Face oils - what's all the fuss

Oils are definitely having a big moment in both conventional and natural skincare industry right now. Despite this huge trend though, face (facial) oils still seem to have a bit of a bad reputation as many of us worry they will make our skin look greasy and clog up the pores. In reality, face oils can have a truly transformative effect on your skincare routine. My own experience is that ever since discovering them a couple of years ago, I’ve not looked back at face creams ever again! In fact, I love them so much I’ve even tried making them myself – you may want to check out my recipe for two rejuvenating and anti-ageing facial serums and an 100% organic ultra-silky facial oil.

So if you’re uncertain if face oils are for you, this post is exactly for you! 

Face oils - what's all the fuss

What exactly is a face oil?

Put it quite simply, a face oil is a formula made entirely from natural oils. A face oil can be either a single plant-based oil (such as rosehip or jojoba oil) or a blend of a few different plant-based oils.

If you’re a bit confused when a product is a face oil and and when it’s a serum, then hopefully this definition will help. The best description that I’ve found that distinguishes between the two is that a face oil aids hydration and nutrition, whereas a serum provides ‘extra’ properties, such as brightening the skin or reduction of wrinkles.

What are the benefits of using a face oil?

Some of the key benefits of using a face oil include:

  • sealing in moisture and adding extra nourishment, especially that affected by harsh environmental conditions,
  • boosting skin’s natural glow,
  • protecting skin from harmful pollutants,
  • firming up skin,
  • minimising hyperpigmentation or discolouration, and
  • helping to apply foundation more smoothly.

What should I be aware of when choosing a face oil?

Pure plant-based oils tend to be 100% natural and typically don’t contain harsh preservatives and synthetic fragrances but it never hurts to check the ingredient lists. On the other hand though, oil blends and serums containing plant-based oils may contain harmful chemicals so reading labels is a must. You can learn how by reading my post My six golden rules for deciphering skincare labels and ingredient lists.

When we talk about all the benefits of face oils, this is assuming that the oil is unrefined, cold-pressed and organic, so make sure you choose the best quality products to ensure you gain all the nutrients of plant-based oils.

Will a face oil clog up my pores?

Using an oil on already oily or acne-prone skin may sound counter-intuitive but even if you have that particular skin type, you can still enjoy the benefits of a face oil. Plant-based oils are non-comedogenic which means they’re not likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. Some oil blends are also specifically targeted at addressing excess sebum production and blemishes by including oils such as sweet almond oil which is light and tolerated by most skins or jojoba oil which has a similar structure to skin’s natural sebum so won’t clog up pores, as well as essential oils such as peppermint oil (for its anti microbial properties) or tea tree oil (for its antiseptic properties). As explained to me years and years ago by a friend beauty therapist, most conventional products targeted at oily/ acne-prone skin contain ingredients which dry out the skin which then leads to skin going into overdrive and producing more sebum. This obviously leads to a vicious circle and in the end products that aim to treat the problem actually contribute to it even further. Overall, as long as you choose the right oil or blend of oils, and stick to the ‘less is more’ rule, then using a face oil can truly work for every skin type.

Face oils - what's all the fuss

Can I use a face oil under make-up?

Yes, absolutely! In fact, I’ve found that using a face oil under foundation actually aids its application and helps achieve a smooth, glowy finish. As natural foundations don’t contain silicones, they tend to dry up very quickly when being applied to your face so having an oil as a base helps to ‘glide’ the foundation. If your skin is dry, flaky or has blemishes, applying foundation can be tricky, leaving you with uneven coverage and streaks. So using a face oil can make a huge difference to application.

Which face oil is suitable to my skin type?

That depends on your skin type and what your main problem is. This blog post by Beatnik Naturals is a good starting point to help you understand why certain oils are more suitable to different skin types than others. Here are some oils that she recommends:

  • Facial oils for acne prone, oily, and sensitive skin (high linoleic acid oils): evening primrose, passionfruit, grapeseed, safflower (borage), prickly pear, hemp seed, rosehip.
  • Facial oils for dry and mature skin types (high oleic acid oils): sunflower, sweet almond, avocado, oil, argan.

I’ve also found this chart by Fushi Wellbeing  really helpful in identifying which oil to choose. Make sure you check it out as it links up to each individual oil:

Fushi Wellbeing Oils Chart
Chart obtained from: Fushi Wellbeing
Fushi Wellbeing Oils Chart
Chart obtained from: Fushi Wellbeing

How do I apply a face oil?

You can apply a face oil on its own or in addition to your existing skincare routine. Using a face oil under a moisturiser can act as a kind of a serum to draw all key ingredients out of the moisturiser and help them get absorbed by the skin. You can also use face oils at bedtime for maximum overnight hydration.

Here are my top tips for applying a face oil:

  • Apply it straight after cleansing when your skin is still moist, so that the oil can lock in the moisture.
  • Even better, apply it on freshly washed skin that’s been spritzed with a hydrating spray, floral water or toner. This will help to lock in the water to keep your skin hydrated for longer.
  • Only use a few drops (three to four) as a little amount ALWAYS goes a long way.
  • Look into a gentle lymphatic drainage massage that you can do yourself to help stimulate your skin and perform that massage every evening. In essence, this means gliding a face oil across your forehead, cheeks, chin, then gently pressing it into your skin in downwards motion towards your neck and décolletage.
  • Wait for the face oil to sink in before applying a moisturiser or foundation.
  • If your skin is sensitive or prone to allergic reactions, avoid oil blends that contain essential oils, and always do a small patch test.

My favourite face oils

A wide selection of face oils (as well as serums) is available from two of my favourite online shops: LoveLula and aforementioned Fushi Wellbeing

And what are you favourite face oils?

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Face oils - what's all the fuss

Disclaimer: I’ve written this post as a consumer, not an expert. This post should only be used for informational purposes and does not replace professional or medical advice. You are advised to do your own research and whatever decision you decide to take following this article is done at your own risk.

This post mentions products that were sent to me to test as part of my involvement in the LoveLula Accredited Bloggers Program. Nevertheless, all views expressed in this post are 100% mine and honest. This post also contains affiliate links.