In the not so distant past, we probably would have turned our noses down at skin care products containing oil, after all, greasy skin is as far away from desirable as can be. Well, times have certainly changed, and now we know better. Botanical oils are rich in antioxidants, omega fatty acids as well as contain a number of other components key to healthy skin. In fact, research indicates that topically applying plant-based oils to the skin has numerous benefits inclusive of improving elasticity, fighting free radical damage as well as even helping the moisture barrier work more effectively.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A FACIAL OIL
NATURAL VS SYNTHETIC
There are two types of oils: natural ones, extracted from vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds; and synthetic ones like mineral oil, paraffin, and silicone. Aim for formulas that avoid synthetic oils altogether or use them in minimal quantities as they often lack any nutrient value and some of them have even been linked to being carcinogenic.
Look at the way the formula is processed; cold pressed is best but cold extraction also works. When plant-based oils are refined too much they lose a lot of the value they once offered the skin.
Try to find formulas that have limited to no fragrance, since just like synthetic oils, fragrance is a known skin irritant. This limitation should also be extended to natural scents like fragrant essential oils, particularly in the case of Citrus and Lavender as they have been linked to causing phototoxic reactions to the skin such as discolorations and rashes.
Preservatives are not necessarily a bad thing as oils tend to go bad pretty fast. The antioxidant Vitamin E (Tocopherol) has many skin-beneficial properties and is also known for its abilities to extend the shelf life of certain skin care formulas like botanical-based facial oils.
WHAT DO FACIAL OILS DO?
The small size of molecules of certain plant oils allows them to penetrate beyond the Epidermis to deliver nourishment deep into the layers of the skin. Besides their antioxidant properties, the fatty acids in facial oils are very important as they replenish the skin’s moisture levels. They also help to protect the acid mantle as well as to rebuild the lipid barrier, both of which are important to cell regeneration as well as overall skin luminosity.
A COMMON MYTH ABOUT OIL
There is a common myth that only drier skin should use plant oils, but truth be told they can be beneficial to any skin type, it’s just a matter of picking the right kind and amount. In fact, when skin is continuously stripped of its natural oils by harsh astringents, it reacts by increasing oil production. When applied to the skin certain plant-oils can help restore balance to the oil production system.
SQUALENE FOR THOSE WHO ARENT READY TO COMMIT
If you’re still apprehensive about applying a facial oil to your face consider Squalene which is closely related but has a lighter consistency as well as skin-identical properties (closely related to our body’s natural lubricant Sebum) so it should not clog pores or cause breakouts. Read up on what squalene is in our article that deep dives into benefits and more.
Russell Organics Squalane Oil $38
Derived from olives, Russell Organic’s Squalane is organic and also certified cruelty-free. The formula is easily absorbed into the skin and leaves skin hydrated without any greasy residue.
HOW TO USE A FACIAL OIL?
When it comes to applying oils to the face, a little goes a long way. Often 2-3 drops (1-3 drops if you have oily skin) works for the whole face.
WHEN TO USE A FACIAL OIL
As facial oils help lock in moisture, a good time to use them is right after bathing while your skin is still a little damp. If you use a moisturizer or a serum, apply them before a facial oil since the nutrients from these skin care products won’t be able to penetrate as well afterwards. On the other hand, makeup and sunscreen should be worn after your facial oil as the last parts of your skincare routine
When it comes to choosing out the facial oil that best suits your skin’s concerns the fatty acids, Oleic acid (an Omega 9) and Linoleic acid (an Omega 6) are some of the best indicators.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Oils with higher levels of linoleic acid are more often than not also lighter in consistency. These oils have rejuvenating properties but they will not provide that heavy duty moisture boost that drier or more mature skin types sometimes need. Oils with higher levels of linoleic acid also help balance sebum production and unclog pores, making them a great choice for those who have acne or sensitive skin.
Nyl Skincare Velvet Transformative Serum $68
Nyl Skincare’s lightweight serum has developed quite the cult following among skincare enthusiasts for its rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidant-rich formula is packed with beneficial oils inclusive of Grape Seed (Oleic – 20.0%, Linoleic -66.0%), Watermelon (Oleic – 25%, Linoleic -55%), Argan (Oleic – 45%, Linoleic – 33%) and Blackberry (Oleic – 19%, Linoleic – 55%). Other benefits of the vegan facial oil include that is made in small batches in order to maximize its abilities to rejuvenate and it cruelty-free as well as also organic.
Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil $48
Tarte’s facial oil extracted from the Maracuja fruit (more commonly known as Passion Fruit) has a high content of Linoleic Acid (Oleic – 12.0%, Linoleic -77.0%) and is known for being rich in antioxidants well as it’s ability to calm inflamed skin. The formula easily absorbs into the skin and will leave it moisturized without feeling greasy.
Levin Rose Red Raspberry Seed Oil $14
Levin Roses’ Red Raspberry oil (Oleic – 28%, Linoleic – 52.1%)is unrefined, cold-pressed, is anti-inflammatory and is known for its potent antioxidant properties. The formula is free of added fragrances and is also cruelty-free.
Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Celluar Facial Oil $90
Sunday Riley’s cold-pressed formula combines a number of antioxidant-rich oils inclusive of Blackberry Seed(Oleic – 19%, Linoleic – 55%), Blueberry (Oleic – 23%, Linoleic – 43%) and Black Cumin (Oleic – 21%, Linoleic – 52%) that are known for their regenerative properties. The popular facial oil is not only cruelty-free but also lightweight and made without parabens or sulfates.
Trilogy Rosehip Oil $17.50
Trilogy’s organic Rosehip oil (Oleic – 13.9%, Linoleic – 44.1%) has a cult following and with good reason. The cold-pressed formula nourishes as it combats aging concerns like lines, scars, and stretch marks.
Herbivore Phoenix Facial Oil $88
Made from a blend of skin-beneficial botanical oils inclusive of Jojoba Seed and Rose Hip (Oleic – 13.9%, Linoleic – 44.1%) to help renew the way skin looks as well as the way the texture feels. The formula is boosted by the likes of the antioxidant-rich Meadowfoam and Sea Buckthorn Oils that are known for their rejuvenating properties.
ON THE RICHER SIDE
If you’re looking for a heavier oil that is capable of locking in more moisture consider one that has higher levels of Oleic Acid. As these kinds of oils tend to be heavier they are more suitable for dry or more mature skin but they also work during the colder months when skin tends to be more dehydrated. Although, if your skin is prone to breakouts it may be best to avoid these kinds of oils as they might just make things worse.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil $78
Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil (oleic – 73%, linoleic 7.0 %) provides a deep level of hydration while targeting signs of aging like uneven skin tone as well as fine lines and wrinkles. The vegan formula is certified cruelty-free and made without parabens and sulfates.
Acure Argan Oil $6.99
Acure’s popular Argan oil (Oleic – 45%, Linoleic – 33%), is cold-pressed and is rich in beneficial compounds like moisturizing fatty acids, antioxidants as well as Vitamin E. The certified USDA organic formula is also harvested by the women’s UCFA, Morocco’s largest woman cooperative.
Peet Rivko Balancing Face Oil $56
Peet Rivko’s facial oil blends nourishing Avocado oil (Oleic–63%, Linoleic–9.8%) with nutrient-rich Prickly Pear oil (Oleic – 20.0-30.0%, Linoleic–55.0-65.0%), and skin-identical Jojoba Oil (technically a wax) to create a well-balanced formula great for replenishing the skin’s lost moisture. Other key benefits include the lack of any fragrance and other skin irritants like parabens as well as phthalates.
Weleda Soothing Almond Facial Oil $25
Weleda’s formula helps rejuvenate skin through combining nourishing Sweet Almond Oil (Oleic–66.6%, Linoleic–24.8%) with Plum Seed Oil known for its calming abilities as well as the powerful antioxidant Blackthorn Flower extract. The fragrance-free facial oil is also certified cruelty-free and follows fair-trade practices.
Aster & Bay Serum Absolute No.4 $30
Aster & Bay’s cold-pressed serum is gaining popularity due to its blend of multiple powerful skin-beneficial oils. The moisturizing formula combines nourishing Marula Oil (oleic – 73%, linoleic 7.0 %) with calming Hazelnut (oleic – 78%, linoleic – 13.6%) and softening Camellia Oils (oleic – 85%, linoleic – 10%). Other key benefits of the cruelty-free serum include that it is free of known skin irritants like parabens as well as its made from ethically sourced ingredients.
POWERBOOST YOUR FACIAL OIL
If you’re using just a base oil (a formula that is made up of one oil like some of the above recommendations) consider boosting its rejuvenating properties by adding in a non-fragrant essential oil. Two great ones to consider are Poppy Austin’s nourishing Sea Buckthorn oil ($18) or Levin Rose’s Pomegranate Seed Oil ($14) known for its high levels of antioxidants.
SOME THINGS TO NOTE
- It isn’t recommended to mix facial oils with sunscreens as they may dilute the sun protection agent’s effectiveness.
- Chances are that any moisturizers, creams, or lotions that you are already using have some natural oils in them some experts say it’s fine to boost your moisturizer by adding a little oil to it.
- In order to extend the shelf life of your facial oil, proper storage is essential. Make sure to store the formulas in a cool and dark place as both light and heat can degrade the formula’s performance abilities.
If you’re looking to find the perfect body oil for skin concerns look no further then our in-depth guide.
Adding in a good facial oil to your skin care regimen is definitely worth considering. Not only will a good formula help boost your skin’s hydration levels but it will also help seal in moisture. Although if you are looking for more advanced results remember that it will take a combination of anti-aging products and treatments.