I have a very distinct memory of a chunky blue body shimmer I used sometime circa 2005. I remember the hard plastic rollerball, the saccharine scent, and the gel-like consistency of the liquid inside. I think I bought it at the mall with some money my mom gave me. I would swipe it up and down my arms whenever I wanted a little something extra that my pastel eyeshadow, frosted lip gloss, and butterfly clips couldn't deliver.
I look back on that fondly, especially now that early-2000s beauty is back in full force (I never thought I'd see the day, but French manicures and flipped ends are once again in). The same goes for my beloved body shimmer, as some of my most favorite beauty brands have recently released grown-up iterations of this early-2000s staple. These new body shimmers are modern and luxurious, yet just as eye-catching and collectible as those from yesteryear. Flimsy packaging, chunky glitter, and cheap formulations have been replaced with subtle shimmer that's imbued with good-for-skin ingredients. Keep scrolling to see 16 of the best grown-up body shimmers to use all summer long.
Body Shimmer Oils
I'd like to kick things off with a classic: Tom Ford's Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil. It's luxurious (don't say I didn't warn you) with fragrance notes of bergamot, cardamom, and ylang-ylang set in a moisturizing base of oils like jojoba, olive, and safflower. Because of the fragrant combination of notes, it doubles as perfume (for me, at least). I love the warm, slightly tropical scent. I could smell it forever and never get tired of it.
As for the shimmer, it's finely milled, highly reflective, and tightly packed, so it gives the skin a beautiful golden glow. I like to keep it soft and subtle, but you can build it up by concentrating application if you prefer a bolder look. It's easy to do so, thanks to a convenient spray cap.
I think the rosy-pink hue of this body oil is just as pretty in the packaging as it is on the skin (although it comes in two other shades if the pink isn't your thing). Each one is infused with argan, coconut, palm kernel, camellia, and sunflower oils, which are all rich in omega fatty acids, as well as essential oils for natural fragrance. It's organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, and uses golden mica for a subtle shimmer effect.
This body shimmer is unique in that it's an oil-gel hybrid. It's silky and moisturizing like oil, yet it's lightweight and spreadable like gel. It's formulated with vitamin C to brighten the skin, CoQ10 to provide antioxidant support, and gardenia extract for moisture and fragrance.
It's definitely the most pigmented body shimmer I tried, as it looks like a golden body lotion versus a traditional shimmer-in-oil. Since the shimmer particles aren't separate from the formula itself, it spreads super smoothly and evenly across the skin, resulting in the most subtle and natural-looking radiance I've ever seen. I'm a huge fan of this one for that reason.
I was really excited to try this product, since it's new, limited-edition, and already out of stock on Sephora's website (talk about trendy). After trying it, I can see why. The oil base is made up of a combination of macadamia, jojoba, apricot kernel, and sunflower oils, so it's super moisturizing. The finely milled mineral shimmer is just sparkly enough to catch the light without screaming "glitter," and the scent is amazing. Maybe it's due to the macadamia oil, but it smells warm and comforting, almost like freshly baked cookies. I'm a sucker for it.
Here's another super-luxurious body shimmer. It definitely one of the most sparkly ones that I tried. In fact, when it drips onto the skin, it looks like liquid crystals (I could stare at it forever). It's formulated with jojoba oil, pomegranate seed oil, and shea butter to smooth and condition, but the fragrance is really where this one shines (no pun intended).
The fragrance of this one is strong, but not overpowering. To me, it definitely belongs in the floral family, as it has notes of magnolia, rose, lemon, sandalwood, and vanilla. I also tried the Rosa Nobile Shimmering Oil ($90) and the Peonia Nobile Shimmering Oil ($90), and each one smells incredible, kind of like how I imagine the garden of a castle smells in a fairytale. However, I decided the Magnolia version was my favorite because I liked the soft golden tone (the Rosa Shimmering Oil is rose gold, and the Peonia Shimmering Oil is soft pink).
This body shimmer from Patrick Ta was one of the first ones to hit my radar (and the product that inspired me to write about body shimmers in the first place). It comes in three shades. There's A Moment, which is bronze, A Dream, which is a champagne shade, and A Vision, which is rose gold. No matter which shade you go with, the shimmering oil contains vitamin C and E, magnolia bark extract, olive oil, and squalane for myriad skin benefits.
This luxurious body shimmer is also a face and hair shimmer, as it can be used anywhere you want to create a golden luminescent glow. It contains marula, baobab, and Kalahari melon seed oils to moisturize and nourish, while magnolia, gardenia, orange blossom, and vanilla bean create a summery scent that's sweet and subtle.
As for the shimmer, it's a super-subtle shade of true gold. Instead of dispersing tiny sparkling particles across my skin as other body shimmers did, this one deposited a healthy-looking sheen that lasted for hours. It didn't feel heavy or greasy, either, just soft, smooth, and silky.
This body shimmer is formulated with antioxidant-rich desert date, rose hip, and sea buckthorn oils to nourish and moisturize the skin, while a finely milled bronze shimmer illuminates the skin. Anyone who wants to add a sunkissed warmth to their skin will like this one.
This body shimmer provides a blurring action to the skin. That, along with the healthy dose of shimmer it provides, makes my limbs look smooth and glowy. I also like that it contains cupuaçu butter, açai oil, and coconut oil to moisturize my skin and provide it antioxidants.
Body Shimmer Lotions
I recently had the chance to try this body lotion, and I loved how quickly it absorbed into my skin. I also loved the incredibly subtle shimmer it gave my dull limbs. It's all thanks to quartz microcrystals, which are suspended throughout the lotion to illuminate the skin.
Body Shimmer Sunscreens
This is sunscreen, moisturizer, and body shimmer all rolled up into one product (that's genius, right?). The mineral SPF includes antioxidant-rich plant extracts and caffeine to protect the skin while responsibly sourced mica adds a little shimmer to the limbs.
I have to admit I was nervous to try this one. I envisioned walking up to the pool while glinting in the sun like a human disco ball. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded, because the shimmer this product imparts is super soft and subtle, more like a lit-from-within glow than anything else. I put it in my pool bag, and it will stay there, firmly, all summer long.