boost dehydrated skin. The Spa Spies test five spa-inspired body oils.
First impressions: The chunky deep-green glass bottle with the chic white ‘b’ for Bamford looks posh and organic, which is what the brand is all about. Founder Lady Bamford was one of the early eco-luxe pioneers, so ingredients are 98 percent organic and certified by the Soil Association. Twist off the white top and let the aroma transport you to the Bamford Haybarn Spa …
What’s it like? The first thing to hit you is the scent: richly herby, freshly floral with the peppermint adding a breezy zing, like a late summer walk in the woods. You tip the oil into your cupped palm as there is no dispenser, then quickly transport to skin. I would advise standing on a towel to avoid slipping on spillage. The oil feels creamy and warm and spreads evenly and thickly on the body. Rub in using circular movements to get the circulation going and intensify that sumptuous bouquet.
Does it work? The effect is instant and long-lasting on dry skin. My skin remained smooth, hydrated and soft for ages, and a few days after use I noticed my dry patches had all but disappeared.
Verdict: A gorgeously rich (in every sense) and stylishly au naturel body oil, this is chic on the shelf, delicious on the skin. It also works perfectly as a massage oil, and is not too floral for chaps. It’s not cheap, so be warned that if you do splash out, you are likely to develop an addiction.
First impressions: The Tranquillity Body Oil comes in a weighty, frosted glass bottle with a twist off lid. It looks and feels expensive. The packaging is gorgeous but not perhaps the most practical; there’s no pump so it can be a little messy to use.
What’s it like? The oil is lightweight, absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a residue on the skin. I massaged the product in and my skin felt soft, silky and well nourished. It smells spicy and a little bit woody; calming and subtly sexy rather than heady.
Does it work? After using the product my dry skin felt supple and soft. The gorgeous scent made me feel comforted and relaxed. My skin drinks up the hydration and I have noticed a huge difference in the feel of my skin since using it.
Verdict: This would be a great product for anyone that wants to treat their skin, or needs a little bit of help unwinding. At £44 it’s the most expensive on test but would make a lovely, thoughtful gift for someone. It’s on my birthday and Christmas list *hint, hint Mr Spa Spy*.
Key ingredients: Frankincense, mandarin, cedar wood and lime.
First impressions: The packaging is cute and feminine, a black box with white writing and a delicate gold pattern. The product is in a brown glass bottle with a pump making it easy to dispense without creating a mess. Simple and clear instructions give you all the information you need.
What’s it like? It has an uplifting yet comforting scent which is perfect just before bed – it’ll help you clear your mind and feel restful. Considering it’s an oil, it didn’t feel greasy or sticky. Two pumps on covered the whole of my upper body so the bottle really lasts.
Does it work? I used just enough product to cover my skin, massaging it in after a bath. The oil was very nourishing and smells beautiful. I massaged it in well and could put my clothes straight on without worrying about oily marks.
Verdict: Although you can buy good massage oils at a fraction of the price, at £28 it’s a nice treat rather than a big splurge. Recommended if you are aiming for a peaceful night’s sleep.
First impressions: The oil comes in a heavy glass bottle, the brown colour hints at traditional aromatherapy. Simple branding keeps the product classic. There’s a plastic pump action top to dispense the oil.
What’s it like? The oil is completely clear and light, it almost feels like a dry oil. It smooths on easily and sinks into the skin quickly without a sticky or grease feel. The scent is subtle, the lavender is offset by the citrus-y kick so relaxing but not sleep-inducing. Each pump dispenses enough to cover neck, shoulders and décolletage.
Does it work? I massaged the oil into my arms and shoulders paying attention to my areas of tension. My skin felt supple, hydrated and had a slight sheen, and my nails soaked in the oil, too. The scent reminded me of a hot summer day; great if our weather doesn’t quite live up to Provence.
Verdict: The oil is the most keenly priced on test, it feels beautiful on the skin and it’s packed with essential oils, so yes, it’s good value for money. It’s a gentle oil - the scent is subtle and it doesn’t leave a shimmer - so it would work well if you’re looking for something more neutral.
Key ingredients: Sesame oil, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, cowslip, green mandarin, lavender, rose, geranium and jojoba essential oils.
First impressions: The azure-tinted glass bottle is heavy, and stylish, it stands out from other products on the market. It has a no-nonsense metal screw top which puts a stop to unwanted drips.
What’s it like? If you could encapsulate the smell of a treatment room in a bottle, this would be it. With its heady notes of rose and lavender, this multi-use body oil is light to the touch but thick enough to stop it racing down your arms or legs. Add a few drops to your bath to allow the oil to spread evenly, or mix it with a few drops of water to use as massage oil.
Does it work? I poured a good amount into a bath and inhaled the fragrance deeply while allowing it to seep in all over. My skin felt velvety soft for a few days afterwards. A week later, I applied it to my arms and legs after showering and the result was the same – simply soft, glowing skin.
Verdict: I generally shy away from body oils as I find the liquid hard to control (most of it ending up on my bathroom floor) but this works a treat. It clings to the skin and left me feeling hydrated, nourished and smooth. Spiezia products are organic too – the icing on the cake.