What Is Shower Oil? (Explained)

woman wrapped in towel applying cosmetic oil from a bottle on her face


There’s no denying there are a lot of shower products to choose from these days.

From scrubs to gels to soaps and more, hygiene and beauty product sales are thriving.

As new products are released, however, many customers are left confused about their benefits, what they are used for, and how to use them.

Shower products seem to go in and out of style, whether they are shower essentials or luxury items.

Shower oil is a fairly new product on the market and may confuse some consumers.

After all, oil doesn’t mix with water, so what exactly is shower oil?


What Is Shower Oil?

Natural loofah sponges, towel and cosmetic products on table in bathroom


Despite what some people think, shower oil is not a body oil—it’s a soap-free cleanser.

It’s to be applied on wet skin in the shower, dissolving dirt, excess oils, and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.

Shower oil is easily absorbed into the skin to help hydrate it and won’t leave your skin feeling greasy afterward.

Available in a more substantial lotion-esque form or its traditional oil form, shower oil is intended to help moisturize and hydrate the skin, while also ridding it of pore-clogging impurities.

Generally viewed as a luxury item, shower oil is becoming more popular as a replacement for shower gels and body washes.

Shower oil comes in many fragrances and scents now, giving you a number of options.


How Does Shower Oil Work?

woman She takes a shower and washes her hair in the bathroom


Some consumers believe all shower oil is an emollient, which works to make your skin smooth and soft by filling in cracked and dry skin with lipids, or fatty cells.

However, this is not entirely the case, as emollients can often leave your skin with a greasy surface layer, even though it’s smooth.

Shower oil in its pure form works like a solvent in that it dissolves dirt, oils, dead skin cells, and other skin pollutants.

It then binds the unwanted skin debris with water so it easily washes off and leaves your skin clean and clear.

While clearing your skin of pollutants, shower oils form a moisturizing barrier on the surface of your skin, holding in moisture.

Because shower oil is not a body oil and is soap-free, it does not foam like many soaps, gels, and body washes.

This makes it easier to rinse off after application, as it won’t leave residue behind like some soaps.

Because of its dual properties of cleaning the skin and hydrating it, it won’t strip your skin of moisture as some soaps do—instead, it replenishes any lost moisture.


How To Use Shower Oil?

Man Taking A Shower Washing Head


Shower oil works much like soap, body wash, or shower gels.

It should be applied to wet or damp skin—while you are in the shower or right afterward is best.

It can be used all over the body, including the face, or be used to specifically target dry areas.

Water is needed to help the oil form its moisturizing layer.

Each kind of shower oil will have different ingredients and directions, so it’s best to read the instructions on your bottle to get its maximum effects.

For instance, some shower oils need to be rinsed off while others can remain on the skin.

For oil that requires rinsing, it’s best to apply the shower oil while still in the shower.

Once you get in the shower and wet your body, apply a generous amount of shower oil.

It’s best to pour some into your hand and rub it on your body.

If you use a washcloth or loofah, the shower oil might soak into the material and get lost.

You can also choose to use a gel or soap to wash and exfoliate your skin, especially if you’ve been sweating heavily, and then apply your shower oil.

Shower oils that don’t need rinsing can be applied to damp skin once you have left the shower.

Apply it the same way—by pouring the oil into your hand and rubbing it into your skin.

If you have specific dry or rough spots on your skin you want to address, you can also apply your shower oil to those parts.

This will help your shower oil last longer and not be wasted on already moisturized parts of your body.

Some people choose to use a couple of drops of shower oil in their bath, creating a nice luxurious bathing experience that will leave your skin feeling great.

Many people think that shower oil can take the place of body moisturizers or lotions, and though you might need less of those products, it doesn’t entirely take their place.

If your skin is extra dry, you can still apply lotions or creams to your body.


What Are the Types of Shower Oil?

Composition with hair care products on wood table


There are generally two types, or forms, of shower oil: lotion/gel-based and liquid/oil-based.

Both forms have their own benefits while maintaining separate properties.

After trying both forms, you can decide which one is best for your skin type.

Lotion/gel shower oil is made of emollients and water and works by smoothing your dry or rough skin.

This type of shower oil is gentle on your skin and works the same way as traditional shower oil—you apply it in the shower and rinse it off after a few minutes.

Although your skin will be left feeling smoother, lotion shower oil often still feels more drying than regular shower oil, as it strips the skin of more natural oils.

Traditional shower oil in liquid form does not contain emollients and instead is made up of plant oils, such as jojoba, which replenish your skin’s moisture and nourish it with natural ingredients.

This type of shower oil is more popular with those with normal to oily skin.

It leaves your skin smooth, clean, and without the greasy feel that oily skin is already prone to produce.

Traditional shower oil works better than lotions to keep your natural moisture barrier intact.


Who Should Use Shower Oil?

Close up unhappy sad woman looking at red acne spots on chin in mirror,


Though shower oil is typically more appealing to those with dry or rough skin, everyone can enjoy the benefits of shower oil.

Residents of colder or dryer climates might find shower oil more beneficial, as skin is prone to become dry more easily in those types of climates.

The best part about shower oil is that it can really be used for any skin type, from oily to normal to dry.

Its excellent ability to hold moisture is ideal for those with dry skin or even eczema, while its non-greasy barrier skin protectant doesn’t add an oily feel.

Also, acne-prone skin can benefit from shower oil, as its components won’t clog pores and instead, get absorbed into the pores to moisturize from the inside out.

Shower oil can be used by all genders and anyone looking to better moisturize their skin.

If you have sensitive skin, you might want to search for a fragrance-free shower oil, as most of them contain scents you might find irritating to the skin.

It’s also best to check with your doctor before applying shower oil to babies or infants or if you have any health or dermatological concerns.


Shower Oil vs. Soap or Gel

soap and toiletries


Shower oil is quite different from both soaps and gels.

Most soaps strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin dry, tight, rough, and cracked.

Many gels work the same way, by extracting natural oils from your skin and leaving it stripped of much-needed hydration.

Although soaps and gels are certainly great at cleaning your skin, they are not the best at helping it maintain its natural moisture and can be quite harsh on the skin.

This can lead to discomfort, especially in the winter months or if you have naturally dry skin.

Some people prefer to use shower oils in the winter only, as they find soaps and gels to be too drying during this time of year.

Once the weather warms up or it becomes more humid, some people like to switch back to gels or soap, hoping to avoid overly oily or greasy skin.

Shower oils, on the other hand, are much gentler and will cleanse your skin while also leaving it smoothed and moisturized.

Shower gels and soaps are typically applied using a washcloth, pouf, or loofah to activate a lather that is then easily spread over the surface of the skin.

Using washcloths, poufs, or loofahs with soap or gels also helps to exfoliate the skin.

Because shower oil is generally applied with your hands, you won’t see as much exfoliation through friction, but will instead enjoy the feel of smoother, better-hydrated skin.


Benefits of Using Shower Oil

Head and shoulders portrait of smiling Mixed-Race woman looking in mirror during morning routine


There are several benefits of using shower oil.

The most obvious benefit is its ability to moisturize and hydrate all skin types.

By cleaning and hydrating your skin, you’re knocking two things out at once and creating much healthier skin.

Skin needs its impurities removed to avoid clogged pores, disease, and other ailments caused by excess build-up.

By cleansing and moisturizing with shower oil, your skin automatically replenishes its hydration without being stripped of its natural oils.

According to Tropic-Labs, “Not only does [shower oil] not strip or irritate the skin, but it also helps support skin elasticity & collagen production thanks to the firming Algae Extract which helps to naturally boost collagen & hyaluronic acid production.”

This leaves your skin looking radiant and glowing.

Not only does shower oil clean and hydrate your skin, but it also forms a protective barrier that helps keep your skin’s natural oils intact while also resisting microscopic organisms which can harm your body.

The barrier protects you against pathogenic microorganisms and other toxins.

Additionally, shower oil can give you a luxurious spa-like experience, boosting your mood and improving your mental health.

Shower oils with essential oils can be used as aromatherapy to soothe your mind and your muscles.

Specific scents are known to target certain problem areas, such as stress or sleeping trouble, so finding a scent that focuses on your needs can help bring some serenity to your busy life.


Best Shower Oil Brands and Prices

Plastic bottles of body care and beauty products.


Though different shower oil brands are better for certain skin types, in general, popular and effective shower oil brands include L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil ($25), Pacifica Lavender Moon Body, Bath & Shower Oil ($12), Dior J’adore Shower And Bath Oil ($55), and Kopari Coconut Shower Oil ($28).

Great non-irritant and fragrance-free shower oils are Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil ($25) and Aveeno Skin Relief Shower & Bath Oil ($17).

Ingredients to avoid when shopping for shower oil include parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances.

Researching which shower oil is best for your skin type will help lead you in the right direction and help you find the perfect match.

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