These Are The Best Face Oils For Clear, Radiant Skin
Oils in skincare. Lauded by many - and still feared and avoided by some - oils have certainly been a hot skincare topic for the past few years.
And there’s good reason for this: the right face oil can protect your skin, balance sebum production, clarify, provide anti-aging benefits and more - and the wrong face oil can make you break out and worse.
It’s all about educating yourself so you can choose the right kindof oil for your skin.
Here, we’re going to breakdown some favorite oils that we include in our products, their benefits, and what to look out for.
Let’s dive in.
The Basics: What To Look For In Face Oils
Understanding our Natural Oil Production
Skin needs oils to be healthy. After all, your skin produces oils naturally, and they are a major component of your skin’s natural barrier: the layer on top of the skin that can help moisturize, keep pathogens out, keep nutrients in, and help you maintain a balanced, clear complexion.
That said, this barrier - and our natural oil production - are often compromised: our natural oil production decreases as we age, and external factors like harsh skincare products, over-cleansing the skin, and environmental pollutants can make the problem worse.
In the long term, this can lead to breakouts, an excess of sebum, aging skin, and other serious concerns.
Where Face Oils Fit In
That’s where a face oil can be an indispensable remedy to these and many more skincare concerns. Face oils can supplement that natural oils that your skin produces, protecting the skin, providing moisture, and delivering important nutrients or antioxidants deep into the skin.
That said, you should look for oils with:
A small molecule size:Many oils, like coconut oil, have a large molecule size. This makes it impossible for the oil to penetrate the skin - and it also clogs pores. Lighter oils with a similar molecule size to our own sebum, like jojoba and squalane, will sink into the skin quickly without clogging pores.
Pure quality:Look for oil that is cold-pressed - as this has more bioactive compounds than oils conventionally extracted with heat - and bottled in dark glass to prevent exposure to light and heat.
The benefits you need:Those with dry skin may benefit from a richer oil like marula, while those with oily skin may benefit from a lighter option like rosehip or jojoba.
The Larger Context of Face Hydration
Finally, never lose sight of the purposeof a face oil. It is not a moisturizer that can stand on it’s own - and treating it as such is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. When it comes to skin’s moisture, there are:
Humectants: These actually add water back to the skin, attracting water molecules and drawing them into the skin. Powerful humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and urea.
Emollients: These fill in the gaps between skin cells and replace missing lipids to fortify the skin. Examples of emollients include jojoba oil, ceramides, and stearic acid.
Occlusives: Like ultra-strong emollients, occlusives create a protective layer on the skin that prevents transepidermal water loss and seals in moisture. Examples include petroleum jelly, mineral oil, squalane, and lanolin,
In general, oils fit into emollient and occlusive categories. In other words, they don’t moisturize - they just help form a protective layer on the skin.So if you use anyoil without any proper moisture, you won’t see any skin benefits.
We recommend that you alsouse a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid if you want to get the most out of your oil.
Here are the top face oils for you to consider.
Marula oil is great, antioxidant-rich oil that’s suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It’s rich in oleic and linoleic acids, omega acids that help manufacture ceramides and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. It also has anti-bacterial properties and important antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E.
Plus, it can quickly penetrate into the skin.
This makes marula oil particularly effective at reducing redness, protecting against environmental stressors, and hydrating skin without clogging pores.
Find it in:High Society skin conditioning oil
Jojoba is a great oil for those with oily skin because it’s light in texture and it won’t make the skin greasy. Jojoba oil first emerged in the 1970s as an eco-friendly alternative to the once-popular sperm oil (sourced directly from the whale - gross).
It quickly gained popularity, in part, as a matter of convenience: the seeds from the jojoba bush are ultra-rich in oil (ten grams of seed yields five grams of oil, making it one of the most efficient oil-producing crops) and the plants can thrive on previously untillable, arid land.
That said, it’s an amazing oil in its own right. Jojoba:
Has a similar composition to sebum:Jojoba oil is biomimetic, meaning its composition is super close to our skin’s own sebum. In fact, jojoba oil and sebum are a 97% chemical match! This similarity allows the oil to penetrate deeply into the skin rather than simply sitting on top like many oils with larger molecule sizes. It also prevents irritation because the oil will never get stuck in the pores or cause congestion.
Is vitamin-rich:Jojoba is rich in skin-saving vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and fatty acids.
Has natural healing properties:Jojoba is also naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic (pain-relieving), hypoallergenic, andanti-inflammatory. While that doesn’t mean that it can kill allbacteria and fungus species, it has been proven effective against majorly aggressive strains like salmonella, E. coli and candida.
Seals in moisture:In addition to being a deep skin conditioner, jojoba is also a powerful humectant, meaning that it provides a protective barrier on the skin that seals moisture in.Because of these humectant characteristics, jojoba can play a key role in restoring a compromised natural barrier and helping prevent things like infection, acne, and flaking.
Regulates sebum production:Because jojoba is so similar to our own sebum, applying it regularly can actually trick our body into thinking that we are producing more oil than we really are. This, in turn, signals our hair and sweat follicles to slow down production, thereby reducing shine, preventing acne, and leading to a more even complexion.
Reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles:So, oxidative stress/free radical damage is the number one cause of aging in the skin and in the cells. Jojoba is chock full of antioxidants. While there aren’t studies that directlylink jojoba to fewer wrinkles, the reality is that antioxidants, in general, fight this damage and stop free radicals from forming.
Treats acne:At least one clinical trial has shown that jojoba oil can help keep acne at bay. And it’s a two-pronged solution: on one hand, jojoba is a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, so it can work to kill acne bacteria and calm inflammation. On top of that, it’s moisturizing and healing, meaning that it can promote healing of any existing breakouts.
Find it in:Daydreamer, Cloud Whip, Night Shift, Pep Rally, No Plans, Zen Out of Ten,All In, High Society face oil
This is another well-rounded, versatile, and highly beneficial face oil that’s suitable for all skin types.
Pressed from grapes, grapeseed oil is light and texture and easily absorbed into the skin. It’s known for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, but it can also:
Moisturize and protect the skin: Grapeseed oil is anti-inflammatoryand contains high levels of linoleic acid, both of which contribute to the oil’s ability to tone, hydrate, and moisturize without clogging pores.
Protect against free radical damage:The oil has a ton of antioxidants, which make it an effective oil to use to fight free radical damage, slow signs of aging, and even treat dark spots on the skin.
Help fade scars:Grapeseed oil is rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid, both of which have been shown to lessen the severity of scars and help the skin’s healing process.
Find it in:All In eye cream, High Society moisturizing oil
Cranberry Seed Oil
Believe it or not, cranberries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants - more than other superfood staples like strawberries, spinach, or broccoli. Plus, they’re an amazing source of additional vitamins and nutrients, including fiber, manganese, essential fatty acids, and vitamins C, E, and K.
In skincare terms, this translates to:
Decreased dryness:Cranberry oil is the only oil that has the perfect ratio of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. This makes it an excellent oil to moisturize and protect the skin’s natural barrier.
Improved elasticity:Cranberries are incredibly high in polyphenols and vitamins C and E, all of which work to fight free radicals and minimize the visible signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and loss of elasticity.
Minimized acne:These powerhouse berries are also a natural source of flavonoids (an antioxidant) and salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid or BHA). Each of these ingredients has astringent and antiseptic properties that reduce sebum, clear pores and minimize the look of pimples.
Plus, cranberry seed oil is the only fruit oil with the perfect ratio of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, making it an excellent skin moisturizer.
Find it in:Find cranberry in the All In eye cream, cranberry fibers in Zen Out of Ten bamboo scrub, and cranberry seed oil in High Society nigh oil
Extracted from the fruit of the African baobab tree - often known as the “tree of life” - baobab oil can:
Moisturize aging skin: Baobab is rich in vitamins A, D, and E - and it has the highest antioxidant contentof all superfoods (even more than goji berries and matcha). This makes it excellent at fighting free radicals and protecting aging skin.
Treat dryness and flaking:About 33% of the seed contentis oil. Including oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and α-linolenic acids. The high content of linoleic and oleic acids are known to soften the skin and to restore the epidermis. Similarly, the fatty acids regenerate epithelial tissues and lead to healthier, more hydrated skin.
Increase collagen production:Baobab oil is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C - which is known to boost collagen production in the skin. This, along with the oil’s high fatty acid content, make it a great anti-aging oil.
Alleviate psoriasis and eczema symptoms:Because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties, baobab is known to reduce redness, itchiness, and dryness on the skin, which can be particularly beneficial for those with inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Find it in:High Society
Squalaneis the stabilized version of squalene, an oil that’s actually found in our own sebum (as well as in plants like olive, rice bran, and sugarcane, and in shark liver - ours is sustainably sourced from olive oil)! The oil plays a huge role in our natural ability to moisturize our skin, and the fact that it’s naturally occurring in our bodies makes it particularly effective at preventing transdermal moisture loss.
So why do we need to apply it if we already produce it ourselves? Healthy skin produces between 10-13% squalene when we’re young, and that percentage begins to decline in our 20s. In fact, it can get down to 5% or lower once we hit our 50s, which can cause drier skin and exacerbate signs of aging (ugh).
That’s why we should start applying squalane topically early on. Specific benefits of doing so include:
- Since it’s the sister molecule of squalene – an oil that we naturally produce – it’s great for all skin types, including sensitive skin
- It can soothe skin and regenerate cells, making it a great choice for those with eczema
- It’s fast-absorbing, non-greasy, and completely odorless
- It’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores
- It’s antibacterial
- It has a long shelf life
- It can balance oily skin by helping to regulate sebum production
- It protects against free radicals and environmental stressors, meaning it can help combat hyperpigmentation and signs of aging
- It’s known to fade dark spots and improve skin texture
Find it in: All In eye cream