I didn’t buy even the best shower oil hype for a long time. Slathering myself in oil in the shower sounded less like pampering and more like a recipe for feeling weird and greasy for the rest of the day.
Then I finally stepped up and gave it a try. Oh my goodness, I was so wrong and I don’t think I can ever give it up. Since I made the switch, I’m using less lotion but my skin is actually softer.
If you’re not sure how to use shower oil, check out the bottom of the article but for now let’s get to the best shower oils of 2021.
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1. Best Foaming Oil: L’Occitane 10 Percent Shea OilPros:
- 10 percent fair trade shea butter
- Unisex fragrance
- Turns into soothing lotion with water
- Long-lasting deep hydration
- Perfect for shaving
- Contains tipa-laureth sulfate
- Can go cloudy in cold climates
- Too strongly scented for some
L’Occitane is a trusted brand for all things moisturizing and their Almond Shower and Bath Oil has been a favorite for years. A more recent addition to the L’Occitane family, their shea butter oil has the same quality you’d expect but with even deeper hydration.
With 10 percent fair trade shea butter, if you still have dry skin after using this you might want to see a doctor. Shea butter is generally solid at room temperature and there is enough shea butter in this oil that if your home gets cold in winter your oil could begin to look cloudy. It doesn’t hurt the oil at all and it will go back to normal once the bottle warms up but that’s just a testament to how much shea butter is in here.
This moisurizer leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft and hydrated for the entire day. You definitely won’t need lotion after your shower. The fragrance, which is a clean, mild scent, also sticks around. Not everyone is a huge fan of the scent as it can remind some of baby shampoo but most find it a fresh smell that won’t overwhelm your personal fragrance.
This is an oil that feels like oil on your body but actually reacts to water in the shower, turning into an instant lotion that’s creamy and easier to move around your body than a regular oil. This magic trick happens because the first ingredient is tipa-laureth sulfate, a foaming agent which is not the same thing as the commonly avoided sodium lauryl sulfate. All the same, it’s an extra chemical added simply for foaming and that may not be the best shower oil for you.
2. Most Environmentally Friendly: Natura Triple Phase OilPros:
- Ecologically conscious company
- Dreamy scent choices
- No spill top
- Made in America
- Doesn't contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, PABA, petroleum, triclosan, or DEA
- Bottle shape can be a little slippery
- Need to shake it up first
- A little pricey
This is the brand that I keep permanently in my shower. It leaves my skin feeling impossibly smooth with softness and fragrance that lasts all day.
This line from NaturaBrasil uses three main oils in all their in shower moisturizers that separate out into three distinct colors: olive oil, almond oil, and the feature oil sourced from sustainably grown plants in Brazil like andiroba nut oil, maracuja (passionfruit) seed oil, and pitanga (Brazilian cherry) leaf oil. When you’re ready to use your oil, you shake the bottle up which combines the oils into one solution.
I was lucky enough get a hold of some media samples of the maracuja oil and I can tell you this fragrance is so tropical and natural smelling that I’m completely hooked. It smells juicy, like cutting into fresh fruit and the scent stays with me all day. This is the best shower oil for you if you’re looking for a long-lasting fragrance.
I like that the bottle doesn’t just have an open top meant pouring because you don’t really need that much oil and I feel like I waste a lot when I use oils I have to pour out. The NaturaBrasil bottles have a smaller opening so when you tip the bottle over only a few drops escape, which is all you need per limb. This also helps protect the bottle from getting water in it (you’re in the shower after all) which isn’t ideal for preserving oils.
The one thing that can really kill a shower moisturizer for me is when it leaves you feeling oily and this has never been a problem with NaturaBrasil. After a quick rinse, I get out of the shower and I feel less greasy than right after I apply body butter. I can skip my post-shower body lotion routine whenever I use this oil and come out feeling more moisturized than ever.
I love their focus on sustainability and recycling which you can read about on the NaturaBrasil site.
3. Most Variety: Aromatherapy Associates Shower & Bath Oil CollectionPros:
- You get samples of 10 different fragrance blends
- Works as shower or bath oil
- All natural essential oils
- Hydrating coconut carrier oil
- Reusable glass bottles
- Not much in each bottle
- Scents may be too strong for some
- Less hydrating than others
If you’re looking to bring home a spa atmosphere, check out this collection from Aromatherapy Associates. The box set comes with 10 glass bottles of shower and bath oil in 10 different aromatherapy fragrance blends: Relax Deep, Relax Light, De-Stress Mind, De-Stress Muscle, Revive Morning, Revive Evening, Support Breathe, Support Lavender and Peppermint, Support Equilibrium, and Inner Strength.
These are undeniably hydrating with a carrier oil base of coconut oil, but the main focus in these is the aromatherapy angle so that each fragrance is addressing a physical or mental need. Smell has a greater impact on our mental state than most people realize.
Relax Deep uses chamomile, vertivert root, and sandalwood oils to bring on sleep and is perfect for an evening bath or shower whereas Revive Morning uses oils of rosemary, grapefruit peel, pine, juniper, peppermint, and eucalyptus to wake you up and get your mind moving. Their site even has suggestions for aromatherapy blends and exercises for accute issues like jet lag.
Because the scent is the point, these are not subtle and may be too strong for some folks. I have samples of the De-Stress Mind and De-Stress Muscle and they definitely leave me feeling moisturized, just not as long as other oils. But the fragrances do transform your bathroom into aromatherapy heaven.
4. Most Hypoallergenic: Bioderma Atoderm OilPros:
- Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic
- Convenient pump bottle
- Light fragrance
- Free of parabens, soaps, preservatives, and artificial dyes
- Gentle foaming action
- No residue
- Safe for eyes
- Doubles as a soap which isn't what everyone's looking for
- Not as hydrating others
- Contains PEG's
For sensitive skin, check out this oil as part of Bioderma’s Atoderma line which is meant for ultra dry skin and skin that is hypersensitive to allergens. It’s a hypoallergenic product that is also non-comedogenic meaning it won’t cause acne. I know oils contributing to acne was one of the reasons I shied away from body oils for a while so this is always nice to see.
This is another oil that contains a soap-free foaming agent so it can double as an extremely gentle shower wash that won’t dry your skin out. Glycerin is the main moisturizer and while it isn’t fancy sounding, it is hydrating and not likely to upset sensitive skin.
Bioderma has a very light, clean fragrance that fades quickly. I like that it comes with a pump to prevent spills.
5. Pre de Provence Argan & Citrus Cleansing OilPros:
- Incredible natural scent
- Moroccan argan and sweet orange oil
- Paraben and DEA free
- Skin brightening vitamin C
- Has a soft lather
- Works as a face wash
- A little thin for some
- Not as moisturizing as others
- Bottle could be better
This shower oil by Pre de Provence is designed to be a shower gel replacement as well as a facial cleanser. It has a light lather and lasting citrus scent from the argan oil and sweet orange oil.
The vitamin C in this oil also has a skin brightening effect so it’s great for those who are feeling like winter is leaving their skin a little dull.
Because of the lathering agents, it isn’t as moisturizing as some of the others on this list, but if a full oil sounds too heavy for you, give this one a try. It’s hard to beat the price.
How do you use shower oil?
You want to apply your oil either in place of or after you've used and rinsed off your soap or body wash. Some options have an added foaming agent to give them that same sensation of soap without all the drying properties of soap. It might seem a little weird at first, but just go ahead and cover your body from the neck down in a light coating of your chosen oil.
Then rinse off until your skin doesn't feel covered in oil anymore. You want there to be a slight residue, just no more than you'd expect after applying body lotion. Honestly, I expected rinsing to take a long time, but it's about the same as rinsing off soap.
That's it. Dry off as normal. Depending on your skin type, you can probably skip your old body lotion routine. When I use my oil, I don't need any extra lotion after my showers--which is amazing now that winter is on the way and it gets chilly standing around applying body butter.
If you've been on the fence, take the plunge and try one of these out. For a tiny step in your shower routine, the best shower oils have a huge impact. Plus, they can also be used as bath oils.
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