I may have been late to the face oils game, but once I started playing, I pretty much became team mascot. For years, I’ve listened to beauty gurus tout the miraculous results of using oils on your skin — but as someone whose biggest skin issue was occasional breakouts, I pretty much assumed that oils would make me oily and clog my pores. A couple times, I experimented by replacing my moisturizer with a face oil for a weeklong stint, and when I woke up with a random pimple on my chin, said, “Not for me.”
It all changed when I went on this wellness retreat and experienced my first lymphatic facial by Kristina Holey, where she started with an oil-based cleanser, used a variety of nourishing serums, and then capped it off with a vitamin-packed moisturizing oil that left me glowing like an angel and not at all greasy. The oil melted into my skin in a way that a conventional moisturizer never would. My skin had never felt so pampered, and since she sent me home with sample sizes of the all-natural and organic products to try, I had no reason not to give them a go.
image by kristen kilpatrick
Here’s what I discovered: making the switch to facial oils takes a bit of getting used to. Our skin may be so accustomed to the harsher treatments that we’ve been using (in addition to nightly retinol, I had also been using a cleanser with salicylic acid, an exfoliator with lactic acid, and a moisturizer with AHA – yikes!) it may take a couple weeks for it to settle down from the inflammation and embrace the gentler, nourishing approach of oils.
Yes, that may mean a few breakouts during the transition phase (annoying), but I promise you it’s well worth it when you wake up one day and your skin is calm, moisturized, and radiant. I haven’t had a pimple in 6 months.
The facial oils approach appeals to me for the same reason that gentler workouts, more moderate approaches to eating, and less structured schedules are appealing to me these days. As I gently press wonderfully-scented natural oils into my skin, it feels like a daily act of self-care instead of another “to do” that I have to check off on my maintenance list. There’s a feeling of luxury, and I approach my morning and nightly skincare routine as a pampering moment of self-care that I actually look forward to. The result? My skin looks so good that I’m wearing less makeup and I’ve never felt better.
Scroll on for everything you need to know about shopping for and applying the different types of oils, as well as a few that are tried and tested by moi and can now always be found on my bathroom counter.
image by kristen kilpatrick
How to shop for face oils.
Look for oils that are:
- Made with natural plant-based ingredients, even better if organic. Unlike synthetic plant oils which can clog pores, plant-based oils can actually help balance the PH of your skin.
- Packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and omega fatty acids.
- For dry skin: look for a richer oil that will nourish even the most sensitive skin and calm any type of inflammation.
- For oily skin: look for a light oil that instantly absorbs and leaves not a trace of grease behind.
How to apply face oils.
This is a trick I learned from the founder of Vintner’s Daughter when applying their ahhhmazing cult fave serum. Use the “push/press” method when applying any type of oil: Rub 4-6 drops between your palms and push and press over your face, neck and décolleté until you feel it “pop” into pores. It’ll take about 30 seconds, so look at it as self-care time and inhale deeply to treat yourself to a mini aromatherapy session since most of these oils have yummy botanical ingredients.
My favorite face oils.
There are a few oils that really stand out above the rest for me. Some are a higher price point than what I’d normally spend on skincare, but the organic formulations and incredible ingredients make them worth it — especially since they can last me months since I just use a few drops a day.
Scroll the shop below for the 5 that I love and use on the reg – and get ready to fall in love with face oils (if you’re not already.) I’d love to hear your faves in the comments.