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Face oils are one of those beauty products that divide people - are they the ultimate skin elixir or shiny face in a bottle that makes your makeup slide? The newest blends claim to cover all manner of skin demands - hydration, re-balancing and anti-ageing across a broad range of skin types. We put 22 of them to the test and reckon there is a facial oil that’s right for you. Have a gander at this gallery to help with your search…
The promise: To tone, revitalise and restore radiance to moisture-depleted skin.
We give it: 9.5/10
Review: "I've heard a lot of hype about this Clarins oil and though it's probably best placed for mature skin, this Capricorn is certainly not getting any younger and after a recent bout of distressed, sore and ridiculously parched skin due to some beauty testing going awry, I was desperately in need of some hardcore hydration. Having reacted to essential oils before because of my overly sensitive skin, I was a bit nervous and patch tested it to the max - from my inner elbow to my wrist, behind my ear and neck before finally giving in and using it on my face.
"All were, thankfully, reaction-free. Thank goodness, too, because I'd be sad not to have the chance to use it again; a rich, dense oil, this is labelled as being best for dehydrated skin and I'd be inclined to warn you off if your skin isn't very dry (and it’s definitely one for the winter months). With 100 per cent pure plant extracts including rosewood, patchouli and blue orchid, it sinks into the skin in seconds and leaves an instantly velvety soft texture in its wake, with no grease in sight. After weeks of awaking to flaking, stressed out skin I woke to a smoother texture that looked notably calmer, and that was after just a drop or two at night for a couple of days running. The scent is reassuringly not too overpowering (though it did take a bit of getting used to as I’m generally an avoider of all things scented) and my skin hasn't felt this quenched in a long time - I only wish I'd found it sooner."
The promise: This Facial Oil will give your skin back its balance and a brilliant glow.
We give it: 10/10
Review: "When a makeup artist as good as Arabella Preston is the brains behind a facial oil, you know it's going to be a good one... and how right our predictions were. With different oils to suit different skin problems, there is definitely something for everyone in this range. I put the Neroli and Myrrh oil, which claims to patch up dry skin, to the test in a bid to rehydrate my dull and dried out skin. This lightweight oil, firstly smells HEAVENLY. Arabella suggests taking some time to yourself pre-application to really inhale the scent for a little mood boost. It completely restored balance to my skin, helping it to feel a lot more hydrated. I also found it helped in calming down any redness and spots that were appearing! With the art deco inspired rose gold and green bottles adding a touch of elegance, there really isn't a box left unticked."
The promise: Wake up to smoother, plumper skin with Liz Earle's Superskin Concentrate for Night.
We give it: 10/10
Review: “Having oily skin, I've always felt it counter-intuitive to use a facial skin oil however having been advised on countless occasions that it may actually help to reduce my sebum levels I have dabbled in my fair share of night oils. The only one to have ever wowed me is the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate. Described by GTG's Sarah Vine as ‘a halfway house between an oil and a serum’ and ‘just a bit heavenly’, this is an all-round people pleaser.
"With a perfect blend of 100 per cent pure plant oils and active ingredients such as rosehip and vitamin E, this oil is designed to hydrate dry skin and balance combination skin - and it does precisely that. It also creates a radiant and glowy complexion as well helping to clear toxins, reduce puffiness, boost circulation and aid lymphatic drainage. Better still, it has the most divine fragrance of any beauty product I've ever tried - so soothing in fact that it makes me quickly drift off to sleep every time I apply. What more could you ask for?”
The promise: rejuvenates dull, lack-lustre complexions and delivers an intense radiance boost to leave skin looking luminous.
We give it: 8.5/10
Review: “I’ve always been a bit of a face oil phobe. There was just something about putting an oil on my skin that didn’t ring quite right with me - I could never get past the texture. I’d heard incredible things about the Sunday Riley face oil range and knew that I just had to get past it to reap the benefits that everyone had been raving about (supposedly even Beyonce is a fan!).
“This is absolute luxury. From the beautiful bottle to the feel of the product on your skin, you feel like you’re having an incredible pamper each time you apply a few drops to your skin. I chose the Juno Oil from the range as I’m always looking for added radiance, and if it could hydrate my dehydrated skin at the same time then I'd be happy. I applied the oil at night as I found it far too heavy to apply over makeup. It’s the last step in my skincare routine and I leave it to sink in overnight. I find the scent extremely relaxing so it’s perfect for this. Filled with vitamin C, essential amino acids and omegas 3, 6 and 9, it’s basically a superfood for your skin. I do find it quite heavy though, so if it’s a little warmer weather-wise then I’d recommend something a little lighter, but other than that it’s great for hydrating and glow getting.”
The promise: A replenishing night time facial oil with distilled botanicals that visibly restores the appearance of skin by morning.
We give it: 9/10
Review: "I’ve never been a huge fan of the idea of face oils as I immediately think it is going to grease up my skin and leave it super oily. The Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate however is an absolute keeper in my skincare routine. Helping skin to repair and regenerate, it’s a night oil that works to replenish moisture in the skin and give a more radiant complexion. It really does do as it intends and I definitely saw the difference when I began using it regularly – my skin was a lot clearer, hydrated and it gave me a much more glowy complexion in the morning. Although a thin oil you only need a few drops to apply and it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. In the winter months when my skin is extra dry, I sometimes need a night cream on top of this as it isn’t always hydrating enough on its own. Packaged in an elegant blue bottle with an easy to use pipette, the gorgeous mix of evening primrose and essentials oils including lavender make a perfect treat before bedtime."
The promise: A selection of the best age-defying plant based ingredients to help skin renew and deal with changes in air moisture as the temperature cools.
We give it: 10/10
Review: "I use a facial oil twice a day, but my dry skin always seems still to be ‘thirsty’ afterwards. I need to apply a cream or facial spritz at the same time. This oil by facial acupuncture expert Annee De Mamiel is the full hydration package – no extra H20 needed. The Autumn blend is currently on pre-order with the idea that it’s ready to use by the autumnal equinox on 23rd September – each oil is formulated to support skin, mood and lifestyle through the change in season. I’ve been using the Summer Facial Oil for a few weeks and loving it (its focus is on hydration after the drying effects of too much sun - tsk! - and aircon as well as maintaining balance during the heat). The Autumn blend is richer with nourishing seed oils to protect against crisp mornings as well as jasmine, grapefruit and green mandarin essential oils to inspire confidence and get you through the post-summer slump. Nevertheless, it still feels sheer and absorbs immediately. Make-up doesn’t slide off afterwards so long as you leave a good half hour between the two, so it’s suitable for morning as well as evening use.
For the price you’d expect something pretty special – and this oil smells anything but generic, probably due to the added flower essences. The list of ingredients is huge - you can really lose yourself trying to identify the individual notes during deep breath that is part of the application ritual (inhale for three, hold, exhale for five)."
The promise: Restores balance and confidence to unpredictable skin.
We give it: 10/10
Review: "Pai is one of my go-to brands for sensitive skincare and this is one of their hero products. I love anything rose-wise as it's so calming and reparative and this is no exception. Just a couple of drops of this light orange-coloured oil works wonders; rosehip has been proven to reduce the look of scars, sun damage and lines and in Pai's case it is even more powerful thanks to the way it is extracted. I've used this on and off for quite some time and always curse myself for being so fickle and not sticking with it as it soothes as much as it repairs. My skin looks to be in better condition when I use it and it leaves it feeling protected - so much so that I dot it on in the morning too. Add that it's organic (complete with a lovely, slightly sweet aroma) and lasts ages and it's pretty much perfection."
The promise: An intensive overnight boosting treatment which works in tandem with the skin's nightly repair mode.
We give it: 10/10
Review: "This intense overnight skin boosting treatment is a gorgeous blend of neroli, lavender, rose and mandarin which smells incredible and feels super luxe on the skin. It rebalances and hydrates dehydrated skin overnight, which is ideal for these cold winter months. It left me with a fresh and luminous complexion the next day and my skin felt a lot more hydrated. A little goes a long way without leaving the skin greasy or heavy – you definitely get your money's worth. They suggest using it with the night moisturiser but both together can be a bit rich for my skin so I often only use one or the other, making them last even longer. I’m a huge fan of Aurelia products and this is the latest in a long line to have a permanent spot on my dressing table."
The promise: An ultra-moisturising oil formulated to give dry and dehydrated skin a powerful shield to lock in moisture and restore glowing softness, comfort and radiance.
We give it: 8/10
Review: “The rose scented facial oil by REN came very highly recommended. With extracts of cranberry, rosehip and seabuckthorn berry oil this pampering product promised its users radiant softness, plumper more hydrated skin and overall a gloriously glowing complexion. Having been put off face oils in general by the preconceived idea of a greasy face and an impromptu acne fest, I’ve avoided facial oils til now and approached this test as a hard to please customer.
“I used a couple of pumps morning and evening under my usual moisturiser and was surprised and enlightened to find it absorbed quickly, leaving my usually parched skin noticeably firmer and more supple. On top of that, since using this product I have felt as though my face has more of a healthy gleam to it. The only slight gripe I had was that despite its purported rose scent, I thought it smelt overwhelmingly of marzipan which is a pet hate of mine - but certainly not something that would keep me from re-purchasing this little bottle of liquid beam. I am prepared to eat my words and reject my facial oil naivety to declare that I really liked this product. If your skin needs a little radiance rejuvenation then REN is definitely the oil for you.”
The promise: Suffering from oily to combination skin? This will help refine pores and reduce breakouts brilliantly.
We give it: 7.5/10
Review: “The idea that an oil can actually help reduce oil, used to slightly boggle me. However after trying out this product, I’m starting to see why. My face is a mixed bag of degrees of ‘shiny’. My cheeks are pretty normal, however my nose is a different story and unless I give it a suitable coating of powder in the morning, it’s akin to a light bulb in terms of shine.
“This nourishing oil added a relaxing touch of aromatherapy to my skincare regime thanks to key ingredients lavender, ylang ylang and jojoba. On using it, I did notice a change for the better in my skin’s oil balance plus an added glow and touch of radiance. I have to say though that I’m starting to lose count of the number of products that I ought to use. This particular product suggests use both morning and night after cleansing and toning and to apply after serum, but before moisturiser - five products in total. I felt like I was overloading my skin and my bank balance too, so I would personally opt to use either this or a serum. I also chose to stop using a toner - it’s all about what works best for your skin. Although I’m not quite ready to trade in my powder puff just yet, I would certainly use it again: it’s a definite step in the right direction in the fight against shine.”
The promise: Skin is guided to a balanced state and with regular use the skin’s natural beauty is revealed.
We give it: 9/10
Feedback: "For a product packaged as an oil, this Dr Hauschka offering is distinctly not oily. Designed to rebalance oily or combination skin with just three drops of this stuff left my face feeling hydrated, soft and not at all greasy. Intended as a day oil, its speedy sink-in time makes it an excellent base for makeup in the mornings. It can be used at night too but I personally would prefer something richer and slightly more moisturising. Plus, I often find if I sleep with oil on my face it can result in the hair around my face getting a little greasy - never a good look.”
The promise: This natural blend of highly concentrated plant-based superfoods deeply nourishes, hydrates and feeds the skin for a healthy, radiant glow.
We give it: 9/10
Review: “This facial oil truly is a superfood for your skin. Packed with nine superfood oils including broccoli seed, flax seed, cucumber, macadamia and rosehip seed, this skin saviour ups the ante in the skincare game and takes your five-a-day that step further. I usually steer clear of facial oils due to the long lasting residue left on my skin, long after my night time application but come the morning, this oil had sunk into my skin like no other leaving me with a great texture to continue with my morning routine and apply my makeup. It hydrates and plumps the skin and the scent leaves me feeling incredibly relaxed - it smells just like a spa and for my evening application, that’s just perfect.”
The promise: Packed with essential fatty acids and wrinkle-fighting antioxidants, it revitalises, nourishes and supports at the deepest level.
We give it: 6.5/10
Review: “A face oil may sound to some of us like something we should avoid - and I’m definitely one of the sceptics. However this glowing face oil has been called a 'little miracle' and I certainly hoped it was for the rather steep price of £75. When trying this oil I assumed that it would leave my skin full of oil and shine so I tried it on at night. When I woke, I saw a significant difference to my skin; it felt hydrated but not heavy, glowy but not shiny and I didn’t have a face full of spots (phew).
“This oil oozes goodness into the skin, with ingredients such as rose otto, argan oil and rosehip seed oil - these help to nourish the skin and fight wrinkles helping the skin to regenerate. Nonetheless, as much as I’m a fan of the smell of rose, I found the scent overpowering and when trying to fall asleep felt like I’d lain down on a flowerbed (not ideal). It wasn’t really the luxury experience I was expecting with the extremely lavish pricetag.”
The promise: Skin is intensely nourished with moisture, looks radiant with a cashmere soft feel.
We give it: 10/10
Review: “This facial oil is a thing of beauty. A golden bottle of dreams. If you are reading this and you have oily skin, try it; you WILL be surprised. It contains eight refined and purified essential oils including lavender, rose, marjoram, chamomile, romarin, orange, geranium and lavandin. After using just two to three drops of this oil every day I saw an immediate difference to the texture and appearance of my skin - it felt supple and toned and in better condition than before. My make-up glided on afterwards thanks to the weightless, non-greasy formula. Top marks, L’Oreal; this beauty potion has made its place on my dressing table.”
The promise: Treat your skin to a vitamin-infused facial while you sleep, and wake up to rejuvenated, plumped radiance.
We give it: 9/10
Review: "The Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial oil has rightly become a cult beauty item. It’s a trio of goodness acting as serum, oil and moisturiser, leaving your skin feeling hydrated without feeling greasy. It’s incredibly light on the skin too and you really don’t need much to cover your face, I used one pump and that did me just fine. I’d wake up with my skin feeling so much more rejuvenated; it wasn’t dry and I didn’t feel the need to put on moisturiser immediately. Most of all it gives a slight glow to your skin which is great for those days where you just don’t feel like wearing much makeup. What I will say however is that it did take my skin three to four days to get used to the product but after that it worked a dream!"
The promise: Transforming dull, dehydrated skin into a radiant, dewy and glowing complexion, plus creating a perfectly even tone by calming areas prone to redness.
We give it: 10/10
Review: “I think there are quite a few facial oils that don’t live up to expectations; some just end up feeling greasy on the skin and others are just too pungent which can be really off-putting. I think this oil, for its price, is amazing. First thing I noticed is that it feels quite thick, yet it absorbs instantly leaving no greasy residue behind - literally none, just the softest skin. Also with its gentle chamomile smell, it doesn’t linger scent-wise. When I apply it at night my skin looks radiant and soft in the morning and it also brings a natural gleam to skin when I use it in the day. 100 per cent from natural origin, too - what’s not to like?”
The promise: Providing instant nourishment from head to toe, The Revitalising Oil hydrates and softens hair and the skin without feeling sticky or weighing hair down.
We give it: 9/10
Review: “This lightweight oil from Darphin is the ideal introductory oil for anyone hesitant about using one. Scented with jasmine and ylang ylang, the uber gentle formula (98 per cent natural ingredients) means it can be used on both hair and skin to help repair and detoxify. Nourishing but not too rich, hydrating and yet not greasy, just a few drops massaged into my face gave my complexion a glowing boost and my mane a more lustrous shine. It also helped even out my skin tone and reduced redness. It’s now an essential part of my daily skincare regime.”
The promise: Awaken to restored and nourished skin with this innovative, lightweight, non-greasy serum-in-oil, that combines the power of a serum and an oil, to replenish and recharge skin with moisture overnight.
We give it: 8/10
Review: “ As my skin tends to be naturally quite oily, I used to steer clear of any overnight products. Intrigued by the promise of eight hours of beauty sleep for my skin, and hoping to get rid of the nagging dry areas of skin brought on by the change of season, I started applying a couple of drops before bedtime. The pipette dispenser feels pleasingly medicinal, and the serum itself smells lightly of Parma Violets. Adding the serum-in-oil to my skin before bed the first time felt a little strange and I had to resist the urge to keep touching my face. I also wasn’t so sure about the smell once it was on my face and I found it a little distracting when I was trying to sleep.
"However, when I awoke my skin was baby soft and glowy and my foundation went on effortlessly. You can also add a few drops of this magic serum-in-oil to your favourite night cream to supercharge it. The oil itself is from a sustainable source in Brazil and certified Fair Trade so you can sleep easy knowing that this product is good to the planet, as well as your skin. I’m completely converted and the bottle has earned itself a place on my nightstand.”
The promise: A purifying super serum to reduce excess sebum and shine for oily skin types.
We give it: 10/10
Review: “Developed with oily and combination skin types in mind, this super serum contains a heavenly scented array of ingredients for controlling sebum and shine levels from a skin care perspective. Containing a concoction of plant and essentials oils, it’s brought a welcomed dose of aromatherapy to my morning and night time beauty regimes, to relieve the effects of stress in more ways than one. My skin feels smoother, softer and more balanced as a result and the massage techniques included in the enclosed instructions too makes the experience all the more luxuriant.”
The promise: Combines luxury and an award winning formula to help restore youthfulness to the skin.
We give it: 3/10
Review: "The popularity of facial oils these days suggests to me that oils are a good thing and despite my reservations, I should throw caution to the wind and get stuck in. I decided that I was not going to mess around and opted for Caudalie’s pricey yet reassuringly award-winning Premier Cru The Elixir - a delicately fragranced oil of rose and oak designed to restore youthfulness to the skin. The instructions for use were clear: ‘Apply four drops morning and evening to the face, neck and décolleté, before applying your cream’. This I did and, without wanting to rush, left for a few minutes to work its magic… But sadly magic did not appear and I was left with a frustratingly oily coated face and neck more akin to having a face covered in olive oil rather than enjoying a premium skincare experience. I do not doubt that Caudalie has created a fine oil (which has received many good reviews), but on this occasion I can only rate it on my own unpleasant experience. I have given points for the brand experience and presentation of the oil, but for the oil itself, I am afraid I might have to pick up where I left: avoiding facial oils in favour for my favourite staple; the trusty moisturising lotion."
The promise: The oil instantly reveals your skin’s radiance with a technique inspired by Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India, called abhayanga.
We give it: 9/10
Review: “Part two of Aveda’s new tulasāra™ radiant awakening ritual, this relatively thick oil is a 100 per cent natural blend of six plant oils, namely sesame, sunflower, jojoba seed, rosehip, apricot kernel and sweet almond. This rich blend in itself adds an air of indulgence, but combine it with dry face brushing using the specialised brush in the range beforehand, and a circulation-boosting four-minute oil massage and skin is intended to look far more refreshed and alive than when it rose in a puffy state from your pillow. If you make the effort to follow these steps, your skin will likely look a great deal plumper and smoother. The oil itself is a pleasure to use - not overpowering, just comforting. The thicker texture of the oil does encourage you to spend more time working it into the skin, although if you’re pushed for time this could prove more stressful than soothing, but the whole idea is to set aside a window both to care for your skin and look out for your wellbeing, so in a way you’re hitting two birds with one stone.
My skin looked bright and glowy post-use, although I did prefer using at nighttime, which I’m not sure was the idea given the ‘awakening’ promise, but it was a good way to wind down before bedtime. All in all I’m into it; you only need a few drops to get a decent massage going, which makes it well worth the spend - and if you take it down to your chest it almost works as a holistic version of Vick’s.”
The promise: A gentle superfood for dry and damaged skin
We give it: 10/10
Review: “Certified organic brand Skin and Tonic uses no more than seven ingredients per product; but can something so simple be effective? In a word, yes. With just one use of their Naked Beauty Oil I saw a difference; after applying two drops before bed, I awoke to notably brighter, refined skin - my complexion looked healthier, as if I’d just been for a brisk walk in the fresh air. All this from only six ingredients; rosehip seed oil, apricot oil, pumpkin seed oil, rosehip fruit oil, raspberry seed oil and vitamin E. Best of all, it’s non-greasy, unscented, with no essential oils (so is ideal for sensitive skin) and a little goes a long way.”
The promise: For dry or mature skin. Has an anti-ageing effect.
We give it: 10/10
Review: "Words can’t quite describe how much I love this product. It sits by my bed in all its shiny pinky splendour and I use it every night, sparingly because it’s damn expensive and also it feels precious. I don’t really like to use an oil in the day because I feel my makeup doesn’t stay on, but at night I use this as it feels like it really nourishes my skin. Rich in active ingredients and Omegas 3 and 6, Black rose extract as well as Bulgarian rose, you can almost see my skin drink it up and spring into life. It feels fine to touch rather than thick and gloopy and soaks into the skin immediately, leaving no greasy marks on the pillow, plus is smells like a heavenly rose garden which I swear sends me off to sleep. My favourite product of all time? Perhaps, yes. Anti-ageing? I think it keeps my 40 year old skin in good nick. Worth the price? 100%."