Body care is booming. It's a fact you're probably well aware of, even if you don't have access to the hard marketing data. Launch after launch, the skincare industry is traveling down the neck, out the arms, and across the entire body. Once cleanly separated, it's now become difficult to even delineate between skin and body care, since the body-care trend appears to be thoroughly intertwined with the skincare industry's success.
It was a slow trickle, at first. Drunk Elephant launched body care in April. Milk Makeup dropped a CBD body oil in May. Kosas tackled deodorant in June, followed by Function of Beauty's body-care line in July. This doesn't even begin to include the necessary influx of hand sanitizers created by beauty brands, either — or the hydrating hand treatments that then followed.
"Body-care sales, including body lotions, deodorant, foot care, hand care, and massage products, have increased in percent of sales substantially in 2020 compared to 2019," Brandi Halls, Brand Director at Lush, tells The Zoe Report over email. "And, of course, hand care also showed higher sales due to customers needing lotion for dry hands from increased hand washing and hand sanitizer use. Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter has been the top-seller in this category."
And that makes sense, in a classic, supply-and-demand way. Nevertheless, skin and body care's merger throughout 2020 deserves a deeper look, as it begets a question: Is the skincare industry taking over body care, or is it the other way around?
How The Body-Care Trend Took Off
To understand why the distinction matters, it's important to note the sheer size of both categories within the industry. According to McKinsey & Company, retail sales for the global beauty industry reached $500 billion in 2019: $140 billion in skin care, $236 billion thanks to "personal-care products," which includes bath, hair-care, and more.
The same article shared the industry impact following the pandemic outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, as well: European e-commerce giant Zalando "reported a boom in pampering and self-care beauty categories, including candles, aromatherapy, and detox products; sales of skin-, nail-, and hair-care products were up 300 percent, year on year," wrote Emily Gerstell, Sophie Marchessou, Jennifer Schmidt, and Emma Spagnuolo. "That is consistent with results from Amazon, for which most makeup sales in the United States are showing slight declines, compared with the same month in 2019, while sales for nail-care products (218 percent), hair coloring (172 percent), and bath-and-body products (65 percent) are way up."
Then, there's the more holistic viewpoint. "Skin is the human body's largest organ, and it's important to take care of it all — not just the skin on your face," says Kelley Martin, chief marketing officer of skyn ICELAND (which just launched its first face and body product). "I think that was a natural conclusion for the skincare industry to expand its reach into body care, as consumers are starting to realize that their multi-step routines for face should also be applied to the rest of the body. Specific areas of the body show signs of aging just like they do on the face, such as the neck and the décolletage, so people are especially looking to target those areas."
Joanna Vargas — celebrity facialist, author, and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin Care — does agree with the renewed focus on the décolletage, citing an uptick in sun damage following "more free time this summer." That said, there is the sheer joy that stems from pampering yourself, too. "I think people have found it really relaxing and stress-relieving to care for themselves during this stay-at-home time," she notes. "Now that things are opening up, clients are upping their game and trying to incorporate more rituals into their regular routine."
What's Actually Popular Right Now In Body Care
So, which rituals are people actually embracing? Enter Dr. Flora Kim, a board-certified dermatologist. Regarding popular all-over skin treatments, Kim points to laser procedures that "address pigment and redness/vascularity" as well as "radiofrequency microneedling and fractionated microplasma to stimulate collage stimulation, tighten skin, and reverse crepe-y sun damage."
"People are interested in skin-tightening treatments using radiofrequency or ultrasound," adds Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, cosmetic dermatologist, author, and PFRANKMD founder and chief medical officer. "They are also really interested in cellulite treatments where I use things like BioStim and other heat-based technologies." New technology had also caught the eye of Vargas' clientele; she says her Supernova Body treatment is the most popular, since "it exfoliates, hydrates, and reduces inflammation via cryotherapy and oxygen," and that "my patented LED light bed is something everyone does after every service."
Fragrance plays a major part in the body-care space, too, arguably even more so than in facial skin care. The up-and-coming skincare brand, Hanahana Beauty, is uniquely poised to speak on the topic: It currently offers its shea body butter in five unique fragrance options, including unscented.
"I think people are looking for different scents that will do more than just smell good — that make them feel some type of way," says Abena Boamah-Acheampong, founder and CEO of Hanahana Beauty. "So, I feel like with our Amber, it just makes you feel lush, it makes you feel good. For me, when we create our scents, it’s based off of obviously, one, the smell, but like what does it do? Does it refresh, or have a multifaceted use? Like lavender is calming, eucalyptus can be refreshing, all these different things. How can it affect the person that’s putting it on?"
Build Your Own Body-Care Routine
New to the all-over skincare movement? You can start with something as simple as a lotion you love, or an ingredient already in your facial routine. After that, it's time to pick up a product or two. Keep on scrolling to shop The Zoe Report's recommendations for the best in body care, with even more tips and tricks from the pros.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Frank calls sunscreen "the most important" all-over ingredient, noting that he has "a lot of patients who always protect the skin on their face, but they never seem to put it on their body." You might have a lot of skin to cover depending on the season, so pick up an affordable SPF you won't feel guilty about slathering on — like this $15.99 cult fave from Black Girl Sunscreen.
"Beyond the standard lotion, people do like body rollers," says Frank, adding that they can temporarily smooth your skin's tone and texture. There are plenty on the market, but Esker's Allover Roller is one of the chicest — the oversized Xiuyan jade's spiky finish eases up tension by targeting fascia.
Already in love with what retinol has done for your skin? Go ahead and pick up a body treatment infused with the endlessly popular vitamin. "It seems to be good for texture and tone of the skin, not just the face," says Frank.
Or, try incorporating your favorite exfoliating or deep-cleaning acid — particularly if you have body acne, which salicylic acid can also help diminish. "The skin on our body is tougher than the face, so you can be more aggressive with higher concentrations of both alpha and beta hydroxy acids for effective smoothing, brightening, thickening, and toning," notes Kim.
"I highly recommend dry brushing for full-body exfoliation. Dry brushing increases blood flow, which is healthy, but its main purpose is to stimulate collagen production," adds Vargas. "Start at the tops of the feet and brush upwards towards the heart. Spend extra time on areas that tend to be more stagnant, like the inner thigh, and don't forget to include the backs of the arms and the back."
If you've found yourself yawning your way through your body lotion routine — admittedly, it *is* slightly less exciting than facial moisturizers — try looking for a scent you truly love. Sephora shoppers have made their feelings known for Sol de Janeiro's fragrant Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, leaving more than 6,500 reviews for the lotion.
A great bath soak is equal parts aromatherapy and skin-softener. This Icelandic sea salt blend is great for early evening dips, with a bright lemon verbena and vanilla fragrance. Or, try your hand at mixing up your own: "Bathe the body in a chamomile and rosemary soak – it’s great for calming stressed skin and it’s also very hydrating," recommends Vargas.
Kim recommends Environ's Cosmetic Body Roller-CIT paired with the brand's Alpha Hydroxy Derma-Lac Lotion and Vitamin A, C & E Body Oil Forte. "Commit five to 10 minutes every night to see your skin transform," she says. "This will tone, firm, hydrate, soften, and nourish your body’s skin unlike anything else!"
Another easy-to-follow routine from Kim: "For all over my body (but never the face), I personally love Bioderma's Atoderm Cleansing Oil applied all over in the shower (lukewarm water is best!) with the old-school — but still one of my favorites — Salux Nylon Japanese Beauty Skin Bath Wash Cloth/Towel," says the dermatologist. "Then pat dry with a towel, leaving skin still damp, and immediately apply Bioderma's Atoderm Cream generously all over to lock in the hydration."