Can Any Skin Type Use Face Oils?

Your skin type has likely determined your perception of face oil, which is about as divisive as a skin product gets. Dry? You probably find them a comfort, but for the oily among us they can be shudder-inducing. The problem is that there is a lot of conflicting advice swarming around skincare circles – even among the experts. So deciphering which face oil will be good for you – or whether you should be using one at all – can be tricky. But when chosen and used correctly, many skin types can benefit from them – you just need to find the right one for you.

What are the benefits of using a face oil in your skincare regime?
Face oil devotees will attest to their nourishing, skin-softening properties, and while moisturizers are traditionally the last step in most skincare regimes, many now swap theirs for an oil.  Oils can be feared by those with combination and oily complexions, though. As counterintuitive as it might seem to apply oil to oily skin, they can actually work well for this skin type, playing a rebalancing role, especially after the use of products that strip away natural sebum, like foaming cleansers.

They are helpful for dry skin types –as they are occlusives, so act as sealants on the skin surface – to help lock in hydration, oily skin types should approach with caution. Oils can block your pores to varying extents. Acne prone skin, in particular, is naturally oily, producing excess sebum in the affected areas, so it does not need nor benefit from the use of face oils, whether used as cleansers or moisturizers. On this type of skin, they have a tendency to block pores and bring on whiteheads and blackheads.

Is an oil more hydrating than a moisturizer?
The two products play different roles in skincare – and can support each other. While moisturizers and serums deliver hydration and active ingredients into the skin, oils are there, sitting on the top, for nourishment and conditioning. So if you’re wondering whether to swap your serum for a face oil, the answer is no. If you are a drier skin type, in particular, they are a great last step post-moisturizer. After applying moisturizers with additional hydrating ingredients, such as humectants, they are a helpful step to lock in hydration.

When should I apply facial oil and should I use it every day?
Face oils can be used year-round, but most people notice a seasonal change in their skin – when it gets colder, we tend to experience increased dryness, so many skin types can benefit from using an oil to enhance the hydrating properties of serums and moisturizers. As the hotter months approach, however, pay attention to your skin and its needs – if your face oil starts causing breakouts or simply feels that bit too heavy, swap it for something lighter.

You can use a face oil every day if your skin happily takes it without irritation or breakouts. Night is an ideal time to apply one, given that the formulation serves as a great way to lock in moisture overnight. While you can use one during the day, you do need to be careful about how it interferes with your SPF – it has the ability to break down or dilute your sun protection, so it’s advisable to wear overnight instead. Whenever you choose to use one, it should always be the last step in your regime, because anything applied over the top will not be able to permeate and thus will be useless.

How to apply face oil
The beauty of the face oil is that it is a great product to be used in conjunction with facial massage techniques, plus, they often have sense-soothing aromatherapeutic benefits, too.  Massage your oil into the face using upward and outward motions to help with lymphatic drainage and to sculpt. You can also use your oil anywhere that needs extra nourishment, whether that’s the ends of your hair or your cuticles.

What face oil to use for what skin type
When looking for the perfect face oil, keep a close eye on the key ingredients or actives in the formula. If you’re using a face oil for the first time, start slowly, as you should with any new product.  The key is to listen to your skin – it will tell you if it doesn’t like what has been put on it – but below is an at-a-glance guide on how to find the best oil for your skin type.

Look for face oils that contain a greater percentage of essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Since dry skin types tend to suffer skin barrier issues, omegas, fatty acids and ceramides can help fortify it and prevent water loss. Other great ingredients to look out for include grape seed, squalene, marula, rose and jojoba oils.
Most dermatologists agree that face oils aren’t great for oily skins. That said, everyone’s skin is different, so if you do want to try one, it needs to be chosen with care. Look for a high-quality oil that is light in texture and which contains ingredients with antibacterial or antioxidant properties, tea tree oil can be helpful in treating individual spots in mild cases of acne. Other ingredients to look out for are salicylic acid and retinoids, and omega 6 can help to regulate sebum production, too. Avoid thicker, more unctuous types like coconut oil like the plague. If the oil doesn’t work for you? Get right back to that moisturizer.
Despite the fact that most face oils are plant-based, they can still cause irritation in those with sensitive skin. It’s always best to try the product a few times with a small test patch before applying to a larger area. Stop immediately if any irritation starts to appear. Essential oils have a habit of wreaking havoc on sensitive skins, so look to formulas that promise to calm and protect. Think squalene, marula, vitamin E, rosehip and jojoba.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.