We tend to spend money on skincare for our face because it’s what people see first. Still, the growing demand for body products that address concerns below the neck created a whole new beauty category from brands you already love. What was once good ol’ body washes are now complemented by novel concepts like body serum and all-over mists that tackle everything from bumpy skin to sunspots.
A Dermatologist Weighs In
New York City based dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman says her patients often have concerns for various parts of their bodies (not just the face) and adds that it’s important for ingredients in face and body products to differ. “The face is not only more sensitive than the rest of the body, but it also contains a higher number of sebaceous glands, which produce oil,” she says. “Since the products we use on our body often contain thicker, more occlusive ingredients designed for less-sensitive skin, they can clog pores and irritate our skin if used on the face.” On the other hand, she says that you can use facial products for the body, but they are usually more targeted (and costly) than what’s necessary for body care.
“I recommend wiping off excess facial skincare products on your neck, chest, and hands, but aside from that, it’s best to use face and body skin care products for their intended purposes.”
Ahead, our favorite new finds will level up your body routine (and also your shower caddy.)
For a Velvety Finish
Ingredients like hydrating hyaluronic acid, brightening vitamin c, and redness-reducing tiger grass are usually reserved for the precious skin on your face. Now, Playa, the cult hair care line known for its SoCal beachy vibe, is moving into the body space with an innovative serum to even out and quench sun-soaked skin. Shelby Wild, Playa’s founder, says that she couldn’t find a body product with a finish that she liked. “Our new Ritual Body Serum has a beautiful velvety finish that leaves your skin soft but not oily,” she says.
Why we love it: We hate tacky body creams that force you to wait to get dressed, but this fast-absorbing serum sinks in immediately, leaving skin deeply hydrated but with a gorgeous matte finish. Plus, the scent is heavenly.
For Lightweight Hydration
We keep facial mists on hand for a quick pick-me-up. Still, Bathing Culture bottled a unique formula made for your body but good enough to spritz everywhere. The brand is beloved for its re-fillable shower products in IG-worthy rainbow bottles and launched a trio of hydrosols meant to lift the spirits with scents like neroli and rose. It’s also formulated with hydrolets to nourish the skin simultaneously. “We specifically distill at harvest to ensure the highest concentrations of fatty acids, nutritious minerals, and volatile compounds found in these plants to achieve maximum benefit,” says co-founder Spencer Arnold.
Why we love it: The spray delivery system is fun and easy-to-use, and we found ourselves liberally misting throughout the day, both for its skin balancing properties and for intermittent hits of aromatherapy.
For Gentle Exfoliation
If you suffer from keratosis pilaris, this will be a game-changer in your routine. Notoriously hard to squash with an OTC product, Soft Services’ new chemical exfoliant is made to target this pesky condition (while also tackling ingrown hair and rough skin on elbows and knees). Tried-and-true lactic acid and soothing agents like Centella gently dissolve the build-up of dead skin cells while keeping irritation at bay. Its gel formula absorbs quickly, making it an easy pre-cream primer. Annie Kreighbaum, the co-founder of Soft Services, felt that physical exfoliants for the body were previously too chunky, too weak, or too oily to achieve the right results and developed
Why we love it: Dry skin and unwanted bumps are all too common and this gel slips on as easy as a toner but smoothed away our unwanted crepey skin.
For Ultimate Moisture
With a list of ingredients that include vitamins B, C, and E along with sweet almond, macadamia, and hazelnut oils, you’d probably think you were being sold the hottest new expensive face product, but no. Necessaire, the brand known for the chicest shower products, launched a body oil that’s both plant-based and ultra-nourishing for your skin. Co-founder Randi Christiansen says that after the success of the brand’s body lotion, an oil felt like a natural next step. “We set out to deliver moisture in an oil texture and spent nearly two years sourcing five organic, biodegradable, cold-pressed oils that dry down fast while nourishing the skin.”
Why we love it: Aside from its stunning packaging, we’re psyched to have a body product that’s chock full of amazing ingredients and affordable.
For Deep Treatment
Unlike your favorite pre-soaked acid towelettes that can irritate, Oui The People’s new Overnight Body Facial is a super light gel with a silky texture that dissolves dead skin cells and calms textured skin.
Founder Karen Young says there was a customer demand for a product for bumpy skin that wasn’t harsh. “We recommend using Cheat Sheet overnight because our skin is best able to repair and regenerate while we sleep, and this is the best time to use it if your skin is susceptible to acids,” Young explains. Slip it on needed areas at night for softer skin come morning.
Why we love it: We can think of a few hero products that achieve this goal for our face but having something for our body is truly innovative. When we used it on rough patches on the backs of our arms and elbows, this product truly delivered.
The Bottom Line
The skin on our bodies deserves equal care and attention to the skin on our faces. Immediately after showering, Dr. Engelman likes to apply body oil in what she calls the “soak and grease method,” which locks in moisture instantly. “While they may not be miracle products, overnight body facials, light mists, or body care treatments are a great way to practice self-care and keep your skin healthy and hydrated,” she says. “Just be sure that you’re using high-quality products that are not overly harsh—just as you would for your face.”