Review: Bathing Culture's Outer Being Face and Body Oil

Sustainable oils create a nourishing blend.

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Bathing Culture Outer Being Face & Body Oil

Treehugger / Emily Cieslak

I’ll admit it, hopping into the shower is one of my favorite parts of the day. There’s something about feeling the warm water run all over your body and wash everything away. Northern California brand Bathing Culture wants to celebrate just that — the culture of bathing. The company’s Outer Being Face and Body Oil is meant to be applied after a soak to moisturize and nourish the skin. As a carbon neutral, vegan, and biodegradable formula made from USDA certified organic ingredients, it's a product we can feel good about using.

Like the rainbow on the bottle, this product blends a range of potent oils, including jojoba known for its nourishing properties and sustainability as a perennial, drought-tolerant crop, native to North America. I started using pure jojoba oil when I discovered it was the only thing that could easily remove my eye makeup without tearing out a bunch of lashes. Though I love my $8 bottle from Trader Joes, I was curious to try a robust blend of oils and fully embrace bathing culture. Read my in depth review of Bathing Culture’s Outer Being Face and Body Oil below.

About My Skin: Acne and eczema

I’m not always the best at expressing my emotions but my skin really knows how to say what’s going on. When I’m stressed or sleep deprived, all the issues come out. I’ve had acne since I was a teenager but the pandemic really cranked it up a notch. It got so bad that my dermatologist prescribed oral antibiotics to keep my cystic acne at bay. On top of that, I had an eczema flare up with the rash on my neck and eyelids. Both skin issues made me take a step back and pair down my routine to gentle yet effective products that provide both moisture and acne fighting ingredients. 

Growing up with these issues made me really particular about what I use on my face. I only use products that are non-comedogenic and avoid heavy oils and moisturizers that can clog my pores. At the same time, having eczema made me realize that I can’t just pile on all these acne fighting ingredients without adding back some moisture and balance to my skin. So I go for water-based moisturizers and non comedogenic oils like jojoba. When I saw that the acne-friendly oil was the first ingredient in the Outer Being Oil, I was intrigued. 

Beyond my face, the skin on my body is pretty chill — thank goodness. I usually just slather on lotion every night after showering and my skin stays soft and hydrated for the next day.  

Ingredients: Miracle oils unite

The most impressive part about this product is how it combines a slew of sought after oils. The first ingredient is jojoba seed oil, which is known for mimicking the skin’s sebum, or natural oil, and thus helping control our oil production and prevent clogged pores. Jojoba also gets good marks for sustainability, because this plant can grow in desert-like conditions without the need for a lot of water. The oil is also a great source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which can help with skin healing and prevent sun damage. MCT Oil from coconuts is the second ingredient, offering fatty acids and antioxidants.

However, MCT oil and coconut oil can clog pores, which makes me hesitant to use the product on my acne-prone skin. Sea Buckthorn Oil, the third ingredient, is an anti-aging powerhouse in fighting sun damage, healing wounds and scars, and providing moisture through saturated and unsaturated acids as well as vitamins C and E.

That’s not all. It also packs vitamin and antioxidant rich oils like Abyssinian (an oilseed plant native to the Ethiopian Highlands), marula (a deciduous tree native to Africa), and sweet almond oil. If you think your skin doesn’t need that much moisture, think again. As we age, our production of the skin lipid squalane decreases, leading to drier, rougher skin. Outer Being offers squalane from olives to hydrate, detox, and boost collagen production. 

Plus all of the ingredients are certified organic, vegan, and certified cruelty free through the Leaping Bunny Program

Bathing Culture Outer Being Face and Body Oil

Treehugger / Emily Cieslak

How to Use: Apply all over

As is written on the bottle, the Outer Being Oil is meant to be enjoyed all over, from your face to your body to your hair. I have tons of different creams and oils sitting in my bathroom for different parts of my body, so the idea of only needing one product to moisturize is very appealing.

The Results: Rich smell and texture

First of all, the smell of this oil is divine. With a blend of rosemary, grapefruit, and cedar extracts and oils, it has a slightly spicy, musky smell that’s warm and inviting. The brand calls it Cathedral Grove, symbolizing the smell of a redwood grove that is nestled on the side of Mt Tamalpais in Northern California. The strong scent might be a little overpowering for those who want to apply this oil and run out the door. It also made me hesitant to use it around my eyes to remove makeup. What I like about pure jojoba oil is that it has no scent, so I don’t have to worry about irritation. I used Outer Being to take off my makeup and it did remove my mascara, but my eyes started to feel a little tingly, so I decided to stick to jojoba.

Next, I applied the oil all over my body as a post-shower moisturizer. While it smelled lovely and gave my skin a luscious gleam, it was a bit too heavy to go about my day. The oil didn’t absorb right away, so I was hesitant to throw on clothes for fear that they would get greasy. Even jumping into bed felt like a good way to create a mess — I love the oil’s burnt orange shade but it can stain fabric. If you are having a spa day and lounging in your robe for hours, this oil would be a great aromatic touch but not so practical for a quick shower and run.

That being said, if you have really dry, irritated skin, this rich moisturizer is exactly what you need. After spending a day in the pool, my skin was itchy and red from all the chlorine and sun. So I slathered on the oil and by the next morning, my skin was soothed and restored. No more itchiness or rash. With plenty of pool and beach days ahead, I’m definitely keeping this oil for post-sun care.

I’ve also found other ways to incorporate the oil into my daily routine. Each night I rub it into my feet and slip on my fuzzy socks for an at home pedicure. The next morning, I wake up to the softest soles. Likewise, I like to use it as a cuticle oil at night, especially with its nourishing vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and antioxidants to help restore and repair the skin. I tend to pick at my cuticles when stressed, and applying the oil helped ease inflammation and redness. 

The most surprising perk? The oil helps with ingrown hairs. I noticed that jojoba and coconut oil were common ingredients in other ingrown hair oils, so I thought why not give it a try? It did the trick, keeping my skin soft and bump free.

Packaging: Cute and sustainable

Bathing Culture Outer Being Face and Body Oil

Treehugger / Emily Cieslak

I received my 8 ounce bottle in a small cardboard box made from 30% agricultural waste straw blended with recycled and responsibility sourced paper. The plastic-free glass bottle is a welcome addition to my vanity with its whimsical rainbow design. Though I received the aluminum cap version, I would prefer the plastic dropper since each time I pour it out, a bit of the oil spills over my counter.

The brand sells the oil in a 2 ounce and 8 ounce version, with the latter being sold as a refill. I will definitely be reusing the glass bottle, whether with a refill or converting it into a cute, mini vase.

The Value: Pricy, but a good deal for the oil obsessed

For 8 ounces, the bottle costs about $82. That’s a bit of a hefty price in my book but at the same time, you are getting some incredible oils with strong environmental credentials. Similar products come at comparable price points, like the celebrity favorite ingrown hair oil Fur Oil, which costs $46 for 2.5 ounces or Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil, which goes for $115 for a little over 4 ounces.

Final Verdict

Whether or not this oil is worth it comes down to how you are going to use it. For someone like me, who usually doesn’t suffer from extremely dry skin and isn’t comfortable applying it on the face or all over the body all the time, I wouldn’t shell out the $82. That's why I gave the product 3.8 stars. But if you love using oils as a daily moisturizer and are willing to splurge, then this is an amazing blend with eco-friendly ingredients and packaging.

Bathing Culture Outer Being Face & Body Oil

Bathing Culture Outer Being Face & Body Oil