Once the realm of harsh soaps and rudimentary lotions, the body-care landscape has been undergoing a major glow-up of late. An influx of premium brands banking on elaborate formulas and high-performance ingredients is seeking to cater to the needs of skin beyond one’s visage.

It seems consumers are ready for the shift. Last year, #ShowerTok flooded social media, with videos bearing the hashtag garnering upwards of 6 billion views. The “everything shower”—a sometimes-hours-long refresh that often involves cleansing, exfoliating, masking, shaving and moisturizing—has been a trending topic ever since.

“With the rise and ritual of the everything shower and clients looking to treat the skin below their chin with the same care and ingredients [they use on] their face, body care is one of our fastest-growing categories,” says Jane Nugent, SVP of merchandising for Sephora Canada.

@saramonchez how to take the everything shower🧼🛁 #showerroutine #everythingshowerroutine #everythingshowerproducts #howtotaketheverythingshower #showerproducts #hygienetips #howtosmellgood #girlytips #fyp ♬ original sound – Sara Monchez

The retailer’s recent additions to the segment—on top of existing buzzy players like Nécessaire and Herbivore— include By Rosie Jane, Selena Gomez’ Rare Beauty Find Comfort line and indie darling Salt & Stone (which landed on shelves in February). Looking to do far more than just cleanse and moisturize, these brands offer the kinds of products you’d expect to find in a multi-step face- care regimen. Think serums, toners and masks all devised exclusively for the bod.

But how many steps are truly necessary? The baseline is minimal. “Moisturizer and sunscreen are key for good skin health,” says Dr. Kathleen Fraser, a dermatologist at Rejuvenation Dermatology Clinic in Calgary. “And a very gentle cleanser is preferable to any of the more drying soaps.” Beyond that, choosing to adopt an extensive routine is more a matter of personal preference, budget and lifestyle than a strict must-do. That said, there are some key factors to keep in mind.

“The skin on the face has many more sebaceous glands than the skin on the body, leading to greater oil production as a natural moisturizer,” explains Fraser. “As a result, the skin on the body tends to be more susceptible to drying out, especially in the winter months. The lack of sebaceous glands can also lead to eczema, particularly on the elbows and knees.” A simple body lotion should suffice to support the skin barrier, but if doing more makes you feel good, then, by all means, go for it. This could mean opting for formulas spiked with the sort of headlining ingredients usually used in products designed for the face, such as hyaluronic acid, retinol and niacinamide, as the familiar favourites are now actively expanding their reach south.

“Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which attracts water and helps the skin retain moisture, so it is an excellent ingredient for skin, especially if you’re prone to dryness,” says Fraser. As for retinol, considered the gold standard in anti-aging, “the ideal candidate would be someone looking to firm their skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and help with breakouts,” she says, noting that it’s also great for smoothing out the uneven texture of keratosis pilaris. Also referred to as KP, the condition most commonly occurs on the backs of the arms in the form of small bumps or plugs that appear around the hair follicles.

Still, the ingredient isn’t a winning choice for everyone. “A retinol body lotion can be drying for those with eczema-prone skin and exacerbate [the condition],” says Fraser. If you’re on the sensitive side, “avoid using it altogether or start very, very slowly, like once a week.” As an alternative, try niacinamide, which is also making a splash in body care. “It’s great for those who can’t tolerate a topical retinol,” she says. “It helps reduce water loss and improve the skin-barrier function in addition to being anti-inflammatory and anti-acne—all benefits for the skin on the body.”

If that all sounds quite clinical (read “bland”), worry not. One of the hallmarks of this new generation of body care is the coupling of skin science and sensoriality. Take the case of MIFA, a Vancouver-based body line that supports a faster routine while elevating the shower experience. “People initially fall in love with the scent of our body wash,” says co-founder Michelle Lui. “It’s an essential-oil blend of eucalyptus, lavender and geranium with a hint of peppermint. But we also use a coconut- and avocado-oil base with cocoa butter and aloe vera, which makes it really moisturizing, so it cleanses without stripping your skin of its natural oils.”

The concoction was inspired by a memorably fragrant shower her business partner, Fatemah Hamidi, had the pleasure of indulging in on a trip to Bali. “The feeling the eucalyptus oil gave me was just so magical,” recalls a wistful Hamidi. “I knew we had to somehow get the ingredient into our showers and let everyone have the same experience. Eucalyptus is so versatile: If you want to unwind, it relaxes you, but if you go in wanting to feel energized, it can really pick you up.”

Fragrance also plays a leading role for Toronto brand SIDIA, which focuses on effective, hydrating formulas featuring scents developed by European noses. Expect invigorating notes of citrus peel and ginger mingled with rose petal, sandalwood and tonka bean. “The trend I’m noticing is that people want body care that can both smell fantastic and make their skin feel smooth, soft and supple,” says founder Erin Kleinberg. “I’m a very sensorial person—to me, everything is an experience. While I’m modern in my approach to life, I am also très sentimental and nostalgic.”

The brand—whose products are infused with fine fragrance and designed around grounding practices that prioritize self-care—is an homage to a formidable figure from Kleinberg’s upbringing. “For as long as I can remember, my grandmother, Sidia, practically begged me to moisturize from head to toe every single day, if not twice,” shares Kleinberg. “No matter how late she was, she took her everything shower super seriously and always came down glistening. It’s something that has stuck with me since she passed, and I’ve become religious about it.

The creative powerhouse (Kleinberg is also CEO of Métier Creative, a branding and advertising agency, and co-founder of The Coveteur) likes to start her day with a coldish shower and a full-body exfoliation followed by a layer of body serum. For her, the ritual is about far more than just having nice skin all over. It’s a powerful way to show herself some love. “After giving birth to two beautiful children, I have a complicated relationship with my body,” she says. “[It’s] generally just very different than it was pre-children. My mission to revolutionize body care is inextricably tied to this concept—finding the space and time to celebrate my body and self.”

Shop Our Best Body Care Picks:

Give your body some TLC with these luxurious skin treats.

MIFA Eucalyptus Coco Body Wash

MIFA Eucalyptus Coco Body Wash, $39


A plant-based blend of nourishing oils and humectants makes for one seriously hydrating cleanser. The sumptuous texture is a dream, and the fresh scent of eucalyptus will turn your shower into a spa.

Topicals Slather Exfoliating Body Serum

Topicals Slather Exfoliating Body Serum, $40.50


Bumpy patches, be gone! This milky serum contains lactic and glycolic acids as well as retinol, urea and squalane
to help remove dead-skin buildup while hydrating.

Nécessaire the Body Serum

Nécessaire the Body Serum, $61


This fragrance-free gel-like serum relies on hyaluronic acid as well as collagen-boosting niacinamide to deliver deep hydration all the way down to your feet.

Sidia the Body Exfoliant

Sidia the Body Exfoliant, $48


Gentle enough for everyday use, this skin-friendly fusion of bakuchiol (a retinol dupe), niacinamide and non-gritty rice exfoliators firms, brightens and resurfaces. Bonus points for its energizing aroma of eucalyptus, tea leaves and spearmint.

Body Proud Sleep Hero Overnight Recovery Body Mask

Body Proud Sleep Hero Overnight Recovery Body Mask, $15


While its musky, floral scent prompts relaxation, this overnight treatment—which is packed with retinol, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid—goes to work so you can wake up to silkier skin.