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Why You Should Be Using a Body Oil

By Wendy Rodewald-Sulz / December 12, 2014

 
Body oil, as opposed to lotions or creams, has always struck me as messy, hard to apply, and well, kind of greasy. Why bother? But recently I met Dr. Sarah Villafranco, a former emergency room doctor-turned-beauty brand founder, who got me to think about oils in a whole new way. Villafranco created an entire collection of body oils as part of her Osmia Organics line of all-natural beauty products, and she swears that they’re way superior when it comes to softening skin. As it turns out, I was thinking about — and applying — oils all wrong. Here’s what she had to say about them.  
 
Why do you believe body oils are better than lotions and creams?
“Body lotions and creams are basically oil and water held together with emulsifiers. The water component adds the need for preservation, as the water phase is where bacterial and fungal growth can occur. So, body lotions inherently have more ingredients than body oils. Since we’re talking about a whole-body application, which translates to increased absorption by the skin, I like the idea of using fewer ingredients, especially because emulsifiers and preservatives tend to be the most ‘engineered’ ingredients, even in natural skin care products. (If you find a lotion with no preservative, then you probably don’t want to put that all over your body, either - it’s growing stuff, even if you can’t see it.) By applying body oils to wet skin, you provide the water, so it doesn’t need to be part of the formula, and you’re only paying for the good stuff.”
 
What’s the most effective way to apply body oil? 
“Use it on sopping wet skin — don’t towel off before or after applying. It takes a bit of getting used to, but when you really think about it, what’s the point of towel-drying all the water on your skin only to put lotion on it? Why not just use that water and add the oil yourself?”
 
Which types of oils have you found to work best? 
“I have found that no one oil does the job perfectly in all seasons, which is why I created a blend of 11 plant oils as the base for our body oils. Some are quick-absorbing, like fractionated coconut oil; others are richer like jojoba (a liquid wax, actually); some have a silky texture, like hemp seed oil; and others are more velvety, like kukui. A good combination of oils soaks in quickly, leaving you smooth but not greasy. Also, look for superhero oils like borage seed, evening primrose, rosehip seed, and sea buckthorn - they have the greatest antioxidant potency and really contribute to a formula’s long-term efficacy.”
 
Which of your line’s body oils is your personal favorite? 
“It completely depends on my mood. Water Lily for grounding and confidence, Sunset when I feel flirty and sassy, Light to lift my spirit, Night to nudge me into sleep… You get the point.”
 
Osmia Organics Body Oil is available in seven scents and an unscented version for $25-$75 at osmiaorganics.com