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.
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!