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"Body Conditioner" Is Our New Favorite Shower Staple

Here's what you need to know about the buzzy new skin care product
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We all know that a good hair conditioner can make a huge difference for brittle and lifeless locks... but the concept of "body conditioner" is definitely less familiar.

So, what is the stuff? Well, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Much like hair conditioner, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp, MD, explains that body conditioner products are designed to help to soften the skin, preventing dryness in return.

"Body conditioners are synonymous with hair conditioners," he says. "After you shampoo, you remove natural oils (sebum) along with sweat, buildup and impurities. The oil that coats the hair shaft softens it, smoothes the cuticle that surrounds it and prevents it from drying and breaking."

So, to give you the full beauty scoop on how to use these products (and what kind of ingredients to look out for), we talked more with Camp (and other skin care pros!) about everything you need to know about this budding skin care trend.

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How do you use body conditioners?

Much like the hair conditioners, Camp suggests that body conditioners should be the last step in your bathing routine. "Body conditioners are a last step in your bathing routine," he says. "Depending on the product, the body conditioner may be applied while the water is still running, or just after you've turned it off. The idea behind this is to 'top off' your skin by trapping as much water into the top layer of your skin as possible."

And yes, a quick rinse after you've applied the product can definitely suffice. However, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Robin Evans, MD, advises leaving the conditioner onto your skin for a few minutes for best results.

"The products are best applied toward the end of the shower with a very quick rinse to ensure the most absorption," Evans said. "Try to keep them on the skin for a few minutes before rinsing off again for the best absorption."

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What are body conditioners made with?

Evans explains that body conditioners are typically made with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, cocoa butter, shea butter and an assortment of oils, which accounts for their creamy consistency. And as such, she also assures that they're gentle and quite safe for use, unless you have allergies or have extremely sensitive skin.

And if you do have allergies and/or sensitive skin? Dr. Alain Michon, MD (board-certified member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine) says fragrance-free is the way to go: "I suggest opting for fragrance-free body conditioners and make sure to read the ingredients before buying."

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You can use them in tandem with your favorite body lotion

As hydrating as these products may be, Camp says that those with dry skin might want to consider pairing their body conditioner with a lotion.

"For someone with normal or oily skin, a body conditioner may provide sufficient moisture for their skin type," says Camp. "However, moisturizers that are applied after using a towel are still probably best for people with chronically dry skin or eczema-prone skin."

Conversely, if you have oily and acne-prone skin, Evans says you might want to skip body conditioner. "If someone is acne or folliculitis prone, these products may promote flare-ups of these pimple producing conditions," she explains.

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Don't slip!

One last word of caution: As with bath oils, body conditioners can leave your tub slippery. "It is a good idea to assess the consistency of the product before using it, and determine whether it is something that is going to make the floor of your shower very slippery," says Camp. "It may be a good idea to hold onto the shower bar (or handle) when applying the product onto your body, as doing so can help prevent unwanted accidents."

Keep reading to shop some of our favorite body conditioners.

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