Also known as tsubaki oil, camellia oil has been used for centuries in Japan as a lightweight hydrator for skin and hair. Apparently, geishas used the oil as a makeup remover and face cleanser in place of water — reason enough to work this miracle product into your own skin care routine. That said, camellia oil has managed to fly relatively under the radar in the Western beauty world, so you’ll most often find it packed into oil blends, moisturizers, or cleansers along with its better-known cousins, jojoba and rice bran oils. But whether it’s pure or blended, the best camellia oils for your face will deliver deep, quick-absorbing hydration while enriching your skin with essential nutrients and antioxidants.
More to love about Coco Chanel’s signature flower, in its topical iteration: Behind the scenes, camellia works to protect your skin against free radical damage, improve elasticity, and increase collagen production — so the more you use any product infused with camellia oil, the firmer and clearer your skin will become. And like most dry oils, camellia is non-comedogenic, so it can be a great choice for people with acne-prone skin.
Stock up on this J-beauty staple with any of the six best camellia oils and camellia oil-infused products, listed ahead.
1. The Best Pure Camellia Oil
Go for this Oleo Botanicals Camellia Seed Oil if you prefer your oils served straight up, thank you very much. This small-batch oil is cold-pressed from camellia japonica flower seeds imported from Japan to retain the seeds’ peak levels of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, polyphenols, and other vitamins and nutrients. Use this oil on its own, or mix a couple drops in with your moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, or foundation for an extra hit of hydration and dewiness. Some people recommend pressing it on top of your topmost base layer, which lets the oil’s antioxidants form a protective barrier against the sun, smog, and other environmental aggressors.
2. The Best Budget Camellia Oil Blend
Fermented camellia oil joins jojoba, sunflower, chamomile, bergamot, and rice bran oils (another Japanese ingredient that you’ll often see alongside camellia oil) in this Bliss Hydration Salvation Moisturizing Camellia Facial Oil, which is formulated to heal and restore dry, sensitive skin. Reviewers love this oil blend for its quick absorbency and lightweight feel. It’s not greasy, either, so it won’t make any foundation you layer on top streak or smudge. And at $20 on Amazon, this multifunctional oil is leagues cheaper than other, notoriously pricey face oils floating around the skin care universe.
3. The Best Luxury Camellia Oil Blend
Speaking of splurges: If you’re committed to the cause, this Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil is one of the best professional-grade camellia oil blends (and face oil blends in general) you can buy. Formulated to restore the lipids in your skin that deplete over time, the oils and plant extracts in here work in three phases: To repair your skin barrier (camellia and tamanu), impart and seal in moisture (orchid and chia seed), and protect against free radicals that contribute to skin damage (sunflower, rice bran, and camellia). Reviewers absolutely swear by this “game-changing” oil, which works wonders on all skin types. A little goes a long way, as is the case with most face oils, so this 1-ounce bottle will last you for months.
4. The Best Cleanser With Camellia Oil
Pai's Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is an absolute godsend for people with dry, irritated skin, conditions like eczema or rosacea, or anyone who just wants to engage in a little self-soothing. In here, camellia and rose oils work to hydrate and rejuvenate dry, tired-feeling skin, while other fatty oils and plant butters provide even more nourishment. Even though it’s so gentle, this cleanser is hearty enough to remove all traces of eye and face makeup. This order also comes with a reusable, dual-sided muslin cloth as an eco-friendly alternative to cotton pads.
5. The Best Eye Cream With Camellia Oil
Unsurprisingly, you can find some of the best camellia oil-spiked skin care products from brands based in East Asia. The tsubaki species is native to Japan, but camellias bloom naturally elsewhere in Asia, too — including Jeju Island, a volcanic island in South Korea from which the Korean brand Blossom Jeju takes their inspiration. Along with camellia oil, this eye cream features a long list of plant extracts and oils that work to gently rejuvenate, firm, and protect the sensitive skin around your eyes. Expect some modern high performers too, like niacinamide for brightening and hyaluronic acid for weightless hydration.
6. The Best Moisturizer With Camellia Oil
I’m deeply intrigued by this boscia Tsubaki Swirl moisturizer. Firstly because it looks like a cup of swirled ice cream, and secondly because of its genius formulation: It’s one part gel and one part cream, so you’re getting the refreshing feel of the former and the nourishment of the latter. Both strands of the swirl are enriched with camellia oil, along with glow-enhancing rice bran oil and Japanese sea kelp, which the brand says helps stimulate collagen production. This hybrid works great for people with combination skin, of course. But no matter your skin type, this would make a great addition to your pre-makeup skin care routine for its immediate smoothing and brightening effects.