Once upon a time, skin-care products were prized solely for their formulas. Nowadays, careful thought is put not only into the lotions and potions, but the bottles, jars, and tubes they come housed in, too. And don’t get me wrong: I love a pretty product (my vanity is never not stocked with Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream), but I think that sometimes, in a world where aesthetics seep into every waking moment of our lives (thanks, social media), it’s easy to overlook truly stellar skincare products simply because they don’t necessarily look special. Case in point: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil ($10).
Although I’d heard about Bio-Oil over the years, I’d never taken the time to try it out for myself because, for one, as someone with reactive combination skin, I don’t typically reach for oils, and because, well, it didn’t grab my attention. But then I was mindlessly scrolling through my social feeds and realized that the simple-looking skincare oil was popping up left and right, with over 52 million views on TikTok alone. Naturally, I checked Amazon and what do you know, the clear peach bottle boats over 71,000 five-star reviews. Which made me wonder: Have I really been sleeping on one of the century’s best skincare products without even knowing it?
What is Bio-Oil?
Bio-Oil looks like any ordinary body oil but according to board-certified dermatologist Dustin Portela, MD, it features a unique formula specifically designed for optimal absorption across all skin types, even those that are highly sensitive.
“Bio-Oil is gentle enough for all skin types, including sensitive skin, as its main purpose is to optimize the function of the skin’s moisture barrier by adding back naturally-present oils to help with retaining water content,” says board-certified dermatologist and Bio-Oil partner, Tiffany J. Libby, MD. “The Original Oil uses Purcellin Oil, which mimics natural lipids present in the moisture barrier, as well as lavender oil, a natural antiseptic that helps soothe and calm skin.”
As hydrating as it is, what Bio-Oil is really known for is its supposed ability to diminish the appearance of scars. “Using Bio-Oil can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, scars, and uneven skin tone,” says Corey L. Hartman MD, who is a Bio-Oil partner. That said, Dr. Portela is quick to clarify that it’s most effective at reducing the appearance of newer scars—and even then, it’s not a guarantee.
My honest review of Bio-Oil
After never giving Bio-Oil the time of day, a clear peach bottle now sits proudly on my bathroom counter, perfectly within reach the moment I step out of the shower.
“The best time to apply Bio-Oil is immediately after bathing or showering, as that is the best time to lock in and seal in water content,” says Dr. Libby.
What I love about this oil is just how much it doesn’t actually feel like an oil. Sure, it’s slick and wet directly out of the bottle, but it sinks so quickly into the skin that it doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue the way most body oils do.
As much as I dig the texture and absorption—and how hydrated my skin truly feels, even now, nearly 12 hours after last applying it—I have to admit that I’m not super fond of the scent. Don’t @ me, but it smells a lot like a cheap, unscented candle—waxy and obscure. That said, I’ve been known to fall for scents after committing to products for their results, not just their looks or fragrance. (For example, I was anything but impressed with the scent of the Hanni Water Balm when I first used it, and now—months later—my mouth practically waters in anticipation of spritzing it on. It’s divine.)
All this to say: I understand the hype of Bio-Oil. Now, to remain committed to see if it truly delivers on the scar and stretch mark front. For me, only time will tell, but other reviewers confirm that it delivers on this promise. One user said that she’s been using it for years and it’s helped a surgery scar on her wrist “almost completely disappear,” while another says “it got rid of most of my acne scars within 2 months.” At $10 a pop, it’s definitely worth a try.
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