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Should You Use Body Oil Before Or After The Shower? 

Hannah Frye
Author:
December 17, 2022
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
woman stepping out of shower in towel
Image by Rene de Hann // Stocksy
December 17, 2022

If sticky body lotions aren't your speed, we hear you. Having a thick layer of, well, anything on your skin can feel uncomfortable. And no matter how great it is for your skin, nobody is going to commit to a self-care practice they hate.

However, body oil might be your new go-to. Even if you don't love the sound of oil on your skin, you might be able to skip the residue with this hack.

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Should you use body oil before or after the shower?

If you opt for body oil, there are a few different ways you can use it. The most obvious, of course, is right after you hop out of the shower. Using an oil on slightly damp skin means you're creating an occlusive layer of oil to trap in hydration underneath.

This method only makes sense, given that showers can actually dry out your skin. See, your body creates natural oils to keep your skin lubricated and soft. When you shower, especially when using harsh body soaps, your body is stripped of those oils.

If you're rinsing in hot water, that's even more drying. While a cold rinse is certainly one way to mitigate a bit of dryness, not everyone enjoys a rainy ice bath experience.

But regardless of temperature, if you're not diligent with your body care routine, showers can render your skin dry and ashy. How can we avoid this? By hydrating pre-rinse. As celebrity esthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar once suggested, apply body oil prior to jumping in the shower. It might seem counterintuitive, but the science behind oils may help explain why this works.

"This oil barrier prevents excessive water loss and helps with any irritation," Aguilar explains. Botanical oils (like less-sustainable alternatives such as petrolatum jelly) have occlusive properties. Translation: They hold moisture in the skin.

Plus, not everyone likes the feeling of body oil on their skin, so using it before the shower can help you reap the benefits, sans oily residue.

Post-rinse, Aguliar coats her skin with another layer of oil: "As soon as I step out of the shower, I mix grapeseed oil with my body moisturizer and lather up. You can feel and see the difference in your skin by doing this magical ritual," she said.

Using oil after the shower will help nourish the skin and hold moisture for longer. What's more, some body oil blends like the mbg dry body oil contain antioxidants that help protect your skin from oxidative stress.

If you despise the feeling of body oil on your skin, opt for this dry oil instead. Dry oil formulas are designed to absorb quickly into the skin and won't leave behind a greasy trace like other oil blends.

But regardless of when you use body oil, it can serve as a moment of mindfulness and a self-care ritual. You can even add in body gua sha and work the oil into your skin that way—here's how.

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The takeaway. 

Body oil can be used before and after the shower. If you use it pre-rinse, the occlusive layer will help prevent water loss and irritation from the hot water. Applying body oil after you step out will nourish the skin and lock in moisture. Finally, if you want to learn more about why dry oil is so different, check out this story.

Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.