Oil. . .that thing on your face that you’ve probably spent a lot of your life fighting in some way (cue eye roll). Either you’ve had too much of it, clogging your pores, or too little of it, making your face feel dry and dehydrated. Balancing the oil on your face can feel truly like trying to walk a tightrope!
So why bother adding anything to the mix? Incorporating facial oils can benefit the skin in a variety of ways from balancing oil production to soothing inflammation to even combating the signs of aging.
What are facial oils? Carrier oils vs. essential oils.
When it comes to plant-based beauty oils there are two categories: carrier oils and essential oils. Carrier oils are usually from the fatty parts of the plant, such as the seeds or nuts, and can be applied directly to the face as they won’t normally cause any irritation.
Essential oils, by contrast, are from the non-fatty parts of a plant such as the bark, roots, leaves or aromatic areas, and are often too high in concentration to be added directly to the skin. These oils can work together though as essential oils can be safely added to carrier oils for effectiveness.
With nature offering so many lovely oils to choose from, it’s hard to know where to even begin! Here we’ve rounded up the best facial oils that you can start using now to get that balanced, glowing, radiant skin you’ve been looking for.
How it works: Technically not an oil but a liquid wax, jojoba oil works great on the face with its molecular structure that similar to sebum (a natural, oily substance secreted by your sebaceous glands that keeps your skin moisturized). As a light oil with anti-inflammatory compounds, it works well with a variety of skin types and won’t clog pores or leave skin with a greasy feel. Jojoba oil also has a long shelf life – potentially up to 25 years – making it a great addition to your facial oil collection. Additionally, jojoba oil works great as a natural makeup remover!
High in Omega-6 fatty acids as well as antioxidant vitamin E, argan oil is powerful for its regenerative and firming qualities that maintain skin’s elasticity. With its small molecular size, argan oil can sink in deeply and won’t clog your pores. Argan oil is amazing for the skin but can fall a bit on the expensive side since its cold-pressing process takes quite a bit of time to execute.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Extracted from the seeds that form in the hips of the wild rose of Chile, rosehip seed oil packs a big punch when it comes to anti-aging! High in essential fatty acids and retinoic acid (a natural form of Vitamin A), this oil works to hydrate the skin, smooth wrinkles, and slow the signs of aging. Furthermore, as a fast penetrating, low-comedogenic oil, it’s perfect for acne-prone skin as it won’t clog pores or leave skin feeling greasy.
The verdict is still out as to whether ingesting collagen supplements can truly produce the beauty effects most labels promise, but studies have suggested it’s worth a try! Your body uses amino acids to build connective tissues and skin, and collagen is essentially that.
In one study, after an eight-week trial, subjects taking a bioactive collagen peptide showed a reduction in eye wrinkle volume over their placebo counterparts. More research is needed to confirm that collagen can withhold its chemical structure through digestion to reach targeted areas, but there’s no evidence saying it can’t!
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Hemp Seed Oil
How it works: The hemp plant has had a tough rap over the years, but it’s starting to get the recognition it deserves! Hemp seed oil from the plant is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids making it highly nutritious for the skin. It’s also anti-inflammatory and contains healing compounds making it an overall great addition to any natural beauty cabinet.
Sweet Almond Oil
How it works: Not to be confused with bitter almond oil (which can be toxic!), sweet almond oil is one of the most versatile carrier oils and wonderful for dry, ageing skin. This oil penetrates deeply with a high percentage of oleic acid – a fatty acid – to soften skin cells and allow for better hydration. It also has the ability to soothe inflamed skin and help with irritation. For best potency, look for cold pressed oil that hasn’t been solvent extracted.
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How it works: Squalane oil provides healthy moisture to the skin and works well with all skin types as it’s light, fast-absorbing, and noncomedogenic so it won’t clog your pores. Be sure to check your labels though as squalane can easily be mistaken for squalene – a non-hydrogenated version that is best suited for very dry skin types. Originally squalene was derived from shark livers, but fortunately, today squalene can also be derived from plant-sources like sugarcane, olives, and amaranth seeds So you’ll never forget, we’ve created a squalane vs. squalene cheat sheet.
Essential Oil Bonus: Tea Tree Oil
How it works: Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it a great weapon against acne! As an essential oil though, it has a high concentration that can be irritating and drying to clean skin, so one must proceed with caution.
Try it as a spot treatment the next time you feel that blemish coming on, and simply dilute it by adding it to a damp Q-tip and then dab it onto troubled areas.
For more on how to use essential oils on the skin, we have created a guide on the top essential oils to get healthy, glowing skin.
The Easiest DIY Facial Oil Ever Recipe
Making your own homemade facial oil is easy as can be.
– Select any 2 of the oils above.
– Combine one part of the first oil (50%) with one part of the second oil (50%).
Seriously, tt’s that easy! Over time, you can level up your facial oil game to create products perfect for your skin type. Read more about making a basic facial oil at home.
About the author
After working for fashion publications and brands in New York City, Erica followed her passion for travel, bouncing for several years around Europe and Latin America. While traveling, she gravitated naturally to conscious living and all things DIY. As a writer, photographer, editor, and producer, her work has been published on VanityFair.com and in Town & Country magazine. The self-proclaimed “Possibility Junkie” can usually be found around Washington, D.C. or Berlin, Germany.