We’re here to demystify face oils and how to incorporate them into your skincare routine! They may seem scary at first (don’t worry, they won’t clog your pores) but face oils can be the secret to targeting many of your skin concerns. They’re like super-charged skincare heroes.
To get technical about it, face oils actually have a lower molecular weight than most creams—which is part of what separates them from their moisturizer counterparts. “They don't contain water or humectants,” says licensed esthetician and content creator Dana Murray, LE. “Face oils are highly compatible with the skin since the outermost layer of the skin is also oil-based. They help to prevent water loss and help to retain moisture in the skin, provide omega fatty acids and vitamins, and support the skin’s barrier function.”
And good news if you have oily skin, or you’re dealing with breakouts: using a face oil can help balance your skin’s own sebum production, and there are plenty of face oil formulas with acne-fighting benefits, too. “People with oily and acne-prone skin tend to have naturally higher levels of oleic acid and lower levels of linoleic acid in their skin,” explains Murray. “So, selecting a face oil with low oleic acid and higher linoleic acid is ideal. Hemp seed oil, rosehip, or evening primrose make great options!”
“If an oil is higher in linoleic acid, it can easily absorb into the skin and tends to feel a bit more “dry”, making this a more suitable option for oily skin. High oleic acid oils tend to feel more thick and rich, making them more suitable for dry skin,” says Nicole
As for when to apply face oil in your routine (that is, before or after moisturizer), Murray says that’s up to you, but “Applying moisturizer first and locking it in with a face oil is an excellent option for dry skin types, people that live in dry climates, or people that are dealing with compromised skin barriers.”
About the Experts:
This cult-fave skincare brand always delivers products we obsess over, and this vitamin C- and turmeric-infused face oil is no exception. It’s your ultimate skin-brightener for everything from hyperpigmentation to uneven skin tone and dullness, and uses vitamin C, turmeric, ginger root extract, and evening primrose oil to boost your glow on so many levels.
This affordably priced face oil has just one ingredient: organic, cold-pressed rosehip seed oil, which is so rich in vitamin A, it’s often considered a natural source of retinol. The oil also naturally mimics our skin’s natural sebum, which makes it especially great for moisturizing without clogging pores.
Another one-ingredient wonder, DRUNK ELEPHANT’s signature marula oil absorbs quickly, giving skin a nourishing, healthy-looking glow with just a few drops. It also contains a load of antioxidants to protect skin against free radicals, as well as fatty acids to plump and support skin function.
If you’re dealing with breakouts, this skin-clearing face oil might be your answer. This non-greasy formula helps reduce inflammation, removes dead skin cells that can clog pores (and cause blemishes), and fade dark spots left from past breakouts. It uses tea tree oil and black cumin seed oil to reduce acne-causing bacteria, and it keeps skin hydrated with soothing cucumber seed oil and neroli.
This face oil has been around since before they were cool—and it’s only gained fans in the years since. Packed with moisturizing squalane, elasticity-boosting evening primrose, and relaxing lavender essential oil, it will give you a firmer, brighter complexion when you wake up.
When you think about it, facial oil is actually a genius way to incorporate retinol into a skincare routine: It’s still delivered right into the skin, but the nourishing ingredients help cushion the ingredient so it’s less irritating. This formula contains 1.2 percent retinol, as well as an omega-rich algae blend, calming cannabis seed oil, and more ingredients that will have skin glowing like you wouldn’t believe.
We bet a lot of individuals with oily skin don’t use face oils. But like we mentioned, there are certain face oils perfectly suitable and non-comedogenic for oily skin. This product from VERSED is truly one of the best facial oils and it’s actually a face oil and antioxidant serum hybrid! The oil phase uses camellia oil and sea buckthorn oil while the water phase uses chamomile extract and sodium hyaluronate.
When you’re after only good-for-your-skin ingredients, YTTP always delivers. This baby has been a staple on our vanities since we tried it thanks to the blend of seriously healthy superfoods. It’s got antioxidant-rich prickly pear and berries, hydration-boosting squalane, moisturizing jojoba and sunflower oils, and more. You can use it morning, night, or anytime between—it won’t ever feel greasy or clog your pores, and it keeps skin hydrated with soothing cucumber seed oil and neroli.
In addition to rosehip oil, PAI’s cult-fave product also includes rosehip fruit extract, vitamin E, and rosemary extract for bonus benefits. Those benefits being: brightening, softening, firming, and a more even skin tone.
The name says it all: It contains 16 different oils, all of which serve you a brighter, more nourished, and all-around healthier-looking complexion. Plus, it’s fully vegan and non-comedogenic.
Just like their celeb-favorite face cream, this luxe oil contains the brand’s patented TFC8® complex to fight signs of aging. You can use it solo, in place of moisturizer, or on top for extra hydration and active ingredients. It’s great for mature skin that lacks moisture and elasticity.
With 15 moisturizing, glow-enhancing ingredients, this super-hydrating formula has become a fan favorite in clean beauty for a reason. A few to note: squalane and jojoba esters moisturize, while vitamin E nourishes and protects, and camellia oil (which is rich in vitamin B) leaves skin extra glowy.
Dry, combination, sensitive—whatever your skin-type, this stuff truly does it all. It hydrates, brightens dullness, nourishes, protects, fights fine lines and signs of aging, calms inflammation, and more. Packed with fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, look to this multitasking formula to keep your skin balanced and happy while treating multiple skincare concerns in one shot. It's even gentle if you're dealing with skin concerns like eczema, but as with all new skincare, be sure to check with your dermatologist first.
Chia seeds aren’t just a superfood, they have skincare benefits as well. This organic chia oil is packed with omega-3 fatty acids to replenish skin, and the luxurious feel is great for combating dryness. Still, the high levels of linolenic acid mean it could clog pores, so approach with caution if you have acne-prone skin.
Thanks to enzymes from passion fruit and papaya seed oils, this face oil actually helps gently resurface your skin for a glowing complexion with each application. (We hear Olivia Wilde, who’s the chief brand activist, uses it as her daily moisturizer.)
PSA: Your skin barrier health is super important. Keep yours balanced and happy with this deeply hydrating (yet lightweight) facial oil. It’s made with brightening antioxidants, plus fatty acids.
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