Everything you ever wanted to know about facial oils

I’ve never used a facial oil before – who are they for?

Oils are for everyone! Using a facial oil helps keep moisture in the skin while protecting it from environmental damage. Oils can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles because they often contain ingredients like antioxidants that can pass through the skin quickly, preventing water loss and keeping the skin plump. Antioxidants boost collagen production and strengthen skin elasticity, thus reducing fine lines.

Our body produces oil naturally, but as we age that production decreases significantly. The skin needs oil to maintain a healthy balance, otherwise, it gets too dry which can cause breakouts, fine lines, and wrinkles. Oils are the ideal antidote to dry, flaky skin and they can be much more effective at moisturising than just a moisturiser alone.

There are two types of oils: carrier oils and essential oils, which must be combined in order to work efficiently. Carrier oils are usually cold pressed from fruits and nuts and then combined with specific essential oils specific to skin type to create a facial oil. It’s a little known fact that the right face oil can actually help to balance skin.

It is super important to note that both moisturisers and facial oils are equally important when it comes to maintaining a healthy, hydrated skin. Our skin needs 70% water and 30% oil to maintain its natural balance. A facial oil will help the skin retain the water that’s put into it whereas the moisturiser protects against free radicals, sun, and environmental toxins.

Consider your skin type when you’re selecting an oil – it’s always best to ask a professional for some recommendations (you can book in for a free consultation with me here). I have listed further down in our Q&A some of my recommendations based on different skin types. Lastly look for oils bottled in darker glass bottles as exposure to light and heat will damage the oil and their ingredients.

What ingredients should I be looking for in a facial oil? 

The simple answer to this question is you must choose the right oil based on your individual skin type which changes from season to season and other contributing lifestyle factors. As popular as face oils have become, the concept can still be off-putting to some. Please don’t be scared - just ensure you are well informed as to finding the right oil for your skin if correct the benefits of a facial oil are endless. Top tip: choose a facial oil where water is not the first ingredient!

What are the best oils for different skin types?

Combination Skin: Marula oil is a key ingredient to look out for, it has anti-bacterial properties and quickly penetrates into the skin. Use it sparingly along with a lightweight moisturiser. Jojoba is another perfect partnership as it is incredibly lightweight and breathable oil and because jojoba actually breaks down and dissolves sebum, so it will also help control shine if visible in the t-zone area. Bergamot, sandalwood and lemon balm are the essential oil superstars to look out for in a combination facial oil. My recommendation from Seekology is the Heka Aromatherapy Nefertiti Face Oil 1.

Oily Skin: Jojoba, tea tree, aloe vera, geranium, clary sage, patchouli and myrrh essential oils along with squalene carrier oil are important ingredients for those with oily skin. They are light in texture and do not make the skin feel greasy. Other low-comedogenic oils like argan, buckthorn, kukui and rosehip are also safe options. A moisturiser with alpha hydroxy acid is a good choice to use along with a facial oil. My recommendations at Seekology are Tamaar Sebum Balancing Oil or ebo Beauty Summer Essential Facial Oil.

Acne-Prone Skin: Breakouts happen due to overactive oil glands and using healthy supplemental oil such as squalene diminishes your own oil production. Most people with acne try to dry their skin out, which is one of the worst things to do. Acne is your skin’s way of telling you that your oil to water ratio is off balance, so opt for lighter oils containing rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, frankincense or oregano. My recommendation for Seekology is Rosalena Beauty & The Beast Face Oil (also a favourite with our male customers due to it’s matte finish) or Elan Whisper Serum Organic Facial Oil.

Normal Skin: Avoid using oils that are too heavy: squalane, jojoba, argan and retinol oils are your best bet. A great option for this skin type is to take a few drops of the facial oil and mix it with your moisturiser. My recommendations from Seekology are Rosalena Love & Me Face Oil or Baie Botanique Rose Renew Regenerating Facial Oil.

Dry Skin: Dry skin needs an oil rich in omegas and fatty acids - grape seed, Vitamin E, squalane, borage, marula, jojoba, coconut, rose and camomile are all ingredients to look out for. Marula oil is great for reducing redness and hydrating dry and irritated skin; it’s a light oil so you won’t feel slippy and it’s also rich in omega fatty acids. If you do have dry skin, a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid works well in conjunction with a facial oil, since the hyaluronic acid plumps the skin and replenishes moisture loss. My recommendations for Seekology are the Tamaar Rejuvenate Advanced Natural Anti-aging Facial Oil or Skin Elixir Magnificent Night Oil.

Which Carrier Oils should I look out for?

Avocado Oil is high in Vitamin E which softens the skin. It is also rich in lecithin, a lipid that helps deliver nutrients directly to the bloodstream and deeper layers of the skin.

Jojoba Oil is one of the best skincare oils of the bunch. Derived from a nut-like pod of a plant, jojoba oil is biomimetic, meaning it acts like the oil naturally found in skin. It won’t clog pores, and it nourishes and moisturises whilst delivering a soothing effect to dry, irritated, skin.

Argan Oil This fast-absorbing, vitamin E-rich extract has become a darling of the beauty aisle for its ability to moisturise again without clogging pores. It can reduce the appearance of fine lines, smooth hair and strengthen nails.

Coconut Oil contains skin nourishing fatty acids and polyphenols, which are amazing at repairing your skin’s natural barrier function and can also keep moisture in the skin by slowing down evaporation. It is quite light as an oil and once blended with essential oils soaks in well to the skin without feeling greasy.

Squalane Oil derived from Olives is best for plumping, moisturising, and improving skin elasticity. Oils with retinol are best for firming, smoothing, and fading any type of skin damage and discoloration.

Best essential oils for Collagen growth

Lemon essential oil is extracted from lemon peels and contains powerful compounds like limonene. Other essential oils to look out for boosting the all important collagen production are carrot seed, frankincense, geranium, rosehip and neroli oil.

How should I start using a facial oil?

  1. Cleanse /wash and gently exfoliate the skin.
  2. Tone if necessary as part of your routine.
  3. Add a few drops of facial oil to your moisturiser or apply the oil and layer it with a lightweight moisturiser. Some say to apply oil before moisturiser, so that it absorbs right into your skin before you slather on more hydration, while others prefer to apply after your moisturiser, so that the occlusive (that means it locks in moisture) layer of oil seals in everything you've applied beneath it, like your serum and cream.
  4. Massage the oil using sweeping upward strong motions – this performs some lymphatic drainage at the same time.

That’s it – if you have any more questions about facial oils, please do book in for a free skincare consultation where we can discuss which might be best for your skin type. You can shop all our oils and serums here.