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!
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!)
Have you tried Burt’s Bees oil cleansers? Do you recommend them?
I use the Burt’s Bees oil cleanser and I love it! You should give it a try!
I have heard so many good things about the Burts Bees Oil Cleanser!!! I am currently finishing my bottle of Kiehl’s (love their midnight recovery oil cleanser) but when I finish I am going to pick up a bottle. It would be nice to have a good drugstore one to recommend. Overall I am a huge fan of Burt’s Bees – quality, affordable natural products.
It is one of my favorites! It’s inexpensive, easy to get, does not sting your eyes & does the job!
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
Oh good! I hope you give oils a try – the right ones definitely won’t make you break out!
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!
Oooh I am sure I would love it – Darphin has such wonderful products.
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!
That makes a lot of sense Catherine, thank you for the tip!!! xx
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!
anything and everything embroidered and beachy is on my blog today!
The goop one is great but Vintner’s Daughter is the BEST. I would keep doing what you are doing! xx
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?
I did the exact same thing!!!!
My understanding is that you should put the oil on and then moisturizer afterward. I don’t know if truly makes a huge difference. I treat Vintner’s Daughter more like an oil than a serum… if I were using a lighter serum I would put that on before anything. Then oil, then moisturizer!
Okay, perfect. Thank you!
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!
That makes me so happy to hear!!! It’s a really amazing product and such a value. Please keep me posted on how you like it! (And yesss to the Clary Sage – makes it smell so good!)
So I’ve been using it for about two weeks now. It’s official. I’m obsessed. I use it at night, and I just need one pump to cover my face, neck and chest. It smells fabulous and feels amazing after applying on freshly washed skin. I’ve also noticed that the dry patches on my skin have disappeared. I have combo skin, and the winter is the WORST for dry patches + excess oil. I definitely have noticed a difference in the oil balance of my skin (which often happens when using a quality face oil).
Plus when I wake up in the morning, my skin looks incredible and free of splotches. I had a few stubborn pimples on my chin that just WOULD NOT go away, and those pretty much shriveled up two days after I started using the oil.
Awesome recommendation, and now I’ll be sure to recommend it to everyone I know as well! Thanks!
Hi Sara! Oh my goodness this makes me SO happy!
Emma (the founder) is a really good friend of mine, I forwarded your comment to her.
It’s such an amazing product (at a great price). Happy you love it as much as I do!
I just started using face oils and so far I have been liking the results that I have seen.
So glad to hear it! Which one are you using?
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!
I have tried Nuxe but only on my body, not on my face! I didn’t love it to be honest. They make a slightly sparkly one though that I LOVE – but that’s for legs, arms, collarbone, etc…
I LOVE Kiehls Midnight Recovery. Didn’t include it here because I think of it more as a serum!!! It leaves your skin so soft and smooth the next day. 🙂 I wrote about it more in this post. http://thestripe.com/2015/09/kiehls-daily-reviving-concentrate-review/
Thanks for linking to that post! I thought I remembered that you liked the Kiehl’s oil – I might need to get a bottle for late nights/post-drinking!
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.
ooh that sounds like a great idea for a toner! Definitely try a lighter oil as a moisturizer… the Everyday Oil or the Tata Harper one could be perfect! xx
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!
I think we were!!!
I need to check out the Mario Badescu one – I am a big fan of his line (it’s really affordable) and rose hip oil does amazing things for your skin!!
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/
I hope you do! They are so powerful and can really change your skin! xx
Just saw that Nordie’s carries the Herbivore oil in a travel size. Can’t wait to try it!
Ooh perfect! Hope you love it! xx
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!
I hope you give it a try – I am obsessed, and it is such a great value! (Mario Badescu makes great products too, though!) xx
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.
Oooh no I have not… but I LOVE Fresh, and the Seaberry Body Lotion was my all time favorite body lotion for ages.
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!
I have tried her lip whip (my friend Victoria raaaaaved about it) but I wasn’t particularly obsessed with it (I prefer the By Terry baume de rose) If you give Kari Gran’s line a try I would love to hear what you think!!!!
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
I am so happy you found it helpful!
I guess 2017 will be the year of the oils! 😉 xx
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
So my thought is that serums are generally a bit more lightweight… most that I’ve tried are packed with actives but not very hydrating so you need something else. Also, the thought is that you apply moisturizer (or face oil) over your serum to lock all those active ingredients in. So, I would actually use serum first… then oil, and then moisturizer! The Vintner’s Daughter is different as it is also technically a serum but it’s also an oil… so if you use that you can skip serum. Does that make sense?
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.
I am so happy you found it helpful Alyson! I am so obsessed with face oils – they’ve made such a big difference in my own skincare routine 🙂
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!
Hmmmm… I am not sure! They could be broken capillaries. If they are (I get them) you can remove them at the dermatologist’s office with a laser (it takes like one minute). But it depends on what they actually are… your dermatologist will be able to tell you – for years I thought I had rosacea but it turned out they were broken capillaries!!!
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.
It really is magical!
And it’s funny – my problem is more dryness vs. breakouts and it works wonders for me. I’ve had a few readers say that they love it for acne – so it really does seem like maybe it’s a miracle-worker… perfect for all skin types!
What a great post! Face oils sound so interesting!
They are the best! Hope you give ’em a try! x
What about RMS oil? ..doesn’t just sit on top of the skin but penetrates for a smooth glowy finish….
Have Vintners Daughter too to compare but VD seems to just sit on skin no matter how little I use….
I have not tried RMS’s oil but I love their products!
I have been making my friends and family customized face oils as gifts for over 15 years and yet my favorite that I use myself is Vintner’s Daughter.It’s that good, and that unique!
That is amazing – good for you! Vintner’s Daughter is good stuff.
Thanks for the great article and recommendations. What do you think about face serums? As they can be more intensive I use them under my moisturizer to create a barrier and help it penetrate the skin.
You are so welcome! I love serums and use them regularly. I’ve featured several on my site (my fav being Vintner’s daughter) – you can also type “serum” into the search bar to find others I’ve featured.
Fantastic and informative article, thanks! I will be trying several of these in the near future, I love trying new face oils. My current favorite is Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum from b-glowing.
So happy you found it helpful. I love all things Caudalie!!!
Love this Article. I turned 50 in April and am now obsessed with facial oils. I plan on purchasing the Vintners Daughter, but was wondering what your thoughts were on Kypris 1000 Roses.
I liked it – but not as much as Vintner’s Daughter!
Thank You I’ll be ordering my Vintners Daughter very soon. Sooo excited. Can’t wait to try it.
Hi I am budget friendly these days and wondering if there is any oil/serum like Vintner’s daughter but less money??
And also a good face sunscreen? TIA
Thanks . I have been using Vintners daughter and love it . I will also try the other oils as Vintners is so pricey I only use it at night .
Such a great post! How did you manage to keep that bottle of Vintner’s looking so clean? Mine does not age that well lol. Have you checked out the In Fiore line? They’re the ones who apparently make the Vintner’s Daughter oil. I have a bottle of their Nourrit coming later this week. Also, I recommend the Yuli Liquid Courage serum too, I saw so many people comment on the Into The Gloss post on Vintner’s Daughter “The Face Oil to end all Face Oils” about how much they loved that one and it is the one I’m currently using. The ingredients are much more fancy (lipo-Vitamin C, antioxidant concentrate, Ferulic acid) like a serum only as an oil.
hi, what cleanser, toner and other products do you use with vintner’s daughter?