First of all, face oil? Isn’t that a problem, not a product? For some of us with oily skin, oil may sound like the devil. But even our face’s natural oil, known as sebum, is a beautiful thing. Facial oils have been around since the beginning of time when it comes to skincare (think Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) and are a vital part of our skin’s health and integrity known as the lipid barrier.
That being said, not just any emollient will do. Not all face oils were created equal, the same way that not everyone’s skin responds to ingredients the same way! There are some hard and fast ideals to hold close when considering ingredients, and some variables. We’ll break it down.
First of all, always look for brands that bottle their formulas in dark amber, or totally opaque glass. Heat and light oxidizes natural, cold-pressed oils, rendering them not only less effective but oftentimes useless, and even rancid. We want to make sure our cold-pressed, botanical actives remain fresh, potent, and effective for optimal benefits.
Consider molecular weight. We aren’t trained to think this way when shopping for skincare, but we should be. It’s up to us to become well-versed in the science of our ingredients, and molecular weight is a big part of that.
Jojoba oil is our absolute favorite base for both face and body because it most resembles our own natural oils, and it’s got a very small molecular weight, thus it is absorbed by our skin and utilized instead of sitting on top in a greasy film. But argan oil and squalane (derived from olives but different that the olive oil we cook with) have a similar molecular weight. These are best for all skin types, but especially for normal to oily to create and maintain balance.
While we still recommend jojoba for acneic skin since it balances sebum production, it’s more about what other active oils enrich the formula. Jojoba is the carrier, but oils of tea tree, blue tansy, and black cumin fight breakouts, while chamomile or calendula soothe irritation.
Rose is a beautifully rich oil for anti-aging, and is a powerful ingredient to hydrate and nourish. Sea buckthorn is perfect for those with dry skin that also is prone to an occasional breakout, while also providing rich, emollient action for plumping up fine lines and wrinkles. Algae oils and extracts provide mineral rich hydration that fights against sallow skin, sagging, and dark spots.
Lastly, don’t forget to apply your oil last in your routine! Unless you typically use a heavy balm to moisturize, molecularly, oil will be the heaviest of all your products. Essence, serum, moisturizer (if you use one in addition to the face oil) and then your face oil. Otherwise, it will simply be a waste of product— your other products won’t be able to penetrate past the oil barrier. No need to rub it in aggressively. Tap it in lightly, pressing the oil into the skin, or utilize this opportunity to give yourself a facial massage to bring circulation and nutrient-rich oxygen to the skin’s surface. It makes applying your face oil a truly luxurious treatment each and every day!