Why Switch to Body Oil??
Since I started Osmia, one of my missions has been to convert the world to using body oil instead of body lotion for one simple reason: you don’t need body lotion! Why? Because all lotions are made of oil and water, held together by something called an emulsifier. When you apply body oil to sopping wet skin, you create your own lotion (oil + water), and you skip the emulsifiers, as well as the preservatives required when you add water to a formula. To learn more about why body oil makes more sense than using body lotion (which is 70% water), read this!
How Do I Apply Body Oil So I'm Not Greasy?
You apply it to wet skin. Not damp skin, WET skin, like where you can see the droplets of water mixing with the body oil as you apply it. Now, I admit that the habit of putting body oil on wet skin takes a little getting used to: not only do you have to train yourself not to dry off when you exit the shower, you also have to walk around in your birthday suit for 3-4 minutes in order for the oil to sink in completely before getting dressed. Those minutes, however, can be used to brush your teeth, have a naked dance party, or simply relax and inhale the aromatherapy benefits of the oil.
Osmia’s body oil collection contains organic and wild-harvested oils and extracts that I’ve carefully chosen based on their ability to nourish the skin and transport the mind. If you have trouble settling down before bed, our Night Body Oil, with lavender, chamomile, and atlas cedar essential oils, can calm your frenzied state and help ease you into sleep. If you need some comfort, you might try our gorgeous Sunset body oil, a sensual oil steeped in organic vanilla bourbon and jasmine extracts that wrap you in a warm cloud of pure goodness. If you prefer an unscented experience, you'll get all the skin benefits and no essential oils in our silky Naked Body Oil.
What oils work best in a body oil?
Getting our body oil formula just right was no easy task. Use too many heavy oils and you'll feel like an oil slick. Choose too many light oils and your skin won't feel soft enough. It took me months of testing and adjusting to get our body oil base exactly right. I tested each individual oil on my skin to see how it absorbed, how it felt an hour after applying it, how it smelled, and then had to figure out the right composition for the final blend. Our base oil is the same for all the scents and comprises 11 powerhouse plant oils, loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. A brief description of why I chose each oil is listed below:
Fractionated Coconut Oil
If you google "coconut oil", you will be impressed with its myriad uses. It’s been praised for everything from removing eye makeup to curing split ends. In terms of skin care, it can help strengthen and soften the skin and eliminate dead skin cells on the surface. It is also very high in lauric acid, which has some antimicrobial activity. However, when using virgin coconut oil straight out of the jar, it can feel oddly dry and greasy at the same time. The high lauric acid concentration can actually dry out your skin and hair over time!
For this reason, we use organic fractionated coconut oil, which is a clear liquid at room temperature. It contains only medium chain fatty acids, without the long chain fatty acids that make the raw oil solid at room temperature, and has a very long shelf life. With almost no lauric acid, it has a smooth, velvety texture, and blends beautifully with other oils.
Not a true oil, jojoba is actually made up of liquid wax esters quite similar to the sebum our skin creates in its own sebaceous glands. For this reason, it is a very effective hair and skin softener, and was used by many indigenous people for those purposes. They would employ a mortar and pestle to macerate heated jojoba seeds (they look like giant coffee beans) and make a conditioning butter. Jojoba has been alleged to have antifungal properties as well. We choose it in our body oil because of its excellent skin softening potential, smooth texture, and long shelf life.
Kukui Nut Oil
Kukui nut oil is harvested from the Hawaii state tree (also called the candlenut tree). Kukui nuts are cold-pressed to obtain this clear, incredibly emollient oil. High in vitamins A, C, and E, it has excellent antioxidant properties, helping skin cells stay healthy and functional. It has also been used to treat wounds and burns, and some people tout its ability to relieve symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. I have an entirely unscientific opinion of kukui oil: it is magical. I can't explain why I have found this after over a decade of formulating, but it does something extraordinary in skincare products, helping them penetrate the skin more effectively.
Sweet Almond Oil
Richer than some of the other oils, this nourishing nut oil is high in oleic acid and omega-9 fatty acids, which are capable of a somewhat deeper penetration into the layers of the skin than other fatty acids. It may also have some anti-inflammatory activity due to the presence of quercetin, a flavonoid compound found in the almond skins, and antioxidant activity due to high levels of Vitamin E. The texture is thicker, with a bit more “drag” than some of the lighter oils, and contributes to the residual velvety feeling of the skin hours after applying our body oils.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Now here is a powerhouse oil. I don’t even know where to begin describing the ways in which this cold-pressed oil from the seeds (“hips”) of the Rosa rubiginosa bush is beneficial to the skin. Super-antioxidant lycopene to help repair sun damaged skin? Check. Trans-retinoic acid (vitamin A derivative) to encourage cell turnover and diminish discoloration? Check. Omega 3 and 6 for anti-inflammatory benefits and healthy epidermal cell walls? Check. In short, this potent oil has it all. Regular use can help skin cells retain water, decrease sun spots, improve the appearance of fine lines, and encourage a smoother texture to the skin. The only reason you don’t want to apply it straight to the skin is that it is VERY, VERY orange. Almost red. Believe me—I know this from very unfortunate personal experience.
Hemp Seed Oil
Yes, this is oil from a marijuana plant! But don’t be afraid that it will intoxicate you, unless by its beautiful deep green color (due to the high chlorophyll content). The strains used for making hemp seed oil are those with only trace amounts of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and there isn’t any THC inside the seeds anyway. The oil is cold-pressed, and offers excellent antioxidant activity because of its high level of omega 6 fatty acids.
Another beautifully green, cold-pressed oil, unrefined avocado oil is as good for your skin when applied from the outside as it is from eating the fruit itself. Rich in skin-softening sterolins, the oil offers enhanced penetration of the vitamins (A, E), potassium, and lecithin it contains, and is high in omega 3 fatty acids as well.
Borage Seed Oil
Also called starflower oil, this is one of the two richest sources of gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. GLA is used by the body to make prostaglandins, which have profound anti-inflammatory effects, and can help skin cells lose less water. This “transepidermal water loss,” or TEWL, is one of the metrics by which skin function is assessed in a clinical setting. The goal is to minimize water loss and maximize water retention in skin cells. Tiny, plump skin cells are happy skin cells!
Evening Primrose Oil
This is another oil very high in gamma linoleic acid, and has been shown to improve skin function when taken internally. TEWL, moisture, elasticity, firmness, and roughness all improve after 3 months of supplementation with this oil. It is one of the reasons I recommend evening primrose oil for perioral dermatitis. GLA increases circulation as well, which can help skin stay vibrant and glowing. It is rich in the flavonoid catechin, ANOTHER antioxidant, and in the amino acid phenylalanine, which is being studied for pain relief. (What is an antioxidant, you ask? Read this!)
Sea Buckthorn Berry Extract
Oil extracted from the sea buckthorn berry is an incredible source of vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E (tocopherols), and omega 7. It is VERY red, and putting it on your skin in its pure form is not advised (again, trust me on this). But, added to formulations at the right level, it will add a warm, orange hue, and nourish the skin immensely.
This last ingredient in our body oil, and in many of our products, is mainly used to delay the oxidation of the oils themselves. It has some antimicrobial benefits as well, though oils are not prone to bacterial growth the way water is. It is a potent extract, and we use it at a low percentage to help protect the products, and provide added antioxidant benefits for the skin.
Ultimately, the decision to anoint yourself with oil as opposed to using lotion is a personal one, and requires an interest in using products that are better both for you and for the earth. I hope this article has illuminated some of the undeniable benefits of using organic and natural oils on your skin and why you won’t find body lotions on our site. As with any commitment to your health, it may take a slight restructuring of your habits and thinking to make the switch. But, for those hooked on our body oils, it has been more than worth it. A few decadent, skin-nourishing, aromatherapeutic moments a day is a habit worth forming!