A Stick or Slick?

If there’s one debate that stirs up a tone of snide and at times vulgar contempt between two beauty bloggers (K and myself), it’s the compulsion for veil-like body oils or pocketing a waxy, stick form for spot treatments. Fair play aside, the oil the wins either way. We’ve got many favourites from both worlds, but thought perhaps our fabulous 5 readers may not know about the differences. Ours is a haphazardly-conducted quest, but a quest nevertheless. So, we ask you, stick or slick?

Both solid and liquid forms of oils allow for a esoteric cornucopia of lushly rich essential and/or botanicals. First off, yes, your oil-based treatments can come in solid form. We like to think of these as high calorie treatments, concentrated in potency. A tip off for selecting a high grade, nearly organic treatment should be the fancy roster of ingredients. Those ingredients used in the highest concentrations will be listed first, with least concentrated ones listed towards the end. The benefits of solid oil products is that it doesn’t spill and allows for application on the go, making it ideal for carrying around in purses and gym bags. And, you’ll have some neat choices for packages, like little retro tins or miniature apothecary jars. Above all, stick forms serve as intense spot treatments (think dry patches on face, elbows, knees, and feet). This is the immediate reward for ladies using retinol or undergoing those harsher, in-office derm procedures, which may leave behind flaky patches on the face.

The base of the oil (sometimes referred to as balms) is a blend of soft butters, oils and waxes. Coconut, apricot, and argan oils are a commonly seen bases when creating semi-solid face and body oils. These are often used for softening and moisturizing and easily are absorbed by the skin. [Hint: coconut oil should not be confused with the fractionated or light coconut oil, which is highly refined and lacks substance. Fractionated coconut oil is less pricey than many other oils (it's comparable to sweet almond oil), and offers a very long shelf life, hence its preference by manufacturers.]

These oils may be solid at room temperature and bring a heavier texture, so they need to be blended with other oils or used only for very small areas. If you see the gratuitous mineral oil, fret not. Though, we can't think of a single oil here that contains a dollop of it. Beeswax (the purified wax from the honeycomb of the bee) must be one of the most misunderstood and sometimes vilified  cosmetic ingredients. Some people immediately call to mind a picture of a heavy and very solid wax when thinking of beeswax. This is incorrect as beeswax does a sterling job as a thickening agent, emulsifier, and humectant. It is emollient, soothing and softening. Beeswax also adds a structural element, which helps semi-solid oils stay soft. The skin does not absorb beeswax, so it therefore creates a protective barrier for the skin and lips, thereby retaining moisture in those areas.

Whether you like a stick form or like to slick it on, know this – face and body oil treatments will be just as zesty, invigorating in either form complete with subtle notes of existential yearning without the hint of regret. The choice is yours...meow.