If you follow beauty trends then you've probably noticed a huge surge in oils that are advertised to be awesome for your skin on the market. But not all oils are created equal, and it can be hard to figure out the best oil for your skin type.
I've personally heard tales of women using argon oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, rose hip oil, coconut oil, and even olive oil on there skin. And while some sources will absolutely swear by whatever oil they use, others will have more ominous reports of, "I tried it and my skin broke out horribly!"
So that being said, as with any skin care product, it's probably best to know what each oil is actually doing for your skin and if it's providing a service you actually need (as opposed to perhaps making a problem worse). It's also important to remember that everyone has different skin types, so something that works awesome on one type may be a disaster for another. And just because something is "natural" or seems more "pure" than a typical moisturizer doesn't necessarily mean it's the right product for you and your needs (you wouldn't put pure cayenne pepper on your face just because it's natural, right?).
If you're eager to incorporate oil into your skincare regime but just aren't sure where to start, here are seven things you should consider that will definitely help you narrow the field of choices.
1. Is it Comedogenic?
According to professional aesthetician Veronica Gorgeois, a comedogenic ingredient is one that will clog pores and create blackheads (and so a non-comedogenic ingredient is one that will not). She noted that different oils fall differently on the comedogenic scale — from mildly, to moderately, to highly comedogenic. If you already have trouble with clogged pores, you will likely want to choose an oil with non or mild comedogenic properties. However, Gorgeois noted that some skin types — especially dry ones — can often tolerate comedogenic ingredients well, so if that's the case than you probably won't need to worry either way. Gorgeois provides a super helpful list of oils and how they rank in the above video.
2. Do You Have Acne-Prone Skin?
According to beauty writer and founder of the site Minimalist Beauty Dawn Michelle, a key factor to what makes certain oils work for some and not for others is the ratio of linoleic acid to oleic acid. She noted that sources show that acne patients usually have low levels of linoleic acids in their skin, which causes their sebum to become thick and sticky, and ultimately clog pores. Because of this, she recommended that people with acne-prone skin use oils higher in linoleic acid than oleic acid. She said this includes safflower oil, grape seed oil, rose hip oil, black cumin seed oil, hemp seed oil, and pumpkin seed oil.
3. Do You Have Dry Skin?
In an article for Everyday Health, Jennifer Linder, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco, recommended avocado oil for dry and sensitive skin. "This oil is high in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which helps proper cell function and decrease inflammation," and she noted that it's a strong emollient, which really locks in moisture. In the same piece, dermatologist Howard Sobel noted that extra virgin olive oil is a great and cost-effective solution for severely dry skin as it is so rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E. However, he advised against it for people with acne-prone skin because it ranks high on the comedogenic scale.
4. Make Sure The Oil Is Pure
goPure Argan Oil, $13.95, CleopatraChoice.com
This is a personal tip. I've often perused the ingredient list of certain oils sold at the drug store or sometimes even in high-end makeup stores and found that they are actually cut with a ton of other ingredients (many of which are the very ones I'm trying to avoid by using oils over traditional moisturizers in the first place). Not only that, but if the oil you're paying good money for isn't the first ingredient listed, then you're likely not getting much of it anyway. So always read labels to make sure you're really getting what you think you are!
5. Buy Small First
On her website, professional aesthetician Brianne Grebil recommended always initially buying a small amount of any oil you choose — otherwise you could be stuck with a large and even expensive bottle of something that your skin doesn't tolerate well. Make sure your skin responds well to the product you buy before committing to a larger purchase.
6. Make Sure Your Skin Absorbs The Product
Grebil also wrote that ideally any oil you apply to your skin should be absorbed within about five minutes. If it doesn't, she recommended trying a slightly lighter oil until you get the proper absorption. And conversely, if your skin still feels dry, she said to try a heavier one.
7. Think About Cost
This is another super practical tip that I use when trying to decide between different products. For example, many people report that argon oil and jojoba oil work almost identically on their skin (however, according to TheBestOrganicSkincare.com, argon oil has a much higher proportion of linoleic acid, so this might not be the case for acne-prone skin). This means that if you have a normal skin type, the only real difference between these two oils will be the price point (jojoba is generally much less expensive). After you've done your research into the comedogenic rating and oleic versus linoleic acid ratios (and made sure the product isn't diluted with other ingredients), my advice is to just go with the best priced option.
Navigating the big wide world of oils can seem a little intimidating, but at the end of the day it just comes down to doing your research. Make sure you know which oils work best for your skin type, and then take the plunge!