Oils sometimes get a bad rap as there are misconceptions that putting oils on your face (especially for oily skin types) will just clog pores, trap dirt and cause breakouts. But oils actually break down other oils, and using the best facial oils for your specific skin type can actually help balance your skin and can help to promote a reduction in oil over time.
The best facial oils range depending on skin type and issues related to your skin. For example, someone who might be looking at clearing any redness or unevenness might be looking for a different facial oil than someone who hates how dry their skin gets.
For some clarity on the uses and benefits of facial oils, we reached out to Dr. Michele Green, a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist and skincare expert.
What Are Facial Oils? What Are They Useful For?
Facial oils are like a multitool for your face: They can help with everything, depending on the oils. But to boil “everything” down into something clear, facial oils can help with signs of aging, balancing skin tone, acne and moisturization.
“Many essential oils are inherently anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, meaning they can often be used to help soothe varying skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and acne,” Green says.
Not to mention, face oils often contain antioxidants, including vitamins E, A and C, and other components that help promote and rebuild the skin’s barrier. “The right face oil can clear up acne breakout, bring the moisture to dull and dehydrated skin, even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” Green says.
Do Facial Oils Affect Skin Differently? What Kinds of Facial Oils Work Well for What?
Though most facial oils will provide some moisturization, general protection and some anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits, certain oils are more useful for certain end goals.
If you’re dealing with oily skin, Green recommends trying light, non-greasy oils like tea tree oil and rosehip oil. “Tea tree oil provides the same benefit to oily skin that benzoyl peroxide does but without the irritation, and rosehip oil is light in texture and contains linolenic acid,” Green says. Linolenic acid contains an essential fatty acid that forms part of the skin’s barrier.
If you’re dealing with normal to dry skin, you want to aim for more antioxidant-focused oils for their protective and anti-aging benefits, such as argan oil and marula oil, Green says. They’ll help keep skin supple and rejuvenate it with antioxidants.
If you’re dealing with blemishes, facial oils like manuka and jojoba could help. “Jojoba oil has a similar composition to the skin’s sebum, so it’s fast-absorbing and regulates oil production,” Green says. “Manuka oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties balancing the skin and unclogging the pores.”
At the end of the day, most oils offer multiple benefits, helping tackle dullness, dryness, blemishes, pigmentation and fine lines. The key is finding the right facial oil for your skin. This brings us to some great facial oils below. They’re all high quality and highly likely to leave your skin looking and feeling a lot better.
1. Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
Fabulous is an understatement when it comes to Aesop’s Fabulous Face Oil. For real, a face oil this impressive oil rejuvenates your skin by detoxifying and decongesting your pores for healthier, cleaner and clearer skin. Aesop recommends this product for those suffering from acne or dullness because of how easily it evens out skin complexions over time. It’s a clean, cruelty-free and vegan product just about anybody can get behind.
2. Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil
The Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil is an all-around great facial oil to spruce up anyone’s skin. Tamanu and sunflower oils refresh skin with antioxidants for a renewed glow. “Tamanu oil is anti-inflammatory and great for acne-prone skin and vitamin-packed sunflower oil, which is non-comedogenic, hydrates the skin without clogging your pores,” Green says.
3. The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
Marula oil is lightweight, fast-absorbing and rich in antioxidants, making it useful for any routine. The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil is pure and super hydrating to deliver supple, radiant skin.
4. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil
BEST BEFORE BED
Looking for younger-looking skin by morning? Well, this is the closest you’ll get in a day’s notice. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil is a hell of a face oil that restores your skin while you sleep to keep your skin feeling and looking smooth and healthy. Kiss fine lines goodbye and refine your texture as the moon’s overhead. As you could imagine, the face oil also boosts moisture and never feels heavy on your skin. Supple and soft skin will be the new normal.
5. Ancient Greek Remedy Organic Blend Oil
POPULAR ON AMAZON
With more than 22,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, it’s safe to say that Ancient Greek Remedy’s Organic Oil Blend is one to try. This all-natural moisturizer is made for use both in the morning and before bed to provide powerful antiaging properties for any and all skin types. Whether you’re oily, dry or a combo of the two, this facial oil is made to keep you looking radiant. Not only is it great for skin, but it works excellently to provide hydrating results to all hair types and for those suffering from flaky scalps. With a blend of cold-pressed olive, organic sweet almond, grapeseed, vitamin E and lavender essential oil, you will see differences in your face in just a matter of a few short weeks.
6. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
When it comes to sensitive skin, going for something simple minimizes the risk of irritation. Argan oil is packed with skin-friendly fatty acids to promote good skin health and is a go-to oil for skin, hair and so many products. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil is organic, pure and promises to soften and moisturize skin.
7. Tarte Maracuja Oil
BEST FOR FINE LINES
Maracuja oil is one of the best facial oils for firmer, smoother skin. With the Tarte Maracuja Oil, you can count on fewer fine lines, brighter and more even skin, diminished blemishes and a generally improved complexion. “Excellent for all skin types, the Tarte Maracuja Oil is rich in vitamins C and E, known for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and protecting the skin from free radical damage,” Green says.
8. Pai Skincare Rosehip Bioregenerate
BEST ROSEHIP OIL
With five-star reviews coming in on the reg, it’s most likely plausible you’re going to fall in love with Pai Skincare’s Rosehip Bioregenerate. No matter what your skin type is, this oil is suited for it. It hits blemishes, uneven skin, dryness, dullness, fine lines, redness — just about any issue you might possibly want to fix. This rosehip oil is specifically extracted by experts to ensure each bottle is filled with a pure, safe concoction. It’s got a potent look and smell to it as well which brings this bottle the extra mile.
9. Now Solutions Organic Jojoba Oil
BEST JOJOBA OIL
Jojoba Oil is one of the most popular cosmetic oils available due to its stability, invigorating scent and cosmetic versatility. Now Solutions Organic Jojoba Oil is an organic, 100% pure moisturizing oil that is ideal for your skin, hair and body. Jojoba oil is ideal for healthier skincare due to its many nutritional compounds, including long-chain essential fatty acids and alcohols. The best way to use is to add a bit to your body wash, bath gel or other quality skin care products.
10. Jack Black MP 10 Nourishing Oil
Facial nourishment? Body moisturizing? Haircare? Heck, even shaving? The Jack Black MP 10 Nourishing Oil isn’t one to play around with. This nourishing oil is made for men as a multipurpose grooming aid tons of dudes can easily get behind. You can use it for just about anything you do on a day-to-day, weekly or bi-weekly basis. Use it for caring for your beard, mustache, hair, body, face — whatever. With this one, it’s really mainly up to you.
11. Caldera + Lab The Good Multi-Functional Face Serum
We love this facial serum from Caldera + Lab. The Good is a luxurious, lightweight serum that revitalizes your skin. The organic serum uses only natural ingredients and avoids toxic stuff such as parabens, aluminum, gluten, silicones or phthalates. Of course, it’s not a straight-up facial oil, but there are lots of natural face-friendly oils contained within. Caldera + Lab wild harvests 27 active botanicals from the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming, which are steeped in hydrating oils for weeks. Seriously, we haven’t found anything else like this face serum, which uses jojoba oil and sunflower seed oil to hydrate your skin.
12. Brickell Daily Essential Face Moisturizer
GREAT MOISTURIZER WITH OILS
Hydrate, nourish, renew and protect that mug the way you should — without ever clogging your pores. This facial moisturizer from Brickell is a must-have for men looking to keep their skin looking radiant and clean. It uses powerful ingredients such as green tea, jojoba oil, aloe, vitamin E and more to keep skin firm, healthy and young-looking day in and day out. This all-natural moisturizer is available in travel sizing, too, so you can bring it on the plane if need be.
Are there any best practices for using facial oils?
Fortunately, facial oils are a pretty safe product, so you can’t really go wrong. However, Green suggests doing a test patch for any facial oils to ensure your skin won’t react negatively. Everyone’s skin is different and a particular oil may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
All you have to do is apply a few drops of oil to an unseen part, like your inner arm. For best results, cover it with a Band-Aid. Check it out the next day, and continue to use or stop using the oil accordingly.
In terms of how much to use, a little goes a long way with oil. Start with a few drops, massage them into your face and see how your skin feels. If you need more, you can add more, but you can’t undo it if you use too much. It’s not harmful to overuse oil, but it could irritate or mess with your skin if your skin doesn’t need it.