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I’m a big fan of oils — both facial and body. I’m in my 20s, with dry skin with a few other issues, and my time and budget are limited. I love oils because they agree with my skin and can usually be used to do the job of a myriad of products (some of my favorites include moisturizer, cuticle/nail treatment, and makeup remover). Astara Aroma Nutrient Face and Body Oil ($45) sounded like it would fit right in with my multitasking goals — it was the first time I’d tried using the same oil on my face and body!
My first body oil (which I loved) was Know Your Ingredients’ Sweet Almond Softening Oil, which is supposed to be applied to wet skin right out of the shower. This is how I used Astara’s oil as well, and I applied it everywhere, tip to toes, except my hair. It has a pleasant lavender aroma and gave my skin a very pretty glow, but despite that appearance my skin felt extremely dry, tight and itchy. I gave it a few days and then decided to contact Astara to make sure I was applying it correctly.
They said that I was, but that they weren’t surprised I was having this issue because "The Aroma Nutrient Face and Body Oil have benefits to nourish, balance, hydrate, and fortify the skin. These great benefits do not actually mean, 'moisturize' the skin. There is a difference." They did not elaborate on what exactly the difference was, so I did a little internet search and found that although there’s quite a bit written about the topic, it was pretty difficult for a layperson to distill the information down to a simple explanation.
What I could gleam from what I read was that basically “moisturizers” are designed to create a barrier on the skin that prevents the loss of water, and “hydration” is when a product is actually adding water to the skin. This kind of surprised me, since it seems like a hydrating product, as Astara labels their product, would make my skin feel less dry, and a moisturizing one would help maintain the effect, and I didn’t seem to experience that.
Astara said I should purchase their Antioxidant Body Lotion and apply it atop the Face and Body Oil, but I didn’t want to buy an additional product. So, I used a body lotion I had on hand — one I wasn’t particularly pleased with — hoping that the Face and Body Oil might boost its performance. No such luck. Actually with the lotion on top I didn’t really see the “glow” effect anymore either, so it’s more like I lost a benefit. For experimentation purposes I tried it on dry and damp skin as well, with and without lotion on top, and I didn’t notice any particular change.
I was surprised by this result because Astara’s Face and Body Oil is filled with oils that, as they describe, are “packed with antioxidant vitamins and nutrients,” all of which I was happy to slather on my skin. This contrasts with the K.Y.I. oil I mentioned before, which is essentially just sweet almond oil, possibly with added essential oil for scent, but which succeeded in making my skin feel soft and comfortable.
The 4 oz. Astara runs out quite quickly if you’re going to use this all over your face and body, and at $45 in the Astara shop it does not come cheap. I’m almost completely out after only about a month, and I’ll be using my dregs as shaving cream (though I have to say I’m not really pleased with it for that use either — it clogs the razor). Essentially, this product is a no for me. Instead of helping me streamline my routine it added a step, and even then I didn’t feel like there were any benefits to be gained, other than to smell like lavender. If you’re looking for a body oil I recommend checking out the K.Y.I., which I also found through TIA. It comes in three scent options and unscented (and there is a lavender option if that’s your thing), and at half the price and twice the volume, it’s 4x the value of Astara’s. At least from my experience, the simpler formulation turned out to be the better one.