You should care for your skin by moisturizing it daily, immediately after your shower or bath, so that the skin is still warm and moist while applying. This facilitates a deeper penetration of the oils, as the skin's pores are open.
Be sure to choose a product that is suitable for your skin type, that doesn't make you feel greasy, and that will not clog your pores. To accomplish these goals you will need to stay away from petroleum based oils (such as baby oils) and ones that contain animal fat. These type oils are not absorbed by the skin and may irritate the skin as it forms a greasy layer on top it. In other words, the natural, earthy oils, ones that are plant and vegetable derived (warning, shameless company plug coming) such as the ones I make, are the best for your comfort and your skins' health.
Although there are variables, and certainly more to take into account when creating a recipe, there a really only two basic categories of oil to look at for your moisturizing needs. If your skin is dry or damaged, choose a rich, heavy oil, and if you have normal to oily skin, choose a lighter oil. It is probably best to try pure oils first, but you can always experiment by mixing two or more oils. Gels, such as aloe vera, are water based and do not blend well with oils. They are better used alone, on normal to oily skin.
Some rich, heavy oils are; olive, sesame, and safflowers.
Some finer, lighter oils are; jojoba, grapeseed, and avocados.
-Sunflower Oil is lightweight, but it has a slower absorption rate and may feel a bit oily on the skin as it soaks in. It is, however, very high in fatty acids and natural vitamin E, so it is a great product for your skin. You may want to use it in a bath, as a massage oil, or mixed.
-Sweet Almond Oil is also a light oil. It penetrates well, and is easily absorbed by the skin. It is very rich in oleic and linoleic (essential) fatty acids, making it a great oil for damaged skin. It also happens to be cholesterol free, and great to use for cooking. The flashpoint of this oil is high, so it is great to use when cooking stir fry!
-Jojoba oil is really a liquid wax, rather than a true oil. But it is excellent as a moisturizer, and is readily absorbed by the skin.
-Hazelnut Oil is gentle and non-greasy and is highly recommended for extremely dry skin. The only draw back to this oil is that is best kept refrigerated and only has about a three month shelf-life. Good news though, it is also a great oil to cook with.
-Caster Oil is a thick, viscous oil, and is also a humectant. This means that the oil actually acts to draws moisture to the skin. That more than makes up for the natural odor of the oil., if you have very dry skin.
Aside from oils, you can also use butters to moisturize. Probably one of the best known, Cocoa Butter is an edible vegetable fat, coming from the seeds/beans of the cacao plant. It has a mild chocolate flavor but the chocolate aroma is very intense. It is solid at room temperature and melts when it comes in contact with the heat from your skin.
-Shea Butter also presents as a solid and melts as it heats. It is obtained from the seed of the Shea Tree (Butyrospermum Parkii), which is common to west Africa. From these seeds a soft, pliant "butter" is expeller pressed without the use of chemical solvents. It is high in vitamin E and well known for its skin softening and moisture retaining abilities.
-Mango Butter, another solid until heated butter, is obtained from the fruit seed of the Mango Tree. It is an excellent skin lubricator and moisturizer, and counters the drying effects of commercial bar soaps and cleansers.
Wether you use a butter or an oil is a matter of personal preferance. The important thing is that you USE one, and do so as part of a daily regimine. Caring for your skin will not only make you look and feel better, but it will help to protect you against premature aging and disease. Your skin is the largest system of the body (the integamentary) and it is your bodys' first line of defense against destructive organisms. Protecting and maintaining the health and elasticity of your skin benefits your over-all health.
Reference materials; The World Beauty Book, by Jessica Harris, Readers Digest Bathing for Health, Beauty and Relaxation, by Eva Gizowska, Natural Beauty at Home, by Janice Cox, and Nature's Beauty Kit, by Deb Carpenter.