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We’re calling it now: this is the year of body care. People are embracing the fact that the skin below your neck deserves the same special care, treatment, and time as the skin on your face. Suddenly, body-focused routines and rituals are treated with the reverence of hair and skin care — take a look at the recent explosion of new products in categories like body serums, body oils, body masks, and body-centric tools for proof. It’s worth noting, though, that this newfound interest in body care is as individualized as it is prioritized. More than ever, brands are rolling out full libraries of deodorants for different lifestyles and needs, hair-removal is a do-what-you-want preference rather than a gendered cudgel, and all-over SPF is finally getting its due as a non-negotiable necessity. Oh, and self-tanner is really good now — just ask anyone who remembers the early ’00s. These Bustle Beauty Award winners excel at what they promise and help make body care an essential form of self-care. Ahead, Bustle’s best body products of the year.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Best Body Lotion
The affirmation written to pair with this soothing, silk-finish body cream from Alicia Keys’ line is a beautiful one: “My body is a vessel for love, light, and strength,” it reads, reminding the user to take that application time to mentally slow it down, take some deep breaths, and give thanks for the skin currently being slathered in Rose of Jericho-scented shea butter. Deliciously rich, thanks to a supporting cast of cocoa butter, ceramides, and calming oat, it’s a perfect way to start or end the day — or both. “It’s super moisturizing but doesn’t leave your skin feeling tacky,” reports Kate Auletta, BDG staffer. “It has a really nice, subtle scent too.”
Best Body Scrub
Those times when you just need to physically scrub the day off of you? Turn to this Rih-made body scrub, made to smell like tropical guava and caramel. Exceptionally tiny bits of sugar, salt, and sand buff away dead skin cells and buildup while stimulating circulation as a team of oils (including ultra-hydrating coconut oil) add moisture back in. BDG Executive Beauty Director Faith Xue loves the scrub’s light, sweet scent, adding that “it gave the perfect amount of grittiness,” while BDG staffer Alexa Pipia praises the fact that it left her skin feeling moisturized for hours after using it.
Best Body Wash
There’s something to be said for a brand that withstands the best of time — it wouldn’t be a stretch to find a Dove body product on the 1958 equivalent of this list. That said, the 2022 Dove is all about self-care, nourishment, and self-acceptance in ways that still feel radical today. Perfect for sensitive skin of all sorts, the hypoallergenic formula and moisturizing infusion of calendula oils make it a no-brainer pick for dry or irritated skin, too. “This is a great body wash for everyday use,” says Danielle Colin-Thome, BDG staffer. “It left my skin feeling soft and hydrated!”
Best Body Serum
Just as you count on a targeted skin serum to penetrate pores, a body serum treats the lower 90% of you to just as much nourishment. Both glow-inducing and moisturizing, this one from Playa boasts brightening, tone-evening vitamin C along with hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing tiger grass. BDG staffer Carolyn Steber says the serum is the latest permanent addition to her routine thanks to the fresh scent, decadent bottle, and moisturizing dry finish. “I’m a big fan!” she says. “It melts right into my skin and doesn’t feel sticky. I feel very glowy and moisturized afterward.”
Best Body Oil
One way to guarantee your skin absorbs maximum moisture is to lock lotion in with a coat of body oil. Made from just six ingredients total (all of which are natural, by the way), this herb-scented lotion used thyme essential oils to saturate skin from within, resulting in a noticeable glow. BDG staffer Lily Ogbuefi gives the oil high marks for its smooth application and provincial glass bottle, adding, “This oil gives a very spa-like vibe and it doesn’t leave any greasy residue – it definitely left my skin feeling soft.”
Best Body Treatment
The skin on your body can be as finicky as the skin on your face, but this smoothing solution from Soft Services gets rid of common issues like body acne, keratosis pilaris, and dullness in one go. The cloudy gel applies easily (and is recommended for use after you’ve exfoliated in the shower), and uses 10% lactic acid to resurface the skin and leave your limbs feeling soft and smooth. “This is a wonderful product,” says BDG staffer Darcie Wilder. “It’s easy to apply and effective, and great after a nighttime shower.”
Talk about a glow-up — self-tanners made leaps and bounds in the last half-decade alone, and skin is reaping all the benefits. This minimalist glass vial holds the secret to an undetectable faux-glow thanks to a serum consistency and a 12% DHA formulation for a buildable bronzer. After just a few uses, your skin should be subtly sunkissed. BDG staffer Danielle Sinay says this hits the realistic-tan mark and might even be her all-time favorite tanning product, thanks to the natural glow it delivers. But it does more than just bronze skin, she say: “It really does give a glowing finish, which I’ve never seen from any other self-tanner. It reminds me more of really potent vitamin C serums, and just so happens to give your skin a boost in terms of color as well.”
A gold standard in natural deodorant, Megababe is a top choice for those looking to make the big switch. Made with minerals like zinc oxide and clay as well as baking soda for a clean, dry feel, the fresh eucalyptus scent is just an excellent added bonus. BDG staffer Julie Cid is a fan of the mineral-based deo — “I felt completely protected, even in sweaty situations” — while guest judge and dermatologist Dr. Dianna Davis praises it for its lightweight texture and nice smell.
Best Shave Product
Despite even the best precautions, sometimes the inevitable happens after the shaving process: ingrown hairs. Loaded down with tough-on-bacteria, gentle-on-skin exfoliants like poly-hydroxy acid and gluconolactone, this body-friendly toner doesn’t just deal with ingrowns — it removes stubborn texture, uneven spots, and dry patches, too. Guest judge and esthetician Vanessa Lee gives the toner her official stamp of approval, praising the PHA as a remedy for ingrown hairs and bumps. “Not only is this a gentle way of keeping ingrowns away, it also slightly brightens the skin if there are any past dark spots from previous ingrowns,” she says. “I used it multiple times over several weeks with no irritation and no ingrowns!”
Best Body Sunscreen
Vacation’s sunscreen instantly reached cult status shortly after it launched for a simple reason: using this product instantly transports you to a vacation state of mind (even if you’re, well, still at home). The packaging and scent play into our nostalgia, reminiscent of the retro fonts and coconut-y scent of childhood beach trips. But the formula is what earns it the top spot out of all of the sunscreens we tested: the reef-friendly SPF boasts a blend of coconut oil, aloe, banana extract, and vitamins B3 and E to soothe the skin as it protects. BDG staffer Laura Willis puts it simply: “It smells like summer and is water resistant — it’s a great sunscreen!”