If you take a look at Instagram or read beauty blogs, it would seem like facial oils are the pinnacle of skincare, the elusive substance are only for beauty aficionados who know exactly what they’re doing.
Perhaps the fact that they’re called ‘oils’ makes them seem daunting – by the sound of it, surely they’d only make your skin oilier?
serums and face oils should be incorporated into everyone’s skincare routine— Zee (@zeenasser_) March 4, 2019
However, they are actually a lot easier to use than you might think, and could be the key to unlocking bright and moisturised skin. Facial oils aren’t just for skincare junkies but are incredibly simple to use – although this doesn’t mean you should start chucking a bottle of Bertolli on your face every morning.
Consultant dermatologist at BMI The Manor Hospital in Bedford, Dr. Anton Alexandroff, has some advice to help you navigate the surprisingly unscary world of facial oils…
Who should start using facial oils?
Anyone can use facial oils, but if you want to reap the full benefits you should probably think about what skin type you have and what environment you’re in.
"They’re especially good for dry and dryish skin but are suitable for any skin type," Alexandroff says. "Facial oils lend themselves well in particularly sunny and dry environments, as well as during windy or cold winter weather or when the central heating is on. This is because wind dries out and dehydrates skin very quickly."
So even if you’re not a regular oil user, you might want to start incorporating it into your routine when the months get warmer to add that extra bit of moisture back into your skin.
Can it give you that coveted Insta-glow?
The main purpose of facial oils might be to rehydrate your skin, but Alexandroff says they have the added bonus of giving "this special glow to your face".
There’s no denying the beauty world is obsessed with bright, dewy and glowing skin. Sure, a lot of the pictures on Instagram of people showing off their gorgeous skin might be down to finding the perfect light (which is a skill in itself), but you can also give facial oils a lot of credit too.
"In a scientific study it has been clearly demonstrated that face oils containing vitamin A and antioxidants also improve the signs of photoaging including fine lines, coarse wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, uneven skin tone, roughness, firmness, and clarity of the skin on the face and neck," Alexandroff explains.
How should you apply the oil?
"If your skin is on the dry side, you should apply face oils in the morning, half an hour after you’ve applied your moisturiser," Alexandroff says. "If you have oily skin you are better applying it in the evening, so it has more time to absorb into the skin." If your skin is quite oily, there’s nothing worse then slapping on more product and going out with a shiny face. Instead, applying at night will give your skin a dewy, glowy feel when you wake up.
"Put a few drops of an oil into a palm of your hand, rub hands together and then apply oil to your face, firmly but gently rubbing your face with your fingers and palms," Alexandroff recommends.
I 1000% recommend putting skincare oils into your routine it is literally the best feeling ever— vriska on main (@desinficera) November 6, 2017
Which one should you choose?
If you have oily skin, Alexandroff advises you look at the label and choose a low-comedogenic product. "Oils that do not usually clog pores, and have a comedogenic rating of two or less," he says. These could include olive face oil and grape seed oil, which are "light and volatile, so will hydrate your skin without blocking your pores."
Just like when you’re looking for any kind of skincare product, it’s important to search for ingredients which will be kind to your face. "Look for oils containing antioxidants such as vitamin E as well as anti-inflammatory additives such as chamomile – they are more likely to protect your skin from the damage from free radicals," Alexandroff says.
He recommends marula oil or almond oil if you have dry skin, because "both are very hydrating and quickly absorb into your skin."
Alexandroff warns that essential oils can sometimes cause irritation or an allergic dermatitis reaction. "Always conduct an open application test – apply a new oil on a small area of your face or neck (like the side of your neck) one or two days before. If your skin becomes red, itchy or sore, do not use the product again," he says.
"Also remember to apply a high SPF sunscreen in sunny weather if you use face oils containing essential oils as they are known for making the skin more sensitive to sunlight."