Simply put, face oils are usually a blend of ingredients that lend fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to the skin. Fatty acids work to improve the resilience of skin—some hydrate, some balance and mattify. Vitamins function as antioxidants to fight against photoageing and pigmentation, and minerals work to heal and repair. While oils are not the ultimate hydrator (choose a humectant for that), they do their fair share by protecting, repairing and sealing the skin. By reinforcing the skin barrier, they help the skin to be more receptive to other skincare ingredients. So if you’re not getting the glowy, hydrated, healthy complexion you’re looking for from just serums and moisturisers, oils might be the skincare ingredient you need to amp up your routine.
Oils are important keepers of hydration in your skincare routine
Oils are occlusives and emollients, which mean they soften skin while acting as a moisture seal on its surface. They work in tandem with humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which draw water from the atmosphere into the skin to hydrate skin cells. Therefore, while oils may not hydrate by themselves, they help maintain moisture levels by preventing it from being lost from the skin. Since the skin needs oil and water, a humectant-heavy moisturiser and then an oil on top is an ideal skincare pair. Oil must be the last step in the routine, because it seals the skin, and lets the active ingredients underneath work better.
Dermatologists suggest that the best way to apply oil is to warm two to three drops between your palms and pat it onto the skin. Be careful about overusing oil though, especially those with acne-prone or sensitive skin types, since it forms a layer on top of the skin surface that leads to heat being trapped within. This heat can supplement more oil production, creating an environment for bacteria to grow and lead to more acne. To prevent this, apply an oil-free moisturiser first to prevent any potential blockage of pores. Then, add a layer of oil to prevent moisture loss.
Face oils to add to your skincare routine for every kind of skin type
If your skin feels parched and tight
Skincare oils should already be part of your daily routine. Giving the skin’s outermost layer some TLC leads to a stronger, healthier barrier, and minimises the chance of inflammation or irritation. With drier complexions, choose an a lighter oil that will penetrate deep into the skin and not just sit on top. The Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil for Dehydrated Skin has hazelnut oil, which is rich in Omega 9 and Vitamin E to soften and sooth.
If you have acne-prone skin
Oils have gotten a bad rep because some molecules can clog pores, which is why those with pimples tend to discount oils in their routine. However, most plant-based oils are non-comedogenic and the right ones are able to help kick acne to the curb. Using a face oil made up of plant-derived oils that are relatively the same size molecule as skin sebum is important. This is why a heavier oil like coconut oil or mineral oils are a no-no for those with congested skin. If you’re constantly fighting pimples, try the UMA Deeply Clarifying Face Oil. It has clove and tea tree oil in a grapeseed oil base, which works to kill bacteria while strengthening skin’s barrier. Lavender and clary sage essential oils regulate excessive oiliness while preventing over-drying, so skin is left soothed. Since most anti-acne skincare routines contain drying agents like retinol or acids, oils can be a calming component.
If you’re fighting fine lines
For those with fine lines and wrinkles, a loss of collagen is a point of worry. Dry skin looks far more likely to show fine lines, so a rich oil helps to plump and lift the skin. The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil has immortelle essential oil, which helps to stimulate microcirculation, increase collagen synthesis and protect against free radicals.
If you’re struggling with sensitive skin
When you want to treat irritated, angry, redness-riddled skin, you choose rosehip oil. Reach for the Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, which contains a high number of omega-rich essential fatty acids and antioxidants to deeply hydrate skin without congesting pores. The fatty acids help fade acne scars and reduce all signs of redness. It also contains linoleic acid, which builds skin-moisturising ceramides.
If you feel like an oil slick
Even though fighting oil with oil seems unnatural, lighter oils like jojoba oil can help mattify the skin and balance oil production. An addition of oil on the skin signals the skin cells that an overproduction of oil is not required. The Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Oil is a blue hued elixir that features blue tansy and azulene, both powerful anti-inflammatories. They are suspended in jojoba oil and squalene, which absorb easily without blocking pores.
If your skin is just… normal
If you don’t have any specific problems you need to fight, the skincare aisle is your oyster. Still, nobody can turn down an amplified glow. The Body Shop Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalizing Facial Oil replenishes moisture and effortless melts into the skin. The finish is non-sticky and velvety-soft and the finish is radiant and luminous. Apply this as a primer before makeup, and it’ll glide on very easy over the quick absorbing formula.
If you’re done with dull skin
When skin is dull, red and irritated, it is usually because the dead skin cells on the surface have not been exfoliated, and so are not reflecting light on the surface. The Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins Skin Refining Oil resurfaces the skin due to salicylic acid and Vitamin C and E for powerful skin brightening, tone improvement and nourishment. They are cushioned in silky plant oils like cranberry, sage and pomegranate oils to gently release dead surface cells while leaving skin feels plush and hydrated. Apply this oil at night, letting the scents of neroli, valerian and vanilla lull you to sleep.
Scroll through the gallery below for our edit of the best face oils you need to add to your skincare routine.
UMA Deeply Clarifying Face Oil
Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins Skin Refining Oil
Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil
The Body Shop Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalizing Facial Oil
Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil
Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil
L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil