Remember the days when our number one criteria when shopping for a moisturizer was that it be oil-free? Luckily for us, those days are long gone—almost all major beauty brands have a selection of oils now that can tackle a myriad of issues. As it happens, the best oils for skin and hair were there all along, we just didn’t have much clarity on the differences between them.
Many of us grew up fearing any product with a “heavy” or “greasy” finish. We were convinced that these products were clogging our pores and causing breakouts. Unfortunately, our fears were (somewhat) founded. Mineral oil, an element found in many old-fashioned moisturizers, is a substance that can in fact cause breakouts. To counteract this, the “oil-free craze” took off, leaving many of us with seriously parched faces. Our dehydrated complexions then over-compensated by producing more oil to counteract the dryness. Additionally, oil was often replaced with ingredients like silicones, which simply sit on top of the skin and cause even more congestion. It was a mess.
Thankfully, oil-based products have come a very long way from the days of rampant pore-clogging mineral oil. There are now a dizzying array of products available to provide grease-free nourishment for your complexion, hair, and body. Plant, fruit, flower, and herb-based oils are generally light, nourishing, and easily absorbed by the skin and hair—leaving none of the unsightly residues that we once feared.
So, keep reading to learn more about the best oils for skin and hair, and sound out in the comments with your favorites, too!
For those with acne-prone skin, this face oil is an absolute dream. Made with blue tansy, it not only soothes dry, irritated skin but also reduces redness and balances skin. Oils are not just for those who struggle with dryness—this blue beauty is specifically formulated for combination, oily, and blemish-prone skin. I’m beyond obsessed with how it makes my skin look and feel, it really is worth every penny.
This is one of the products that started my oil obsession. My husband actually has much drier skin than I do and has used oils on his face for years—he’ll even use Aquaphor in a pinch! A couple of years ago, he started using this L’Occitane almond oil on his face and loved the texture and scent so much that he still uses it today. I love stealing it and using it all over my body, it’s the perfect balance of light and nourishing.
This insanely rich and hydrating body oil is deeply nourishing but doesn’t leave skin with the dreaded oil-slick feeling. It’s specially formulated to have a thick, velvety texture that is quickly absorbed by your skin, so you don’t have to worry about it transferring to clothing or furniture. It has an extremely high concentration of shea butter oil, Vitamin C Ester, and papaya enzymes that give skin a lovely boost of radiance. The gentle pineapple citrus scent has major tropical vacation vibes and feels oh so luxurious.
This face oil has completely changed the game. I love the smell and its lightweight consistency—it literally sinks right in. No oily residue here. With botanically infused organic olive oil and olive leaf water, it delivers a double dose of hydration thanks to its water-based and oil-based delivery system. It’s also rich in Vitamin C to help support the skin’s natural collagen synthesis. It’s an investment, but a little goes a long way.
One of my biggest beauty pet peeves is when an eye makeup remover irritates my eyes. The stuff is designed to be used around the eye area, so why are my eyeballs on fire?! That’s why I love this makeup remover by Biossance—it’s an antioxidant-rich cleansing oil that soothes and nourishes skin while cleansing it. Makeup melts off like magic and your skin feels smooth and ultra-clean without being stripped of its natural moisture barrier.
As much as my husband and I love our L’Occitane oil, we recently got seriously hooked on this simple rosehip seed oil—the ultimate cure-all for our dry skin. This oil is a total game-changer: it replenishes lost moisture, helps to maintain the look of healthy skin, and best of all, it’s cruelty-free, vegan, and affordable. This treatment also promises to naturally and gently decrease fine lines with no chemicals.
I recently became acquainted with Osmia, a lovely line made with mostly organic ingredients that are based out of Colorado. I was intrigued by this “water lily” body oil, which is a heady mix of vetiver, ginger lily, and juniper oil. It’s spicy and almost masculine, making it surprisingly sexy. I’ve been using it daily to combat the effects of a very drying winter.
As a lady with fine hair, I was a little bit more hesitant to adopt oils into my hair care routine than I was with my skincare routine. Afraid that the super-moisturizing ingredients would weigh my hair down, I chose a product that mixes light oils with a bit of silicone. It adds light hydration, shine, and also protects hair from heat-related damage. Just a bit on my ends before and after styling makes a major difference.
If you have hardier locks and are looking for a more deeply repairing and frizz-fighting product, I’m a big fan of Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging line. Packed with a seriously concentrated dose of omega-3 fatty acids from caviar extract, this stuff is seriously transforming for stressed-out hair. A dry oil will hydrate and smooth out your hair while still retaining bounce.
Don’t you just love a multi-tasker? This oil is at once light while also being deeply hydrating—and smells like a perfect spring day. It’s one of the best oils for skin and hair available thanks to its unique blend of rosehip, absinthium, and shea oils. The rosehip oil reduces the appearance of scars and redness while absinthium oil rehydrates and shea oil moisturizes dry, dull skin and hair. It’s a good thing it’s affordable because it’s almost impossible to not get hooked on this multi-purpose all-star.
While I initially balked at the price tag for this oil, once I tried it I knew it would forever be worth the splurge. This best-selling, cult-favorite moisturizer is not only incredibly hydrating, but it is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It’s naturally scented with jasmine, neroli, and rose, which gives it a delicate and ethereal fragrance. It’s done wonders for my skin’s texture and general appearance—I never want to live in a world without this gorgeous oil.
Isla Oil by The Things We Do
If you have dry skin, then reach for this beautiful, lightweight oil. Vanessa Lee, founder of The Things We Do, is a world-renowned Medical Aesthetic Provider and one of the most trusted people in Los Angeles when it comes to anything skincare. The beauty of this oil is how it helps you retain your own skin’s natural moisture without congestion thanks to the therapeutic effects of Tamanu and Noni combined with Avocado oil and grapeseed oil. You can also be reassured in its clean formula, so you won’t find any of these in it: mineral oil, parabens, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, or DEA.
Ritual Serum by LESSE
This lightweight oil serum is made by one of the dreamiest skincare brands out of Los Angeles. It’s rich in antioxidants and deeply purifying botanicals to clear, correct, and nurture the skin. It sinks straight into the skin as soon as you apply it and has a very subtle scent. The unique formula is suited to sensitive skin types and will alleviate redness and inflammation. It also works well as a topical and truly natural solution for those with rosacea, dermatitis, and other chronic skin conditions.
If you haven’t tried MARA’s best-selling Universal Face Oil then we highly recommend that one too, but another favorite is their retinol facial oil. If you’re new to retinol or haven’t had much luck with it in the past, then this gentle oil is a good place to start. It’s packed with powerful algae extracts, 20 known amino acids and antioxidants from fermented green tea, 1.2% retinol, and natural sources of vitamin A to rejuvenate and reveal healthy youthful-looking skin. Yeah, it’s a phytonutrients powerhouse. It’s lightweight and smells delicious, too.
This post was originally published on April 21, 2015, and has since been updated.
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