Skincare Week: An Intro to Facial Oils

When it comes to skincare trends, face oils are currently having a bit of a moment. It seems like every other day there’s a new nut or plant or tree that’s being pressed into the latest and greatest luxury oil (although I’m sure the communities where they are coming from have been utilizing them already for years). As someone who within the last decade was terrified of anything with the word “oil” in it, embracing this skincare trend was another counterintuitive step towards getting my face in check. I’m definitely still in the process of learning what differentiates one oil from the next, and if there is such a thing as a “best” oil for my particular skin.

In all of my research so far, there seems to be a common thread among the majority of the oils and oil blends I’ve come across – cosmetics companies are on the hunt for the Fountain of Youth. While I say this jokingly, I seriously could probably write the words “anti-aging” 100 times in this article if I wanted to. Perhaps it comes down to this. There is (or at least this is the perception) an “ideal” state for your skin to be in. Smooth, firm, perfectly balanced, free of wrinkles, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation. Ideal skin is youthful (as if we all had absolutely perfect skin in the days of our youth). Whether or not this idea is a psychologically healthy one to perpetuate when we all know that getting older is an inevitable part of our existence is up for debate. So I’ll take this approach instead.

Our skin takes a beating throughout our lifetimes. Exposure to sun, wind, pollutants, stress, hormones, you name it. And over time, the damage is going to show. The purpose of a good facial oil is to enhance your skin’s natural abilities to protect, heal, and regulate itself, therein reversing the signs of past damage, and helping to prevent future damage from occurring. They aren’t going to miraculously transform your skin into someone else’s, but they can certainly give your face extra resources when it’s fighting its battle against the elements.

This still leaves the question of where to begin. With so many options on the market (and many of them being quite pricey), how do you know you’re investing in the oil that’s best for your skin? Today I’m going to share my thoughts on 6 different oils and oil blends that I’ve tried out lately, but when it comes to your own personal search, I’ll offer this advice. Most of these oils offer very similar benefits, and what you choose will probably come down to a combination of budget and personal preference. You can take my two cents for what they’re worth, but ultimately what works for me may not be the same for you.

1 oz, ($28)

Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Jojoba Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Vitamin E

Ever since I discovered Tokyo Factory Skincare I’ve been in love with their thoughtful, all-natural products. This Revitalizing Face Oil has a powerful blend of 100% natural ingredients to rejuvenate and hydrate the skin. You won’t find any added fragrances or dyes in this formula, which gets its vibrant orange color from beta-Carotene rich Rosehip Oil. Beta-Carotene aids in the process of cell turnover, and is also what gives carrots the same hue. Another powerhouse in this blend is Sea Buckthorn Oil, which is rich in vitamins C and E. If you read yesterday’s post on face masks you’ll already know that Vitamin C is an anti-aging power player. In a lot of ways this oil reminds me a lot of the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil (that I reviewed way back in the day), but with a significantly more wallet-friendly price tag.

1 oz, ($105)

    Ingredients: Persea Gratissima (Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Organic, Cold Pressed Concord Grape) Seed Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Cold Pressed Blackberry) Seed Oil, Salvia Hispanica (Cold Pressed Chia) Oil, Dimethyl Isosorbide (and) Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Chamomila Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) oil, Anthemis nobilis (English Chamomile) oil, Eriocephalus punctualatus (Cape Chamomile) oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Blood Orange) oil, Cananga Odorata Flower (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Vetivera zizanoides (Vetiver) oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (and) Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, CI 61565 (Green 6), CI 60725 (Violet 2)

    If there is one facial oil that I’ve seen EVERYWHERE as per late, it’s the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil. Part of the chatter is over the absolutely ridiculous price tag. At over $100 an ounce this is one of those products that people almost feel compelled to try, just to see if it’s worth the money. I personally was also curious, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to snag this little free sample (which alone is probably worth $20 or $30). The big selling point on this product is that it contains a Retinol complex as well as super rare and fancy sounding “Blue Tansy” oil for the ultimate anti-aging cocktail. As an acne sufferer, I can speak to the benefits of incorporating a retinol treatment into your skincare routine. Retinols also boost cell turnover, which results in everything from a reduction of acne scaring to fine lines and wrinkles. They also make your skin more sensitive to sun damage, which means its extra important to use sun protection daily while using a product like this. Having tried this oil out for a few weeks, I do think that it’s nice, however I’m not convinced that its worth over $100. Also, one of the biggest disappointments to me about this formula is that that they had to go ahead and add artificial coloring to it. If the addition of blue tansy does in fact turn the oil blue, then that’s great, but to add an unnecessary filler just to enhance the effect seems silly to me.

    1.7 oz, ($48)
    Price per ounce: $28.24

    Ingredients: Natural Argan Isostearylic Esters

    Looking back on the facial oil craze, I’m pretty sure that the rise of Argan Oil is what set things in motion. And when I think of Argan Oil, I almost immediately think of Josie Maran, who is arguably one of its biggest advocates. Argan Oil is known for its multi-purpose uses. It helps to regulate sebum production, making it ideal for oily and acne prone individuals, but can also provide deep hydration and nourishment from pretty much head to toe. You can use for everything from sealing in split ends, to soothing rough cuticles, to priming your face for makeup. Texture wise it’s a bit on the heavy side, which is why I immediately was drawn towards this lighter version. According to Josie Maran they were able to “release the lightest elements of Argan oil while still maintaining the amazing skin benefits”. Argan Oil Light is super fast absorbing and doesn’t feel overly heavy or greasy on the skin. It’s got a very earthy smell, that while maybe not the most amazing thing on the planet, isn’t overly offensive either. I think if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop kind of product, Argan Oil is a good old standby to keep on hand.

    0.33 oz, ($10)
    Price per ounce: $30.30

    Ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat., PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polysorbate 20, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Limonene, t-Butyl Alcohol, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, Citral, Leptospermum Petersonii (Lemon Tea Tree) Oil, Denatonium Benzoate, Tocopherol.

    While this oil from The Body Shop is a bit different from the others included in this post, I use it enough that I felt it worth mentioning. Tea Tree Oil has been my go-to blemish spot treatment for years now, and since I made the switch from Benzoyl Peroxide I haven’t looked back. Tea Tree Oil has natural antiseptic properties, and kills blemish causing bacteria on the skin just as effectively as any prescription cream, but without any of the harsh, overly drying and skin bleaching side-effects. Looking at the ingredients of this particular version the inclusion of alcohol troubles me a little bit, as well as some of the other chemical preservatives and fillers. I know that 100% pure Tea Tree Oil can also be a little too harsh for direct use on the skin, so I’d love to find a happy medium. While this version does work like a charm, I would love to hear about other more natural and effective formulas that are out there.

    1.6 oz, ($50)
    Price per ounce: $31.25

    Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Fragrance, BHT, Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Coumarin, Geraniol.

    Seabuckthorn Oil makes an appearance yet again in this nourishing oil blend from Fresh. High in Omega Fatty Acids, this product helps to improve skins softness and elasticity in addition to nourishing and providing hydration. For being one of the pricier products per ounce, it does make me a little sad to see the addition of artificial fragrance to this otherwise excellent blend of essential oils and vitamin E. I personally have never had much of a problem with fragrances in my skincare, but they can be a source of serious irritation for some. On top of it all, I don’t think this blend smells particularly amazing or really any different from its unscented counterparts, so I don’t see why its necessary.

    1.0 oz ($58)

    Ingredients: 99% Marula Oil, 1% Essential Oil Fragrance Blend (Linalool, Limonene)

    The last oil I’ve got share today is one of the newest that I’ve been introduced to. Marula Oil has a high concentration of antioxidants and omega fatty acids to (once again) promote cell turnover, skin elasticity, and reverse the signs of aging (notice a trend here?). This oil is medium bodied and absorbs pretty quickly into the skin for deep hydration. Marula oil is also known for its healing properties and is suggested to sooth sunburn skin (for once, a benefit that isn’t all about making you look 25 forever!).

    As you can see, no matter which one you choose, incorporating any facial oil into your routine will give you an added boost of hydration, improve skin elasticity and cell turnover. They also can be utilized in a number of ways. Apply it directly to your face after cleansing, mix it into your daily moisturizer, or even use it to sheer out a full coverage foundation. If you’ve got a favorite facial oil in your skincare routine I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you’ve tried multiple oils, have you find significant differences between them? Which ones have worked better for you?

    Also, in writing this post one of the things I realized that might be incredibly helpful for you all to create a mini “skincare glossary”. There are so many common ingredients between different skincare products, and it might be nice to sum up their uses and benefits in one handy article. Perhaps you’ll see something like this later this week!

    Tag me on Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #lbbskincareweek to share your favorite skincare related posts, pictures, and tips!

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