face oils 101: when and how to use a face oil according to your skin type
The struggle of knowing when and how to apply a facial oil the right way is real.
Natural oils embody an abundance of skin benefits - so understanding the right type of facial oil for your skin type is super important to reap the rewards for your skin. If you experience oiliness you may go slow and steady with certain face oils, whereas dry skin peeps might lather it on like sunscreen. To understand the who, when, how and why of using facial oils we turned to dermatologist Kathleen Eusebio-Alpapara to break it all down for us.
Why Do You Need Face Oils In Your Skincare Routine?
Whether you have sensitive skin, dry and dehydrated skin or even oily and combination skin types we can all benefit from using face oils — especially if you live somewhere with low humidity. Faces oils act as a bodyguard for your skin working to lock in the products underneath penetrating them deep into the skin.
Face oils promote a healthy glow
As we age our skin produces fewer natural oils, which can leave skin looking dull and dehydrated. Body and face oils can help restore moisture and rejuvenate skin.
Locks in moisture and adds extra nourishment.
Packed with essential fatty acids facial oils are especially nourishing to skin experiencing dryness as they can help boost a moisturiser’s hydrating efforts. When a facial oil is applied after your moisturiser it seals in all of the hydrating ingredients, making your skin more likely to hold onto that added hydration.
Face Oils Protect skin from harmful pollutants
Face oils attract other oils and help protect against any environmental stressors our skin is exposed. When applied as the last step of a morning skincare routine, facial oils act as a barrier on the skin's outer layer by keeping moisture in and pollutants out.
Helps foundation apply more smoothly
Face oils can help concealer or liquid foundation be applied more smoothly, especially on dry, flaky or blemish-prone skin. It helps your makeup brush glide across the skin for a flawless finish, making it less likely to clump or streak.
How often should you use facial oils?
Our facial oils are mostly non-comedogenic meaning they are unlikely to clog pores. It’s really up to you how often you use your face oil in your skin care routine. Depending on your skin type some oils can be used every day as a cleanser, moisturise or sporadically as a spot treatment.
Finding the Right Face Oil for Your Skin Type: When and how to use a face oil
Plant oils primarily act as a protective barrier to the skin, preventing water loss, and depending on the oil you use there are other benefits depending on your skin type. So, knowing your skin type is essential in choosing the best oil for your skin and its frequency of application. As a general rule oils should be applied after serums or moisturizers and just before SPF in the morning. Think of it as applying products from thinnest to thickest.
During summer, when your oil glands are more active than usual, you may want to only apply your facial oil at night after your moisturisers. Some oils may react to sun exposure, especially when mixed with sweat, leading to irritation, itchiness, and redness. Some oils to avoid in the summer are essentials oils cold-pressed Bitter Orange, Lemon and Lime.
In winter, you may apply your oils twice a day after the moisturiser and sunblock in the morning. You can use thick oils with high comedogenic ratings like coconut.
If your skin is oily, stick to lightweight oils which are non-comedogenic, like prickly pear, hemp seed oil and grapeseed oil. Apply your serum in the morning and at night and apply your medications, like for acne, at night. Don't forget your sunscreen in the morning.
Combination skin means the outer layer of the skin is dry while the sebaceous or oil glands are active. So basically, you still treat your face how you would treat oily skin, but be cautious in choosing skin care products that don't further dry or irritate the dry outer layer of the skin. In your skincare routine apply a high comedogenic oil to the dry areas of the face like the sides of the cheeks, and a low comedogenic serum on the oily areas of the face like the nose and forehead.
How to Use a Face Oil
1. Combine Oils With other products like Serums or Moisturisers
Facial oils can be combined with other skincare products to get enhanced effects. The best combinations: serums (to treat) or moisturisers (to lock in hydration).
2. Apply face oil based on your skin's needs
Facial oils can be used in the morning before your sunscreen and makeup, and at night as the last step of your nightly skincare routine (after serums and moisturisers).
If you have oily or combination skin, apply only at night before bed so your skin can soak up the oil overnight and provide protection throughout the day - especially for thicker or treatment oils.
Dull skin? Use facial oil as a primer before applying makeup. Allow the oil to fully absorb before applying your makeup for natural, hydrated glowing skin.
3. Dab or Pat Oils Into Your Skin
Dab or pat oils into the skin, rather than rubbing into the skin. This will help push oils into your pores, so the oils are easily absorbed and your skin can make use of the face oil benefits much quicker.
4. A Couple Drops Is All You Need
Face oils contain high concentrations of nutrients so a little bit goes a long way. One to three drops of of oil is enough to cover your whole face and deliver the benefits the skin needs.
Depending on your skin type a natural facial oil can be used in a few other ways to treat your skin:
As a spot treatment -
Our Hemp Face oil contains anti-bacterial properties from Tea Tree and rosemary oil which means you can use a few drops as a spot treatment on breakouts and pimples. Simply use a few drops to gently pat the oil onto the problem area.
Oil cleansing Method
A great spa-like facial treatment to really target clogged pores and get the maximum benefits from your face oil.
What you need:
- a face towel or washcloth and a face oil
- hot water
- Drop a generous amount of face oil into the palm of your hands but don’t overdo it.
- Rub hands together to warm the oil.
- Slowly but firmly massage onto skin focusing on any problem areas, this will work the oil into the pores to help impurities be steamed away.
- Soak a face cloth in steamy hot water, (not boiling). Hold the facecloth over your face and allow it to sit until it cools down. Wipe the oil gently and repeat step 4 2-3 more times.
- In the morning, a quick wipe with a warm face cloth or rinse in the shower is enough. Over-cleansing can strip off those al-naturale oils which can lead to skin damage.
What ingredients should I look out for in natural facial oil?
Aside from working as the top coat to keep moisture in, plant-based oils have other therapeutic benefits on the skin. They are a good source of antioxidants. Certain oils also have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, while others promote wound healing and repair the skin barrier. Here are some of the ingredients to look for in facial oils.
While most plant oils contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids making it thick making it a good coat on the skin to prevent moisture evaporation. Aside from maintaining skin hydration, it can protect the skin from UV radiation and promote wound healing by increasing blood supply and collagen production. Coconut is packed with fatty acid: lauric acid, containing monolaurin which was proven to have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral activities. Thus, coconut doesn't only protect your skin from dehydration but infection as well.
Studies have proven that argan oil is an excellent antioxidant and anti-aging agent that can help reduce wrinkles. It can also increase skin elasticity and, in some, decrease oil production.
Extremely rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps delay signs of premature aging. It also contains ellagic acid, which offers photoprotective effects preventing collagen breakdown and inflammation due to UV exposure.
Caffeine increases metabolism and helps flush toxins out of our body. It reduces puffy eyes and helps with toning, firming or body contouring by enhancing fat breakdown and releasing excess fat from fat cells. Furthermore, some compounds in coffee are also antioxidants protecting the skin from sun damage by neutralizing free radicals.
Top Non-Comedogenic oils to use in face oils.
Low comedogenic oils are thinner and easily flow compared to those high comedogenic oils. Higher linoleic fatty acid content is found in oils with low comedogenic ratings, while higher steric and oleic fatty acids are found in high comedogenic oils. In general, oils with lower comedogenic ratings, like the ones listed below are your go-to if you have acne-prone or oily skin.
ROSEHIP OILAdios Irritation Body & Face Oil View
Rich in antioxidants (vitamins C, B and E.) and carotenoids which can be converted to Vitamin A or retinol. Retinol and its derivatives, retinoids, are among the most famous and well-studied products for aging skin. Rosehip oil promotes collagen production, improves fine lines and wrinkles, and increases epidermal turnover, making it an excellent lightening agent for dark or age spots or melasma.
With a higher comedogenic rating of 2, it's composed mainly of oleic acid so it may clog the pores of some, especially those who have acne-prone. But if you have oily or combination skin but aren't acne-prone, this oil is your go-to as it can effectively coat your skin to prevent dryness.
If you have acne-prone and oily skin, this oil is for you. According to a few studies, hemp seed oil can alleviate pimple breakouts by balancing oil production and decreasing redness, swelling and inflamed zits. It also has anti-bacterial properties.
Grapeseed oil contains resveratrol, which can enhance wound healing and act as an anti-microbial. It also contains vitamin E, also an antioxidant.
Hydrate Thy Body Rose Oil View
With a low comedogenic rating of 2, it helps repair the skin barrier, improving conditions that cause skin dryness like eczema or even photoaging. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps enhance the skin absorption of other skincare products like serum and creams.
Jojoba oil is found in: Hydrate thy body Oil, Mister Brightside Face & hair oil and adios irritation face & body oil.
Featured in our Goodbye Breakouts hemp oil, tea tree has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity. Together with the oil-control ability of hemp oil, it's your skin's BFF if you have acne-prone skin, breakouts or excess oil.
Kathleen Alpapara is a board-certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology at VE Eusebio Skin Centre.
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