Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Face Oil.

The 5 Best Face Oils + Everything you could want to know about face oils. (No, they won't make you break out!) How to apply them, how to pick the right one for you, + more!

Okay, I am really excited about this post! I hope that no matter what your skin type, you will give it a read, as I am so passionate about face oils. (Is that a funny thing to say?) No matter what sort of skin you have, adding a face oil to your routine can make a huge difference. I have been wanting to write a more comprehensive piece about face oils for quite some time now as (year-round, but especially in the winter when skin can get extra parched) they are one of the beauty products I swear by most. I hate making big claims like, “Using a face oil will change your life!!!” as that is just silly, but they will change your skin in a major, major way. Oils are just so good for you and will make an incredible difference in your skincare routine. They’ve been used by indigenous people for thousands of years and Sophia Loren even credited her youthful appearance to bathing in olive oil! Over the past few years they have become more popular but I know they can still feel intimidating. I still get a lot of questions over email about oils, so I wanted to write one long post about them.

Who needs face oil?

I am of the mindset that everyone should use face oil, but if you are using anti-aging products (specifically a glycolic serum and/or any retinol products), you definitely should give face oil a try. These products can be really drying and face oil will help you recover any lost moisture, while sealing in the potent ingredients in those products.

Will it make me break out?

I get asked this all the time and I know you think I’m crazy but it won’t! Even Vogue agrees with me here. You just need to find your perfect oil. According to the article, “Oils can help stabilize and regulate the overproduction of sebum, and actually help get rid of acne.” Vogue recommends that those with oilier skin use a dryer oil (such as jojoba, hazelnut, or sesame). In many cases, using a face oil will actually reduce sebum production + clear up your skin. You could also try a clarifying facial oil like Sunday Riley UFO. I was really into that one this summer when my skin all of a sudden turned oily + greasy during that heat wave. I wrote about it more here.

If you’re still scared…

If you’re still intimidated by oil, start by adding a few drops to your moisturizer every day. You will most likely love the results so much that you’ll start using oils all on their own.

When/how to apply face oil.

At night – make it the last step in your beauty routine, applying over any high-performance/anti-aging ingredients. If your skin is extra dry, apply a layer of moisturizer over to further seal in the oil.

In the morning – apply it before your sunscreen. In researching this post, I found it really interesting that goop recommends applying your face oil and then applying mineral sunscreen after. The mineral sunscreen has a mattifying effect, which is nice as sometimes face oils can leave you a little bit too dewy. (Note: I haven’t tried this yet but am going to! Prior to hearing this suggestion, I only used face oil in the evening)

Throughout the day – when it’s 3pm and your skin is looking a little tired (and you’d usually do a little makeup touch-up), rub a few drops between your fingers and pat on anywhere that tends to get dryer for a radiance + glow inducing boost. You will immediately look more energized. I personally love the Tata oil for this as the scent is also very energizing.

On the plane – I keep the goop oil in my carry-on and like to massage a few drops in all over my face + the backs of my hands prior to take-off.

The 5 Best Face Oils + Everything you could want to know about face oils. (No, they won't make you break out!) How to apply them, how to pick the right one for you, + more!

And now: my five favorites. You’ll notice that they are all natural. Of course all-natural/organic products are better for your health, but in this case, that wasn’t the only reason. I always try to provide a natural/organic option but at the end of the day I want to tell you about the best, most effective options. This is one of the cases where natural is hands down, better and more effective. Why? First of all, natural plant oils will not clog your pores. What will clog your pores is synthetic oils and mineral oils. There are plenty of face oils out there at the drugstore that aren’t 100% natural and are still great, but please don’t ever put mineral oil or synthetic oils on your face. That’s when you get into trouble. The other reason is that natural oils are already packed with anti-oxidants and omega fatty acids. There is no need to mess with that… adding something to the mix will only dilute them.

Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil, $48 for 1 oz: was one of the first face oils I ever used. Although it is squalane based (ideal for dry skin) I find it to be really lightweight – good for combination skin or mid-day touch-ups. Maybe that’s because it also contains jojoba and camelia oil (both of these are lightweight + on the dryer side). It’s packed with antioxidants and is actually rather affordable for a Tata Harper product (most of her products are $70+. I will say that Tata’s products are a bit fragrant (they use all natural essential oils, and I personally love the scent), but they can be a bit much for some people. If your skin is more sensitive I would go with the goop oil or Everyday Oil (listed below).

Everyday Oil, $22 for 2 oz: I hate listing this one as the budget friendly option because it is so much more than that. Everyday Oil is my friend Emma’s brand and her oils are absolutely amazing. Emma is a minimalist and uses the oil to cleanse + moisturize her face as well as all over her body + in her hair. Prior to launching her brand last year she had been making all of our friends oil blends for ages. It smells amazing (and leaves skin so silky. So you could buy the $22 bottle and just use it on your face, or you can use it everywhere. All of the oils are cold pressed and organic. It’s an incredible value but it’s also a very effective product. I would have included it here whether it was $20 or $100.

goop Enriching Face Oil, $110 for 1 oz: I have a deep love of all things Gwyneth. Sure, she can be a bit outrageous but at the end of the day she knows what she’s talking about. Her face oil (in collaboration with Juice Beauty) is a good one. If you have sensitive skin, I would definitely recommend giving it a try.  Two active ingredients to note are Poet’s daffodil to help reduce pigmentation issues/dark spots; and Vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant). Read my thoughts on Gwyneth’s entire skincare line here.

Herbivore Phoenix Oil, $88 for 1.7 oz: Herbivore is quickly becoming a favorite brand of mine. The products work really well and the packaging is beautiful. I mean, I hate judging something by its cover but pretty packaging is nice to have! It’s a bit richer than the others (in my opinion) so it’s probably best for dryer types. The scent is mild an comforting and felt oddly familiar, though I can’t place my finger on what exactly it smells like! This one is packed with anti-oxidants and fatty acids. Rosehip oil helps to repair damaged tissue + reduce redness, and COQ10 is a powerful (natural) anti-aging ingredient that helps to increase skin’s collagen production and elasticity (this is important for my 30+ readers – every year after you turn 30, the body produces less and less COQ10 – wahhh).

Vintner’s Daughter, $185 for 1 oz: is more expensive than the other options I have listed here but that is for good reason. Vintner’s Daughter is more of a serum than an oil (though I included it here as it also has all the benefits of an oil). It contains 22 of the world’s most active and organic botanical ingredients. So it is high tech. This is the real deal, the creme de la creme. If you can afford the splurge, I highly recommend it. It is one of the only products I have fully used up and reordered again. (I’m presently on my third bottle, which says a lot.) Over time it will leave your skin more even, firm, and glowing!

PS – While you’re at it, why not try oil cleansers (something else I swear by)… + here are a few more face oils I loved back in 2012! (Clearly I’ve been on the oils train for a while now!)

Leave a Comment


  1. Marie Claire says 1.10.17

    Have you tried Burt’s Bees oil cleansers? Do you recommend them?

    1. Angela says 1.10.17

      I use the Burt’s Bees oil cleanser and I love it! You should give it a try!


  2. Thank you for your recommendations! I’ve wanted to try face oils for the longest time but I was scared it’d make me break out. Silly me, haha.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  3. Kristin says 1.10.17

    I love and swear by face oils too! You need to try one of Darphin’s face oils. I really love the 8 Flower Nectar. Life changing indeed!



  4. Catherine says 1.10.17

    Love face oils – they made such a difference when I started getting adult acne in my mid-20s. I really like Caudalie’s Polyphenol overnight detox oil for the day when I’m breaking out. It’s a drier oil, so works really well under makeup. At night and/or when I’m dryer, May Lindstrom’s the Youth Dew is wonderful.

    One thing to pay attention to with oils is whether you’re dry or dehydrated – the first being a lack of oil in your skin, the latter a lack of water. When I’m dehydrated, oils don’t absorb as well on their own. In that case, I mix a few drops of oil with a hyaluronic acid serum (Jordan Samuel Hydrate) in my hand before massaging it all into my face. Works like a charm!

  5. Brittany says 1.10.17

    okay YES love this post! i want to try that goop one- but vitner’s daughter is heaven. totally a splurge for me, but it’s actually recommended for acne prone skin and really helps clear up hormonal breakouts for me and any acne scarring!

    xo, brittany
    anything and everything embroidered and beachy is on my blog today!

  6. Jess Zimlich says 1.10.17

    I just finished my second bottle of Vintner’s Daughter last night (I was literally shaking the last drop out of the bottle)…it’s so good. I do have a question though. I’ve always washed, then patted the serum in and then applied my moisturizer. Should I be applying the moisturizer first and then the serum?

  7. Sara says 1.10.17

    I just purchased the Everyday Oil after your glowing review and also reading about it on the website. It seems people can’t say enough wonderful things about it, so I though it best to check it out. I have combination/acne prone skin, and I LOVE using face oils. Right now I’m using The Body Shop Oils of Life face oil, which is really nice, but I’d like to expand my horizons and try something new. Plus, this one has clary sage…love!

  8. I just started using face oils and so far I have been liking the results that I have seen.


  9. Lauren says 1.10.17

    Hi Grace! Thanks for this post – I have the Tata Harper oil and sometimes feel like I’m not exactly sure how to use it (especially since I use the oil cleanser first) so this post was so helpful to break it down.

    Two questions – how do you feel about Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (I know some people that swear by it, but I can’t get over the strong scent) and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate? I’ve been eyeing the Kiehl’s oil but figured I’d ask you since it wasn’t included on your list. Thanks!

  10. Marta says 1.10.17

    I really wanted to give oils a try and currently I’m using tea tree oil mixed with water as a toner in the evenings and I love it because I have oily/combination and acne prone skin. But I’d love to try a more moisturizing oil.

  11. Cy says 1.10.17

    Hi Grace, seems like we were all just having this conversation. I was telling you last week, I’ve been really into facial oils lately. I love the Tata Harper and liked that it was so portable. I’m going to repurchase. It’s much lighter, but I also enjoy the Mario Badescu Rose hip face oil. I’m finishing up some Kiel’s midnight recovery oil, it’s good, not sure I’d buy again. I’ve been eyeing the everyday oil for awhile, it sounds great. What a great post!

  12. caroline says 1.10.17

    I’m actually almost out of my moisturizor and was wondering what to get next. Maybe I’ll just give oil a try! Thanks for listing a few that are good for oily skin!
    x0x0 Caroline http://thecarolove.com/

  13. Cy says 1.10.17

    Just saw that Nordie’s carries the Herbivore oil in a travel size. Can’t wait to try it!

  14. Lauren says 1.10.17

    I’ve been trying to step up my skincare routine, so I’ve been using a serum by Mario Badescu -but now I think I need to try the Everyday Oil product!


  15. Kristen says 1.10.17

    Fresh Seaberry Face Oil has been my go to for many years now. Have you ever used it?
    Wondering if I should give a new one a try as I always love your recs.

  16. Erica says 1.10.17

    I really, really want to try Vintner’s Daughter. Saving up my $$$!

    Have you tried Kari Gran? My girlfriend swears by her oil cleanser and serum. I’m currently using up some other products and then I’m going to give her a try. I’ve used it on a few occasions when I’ve been at my girlfriends house and my face has always been so soft!

  17. Grace says 1.10.17

    I’ve just been researching different oils as part of my 2017 goal to step up my skincare routine, so this post has come at a great time! After reading back through your oil pulling post and doing a little extra reading, I think I might give oil pulling a go, too! Who knew oil would be such a big theme of this year

    Diary of a Would-Be Gallerist

  18. Hi Grace, What are your thoughts on using a face oil and a face serum. Is it necessary? I’ve always thought that a face oil is better than a serum, but i’ve read other articles saying that a serum is better than an oil being that it can vitamins to the skin much faster. Jessika / beautybyjessika.com

  19. alyson says 1.11.17

    SUch a great, informative post Grace! I recently got into oils… love the one by BeautyCounter, and just tried Tammy Fender’s oil/serum, which sounds super similar to Vitner’s Daughter. Wow, it so quickly has made a difference and smells so good Sarah has even commented. 🙂 Excited to check out your friend’s brand as well.


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  21. Allyson says 1.13.17

    Love this post! I have been researching different skin care regimens and I like that your oils won’t break the bank.
    Any suggestions on 30+ redness in the cheeks and nose and how to care for it? I don’t think it is rosascea, and if it is damn…but nothing I have tried has worked and I am tired of layering on the makeup!

  22. Wonderful Weekend says 1.13.17

    […] great post about face oils. I really want to try this […]

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  24. carrie says 1.14.17

    I’m on my 3rd bottle of Vintner’s Daughter, too, and it is MAGICAL! Realistically I can barely afford it, but I pinch & save in other areas just so I can have it. My skin has never been better, I’m 48 and have always had bad breakouts and I finally have control of my acne. It’s wonderful, I can’t say enough.

  25. Katie says 1.21.17

    What a great post! Face oils sound so interesting!


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  29. […] I’ve voiced my opinions about politics before today. I know that I isolated a few of you in doing that, and I felt really bad about that. I never want to be preachy, I never want to make other people feel badly for their beliefs, and I want this blog to be a fun place to come, to talk about fashion and beauty and DIY projects and fun things like frosé and face oil. […]

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