Body Oil vs Body Lotion - is one really better than the other?

Body Oil vs Body Lotion - is one really better than the other?

Body Oil vs Body Lotion - is one really better than the other? This latest heatwave here in Europe got us thinking about the bodycare products we are using and the debate over whether it is best to use a body oil or a body lotion. Of course, much comes down to personal preferences – I am definitely the oil lover for its’ natural tendencies and the ease of spritz - but we thought we should take a deeper look into the debate and a bit of the science to figure out the key differences.

Why so much debate? Looking back at my notes for my Anatomy and Physiology course I completed as part of the Aromatherapy qualification, apparently our skin is our largest organ in the body, with the average adult carrying up to 20 ft sq of it, and it has the ability to absorb almost 60% of what we put on it - another reason, in our view, to go as natural as we can with our choice of product. Typically, the skin isn’t very permeable, to protect us from the nasties out there and it has up to 7 layers guarding the underlying muscles, bones and ligaments. 

However, some dermatologists have claimed that daily moisturising can interfere with natural hydration and can make skin oversensitised, dull and drier. US-based skincare founder Zein Obagi famously has no moisturising category in his ZO Skin Health Brand. But can your skin really hydrate and support itself against the onslaught on pollution and exposure that we face every day, especially for us urban lot. I don't think I could ditch my hydrating regime - could you? 

BODY LOTION - the lowdownlotions do tend to work better on drier skins given the key ingredients are a mix of oil and water. These tend to be lighter in texture, given the higher water content and so are best for an anytime hydration boost.

The chemistry bit: the fact that water is in a lotion throws up 2 issues:

  1. Lotions need an emulsifier to stop the water and oil separating. In natural products these will be nontoxic but some can be aggravating and harsh.
  2. Over time, the high water content in lotions can mean bacteria and mould growth. To prevent this, some lotions will contain parabens (our does not – see our natural promise) and other preservatives which can be highly allergenic.

What’s in our product? Our award winning (Natural Health Awards 2019) Body and Hand Lotion doesn’t just sit on top on the skin but absorbs quickly. Remember the grease test Instagram video that Tejal did way back?

  • It is stacked with Kokum Butter which is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, easily absorbed by skin and has been used in India for centuries largely for its ability to rejuvenate damaged skin cells and to and heal and condition skin.
  • It is also packed with Aloe Vera juice, a thick liquid made from the flesh of the Aloe Vera plant leaf that is s rich in Vitamins C, E and beta carotene, which enable it to nourish and hydrate skin

BODY OIL - the lowdown: oils are usually lighter in feel than a lotion and bring moisture to the skin, ideally being applied to warm, damp skin, post a shower to really soothe and soften. Using an oil resembles the natural oils in our skin and so is easily absorbed. This is one of my main reasons for preferring oils – I hate having to hang around waiting for my lotion to sink in, especially if I am travelling somewhere hot and humid. I also prefer massaging with an oil to a lotion.

Did you know that in India, the tradition is to bathe after you apply an oil - maybe this is the right way around and we have it all wrong?

The chemistry bit: unlike lotions, oils don’t need emulsifiers and preservatives given they don’t contain water and so aren’t prone to bacteria growth.

What’s in our product? Our Ultra Luxuriant Dry Skin Body Oil is packed with nutrient rich Moringa and Apricot kernel oils that sink into your skin quickly and mean you can jump into your clothes and get on with your day

  • Moringa Seed Oil: documented for its nutritive properties in Vedic scripts from 5,000 years ago given its extraordinary density of skin-nourishing nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids.
  • Apricot Kernel Oil has been extracted by the people of Ladakh in the trans Himalayas for centuries. Rich in essential unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acid, apricot kernel oil is also concentrated in Vitamin A. Like Moringa Oil, it soaks right in and makes skin supple and smooth.

So what’s the conclusion – body oil or body lotion? Even our beauty preferences are divided on this one, I generally prefer to use an oil, whereas Tejal uses both oils and lotions. What we do agree 100% on is to choose as natural a product as is possible to exclude as many of the ‘nasties’ as you can. We obviously LOVE our own products but aromatherapy has also taught us that there are loads of amazing DIY options so you can really tailor your hydration station to exactly what you want the oil or lotion to do by adding essential oils. As always, remember that essential oils are powerful botanicals with lightweight molecules that absorbs into the bloodstream - therapeutically beneficial, but need to be used correctly. Check out this earlier blog article for our thoughts.



Alexandra Turner, better known as Alix, is the co-founder of Malavara. Having spent 15 years working with European Luxury Goods brands, Alix's passion for wellness, aromatherapy and travel led her to India and Ayurveda. Alix lives in London and keeps busy with a day job, a toddler and our exciting Malavara journey.

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