As the weather gets cooler, face oils are the perfect product to keep skin hydrated. We take a look at the best face oils that work for every skin type and work whatever budget you're shopping with.
A quick poll around the Get The Gloss team revealed that when it came to people’s best face oils we were divided. There were those that loved face oils and used them all year round and those that were a bit scared of them for fear that face oils would make their skin greasy, overly shiny and, well, oily.
As with all beauty products, there are loads out there to choose from which can make finding the right one a bit of an overwhelming task. Do you go with the best super facial oils for example? Well, it will come down to your skin type and budget but there are some general ingredients that are good to look out for in a face oil. "Look for ingredients like jojoba oil as it is the closest to skin's own sebum,” advises Tracey Wilmot, Director of Education at Murad. “Coconut oil is also good for locking in hydration, rosehip oil brightens so is ideal for anyone with uneven skin tone concerns and hemp seed oil soothes and hydrates stress-related skin concerns.”
And it’s the perfect time to think about face oils if they haven’t been on your radar before because when the temperature drops oils can help lock moisture into the skin. “Skin will feel the effects of cooler weather so it’s important to improve hydration by protecting the skin’s first line of defence with oils,” says Wilmot.
Are face oils good for your skin?
“Firstly, I think before you can understand why face oils are good for your skin, you need to understand what they are,” says Antonia Knox, head of the skincare brand, Aurelia London. “There are three main components to a good moisturiser; humectants, emollients and occlusives. Humectants pull moisture from the atmosphere or deeper layers of the skin to the outer layers. Emollients add moisture to the skin and occlusives form a barrier on the skin to lock in moisture. For the most part, oils are occlusive so they will trap moisture into the skin.” Making them a great choice for naturally dehydrated skin but also any time when you know you’re skin is going to be exposed to elements that might cause your skin to become drier: being in the cold, swimming in dehydrating chlorine, or staying in with the heating cranked up. A few drops of oil will help your skin from losing any much-needed moisture.
What are the benefits of face oils?
“Facial oils are full of antioxidants and amino acids that work to repair and protect the skin and they are very good at delivering oil soluble vitamins where they need to be,” says Wilmot. “The right type of oils - ones with vitamin F, also known as linoleic acid, can help balance sebum production and reduce blemishes,” she continues. And of course, they are great at adding moisture to skin and keeping moisture in skin. Face oils are also very multi-functional so a great addition to your skincare arsenal as they can serve many purposes. “You can add a few drops to your favourite face or body moisturiser and they can also be applied to split ends or to tame brows.”
Will face oils clog pores?
Generally no they won’t but if that’s a concern for you then there are a few things you can look out for to help avoid clogging pores. Look out for the words non-comedogenic on the packaging, this means the product has been formulated with ingredients that don’t clog pores. “Check to see if the oil contains salicylic acid as this helps a face oil penetrate the skin and keeps pores clear,” says Wilmot.
How do I use face oils?
- Slugging - “If you are going to use a moisturiser – make sure you apply your oil over your moisturiser. Applying your oil first can create a barrier over your skin and prevent the absorption of your moisturiser,” says Knox.
- On damp skin - “If you are not going to use a moisturiser – make sure your skin is damp before applying your oil to your skin to enhance absorption.”
- With other products - “You can also add a few drops of your face oil to your moisturiser for a quicker application and to transform a light moisturiser into a slightly richer texture.”
- In the right amount - “If applying face oil during the day – do not apply more than two drops and ensure the oil is completely absorbed before applying your sunscreen. If you apply too much oil, this can interfere with your sunscreen.”
- Under makeup - "Using a water-based foundation over an oil may cause issues as water and oil don't mix very well," explains Wilmot. "Using a primer can help to create a layer that foundation and colour can sit on to stop the oil breaking down the foundation."
- For facial massage - “Always apply an oil prior to facial massage to ensure you do not cause damage to your skin,” says Know.
- A little goes a long way - “I think people turn away from oils because they’re worried about the texture but the key here is not to over-apply. You need to work out the optimum amount for your skin type but once you do you’ll be singing the praises of face oil to your nearest and dearest.”
11 of the best face oils
The best luxury face oil - de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil, £85
Blended just in time for winter, this gorgeous face oil contains organ, reship and marula oil to give skin lots of nourishment as well as frankincense and myrrh that calm and reduce redness as well as making skin look more radiant plus they give the oil a delicious wintery scent that will instantly make you feel warm, cosy and happy.
The best budget face oil - Q+A Super Greens Facial Oil, £8
Think of this like a green juice for your face. It’s packed with all the key ingredients your skin needs to be at its best. It does have a very slight green hue to it but don’t let that put you off as it disappears to being completely clear on the skin. It also has a very faint herbal scent which we found comforting. It has a light consistency and sinks in quickly so would work both day and night and on all skin types.
The best rose face oil - Jurlique Rare Rose Face Oil, £41
As well as containing rose extract to help keep skin supple it also has an amazing rose scent that will calm your mind. It has a dry finish so doesn’t leave any residue on the skin meaning it’s a great option to put on morning and night and for those that worry that oils will be too oily.
The best cult face oil - Clarins Blue Orchid Face Oil, £38
Unchanged since 1954, this face oil is one of three that has remained unchanged since created for the very first Clarins Institute de Beauté in Paris. It proved so popular with clients that they asked if it could be made into a take-home product, and the rest is history. This one is known for its hydrating properties and making skin feel really soft and has that classic Clarins scent that will transform your bathroom into a spa instantly.
The best organic face oil - Inlight Beauty Face Oil, £53
Certified organic by the Soil Association this gorgeous, silky oil has the most delicate scent that makes it an absolute delight to use. It’s another very light oil so can be used day and night as well as under makeup.
The best glow-inducing face oil - Balance Me Radiance Face Oil, £30
Described as ‘dewy skin in a bottle’, this contains 8 oils to hydrate the skin and whilst it doesn’t contain any shimmer or light reflecting particles it leaves the skin looking seriously glowy. It’s unscented and has more of a silky consistency rather than an oily one so it sinks in really quickly.
The best night face oil - Aurelia London Cell Repair Night Oil, £38
The heavenly scent of this makes you feel like you’re in a gorgeous, relaxing spa and the ingredients are impressive too. It’s packed with mongongo and kalahari oil which are rich in fatty acids that skin needs to stay plump and hydrated as well as lots of antioxidants to help reduce oxidative stress. It has a slightly oilier consistency so it leave a slight residue on the skin making it perfect for night when you have more time for your skin to absorb it but we think very dry skin could also wear it during the day.
The best oil for oily skin - Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil, £66
For those that are still slightly fearful of face oils need to use this. Whilst it is most definitely an oil in consistency it sinks into the skin more like a serum and contains non-comedogenic ingredients, which means it won’t clog pores. It contains a blend of six key skin-nurturing vitamins to make it look brighter, more hydrated and feel super soft.
The best pro-ageing face oil - L’Occitane Imortelle Divine Youth Oil, £45
This contains three extracts of L’Occitane’s unique skincare ingredient, immortelle. If you’re unfamiliar immortelle is a flower found on the island of Corsica and its USP is that it lives for a really long time, it even continues to bloom once it's been picked. It has become renowned for being a natural and less aggressive form of retinol and is great for revitalising skin whilst also getting to work on softening the appearance of fine lines. A few drops are all you need and it leaves an instant gorgeous sheen and glow on the skin.
The best face oil for sensitive skin - Ren Clean Skincare Evercalm Barrier Support Elixir, £44
Containing 7 natural oils, zero fragrance and ingredients that strengthen the microbiome of the skin, this very lightweight and non-greasy oil is only going to do good things to the skin. In it, you’ll find camellia japonica Seed Oil that helps reduce sensitivity and calms irritation in the skin and there’s also meadowfoam seed oil that helps strengthen the skin barrier. The stronger that is the more resilient your skin will be.
The best face oil for adding to your moisturiser - Lixir Skin Night Switch Essential Lipids, £24
This pocket-sized oil has been designed to be added to your moisturiser. There is a Lixir one you can buy alongside, but it works equally well in any moisturiser that you already love and own. It’s packed with lipids and ceramides so not only is it a great choice for dehydrated skin but is ideal if your complexion is feeling a bit reactive or if you’ve overdone it with retinol or any other actives and your skin needs some serious calming hydration.