The best face oils for sensitive skin

Judy Johnson 15 December 2017
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The Best Face Oils

Everything needs hydration in the cold weather; chapped lips , dry elbows, sandpaper-like hands, scaly shins and did I mention the elbows? But it's my face that bothers me the most, the only time of year my cheeks feel less than soft and my forehead looks older than its years, giving my makeup an even tougher job to do with each bitterly cold morning that comes. It's in these cases that a good face oil  comes into its own. "[Oils] are an alternative way to prevent water evaporating from the skin’s surface and many women enjoy the sensorial aspect of applying them," says Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting . "In addition, certain oils, like safflower oil, are rich in linoleic acid which are necessary for the manufacture of ceramides, an essential component of the skin’s barrier." 

Though Dr Bunting warns those with oily/combination skin to generally steer clear, those with sensitivities can find a carefully-chosen oil soothing - it certainly helps me to face the day. Here are my pick of the best (used after you've cleansed with a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin , naturally). These have been nothing but helpful in getting my skin back to some kind of normality.

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Balance Me Radiance Face Oil

I have sung this oil’s praises  ever since I discovered it because it is really, genuinely brilliant. Few products deliver on their name but this is radiance in a bottle - with Amazonian buruti nut, camelia oils, rosehip, chamomile and yarrow, this reduces redness, softens the skin and has even helped to heal my skin when it’s at its worst. Put on before bed under your night cream and awake with a new-found glow.

£30 for 30ml,  Buy online

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Organic Surge Extra Care Replenishing Facial Oil

Part of a new range from Organic Surge, this lightweight oil is ideal for those who are scared of feeling greasy. With safflower, sunflower, lavender and argan oils, it has a barely-there scent to complement the weightless formula and it sinks in to leave skin feeling soft and nourished. Mix with moisturiser for a richer treatment.

£24.95,  Buy online

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Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

One of Pai Skincare’s hero products, this oil is something I use all year round, whether it’s to heal sun-scorched skin in the summer or to repair my windswept face in the colder months. A conditioner for the skin, it contains high levels of trans-retinoid acid, which in turn helps to boost the natural healing process of the epidermis. Whether I’m mid-reaction or simply having a dry, dehydrated day, this never fails to improve matters.

£22,  Buy online

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Nourish Argan Skin Rescue Treatment

This easily-absorbed oil from Nourish awakens the skin when it’s looking dull and lacklustre. A natural collagen booster, it’s said to help in the battle against ageing lines but more importantly it resolves blotchy, patchy skin that’s thirsty for hydration. You need very little to be effective and your skin will soon thank you for it with a stronger, more glowing complexion.

£25,  Buy online

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Melvita Pulpe de Rose Plumping Radiance Duo

Lovely organic brand Melvita launched this genius product in 2014 to much acclaim; a bi-phase combination of pure rose water and rose oil, it imparts a radiant glow (I sense a theme here with the oils, no?) while refreshing the skin in one swift spritz. Shake it up and spray onto skin before moisturiser for a beautifully quenched and energised complexion, that also happens to carry the comforting scent of rose with it. Hydration perfection.

£22.50,  Buy online

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Clarins Sensitive Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate

Clarins’ reliance on plant-based extracts sometimes verges on dangerous territory for we sensitive folk, but this oil is a permanent friend in my stash of go-to products for bas skin days. Incredibly comforting, it contains lavender, licorice, fatty acids from soy and avocado, and fat-soluble vitamin A (the gentlest form) to repair and soothe. Redness is calmed, reactions tamed and the skin’s surface left softer and smoother - an absolute must for your beauty kit.

£43,  Buy online

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Twelve Beauty Intelligent Frontier Facial Oil

Harnessing the power of unsaponifiables - the hard-to-extract part of natural plant oils that holds all the active ingredients - botanist Dr Pedro Catala created this oil specifically to improve the skin’s barrier function (ultimately the primary concern for anyone with sensitive skin). It’s eye-wateringly pricey, yes, though this is because of the complex extraction process and the ingredients’ efficacy; Catala claims you’ll see visible results within only 7 days of use as the oil restructures the top layer of your skin to make it more resilient. The texture is undeniably luxurious - it’s almost as light and thin as water, with no greasiness, and sinks in beautifully like a premium serum. Seriously impressive.

£180 for 30ml, Buy online

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Trilogy Very Gentle Restoring Oil

Trilogy have reformulated their sensitive range and with it have released new products including this, their first sensitive face oil. It has everything I want in an oil; a light, grease-free texture; no fragrance; and a soothing formula. Containing maqui berry, sea buckthorn and apricot oil, it is incredibly nourishing - I used it on my rather raw and neglected skin during a particularly bad cold and awoke looking notably better (even though I didn’t feel it). It leaves skin looking brighter, and smoother - a softly-softly approach to keeping skin looking younger.

£32.50 for 30ml, Buy online