Oiling up

It’s January. We’re wrapped in a ridiculous amount of layers keeping out the cold and hiding the extra pounds from over-indulging at Christmas.

Underneath, our skin is feeling neglected, dry and in need of a bit of nourishment. It’s typical at this time of year for clients to think about slimming and cellulite treatments, but getting them to maintain this care as well as buying body products at retail always seems to be a bit of a battle for salons and spas.

When we talk about targeted skincare the first thing that springs to mind is looking after the face. The skin is the largest organ we have and covers all of us, so why do we forget that the rest of the body also needs continuous TLC too?

Clarins UK managing director Debbie Lewis is starting to see a shift in body care. She says, “As with [facial] skincare, clients want powerful, results orientated treatments, with results after just one session. In the UK facials will continue to be more popular than body treatments, but we have seen major growth in the body treatment area and this is set to continue.”

However, Jane Scrivner, owner of the eponymous skincare brand, says she has never understood why we focus our attention on our faces while our bodies are allowed to decay secretly under our clothes and we only take “emergency measures” when approaching the “party season” or “pool side”.

Linda Corsby, a trainer from Germaine De Capuccini believes we should be more conscious of clients’ skin throughout winter. “Skin gets worse in colder weather as people wrap up, ignore it and leave it to get dry. If anything we should exfoliate and do more scrubs in the winter to get rid of clients’ dead skin cells.”

It seems obvious, so how can you get clients to take it more seriously?

On trend

Using oils as part of a body care treatment or skincare regime has always been advocated by the spa brands, with many of them highlighting oils as a key product in their ranges.

Noella Gabriel, head of treatment and product development at Elemis, believes that oils are the best carriers to deliver nourishment and ingredients into the skin and is helping skincare for the body become more targeted.

She says, “Oils are very en vogue at the moment and have become even more sophisticated. Six years ago oils were heavy and sticky but now you can get dry oils and non-greasy oils, the texture and functionality has improved and so has how we dispense them.”

Scrivner echoes this. “I can see a slow move towards consumers wanting the same, specific ‘facial’ results for their bodies – but not so much body part-specific, more all over their bodies, firming, toning, luminescence, smoothing. And it’s about time.”

She continues, “Customers are realising that their bodies need as much daily attention as their faces; the skin has as many conditions – rough, dehydrated, scaly – that need focus.”

Scrivner says she is always amazed when her clients mention after a massage that their skin feels so smooth. “It’s like it’s the first time they have applied any kind of moisturiser to anywhere other than their faces,” she says.

Likewise, Fiona Brackenbury, director of training at Decléor, believes consumers are becoming more body conscious and feels the peak in serum products (which she says is the category oils fit into) is due to their ability to deliver a more targeted response. “Whether it is to break down fat or to stimulate collagen there is an oil to address that.”

She adds: “The biggest benefit of oils is that they have more synergy with the skin. In this way they are more powerful and are absorbed deeper.”

Converting clients

Some clients still fear that using an oil will leave them feeling like they’ve bathed in an oil slick. The best way to introduce clients to an oil is to encourage them to try a treatment using it. Gabriel explains all of Elemis’s body treatments lead with an oil. “We exfoliate the skin after oiling, so the oil gives you that tiny barrier for the treatment. It makes the whole experience better,” she says.

However, it is one thing explaining the benefits of oils to clients but making sure they are using them all the time is a different matter. Brackenbury suggests explaining to clients that by trying to do an intensive regime just a couple of times a year they are actually putting their skin under more pressure than if they used some form of body care all year round.

She says: “It is a bit like exercise; if the muscles are used to regular exercise they can take the impact, but if you haven’t done it for a while it is more of a strain on the muscles and you have to work harder to get back into it. It’s exactly the same concept with the skin; you have to increase the circulation to get rid of toxins and if you do it all year round you get more of an accelerated effect.”

Last year Decléor launched its Youth Revealing Face and Body treatment, which combines both a facial and body treatment in one. Brackenbury, adds: “This has been really successful for spas to encourage clients to have a facial and introduce them to a body treatment at the same time.”

Treatment case studies

Germaine de Capuccini African Baobab Ritual

The ritual combines soothing massage movements with products whose ingredients derive from the African baobab tree. The organic firm and tonic oil taken from the seeds from the ancient tree provide intense nourishment. The treatment includes a full exfoliation of dead skin cells, followed by a massage using the dry oil, which absorbs into the skin and is good for elasticity and toning. It is completed with Germaine de Capuccini’s energising leg therapy.

Recommended treatment price: £85

Duration: 55 minutes.

Decléor Youth Revealing Face and Body Treatment

An all-over anti-ageing treatment helping to restore tone to mature skins, it focuses on the power of massage to tighten, lift and resculpt. Targeted at reducing lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, dryness and sensitivity, it combines advanced anti-ageing ingredients including Decléor’s Aromessence Excellence Serum with lifting massage techniques to stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production. The result is a deeply nourishing treatment, where mature skin is renewed, leaving it looking younger, firmer and revitalised.

Recommended treatment price £90

Duration: 1hr 30 minutes

Hero Oils

A round up of some of the best body oils offering a targeted approach to skincare

Jane Scrivner

Jane Scrivner has extended its body care range with the launch of Firm Believer Definite Body Serum. The serum is a blend of organic apricot, avocado and jojoba oils, which help with toning, moisturising and definition. Other ingredients include red mandarin to help with blemishes, neroli for stimulation, and organic lemon oil for its antiseptic and cooling properties.

RRP is £49. Call Jane Scrivner on 01789 801040

Germaine de Capuccini

Germaine de Capuccini’s Perfect Forms Firm & Tonic Oil is a body treatment oil formulated to provide skin nourishment, suppleness, tone and texture.The oil contains birch, centella asiatica, plus oils of lupinus albus seed, apricot, carrot, and baobab seed. The oil is recommended to clients during weight changes as it helps to keep stretch marks and flaccidity at bay.

Trade price is £19.90. Call Totally UK on 01784 259 988


Japanese Camelia Oil from Elemis is a light oil that easily absorbs into the skin and the plant collagen keeps the skin moisturised and supple. It improves elasticity and hydration to prevent stretch marks and the formation of scar tissue, and is a great oil to use on expecting mothers.

Trade price is £12.90. Call Elemis on 0117 316 1888


AVST Body Oil from South African brand Environ is aimed at keeping skin in great condition from top to toe, with potent firming and antioxidant properties. The ultra-fine oil contains high doses of vitamins A, C and E, ingredients that fight the signs of sun damage and ageing and improve firmness and hydration. The nourishing and moisturising oil is formulated to improve the elasticity of the skin, reduce body scars and tighten lax body skin.

Trade price is £19.50. Call iiaa on 020 8450 2020


Nourishing Satin Oil is a hero in Darphin’s body care line. The dry oil combines essential oils including vanilla and jasmine to nourish and leave a silky glow. The formula blends four lipid-replenishing oils including inca inchi, safflower, sesame and sweet almond. Red ginger oil also helps to protect the skin from external aggressors and strengthen the skin’s hydrolipidic barrier by 32%.

RRP is £38. Call Darphin UK on 0870 034 2566


Aromatherapy brand Decléor calls its body oils serums, and a hero in the range is the Aromessence Excellence Youth Activator Body Serum. This anti-ageing formulation contains frankincense, sweet almond and hazelnut oils addressing the needs of mature skin, helping to firm and smooth the body.

RRP is £49.50. Call Decléor on 0845 872068


The Body Balm from organic brand Ila is great for feeding the skin as well as the senses with ingredients including damascena rose otto, wild-grown argan oil and beeswax. The balm helps soften, smooth and balance dry skin. It is beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and good for conditioning where there is hormonal imbalance. The argan oil and rosehip seed oil are rich in essential fatty acids to restore suppleness, and the rose geranium balances.

Trade price is £21.25. Call Ila Spa on 01608 677 676


Phytomer has recognised the need for a targeted body care product and has created a high-tech formula called Celluli Attack. Ingredients include sea absinthium, sea grape to help control slimming genes and vectorised sea pepper to help burn stubborn fat. The idea behind the product is that clients only need to use a few drops to help decrease fat cells, reduce cellulite and localised fat, and smooth the orange-peel effect on the surface of the skin.

Trade price is £30.70. Call Australian Bodycare on 01892 750850


Clarins’s three body treatment oils are a blend of essentials oils and plant extracts created in 1954, which have remained unchanged since then. One of the most popular is Anti-Eau, which helps eliminate toxins and boost skin circulation and contains broom, marjoram, lemon and geranium to reduce fluid retention.

RRP is £38. Call Clarins UK on 0800 036 3558


Divine Oil from the French vinotherapy brand Caudalie is a blend of four vegetable oils including grape, extra virgin argan, extra virgin hibiscus and sesame. The oil is designed for use on the hair and nails as well as all over the body and helps to rejuvenate and soften the skin, and create a barrier function to restrict epidermal water loss.

RRP is £25. Call Caudalie on 020 7498 8944

Docteur Renaud

The French professional skincare brand Docteur Renaud’s Peach Sublime Body Dry Oil combines the moisturising and nourishing properties of peach kernel oil, with the regenerating andrestructuring powers of grape seed oil, and the “beauty elixir” plum kernel oil. The oil is clinically proven to provide a 112% increase in hydration of the skin within 30 minutes after application, and to give a 42% increase in hydration after 28 days of use.

RRP is £29.45. Call Skin Evolution on 07760 784267

Living Nature

New Zealand brand Living Nature’s Vitality Body Oil is a blend of arnica combined with almond, wheatgerm and vitamin E to help nourish and protect the skin. Essential oils of lemon, peppermint, and juniper along with “super-ingredient” kunzea are also included to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Trade price is £16 for 200ml. Call Botanical Brands on 0845 250 8455