Remember the good old days when we’d be running in the opposite direction when someone dared suggest we should use oils on our faces?
Now we’re all queuing up at Sephora to buy the latest (and super expensive) bottle of facial oil.
What the heck happened?
Well, marketers got better at making oils sound awesome, that’s for sure. I guess the popularity of all things natural helped, too.
But facial oils are good for the skin. They may be hyped out of all proportions now, but their old bad rep wasn’t deserved either.
So, what’s the deal with facial oils and should you use one?
What the heck are facial oils?
Any oil that you use on the face.
And most oils can be used on the face. We’ve been slathering them on our faces for years. Just take a look at the labels of your skincare staples. They’re laden with oils.
It’s just that now brands have started packaging these oils in their own pretty bottles. And charging a lot of money for them.
Don’t get me wrong. These oils are good for the skin (most of the time). But you can get the same thing at your local health food store, and for a fraction of the cost, too.
Apart from the price, there really is no other difference between a bottle of argan oil sold at Sephora and a bottle of argan oil sold at Whole Foods.
By the way, don’t believe those who say facials oils are all natural. Some of them are. But synthetic stuff still sneaks its way inside others. Check the labels carefully!
What do facial oils do?
Facial oils are multi-taskers:
- Facial oils are super moisturizing: they create a barrier on the skin that locks moisture in so that your skin stays soft and supple all year round (yep, even in winter).
- They have some antioxidant properties too so they can help you prevent wrinkles. That’s always good.
- Oils can also be used to cleanse skin: oils are great at removing makeup.
P.S. In this post, we won’t focus on their cleansing properties. Yes, you can use that pricey $45.00 bottle of argan oil you just bought at Sephora to remove your makeup, but you probably won’t want to “waste” it like that, will you?
What can’t facial oils do?
Facial oils are said to do everything, from fighting wrinkles to soothing rosacea and vanishing dark spots.
It’s true that some facial oils have antioxidant and soothing properties that can help with these issues. But, no facial oil contains everything skin needs to fight them properly.
For wrinkles, you also need glycolic acid, retinol, niacinamide, vitamin C…. Even if your facial oil contains vitamin C, for example, is it high enough to do the job? And what about all the other stuff you need to tackle them? No ingredient alone will do the job.
And I still have to come across a facial oil that can single-handedly reduce dark spots. For that, you still need hydroquinone, kojic acid, glycolic peels… There are more effective ways to deal with those than a facial oil.
When Should You Use A Facial Oil?
When your moisturiser alone isn’t doing the job.
Most of the year, my skin is perfectly fine without a facial oil. A moisturizer is more than enough to keep it healthy.
But come the freezing London winter and my skin gets as dry as the desert. The harsh winds and low temperatures break up its protective barrier and suck all the moisture out of it.
That’s when I bring in a facial oil.
First, I apply a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid to replenish the moisture that’s vanished into thin air. Then, I put on moisturizer and seal in everything with a facial oil.
Works like a charm. Bye bye, Sahara!
I know some people use a facial oil as moisturizer. That’s good too. Personally, I prefer to use a separate moisturizer because facial oils alone don’t contain everything skin needs.
Oh, if your skin’s oily, I think it’s best you use facial oils only to remove makeup. Chances are, your oil-free moisturizer is enough to do the moisturizing job anyway.Moisturizer not doing its job? Add a few drops of facial oil to give it a boost Click To Tweet
But, wait! Won’t Oils Clog Your Pores?
That depends on the oil. Some oils do, others don’t.
Coconut oil, for example, is one of the worst in this area. Very comedogenic. Even then, it many not give you any pimples at all.
It depends on your skin type and how much oil you’re using.
If your skin’s dry, chances are it’ll tolerate oils well. It’s oily skin that should worry about it. Unless there’s very little coconut oil in your cream. The pure concentrated type is more likely to make your face erupt in pimples than a small 1% concentration added as an afterthought to your moisturizers.
Some oils aren’t comedogenic at all. Argan and sunflowers oils, for example, should be fine for all skin types.
How Do You Use A Facial Oil?
There are a couple of ways.
- After you’ve put on moisturizer, you can just pour a few drops on your hands and pat them onto your face. Easy peasy.
- Or, you can mix it with your fave moisturizer or serum to give them a boost.
Whatever you do, never mix it with your sunscreen. Don’t even mix it with any other skincare product with SPF. It’ll just dilute the effectiveness of your SPF.
What’s the best facial oil?
Argain oil? Emu oil? Olive oil?
None. Every company will tell you they make the most amazing and miraculous oil out there, but the truth is, no oil is better than another.
Each oil has its own unique composition, so it’s more about finding out what works best for your skin. And that one is unique for you too. So, how do you find your perfect match?
Just experiment to find out what works best for you.
I’ll give you a tip. Usually, the more saturated fat the oil contains, the heavier it feels on the skin. So, if you want something lightweight, skip coconut and go with jojoba.
What oils should you avoid?
There are a few oils that I personally prefer not to use. That’s because some of their fragrant components can be irritating.
Of course, that also depends on the concentration. If there’s only a tiny drop of them in my moisturizer, I’ll use them, no problem. But I’d rather not to use the pure, concentrated type on my skin, just in case.
So, here’s the oils I avoid:
- Citrus oils (this is so hard for me, they smell heavenly!)
- Rose oil
What facials oils are worth investing in?
You can totally buy your facial oils at your local health food store. It’ll save you a ton of money.
But, if you prefer to do your shopping at Sephora, there are a few facial oils that are worth the splurge. They all have one thing in common: they contain lots of different oils so you can get the best of different worlds. That works much better than using one single oil alone.
Clinique Smart Treatment Oil ($44.00)
This is a blend of safflower, sesame, sunflower, argan and cranberry oils with a few more antioxidants thrown in for good measure. It’s great for those with dry-but-not-too-flaky skin who also want to prevent premature wrinkles. Just keep the bottle away from direct sunlight ALL the time or the sun will make the goodies inside go bad sooner. Still interested? Grab a bottle at Sephora.
Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($36.00)
You know when I said facial oils don’t contain everything skin needs? Well, this one almost does. It’s a mix of natural oils with strong soothing and antioxidant properties blended together with ceramides and cholesterol, which help keep your skin’s barrier intact. The main oils? Jojoba, safflower and apricot. It’s a godsend for dry and flaky skin. Get it at Paula’s Choice.
Strivectin StrivectinLabs High Performance Booster Oil ($62.00)
Another super moisturizing oil packed with sunflower, sesame, safflower and shea oils to treat dry and flaky skin. It also has retinyl palmitate, a gentler (read: less effective but less irritating too) form of retinol that can help deal with wrinkles too. Plus, there’s no fragrance. Perfect for dry and sensitive skin. It’s available at Amazon.
The Bottom Line
Facial oils are amazing for dry and flaky skin. They give their skincare routine that boosts it needs to nurse your skin back to health. But don’t go looking for that magical facial oil that’ll solve all your skin woes. A combination of oils always works best.
Do you use facial oils? If so, which ones are your favorites?