Of all the skin care products in all the world, I'm giving face oils the title of most intimidating. As someone with oily skin, I've spent most of my life trying to de-grease my face, so the idea of buying something that has the word 'oil' in its name seems more than counterintuitive. But the ingredients in these formulas are actually loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids that protect and nourish the skin, and rather than exacerbate any skin concern you might have, they can actually help — including with excess oiliness — once you've found the best face oil for your skin type.
It turns out there are tons of oils and oil combinations out there, so finding one that works with your skin can get a little confusing. In general, if you have dry skin, you want to go for richer oils like marula and almond, since they're high in fatty acids, which helps skin retain moisture. Sensitive skin types should look for gentle oils like sweet almond, as well as oils with anti-inflammatory properties like aloe vera. You'll also want to avoid fragrant oils (think lavender and grapefruit), as they tend to aggravate skin.
If your skin is already oil central, the key to soaking up all of those moisturizing and environmental-damage-protecting benefits without the added grease factor is looking for the lightest oils possible, like jojoba and squalene. These same oils can work with acne-prone skin as well, but you can also look for added bacteria-killing ingredients like salicylic acid. And funnily enough, applying oil to oily skin can actually help curb excess sebum production, since it might only be producing so much oil to compensate for a lack of it in the first place.
Regardless of which oil you choose, the rules for applying it are largely the same. Because oils create a barrier on the skin, you should apply it as the last step in your skin care routine. Once you cleanse and tone, you can either mix a few drops of your oil into your nighttime moisturizer, or put your moisturizer on first and then gently press the oil onto your face to seal everything in.
Still unsure of how to find your face oil match? Check out this list, which breaks down the best face oils by skin type.
1. Best Face Oil For Dry Skin
For skin that needs an extra hit of hydration, the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil combines a seriously impressive number of plant-based oils. In addition to almond oil, the key ingredients in this deeply-nourishing formula are rice bran, cucumber, daikon radish, and broccoli seed oils, which contain vitamins B, E, and C to protect and plump your skin. But there's also a dose of rosehip and macadamia oils, too, to help maintain a healthy moisture barrier and even out skin tone. With each application, your complexion will become smoother and more radiant — and since a little goes a long way, this half-ounce bottle should last you ages.
2. Best Face Oil For Sensitive Skin
If it's not just dryness but sensitivity in the form of itchiness and redness that's a concern, all-natural European brand, Weleda, formulated a face oil just for you. Their Sensitive Care Calming Oil is free of common skin irritants like fragrances, artificial colors, and synthetic preservatives, and contains mostly sweet almond oil, which is gentle but effective at nourishing skin. Blackthorn blossom and plum seed oil are also combined in this blend to help relieve red, itchy skin while helping to further protect it and repair your moisture barrier. In addition to possibly relieving the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, the brand also recommends using this oil on your scalp to help fight dandruff.
3. Best Face Oil For Oily Skin
Specifically formulated to hydrate skin while keeping its natural oil production in check, Herbivore's Lapis Balancing Facial Oil is also free of artificial ingredients, fragrances, and colors. What is inside this Instagram-worthy bottle is a light blend of oils including jojoba and squalene. To help balance oily and combination skin, blue tansy and kukui nut oil are added into the mix. Blue tansy is the ingredient behind the oil's deep blue color, and more importantly, it contains azulene, which soothes irritation, reduces redness, and a whole lot more.
4. Best Face Oil For Acne-Prone Skin
If your skin is sensitive to breakouts, ease your way into using a face oil by looking for a blend of light oils and acne-fighting ingredients. Sunday Riley's UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil does just that by combining jojoba and tea tree oils with 1.5 percent salicylic acid, which you might recognize as the active ingredient in many over-the-counter acne treatments. To counteract any drying effects from the salicylic acid, Sunday Riley added milk thistle and cucumber see oils to further hydrate skin.
5. Best Budget-Friendly Face Oil
Face oils can be a bit of a splurge, but there are more affordable options out there that get the job done, like this 100 percent organic jojoba oil from Teddie Organics. While the brand makes other affordable facial oils, this one gets my pick because while jojoba oil is deeply hydrating, it also works well with all skin types because of its wax structure that allows it to absorb into skin faster than most other oils. Nutrients found in jojoba oil, like vitamin E, work to smooth dry skin, while vitamin B can help improve sensitive skin conditions like eczema. The fact that jojoba oil is naturally anti-microbial means it can also help eliminate acne-causing bacteria, so it's truly an all-around skin care win.
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