I adore facial oils. They are one of my favourite skincare steps and a game changer when it comes to achieving glowing skin. The humble facial oil is the quickest and simplest way to bring some luminosity to the skin. But if you’ve previously avoided them, put off by applying an ‘oil’ onto your face, I’m here to persuade you to think again. It’s earned its place within the ‘skincare wardrobe’ and it will be a staple that you can pull out time and time again.
Facial oils are nutritionally brilliant for the skin. I often refer to them as food for the skin with many containing fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, peptides etc that really pack a punch when combined with a little facial massage. The oils available to us vary a lot from simple seed and nut oils to much more complex blends often containing plant extracts like essential oils.
Facial oils are loved by men and women. Whether you have dry, combination, oily skin, sensitivity, concerns about your skin showing signs of getting older, dehydrated skin, blemishes – there is an oil for you. Different oils have different molecule sizes which means that they can penetrate into the skin at different rates and levels, some deeper than others. They replace oil that the skin has already lost and help to prevent further moisture loss which can happen with any skin type. They are classed as an emollient so they encourage softness and smoothness and are typically water free which means that they have limited preservatives. There are many beautiful blends available and usually smell absolutely divine. With amazing formulas for all skin types and concerns you will find one of these skincare saviours that’s just right for you.
Depending on the type of facial oil you need, here are some of their benefits:
- Improved radiance and glow
- Stimulated skin cell renewal
- Hydration and moisture replenishment
- Improved elasticity
- Balanced excess oil production
- Anti-inflammatory and comforting
- Reduction in puffiness
- Prevention of razor burn, soreness and rashes from shaving
- Increased feelings of relaxation (a secondary benefit of inhaling the aromas of the oil and massaging it into the skin during your evening routine)
What can an oil do for different skin types and concerns?
There is an abundant choice of oils for all skin types and concerns. First and foremost it will bring amazing luminosity to the skin but there are so many benefits if you choose one for your specific skin type or concern. Lots will contain active ingredients and these are ingredients that are clinically proven to deliver results and are what makes the oil effective.
Facial oils for oily and combination skin types will help to balance and regulate the natural oil production whilst leaving the skin soft and supple. They won’t make the skin any oilier. Blemishes and acne do not clear up by starving them of moisture. It’s just not the case. They are more likely to become red, angry and sore as the protective layer of the skin is stripped away. If harsh alcoholic based product are being used in the hope that they will dry out spots, what happens is that moisture is banished. Skin becomes confused and starts producing more oil to compensate, comfort and treat itself. These formulas are often ‘dry oils’ which have a lighter texture making them quicker to absorb. Therefore not leaving the skin feeling oily or blocking pores. Apply as part of your evening routine. They can work wonders!
Dry and/or dehydrated skin
Dry skin is usually caused by lack of oil in the skin. You may feel tightness, flakiness, a dull complexion, find that products don’t absorb well and experience some sensitivity. If your skin is dehydrated (this can affect any skin type) there is a lack of water in the skin. Skin can have areas of tightness and areas of oiliness, moisturisers are absorbed really quickly, makeup disappears, goes patchy, or seems like it slides off of your face. Most of us at one time of another will have dehydrated skin.
If your skin is dry and/or dehydrated try to include several ‘oily’ products into your routine to keep the dryness and dehydration at bay. For example a balm cleanser as well as a facial oil. Layer products up by applying a facial oil under your moisturiser during the day. Even mix a couple of drops with your moisturiser or foundation. Apply again as part of your evening routine. Be aware of how your skin feels as the evening progresses. I know this might sound a bit weird but if you tend to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet do a quick check of your skin and if it feels parched apply a little more.
Skin sensitivity can be due to lifestyle or genetics. A dryer skin type will be more prone to sensitivity because the skins protective barrier is compromised. The sensitivity should be temporary but could take a while to manage. Facial oils for sensitivity will contain ingredients known to soothe and comfort the skin. They will calm the skin down whilst adding vital moisture. Pat onto skin before moisturiser in the morning or evening. A facial oil or a moisturiser specifically designed for sensitive skin are your first port of call if you want to try to address some sensitivity issues.
When do I apply a facial oil?
As part of your evening routine:
The optimum time to apply your facial oil is as part of your evening skincare routine.
Cleanse, tone, eye product, serum, oil, moisturiser. You’ll sometimes find me massaging a facial oil into my skin whilst curled up on the sofa watching TV. Once a week, usually on a Sunday, I will do a longer massage. I have created a place for my skincare application within my evening routine and it works really well. Whether you do this when you get in from work or just before you go to bed is entirely up to you. But, what I would say is that, you may be feeling too tired if you leave this until bed time. An added bonus is that the oil will help reduce pillow crease marks when you wake in the morning. You could even apply a layer to your face as you lay in the bath relaxing.
As part of your morning routine:
As a pre shave to lift and soften the hairs in preparation for shaving. Also to shave with as the oil will help the razor to glide over the skin. If you prefer to use a shaving foam apply the facial oil underneath and it will act as a buffer between your skin and the razor, counteracting any drying effects of the blade scaping the skin. Putting an oil on the skin post shave before your aftershave balm/moisturiser is another great use. Either under or over your moisturiser or mixed into your cream when extra hydration is needed. This is a brilliant and effective moisture boost. A couple of drops in your foundation can give a lovely dewy look. But don’t apply over an SPF as this may break down the efficacy of the sunscreen.
When you are taking part in sport:
Heat and oils work well together so if you love spin, hot yoga, running, cycling etc an oil can be a great addition to your shelf. They are also great to use in a sauna or steam room too.
Oils really come into their own when travelling on planes. Flying is extremely dehydrating so having a facial oil in your hand luggage, applying before you board and topping up on the flight will help to keep your skins hydration levels up and keep it soft and supple.
When the seasons change:
When the weather starts to get colder and the central heating kicks in our skin suffers. We can notice dryness, dehydration, a change in texture etc. Upping your facial oil application, whether applying it on its own, underneath or over the top of moisturiser or mixed into moisturiser will help to feed the skin with the moisture it’s craving. Having said this I use an oil all year round but I always assess my skincare with each season and look at what’s working and what needs to be switched up.
How do I apply a facial oil?
One of the things I like most about facial oils is that they encourage you to massage your skin as you apply it. The texture lends itself to be massaged in which will help them to penetrate effectively. Through the mere action of your fingers, palms, heels of hands and finger tips applying the oil around your face, neck and décolleté (avoiding the eye area) blood circulation will be boosted and puffiness drained, alongside a myriad of other benefits. Facial massage is your secret weapon delivering visible benefits. Think of it as a workout for the skin.
You don’t need to warm the oil in your hands for it to be absorbed onto your face. Most formulations these days are ready as soon as they leave the bottle. But in the case of oils, distributing the product into your hands means you will be able to evenly apply it onto your face. There is a great opportunity here to inhale the beautiful aromas of the oil by cupping your hands around your nose and mouth. Take a moment to breathe in and out slowly three times before applying to your face and massaging in. They are a delight to use.
Your skin shouldn’t feel greasy when you’ve applied oil. If it does, you’ve probably applied too much. A couple of drops is all that you will need. Most facial oils come in pipette or pump form so getting the right amount is easy. You want to be able to feel some grip to the skin rather than your hands slipping and sliding all of the place. It’s a restored fresh healthy glow we are after rather than looking like we have dived into a vat of olive oil! Although I’m sure this has its own benefits but maybe not just before bedtime!
Visit my website www.nicolameirholistictherapies.com where I’ve written about facial massage www.nicolameirholistictherapies.com/post/facial-massage-at-home and my Instagram @nicolameirholistictherapies and Facebook @nicolameirbusiness where you will find information on facial massage techniques. However, don’t get bogged down by thinking that you have to use specific techniques and that everything must be just so. As long as you are using sweeping upward and outward movements you’ll be fine.
How should I store them
Keep them out of sunlight and they will last longer. If they come in a box store keep them in this. They will eventually go rancid but you will notice this as they will smell different or off.
When should I start using a facial oil?
I’d suggest that from your thirties a facial oil is a must. It’s a quick fix for glowing skin. I’ve used an oil since my mid-twenties and I’m now into my late forties. If you are in your teens and twenties a facial oil is a great product to have on your shelf. Just spend what you can afford. Pop a couple of drops into your moisturiser for convenience. You’ll soon see the difference, especially if your skin feels a bit dry or dehydrated during the colder months, or after a few too many wines, lack of sleep, burning the candle at both ends etc! This isn’t to say that the rest of us don’t experience any of these things but I remember those heady days in my teens and twenties.
There’s a huge choice of oils on the market and Perfumery & Company stock a great selection of them. Here are a few picks to help you choose:
Wildsmith Skin is a brand relatively new to me. I’ve been using some of their products for the last nine months or so. I haven’t been disappointed. They are a company based in Hampshire with roots firmly in the natural world. Their products use the latest bioactives, botanicals and minerals combined with optimal delivery systems that make a real difference to the skin.
Wildsmith Active Super Oil
Suitable for most skin types
Wow, what an oil!! This is a superior vitamin rich, nourishing and repairing overnight facial oil. It’s definitely an investment but a little goes a long way. It contains seventeen premium plant oils which have been blended to regenerate and rejuvenate the skin and will benefit dehydrated, dry and ageing skin. It seals in moisture and helps to reinforce the skins barrier whilst powerful antioxidants protect against cell damage from external aggressors.
Clarins do facial oils so well. They’ve been formulating facial oils for over sixty years. I have adored them for many many years and I usually have at least one of them on my shelf at any one time. They are plant based oils and offer a wide choice for different skin types and concerns.
Clarins Blue Orchid Treatment Oil
An absolute firm favourite of mine with a beautiful aroma. Blue orchid & patchouli essential oils are efficient at delivering a hit of hydration, softening the skin and brightening the complexion. Love, love, love!
Clarins Santal Treatment Oil
Sandalwood, cardamom and lavender essential oils work perfectly on skin that is dry, red and uncomfortable. They soothe the skin and restore suppleness, whilst encouraging luminosity.
Clarins Lotus Treatment Oil
Oily or combination skin
Geranium and rosemary essential oils combined with lotus extract will purity, refine the skins texture, regulate oil production in addition to much needed hydration. This is a great choice for anyone who has oily or combination skin. And remember, it won’t make your skin more oily.
Clarins Restoring Treatment Oil
A beautiful oil containing clary sage extract to soothe feelings of tightness, dryness etc. It will protect the skin, hydrate, and smooth the skins surface. It can be used to ‘reset’ the skin after a bout of sensitivity. Think of it as a blanket for your face.
Nourish London is a British organic skincare company offering scientifically developed organic and vegan products powered by ingredients found in nature. Their products are made in London.
Nourish London Radiance Firming Facial Oil
For all skin types
This contains a luxurious blend of omega rich oils including pumpkin seed oil which has been scientifically proven to improve skin tone, boost radiance and protect the skin. French marine algae extract slows the breakdown of collagen and elastin encouraging skin to stay firm and supple. A beautiful light fragrance which is a pleasure to use as part of your evening routine.
Neals Yard Remedies were stablished forty years ago. They are a modern apothecary, established as a successful creator of natural and organic health and beauty products. Neals Yard produce oils that are a pleasure to use. I use several doing my client facial and body treatments.
Neals Yard Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil
Normal skin (although I would suggest it suitable for most skin types)
This oil has a heavenly fragrance dominated by the infusion of damask. It soothes and revitalises whilst balancing the skins natural moisture levels.
Neals Yard Orange Flower Facial Oil
A skin quenching formula for dryer skin. Nourishing neroli oil combined with a blend of omega and antioxidant rich botanical oils not only feeds the skin with what dry skin needs but also protects the skin from further moisture loss.
We all want glowing skin, right? Head to Perfumery & Company (in person or online) and they will be so happy to help.