This is the one that hopefully everyone is already doing: wash yourself in the shower with soap. The skin on your body is probably not as temperamental as the skin on your face so finding a body wash should be as easy as finding a scent you like but the wrong soap can contribute to dryness so if your skin seems dryer than usual or your skin tends to dry out in winter, try switching up your body wash to something more moisturizing.
Some general knowledge about body soap: bar soap is more drying than liquid. If you feel like your soap leaves behind a film on your skin, which bar soap is most likely to do, that’s just a barrier it leaves to seal in moisture; unless you notice that it breaks you out it’s a positive thing but some people don’t like the feel of it. And also, the superior lathers that liquid soaps brag about have nothing to do with performance. I’m pro-liquid soap but professionals would tell you that the simpler the formula the better, to avoid irritation, so they would vote bar soap mostly.
I am also extremely pro-loofah. It’s fun to say, it’s fun to look at, it feels good, you replace it every 3-6 months so it’s more hygienic, and it’s a great way to get another physical exfoliation step into you regular routine.
Pro tip: don’t over wash your legs & dry them out; unless you’re caked in mud from some awful triathlon where you crawl around in dirt or something, the warm water and suds that run off the rest of your body is enough to clean them.
Pro tip #2: The colder your shower is the less you dry out your skin and hair so maybe try cycling between hot and cold. I am still a bath addict so I will never stop taking hot baths but something to consider; just make sure you moisturize post-bath
Exfoliate your body:
This is so important and probably the thing that you aren’t doing!
Physical exfoliation & shaving:
For the best shave, I exfoliate once (dry brush), then shave, exfoliate again (loofah or mitt if I’m lazy, scrub if I’m not), then shave again. It helps makes sure you don’t miss loosening up any ingrown hairs. I thought about making a body hair dedicated section in this guide but I think when I finally tackle body hair removal it should be its own thing.
Chemically exfoliating your body:
This is a step I’d recommend only if you have an area of body acne you’d like to get rid of or keratosis pilaris (also known as chicken skin and/or the bane of my existence, mostly found on the back of your arms). What you’re going to want is a BHA, salicylic acid specifically. Try pairing this with regular physical exfoliation of the area and god speed.
Moisturize your body
This is a pretty obvious step but one that was so odious and time-consuming to me that I didn’t do it for the longest time. But I am now happily addicted to The Body Shop’s Olive Oil Body Butter and I honestly look forward to using it. I think it’s just a trick of finding the right application method – maybe you need a bottle with a pump, or a spray bottle. Maybe look into a moisturizing oil to apply all over afterward (if you have chronically dry elbows, maybe consider getting an oil to apply just on your elbows). Whatever you use apply it right out of the shower while you’re still damp.
This step may seem obvious but it is important because most of the goops we apply to our faces are either fancy ways to exfoliate or fancy ways to moisturize, so lotion is doing a lot toward anti-aging even if you don’t feel like it is.
Protect your body
Protecting your neck & collarbone & hands: The skin on your neck, collarbone area, and hands are danger areas for body skincare: some of them have even thinner skin than the skin on your face, they get just as much sun exposure as your face, and because people don’t protect and care for those areas as dearly as they do their face they are extremely likely to age you. So at the very least make sure you’re hitting those areas with sunscreen as often as you do your face but also consider using some of your facial skincare in those areas as well! If you’re not willing to part with your night cream, though, at least take special care to moisturize them as well as you moisturize your legs post-shower.
Keep a hand cream in your bag and use it often (surprise I love L’Occitane’s Amande one, but for spring and summer I most often use Hand Food bc it’s so cheap). And since you probably already keep a hand cream in your bag and use it often, switch to a hand cream with SPF in the summer.
I advocate for all people to get an occasional pedicure so that every couple of months your feet get ped-egged into a more foot-like shape but I’m not intense enough to go through all of that at home. But I do love, in the fall and winter, slathering my feet with lotion (can be foot-specific lotion but doesn’t have to be) before slipping into some socks (that I don’t mind getting a lotion-y) and going to sleep. This is also the trick to do in the case of very dry hands with gloves but since I use hand cream throughout the day compulsively and am now the proud owner of a dishwasher I don’t have to go through all that.