Scented Body Products Are Having a Moment—Our Beauty Editor Names Her Favorite Clean Versions

You smell good. No compliment makes me swoon more. And believe me, it’s hard-earned. Until high school, I was allergic to pretty much all synthetic fragrances. Perfumes instantly broke me out in hives. Luckily, I grew out of this allergy. But over a decade of scanning labels and bottles for potentially breakout-inducing ingredients has made me cautious. This is where my love of clean beauty—and scented body products—began.

I lean toward picks that layer yourself with all the sweet-smelling goodness without being overwhelming. Plus, if you spray your favorite fragrance over complementary body products, it can make even the most popular scents (Santal 33, anyone?) feel personal. A sensory scentscape, if you will.

But even without an allergy or sensitive skin, you might be cautious about which to choose. From harsh chemicals to irritating alcohols, read on to discover what to look for in the best scented body products.

Image above by Riley Reed

Image by Emma Bassill

Your Guide to Scented Body Products

I grew up in the heyday of mall-brand body products. Some of the most coveted items in the girls’ locker room were the cloying concoctions by Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, and Soap and Glory. Ah, the early aughts adolescent rituals. As an adult now, I’m much more discerning. And luckily, the sweet, vanilla scents have come a long way since my youth.

Scented body products formulated today are no longer nauseatingly saccharine. Many are made of clean, nourishing ingredients rather than the synthetic goop we spent years indiscriminately applying to our skin. Now, we’re spoiled with choice. High-quality products are way easier to access—you just have to know what to look for.

In-Shower vs. Post-Shower Products

If you haven’t heard: bodycare is the new skincare. And highly-effective body products are emerging every day to give you smooth, soft skin all over. Thankfully, they’re not only clean, but they smell amazing, too.

There are two main types of scented body products: in-shower products and post-shower products. Your body washes and body scrubs might smell great in the shower, but they often don’t leave a strong enough scent after rinsing. (Unless you’re using the distinct scent of Irish Spring—IYKYK.) This is where post-shower products come in. From oils to lotions and balms, layering matching products helps lock in both moisture and scent.

Ingredients to Avoid

Luckily, for most people, scented body products are pretty safe for your skin. The skin on your body is more resilient than your face, so unless you have hyper-sensitive skin or an allergy, even synthetic fragrances shouldn’t cause irritation.

But there’s no harm in being cautious. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is associated with eczema and is a common cause of contact dermatitis. Even Balsam of Peru, which is commonly used to cover up common fragrances for “unscented” products, can cause irritation. So where does that leave you?

More and more people are clean fragrance-curious, especially since some fragrances can be endocrine disruptors and even carcinogens. If you’re trying to be mindful of the chemicals and fragrances you put on your skin, these are the ingredients to avoid:

  • Phthalates
  • Styrene
  • Cinnamal
  • Isoeugenol
  • Limonene
  • Linalool

Clean Fragrances to Look For

Naturally scented body products usually use plant-based scents or essential oils. Plant-based fragrances are either naturally occurring or made of the molecules that give plants their scents. Essential oils are more common natural fragrances, though they might still cause irritation for some people. If you’re concerned about allergies or breakouts, test your scented body products on a small patch of skin first and consult a dermatologist before adding new products to your routine

The Best Scented Body Products

Scented body products have come a long way. There are good-smelling, clean products that also benefit the skin. No matter your skin type or preferred scent profile, there’s something for everyone. Ahead, discover the body products that made the cut.

Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Scented Body Bar: Wonder Valley Hinoki Bar

Bar soap is back in a big way. But instead of harsh surfactants and chemical smells, these new-age bar soaps are made of nourishing ingredients that don’t strip your skin or leave behind an unpleasant scent. Wonder Valley’s Hinoki Body Bar blends the brand’s signature extra virgin olive oil with coconut and avocado oils. Plus, the buzzy scent of hinoki has been hailed as the new santal.

Best Scented Body Wash: Kosas Good Body Skin Exfoliating Body Wash

I have been using this body wash for years and recommend it to everyone—partly because of how well it works, partly because of how good it smells. It’s a gentle, natural exfoliator, using AHAs and plant enzymes to unclog pores and smooth texture. I especially recommend it after the gym to prevent post-workout breakouts. It’s naturally scented with citrus and vanilla for a fresh fragrance.

Best Waterless Scented Body Product: BAWDY Beauty Bawdy Wash

Waterless products are quickly rising in popularity. They’re more sustainable, you get more bang for your buck, and the concentrated formulas mean more effective ingredients. This award-winning body wash clarifies the skin with kaolin clay, deeply hydrates with seaweed, and invigorates with a blend of summer florals.

Best Scented Body Scrub: Nopalera Cactus Flower Exfoliant

Nopalera’s cactus-based products both cleanse and moisturize the skin. Plus, the hibiscus flower contains antioxidants, vitamin C, and AHAs. This oil cleanser, exfoliant, and moisturizer trifecta has yet another benefit: the natural scents of jasmine and grapefruit oils make it smell great.

Best Scented Body Oil: Saltair Santal Bloom Nourishing Body Oil

This lightweight blend of oils is quick-drying and full of nourishing plant actives. It contains kukui, cacay, squalane, and karanja oils, plus fermented saururus oil for fatty acids. The santal scent also has notes of amber, sandalwood, and musk.

Best Firming Scented Body Oil: UMA Absolute Anti-Aging Body Oil

I am obsessed with the smell of this body oil. Its dark rose and neroli scent makes it my favorite product to wear on a night out for an extra glow and a natural base scent. Plus, the lightweight texture and firming ingredients means it quickly locks in moisture and over time reduces fine lines.

Best Scented Body Balm: Reed + Gwen Supercharged Reishi Body Melt

This mushroom-based balm combines the nourishing properties of adaptogenic reishi with hyaluronic acid and vegan ceramides for a barrier-boosting balm. A little goes a long way—and it melts on your skin for a luxuriously silky feel. Put this on before bed to moisturize your skin overnight and drift away to the smell of the calming essential oil blend of lavender, sage, cedar, and citrus.

Best Scented Body Lotion: DedCool Hand + Body Lotion 01 “Taunt”

This Gen Z-favorite brand is known for its clean, sustainable laundry detergents. Now, you can get those iconic scents on your skin, too. (Talk about scent pairing!) My favorite is the “Taunt” scent, which has notes of bergamot, amber, and vanilla.

Best Scented Body Serum: iota Superplant Body Serum+

You’ve heard of superfoods. Well, this serum uses superplants to add a nutritional boost to your body. It’s a body care product fit for your face — a toner, essence, treatment, gel mask, and hydrator all in one with the natural scent of lavender.

Best Scented Body Butter: Hanahana Beauty Amber Vanilla Shea Body Butter

You can’t go wrong with this body butter. Shea butter is a body care staple thanks to its ultra-nourishing properties. The whipped texture of Hanahana Beauty’s shea butter makes it easy to spread for an instant, non-greasy glow you won’t believe. They have a variety of scents but number one on my list is the Amber Vanilla.

Best Scented Body SPF: Bask Suncare SPF 50

This SPF 50 is a clean, mineral sunscreen with zero white cast and a great scent. The nostalgic fragrance of vanilla and coconut makes it smell like a beach in the best way possible.

A Sesame Salad That’s So Good, Our Food Editor Eats It Straight From the Serving Bowl

Not that I’m complaining, but my summer’s been brimming with travel. From coast to coast for work and play, there’s been a lot to see and experience. One of the highlights? A long weekend in Minneapolis. I spent the few days reuniting with best friends, vibing at Eras, and eating at some of my favorite restaurants in the city. Before we put on our dancing boots, my Taylor Swift crew and I set up camp at Sanjusan, Minneapolis’ amazing Japanese-Italian eatery. The spot seamlessly blends an omakase experience with some of the best pizza in the city. And while we indulged in all of that and more, it was the green salad with sesame dressing that we couldn’t stop talking about.

Of course—inspired and pleasantly full—I left the meal dreaming of the moment I could recreate the salad at home. It was tangy and refreshing, sweet and savory, all with just the tiniest kick of heat in every crisp bite. The second we finished devouring the sharing bowl of salad, I knew: this green salad with sesame dressing was one I had to recreate.

But to be clear: salads are not usually one of my go-to meals. If I’m going to eat vegetables, I’d rather they complement other dishes than simply eat a large bowl of them on their own. However, when done right, a salad can satisfy every craving. Fresh greens, an addictive dressing, and toppings that take your salad from boring to an incredible bowl of flavor—when I dream of salad, this is what comes to mind. So trust me, you’ll be making this green salad with sesame dressing all season long.

Ingredients for Green Salad With Sesame Dressing

Parmesan. Freshly grated, savory, and salty. Parmesan is the perfect topping for making this salad feel extra special. Be sure to use the good stuff.

Pistachios. Use roasted and salted if you can. Otherwise, take raw pistachios and toast until fragrant and crunchy in texture. These add a nice bite and a bit of textural contrast to the salad. If you don’t have pistachios, feel free to use what you have on hand like sliced almonds, chopped pecans, or pumpkin seeds.

Furikake. If you’ve never used furikake, prepare to be addicted. It’s a Japanese seasoning made of toasted sesame seeds, nori, and salt. (Depending on the blend you use, it may also include bonito flakes, chili flakes, miso powder, etc.) This savory topping brings everything in this salad together. If you can’t find it, try crushing up seaweed sheets into flakes with toasted sesame seeds, salt, and a bit of sugar.

Tahini. The base of our salad dressing. Nutty and savory, tahini ties in perfectly with the sesame seeds.

Sherry or champagne vinegar. For an acidic bite, sherry vinegar rounds out the salad dressing and lifts all the flavors up with brightness. Use apple cider, champagne, or rice vinegar if you need to substitute.

Ginger. Freshly grated, ginger adds a subtle warmth and spice to the dressing.

Greens. Use the freshest and most crisp baby greens you can find. 

Tips for Serving

When it comes to making salads, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to take everything to the next level.

Start with crisp greens. Confession: I don’t own a salad spinner. That means that sometimes, I wash my greens only to end up with soft, wilted leaves. But I recently learned the towel trick for drying and storing greens and I’m hooked. Wash your greens and dry them by patting gently with a towel. On another large towel, lay them out in a single layer, then roll the towel up with the leaves inside. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to use for dry and cold crisp leaves.

Salt generously and use a bigger bowl than you think you need. It’s just a fact: salads often taste better in restaurants than when made at home. The secret? They toss everything in an extra-large bowl to ensure every leaf is evenly covered with dressing. And don’t you dare skimp the salt. Vegetables taste more like themselves when you salt them, including lettuce greens. A final note: Add dressing to the bowl first and all around the edges to create an even coating.

Think about balance. From flavors to textures, the best salads are the result of ingredients that complement one another. Include something crunchy, soft, chewy, salty, sweet, and savory. You can use this formula with a wide variety of ingredients and flavors, but prioritizing balance means every bite of salad is the best bite of salad.

How to Make It a Meal

While I’ve certainly spent a few nights this summer standing over my kitchen island eating this salad straight out of a giant mixing bowl, it’s also the perfect addition to any dinner table.

  • To bulk it up and make this green salad with sesame dressing a complete meal, add avocado, cucumbers, chicken, or fish.
  • Serve it alongside burgers or steak to balance out the richer flavors.
  • Add crunchy croutons or crispy onions for added texture.

Print

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Description

Fresh greens, an addictive dressing, and toppings galore. Trust: You’ll be making this green salad with sesame dressing all season long.


For the dressing:

 

  • 1 inch finely grated ginger
  • 23 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • Pinch of Aleppo pepper flakes, gochugaru, or red chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 12 tablespoons of water to thin

 

For the salad:

  • Freshly grated parmesan
  • Furikake
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 2 servings of baby greens

  1. Prep the dressing. In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine until smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of water. Taste and adjust until flavors are balanced.
  2. Serve the salad. Add greens to a large bowl and toss with dressing. Add to a serving bowl and top with parmesan, furikake, and pistachios. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Our Beauty Editor Swears By These Tinted Sunscreens for Glowy, Protected Skin

I’ve always been skeptical of any tinted beauty buy. The sub-par staying power and orange-y hues steered me away from where they sat on the Sephora shelves. Instead, I plastered on layers of foundation and concealer in hopes I would get the same, lit-from-within glow tinted products promised. Now, years later with hundreds of beauty products tested under my editor belt, I’m a proponent of makeup that doubles as skincare. (The best sunscreens are only the first step into a world of beauty-centric suncare.) Not only that, but because I seek to curate a simple and succinct routine, I’ve found myself experimenting with the best tinted sunscreen. And readers, I love the results.

Tinted sunscreens have evolved. In 2023, expect multitasking products worthy of your hard-working summer skincare routine. The best tinted sunscreen for you offers lightweight summer coverage while prioritizing personalized sun protection. And as tinted sunscreens become more popular, brands are looking to differentiate themselves. Whether you prefer a subtle glow, concealer-like coverage, or serum-like skin tints—the best tinted sunscreen delivers.

Featured image from our interview with Nitsa Citrine by Clare Huntsberger.

The Best Tinted Sunscreen, According to Beauty Experts

But how do you know if your tinted sunscreen is providing enough sun protection? And are any of these 2-in-1 products too good to be true? For answers on what to look for as you shop tinted sunscreens, I spoke all things SPF with Scottsdale-based SkinSpirit Aesthetician and skin cancer survivor Kaylee Esplin. She encourages everyone to “shop smartly,” and warns that “tinted sunscreen and makeup products with SPF are not the same thing!”

I also tapped Rose-Marie Swift, makeup expert and founder of the beloved RMS Beauty for her tips on finding your best formula. “I have never found an SPF that I actually like, let alone love. Simple as that. From the unacceptable ingredients to the inability to layer with makeup and that ghoulish white cast, never have I loved an SPF… until now.” After creating the RMS SuperNatural Radiance Serum SPF 30, Swift wants everyone to be obsessed with their sunscreen. And a tinted product might be the way to go.

Together, the two experts provided full-spectrum coverage (pun intended) on how to find a tinted sunscreen that doubles down on sun protection and skin coverage—while, of course, keeping your look flawless.

Image by Michelle Nash

What is tinted sunscreen?

Tinted sunscreen is an antidote to the dreaded white cast faux pas. While it offers the same protection as regular sunscreen, tinted formulations are pigmented to prevent any white residue. From sheer tints to makeup-like coverage, tinted sunscreens come in different degrees of pigments to fit your preference.

What to Look for in the Best Tinted Sunscreen

“Check the ingredient list to avoid potential irritants or allergens if you have sensitive skin,” says Esplin. “Also, consider the texture, non-comedogenicity (if you have acne-prone skin), and any additional benefits like moisturization or antioxidant properties based on your skin’s needs.”

As for its SPF properties, Esplin recommends looking for:

  • Physical blockers. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they provide effective mineral protection and are generally well-tolerated by most skin types.
  • Broad-spectrum protection. You want a sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays (this is typically indicated on the label).
  • SPF value. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to ensure sufficient protection.

Swift looks for mineral (aka physical) sunscreen over chemical sunscreen. The tint helps prevent the white cast that sometimes comes with mineral formulas.

Usually, zinc oxide is the main ingredient in clean mineral sunscreens. “Zinc oxide rarely causes irritation on the skin, so it can be used on any skin type—even on those with sensitive skin,” says Rose-Marie. She recommends looking for non-nano zinc oxide. “Nano refers to nanometers. Nanoparticles are smaller than 100nm. It means the mineral zinc oxide is larger than 100nm and therefore won’t penetrate your skin.” As a result, the zinc oxide creates a physical shield against the sun without irritating or clogging pores.

According to Swifft, other specific ingredients to look for include:

  • Iron oxides and rose geranium extract provide blue light protection.
  • Mica reflects blue light.

Tips for Applying Tinted Sunscreen

Swift recommends what she calls the two-finger method. “Squeeze one line of sunscreen onto your index finger from the base of the tip. Do the same on your middle finger and apply all over,” she advises. “This measurement will ensure enough product for adequate SPF coverage. Massage it into the face and neck as you would a moisturizer. And be sure to reapply every two hours.”

“Don’t forget to protect your lips!” Esplin adds. “My first diagnoses was in 2016, a Basal Cell Carcinoma located on the cupid’s bow portion of my upper lip—an area that most people forget to protect. It’s important to remember that even our lips are susceptible to sun damage and cancer! And the effectiveness of any sunscreen, tinted or not, also depends on proper application, using the recommended amount, and reapplying every two hours or more frequently if sweating or swimming.”

Should you wear regular sunscreen underneath tinted sunscreen?

According to Esplin, tinted sunscreen can be just as good as any other SPFs. “As long as your tinted sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays and has an appropriate sun protection factor (SPF of at least 30), it can be as safe and effective as regular sunscreen.”

“A sunscreen with SPF 30 will protect you from around 97% of UVB rays, whereas an SPF of 50 means protection from about 98% of UVB rays,” says Swift. “Anything beyond SPF 50 makes very little difference in terms of risk of sun damage, and no sunscreens offer 100% protection from UVB rays. So we feel 30 SPF is sufficient.”

The Best Tinted Sunscreens

Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

When looking for a tinted sunscreen, my priority is finding something that hides hyperpigmentation while still staying lightweight. With such a great range of shades, I was wowed by how seamlessly it blended into my skin and provided a filter-like look.

  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: 17 shades
  • Key Ingredients: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Prickly Pear, Aloe Vera

The fewer products, the better—especially in the sun. This serum is my go-to for a casual day out. The lightweight texture means it spreads really easily for breathable coverage. It’s great for summer because niacinamide reduces shine, making it a game-changer for oily and combination skin.

  • SPF: 40
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: 3 tones
  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

Though this line only has three shades, its blurring formula means the color matches surprisingly well. At the beginning of the summer, I mixed two shades together to get the perfect match. Now, in mid-summer, my skin is closer to the Rich shade. Whatever the tone, I love the subtle glow this gives me. No need for a highlighter.

  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: 3 shades
  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Iron oxides, Mica, Rose Geranium Extract
Image by Michelle Nash
  • SPF: 44
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: One shade
  • Key Ingredients: Zinc oxide, Titanium dioxide, Hyaluronic acid, Antioxidants
  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: 15
  • Key Ingredients: Non-nano Zinc Oxide, Apple Extract, Irish Moss, Red Seaweed Extract
  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Mineral
  • Shade range: One shade
  • Key Ingredients: Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide
  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: One shade only
  • Key Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Senna Alata, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: 3 shades
  • Key Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Kakadu Plum, Eucalyptus, Red Algae
  • SPF: 36
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: One shade only
  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Phytoene, Phytofluene, Ectoin
  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: 4 shades
  • Key Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin E
  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Physical
  • Shade range: One shade only
  • Key Ingredients: Balm mint, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Mineral Sunscreen
  • Shade range: One shade only
  • Key Ingredients: Sunflower Extract, Rosemary Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide