If you opt for body oil, there are a few different ways you can use it. The most obvious, of course, is right after you hop out of the shower. Using an oil on slightly damp skin means you’re creating an occlusive layer of oil to trap in hydration underneath.

This method only makes sense, given that showers can actually dry out your skin. See, your body creates natural oils to keep your skin lubricated and soft. When you shower, especially when using harsh body soaps, your body is stripped of those oils. 

If you’re rinsing in hot water, that’s even more drying. While a cold rinse is certainly one way to mitigate a bit of dryness, not everyone enjoys a rainy ice bath experience. 

But regardless of temperature, when If you’re not diligent with your body care routine, showers can render your skin dry and ashy. How can we avoid this? By hydrating pre-rinse. As celebrity esthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar once suggested, apply body oil prior to jumping in the shower. It might seem counterintuitive, but the science behind oils may help explain why this works. 

“This oil barrier prevents excessive water loss and helps with any irritation,” Aguilar explains. Botanical oils, (like less-sustainable alternatives such as petrolatum jelly), have occlusive properties. Translation: They hold moisture in the skin. 

Plus, not everyone likes the feeling of body oil on their skin, so using it before the shower can help you reap the benefits, sans oily residue. 

Post-rinse, Aguliar coats her skin with another layer of oil: “As soon as I step out of the shower, I mix grapeseed oil with my body moisturizer and lather up. You can feel and see the difference in your skin by doing this magical ritual,” she said.