A few weeks ago, a bride-to-be named Eléonore took to ITG’s Facebook Group (Are you still not a member? You’ve gotta be!) searching to slather a transfer-proof shimmer all over her matrimonial shoulders. A lot of people had suggestions! The thing is, buying a shimmer oil on a stranger’s faith and entrusting it with such an important garment is as risky as housing a hitchhiker. I wanted objective, scientific proof. I wanted to know how they’d stand up to white. And so, it was born: the shimmer body oil battle royale.
The first step was narrowing down the selection to 10. As a general rule, if the brand offered the thing in different tints I chose the most translucent or untinted one (from Fenty I tested Who Needs Clothes?!, from Patrick Ta I did A Dream and from Sol de Janeiro I went with Rio Sunset). Then, I put each to the test on a bulk pack of 10 white tank tops. The experimental protocol went as follows: On each tank’s tag I wrote out the name of the shimmer I’d be testing with it. Moving down the line, I applied a generous amount of lotion, oil, or gel to my chest, neck, and arms. It’s more area than one would typically apply one of these on, but I was interested in seeing how they stood up underneath the friction of the tank. I set a timer for five minutes to allow each product to sink in or set—once it went off, I slid on the tank top with the label corresponding to the product I had just used. I kept each on for at least a couple hours, and made sure to turn the AC off in my apartment to try and account for sweat (you’re welcome!). Here’s how my tank tops fared:
From left: Charlotte Tilbury, Sol de Janeiro, Pacifica, Biossance
... Are not products you’ll want anywhere near a white dress. While it had a super pretty, super strong pearlized gold finish, Charlotte Tilbury’s Supermodel Body had the most transfer out of the products I tested. That being said, it’s also much closer to the realm of body makeup—tinted, creamy, washed off super easily, and in a little roller dispenser that’s tricky to apply on huge swaths of skin. I was expecting a lot of transfer with Sol de Janeiro’s Glow Oil—it did transfer, but less than I imagined. Ditto with Pacifica’s Shimmering Body Oil, which had a unique gel-oil consistency. Both have very strong scents (the former is kind of like buttered popcorn cologne, and the latter is Warm Vanilla Sugar-esque), and neither dried quite completely (Sol’s got tacky, Pacifica’s settled weirdly into my elbow crooks). The Biossance oil, on the other hand, has the texture of a true body oil. It’s filled with gold flakes that don’t seem to be perfectly uniform in size and shape, and has a slight bronze tint. The tint only transferred onto the tank top in high friction areas like the top strap seams and arm holes.
The mostly safes
From left: Nuxe, Tom Ford, Fenty
These are the body oils you can get away with wearing with non-white or non-silky clothing items. You’ve got a lot of fun options! Nuxe’s body oil has a sheer tinted base and fine, subtle gold glitter. It left very faint transfer streaks but possibly just needed longer than five minutes to set. A hunch says the same is true of Tom Ford’s shimmer. It has larger, more distinct flakes but I like the mix of gold and lighter champagne-y tones. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the scent here, which is a day spent on the Amalfi coast covered in sunscreen. It's the main reason you’d buy this.) Fenty’s Body Lava left a teeeeeeeeny bit of transfer on the tank (I spy two super faint patches, one under the armpit and one on the bottom side). It has a super moisturizing base, which feels more viscous and emollient than your run-of-the-mill body oil, and the shimmer sits at a good midpoint between a glowy and blingy. Slight transfer aside, this stuff is insanely waterproof. It’s even Dr. Bronner’s proof. I had to scrub and rinse my arms THREE TIMES with it before I could get it to budge.
The sneaky successes
From left: Summer Fridays, Patrick Ta, Supergoop
A few shimmers left no trace of their presence on the tank tops. Like the Summer Fridays dry oil shimmer for instance, which is moreso a glitter, albeit a fine, dispersed one. It smells strongly of coconut, if that affects your plans. I think I liked the shine in Patrick Ta’s take on body shimmer best: it’s super fine and a mix of all different tones. From certain angles you can’t even see any glitter, just a general sheen, but when the glitter does pick up light it gives skin a pretty iridescence. Not my favorite scent (very… feminine), however, no transfer. Another fantastic no-transfer option is Supergoop’s Glowscreen Body, which is actually a shimmery sunscreen. If you’re familiar with their original version for face you might have expected the same peachy base tint—but the fact that it’s not tinted is a good thing. The shimmer is more of a golden pearl. Super glowy. More subdued. Take your pick!
Photo via ITG