Name a more decadent, luxurious skin-care product than a facial oil — we'll wait. Whether it's concocted from a base of rosehip, argan, marula, or blue tansy (among many others), nothing feels more moisturizing and restorative than an oil. Rich facial oils are suitable for most skin types — yes, even if you're prone to acne —  and incorporating them into your daily routine is one of the best things you can do for your skin. In the short term, you can expect an off-the-charts level of glow. And with continued use? Healthy, plump, happier skin.

Connecticut based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara loves good facial oil and has a few opinions on them. "The key when using pure facial oil is to use a little bit. That bottle should last you months because a little really goes a long way," she says. A pure facial oil means that there are no added ingredients like fragrance, however, there are other oils on the market that have added ingredients like acids to help with acne.

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Best face oils

This leads us to a world of options when it comes to facial oils, meaning there's something for every skin type: acne-prone, oily, and dry — we have you covered. Below, 26 of the best face oil formulas. (Dry skin, who?)

Benefits of Using a Face Oil 

  • Extra Nourishment: Every skin type can profit from a face oil, but it can be especially beneficial for those with dry or mature skin — especially when it feels like other products such as a serum or moisturizer aren’t working like they used to. A facial oil seals in all of the hydrating ingredients from the different parts of your skincare routine while providing additional nourishment of their own depending upon the formulation.
  • Protection Against Environmental Stressors: Oils are lipophilic, which means they can penetrate deep into the skin to trap water and moisture while protecting against pollutants, toxins, and other environmental stressors by strengthening our natural skin barrier — good news for urban residents. Free radical damage from unprotected ultraviolet light can lead to sunspots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Some face oils are chock-full of antioxidants, which help prevent further damage while providing the skin with much-needed nourishment.
  • Perfect Makeup Primer: Forget about using a pore-clogging primer. A facial oil leaves behind a smooth, glowing canvas that’s perfect for seamlessly applying your concealer and foundation. It’s particularly beneficial for those with dry, flaky patches or blemishes that are traditionally difficult to cover up with makeup. 
  • Smaller Pores and Fewer Breakouts: To clarify, face oils can reduce pore size and banish breakouts provided you’re using the right oils (think tea tree, jojoba, camellia, etc.) This is why it’s so vital to purchase a formula based on your skin type. If you’re ever not clear about what your skin can or cannot tolerate, speak to a skincare professional first. “Hands down, my favorite oil ingredient is sea buckthorn oil,” says Dr. Jessica Wright, Owner and Medical Director of Rejuvenate Austin. “This wonder ingredient is harvested at high altitude in the Himalayan Mountains and is chock full of antioxidants, nutrients, and flavonoids. The flavonoid content of sea buckthorn oil is thought to be beneficial to the cardiovascular and immune systems.
  • Anti-inflammatory Action: Certain oils such as geranium, yagu, and argan are fantastic for reducing redness and calming irritation due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Even those with conditions like eczema and rosacea can experience relief. 
  • Multi-Purpose: “Face oils are the workhorse of the skincare industry,” explains Dr. Wright. “I recommend oil cleansers to remove makeup and debris before a more lathering cleanser. I find this deep cleans the pores and prevents breakouts. It also prevents over-drying the dermis in my aging patients. I also like oil moisturizers to combat dryness because the oils work like your natural oils. I avoid oil moisturizers that contain a lot of vitamin E if my patient is acne-prone. A small amount of vitamin E is typically fine.

How to Apply a Face Oil 

Oil is an impermeable substance, meaning it is not easily penetrated, and water is repelled by it — much like a duck’s feathers. Since moisturizers are a mix of oil and water, it’s best to apply a face oil after the moisturizer or mix in a few drops of oil with it. If you put the oil first, forgo your moisturizer as it won’t be able to penetrate — except if you have oily or acneic skin. You’ll always want a skin-type-appropriate moisturizer first so that the oil is not in direct contact with the pores. 

As a general rule of thumb, start with water-based products and work your way up to face oil. So, serum, moisturizer, face oil in that order. You only need a few drops of face oil, so don’t overdo it. Gently pat the oil into your skin versus using a rubbing motion. 

What to Look For in a Face Oil

Targets Your Skin Concern

First and foremost, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick recommends shopping for a face oil based on what will target your specific skin concerns. “For example, certain oils may be better for anti-aging, such as argan oil or rosehip oil, while other oils may be best for dry skin such as maracuja, olive oil, and coconut oil,” she says. First decide on which concern(s) you’d like to address, then search for formulas accordingly—many oils on the market are blends, and may be able to target multiple of your concerns at once.

Non-Comedogenic

When it comes to oily or acne-prone skin types, Dr. Garshick stresses the importance of looking for formulas that are non-comedogenic. “It’s best to avoid oils that will clog the pores and potentially lead to more breakouts,” she says.

Fragrance Free When Possible

Dr. Garshick also recommends shopping for face oils that are fragrance-free whenever possible, avoiding both added synthetic fragrance and natural fragrances such as essential oils if your skin is especially sensitive. “Many oils contain natural fragrance and extracts, and it’s important for those with sensitive skin to remember that some of these fragrances may be irritating on the skin.

Related:

Best Face Oils for Every Skin Type

Face Oils for Sensitive Skin

Pai The Light Fantastic ceramide face oil

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While oils often contain fatty acids, this stands out for its supply of ceramides, a lipid native to the skin barrier. It’s also formulated with grapeseed oil, which is popular for good reason. “It contains linoleic acid, making it a good option for those with dry skin, as well as antioxidant benefits for someone who is also looking for anti-aging and skin brightening benefits,” says Garshick.

Saint Jane Beauty The C-Drops oil

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This face oil packs powerful ingredients in every drop. Not only does it deliver vitamin C at a 20 percent concentration—paired with ferulic acid to enhance its absorption—but it also contains CBD to help soothe skin and offset any irritation.

True Botanicals Calm Pure Radiance oil

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Even those with the most reactive skin can find comfort in this gentle face oil, which actively soothes with a nourishing blend of calendula, ginger root, and cucumber seed oils. Together, they quell inflammation and keep skin calm.

Amanda Lacey Oils of Provence

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Created by Amanda Lacey, a London-based facialist who tends to Emily Blunt and Gwyneth Paltrow, this nighttime oil helps ease redness and relieve dryness. Its herbal scent draws upon lavender, sage, and eucalyptus. 

Hydrating Face Oils

Joaquina Botánica Orquídea + Vitamin C hydrating glow oil

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Like a vacation in a bottle, this South American newcomer serves up a blend of superfruit seed oils—including maracuja, papaya, camu camu, and sacha inchi—along with an antioxidant-rich orchid extract. For a boost of vitamin A, there is also bakuchiol, a gentle botanical alternative to retinol.

Biography Golden Ray face oil

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Dullness proves no match for this oil, which offers a blend of skin-nourishing fruit and carrot seed oils; the latter alone provides vitamins A, C, and E. The formula also boasts French marine algae, which is clinically proven to spur collagen production.

Farmacy Honey Grail ultra-hydrating face oil

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This lightweight formula pairs buckwheat honey (with natural humectant and antioxidant properties) with a collection of flower-derived oils for supple, nourished skin. A few drops mixed into moisturizer or foundation can offer a customized hydration boost; it can also multitask as a hair oil to smooth flyaways.

Face Oils for Combination Skin

Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol face oil

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As beloved as retinol may be for its ability to speed cell turnover and clarify skin, it can be drying for some. Enter this formula, which cleverly buffers that effect with a blend of botanical oils and nutrient-rich seaweed.

African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula oil

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Fast to absorb, this face oil features cold-pressed marula wild-harvested by collectives in Africa. “As it is rich in fatty acids, marula helps to moisturize the skin without leaving it feeling greasy,” says Garshick. This formula is particularly good for combination skin types, with clarifying and brightening effects thanks to neroli oil. 

54 Thrones Nejma balancing night oil

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This two-pronged formula is especially good for blemish-prone skin. Moroccan blue tansy, rich in azulene, has a calming effect, while kigelia africana extract helps clear pores and minimize excess oil—not to mention offers its own antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Dry Face Oils

Sisley Paris Black Rose Precious face oil

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This category of oils manages to feel dry immediately upon application, requiring no time to sink in—and this one is especially luxurious. The formula’s fatty acids act to replenish the barrier, while the eponymous black rose extract helps smooth out lines and wrinkles.

Related:

Mutha face oil

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Designed to hydrate, repair, and protect skin, this botanical blend achieves all of the above without feeling heavy. Star ingredients include squalene and kalahari melon seed oil for sealing in moisture, while sea buckthorn and rosehip work to boost radiance over time. 

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oat & Hemp Seed dry oil

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Colloidal oatmeal is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient, and research shows that it can alleviate dryness and itchiness alike. In this lightweight oil, it’s paired with hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, and other super-soothers to nourish and calm skin.

Face oils sensitive skin

Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil: Drunk Elephant

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Marula seed oil is packed with antioxidants like vitamin E, omega-6, and nine fatty acids—so this is like a daily multivitamin for your face. Great for sensitive skin, we love to wear this oil alone or add a few drops into our moisturizer.

Jasmine Vital Oil: Clark's Botanicals

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Once you fall in love with this oil's elegant texture and delicious scent, you'll also fall in love with the results. Red algae and niacinamide help brighten, firm, and boost collagen production without leaving a greasy finish.

The Face Oil: Augustinus Bader

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Over 30 years in the making, this face oil from Augustinus Bader absorbs quickly, so you can apply SPF and makeup within minutes. The blend of luxurious natural oils are packed with amino acids and potent vitamins to keep skin looking healthy and radiant.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate: Kiehl's Since 1851

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This fan favorite oil uses squalane, evening primrose, and lavender to not only lull you to sleep—but to restore your skin overnight. The next morning your skin looks totally refreshed. 

Active Botanical Serum: Vintner's Daughter

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Don’t be confused by the name; Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is the only face oil you’ll ever need. Boasting 22 nutrient-rich botanicals and cold-pressed botanical and essential oils, it’s the ultimate restorative blend. Use it last in your skin care routine to seal in moisture and ensure a serious glow.

C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil: Sunday Riley

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Why use both an oil and a vitamin C serum when you can combine the two? That's the genius of Sunday Riley's C.E.O Glow, which also includes turmeric to help brighten and soothe.

Noni Glow Face Oil: KORA Organics

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This popular face oil pick gets points for feeling lightweight while bringing dry, flaky skin back to life. That's thanks to the organic noni extract, rosehip oil, pomegranate oil, and sea buckthorn oil.

Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil:  Youth To The People

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This face oil is all about the antioxidants. Maqui (the most antioxidant-rich fruit in the world), acai, prickly pear, and goji berry help support skin-healing.

100% Organic Cold Pressed RoseHip Seed Oil: The Ordinary

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Fans of The Ordinary's 100% Organic Cold Pressed RoseHip Seed Oil say it helps keep skin healthy without causing any irritation or breakouts. 

Final

As we get older, the skin begins to lack both oil and hydration — even if you’re meeting your daily eight glasses of water quota. With that said, you’ll need to replenish hydration with a water-binding humectant such as hyaluronic acid while restoring oil levels with a moisturizer. A face oil seals everything in while providing additional benefits depending upon your skin type. Face oils have copious benefits, including but not limited to softening fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing pore size, regulating oil production, and protecting against environmental stressors. Oil is an impermeable substance, meaning it is not easily penetrated, and water is repelled by it — much like a duck’s feathers. Since moisturizers are a mix of oil and water, it’s best to apply a face oil after the moisturizer or mix in a few drops of oil with it.

FAQs

Can you use face oil on oily skin?

Believe it or not, but you can use face oils on oily skin, it just depends on the type of oil. “It’s important to select an oil that won’t clog the pores or worsen breakouts,” says Dr. Garshick. “Oils with a larger molecule size can be considered comedogenic, but those with a smaller molecule size, such as squalene and argan oil, penetrate the skin a bit better.

Do face oils cause acne?

According to Dr. Garshick, face oils don’t necessarily cause acne. “A concern around facial oils has been that, as the name states, they contain oil which traditionally is thought to clog pores and lead to breakouts—however, not all oils are created equal,” she says. “There are oils that won’t clog the pores and as such, won’t cause acne. Additionally, oils such as tea tree oil, may even have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits and may be helpful for those with acne.

How do you apply face oil?

When it comes to applying face oil, Dr. Garshick says that less is more. “Only a few drops are needed, and then it can be patted into the skin,” she says. “Because the oils are very concentrated, a little goes a long way. For those that prefer to rub or massage it in, it’s best to do so in an upward and outward motion.

When should you apply face oil?

Dr. Garshick says it’s best to apply face oil after a moisturizer—and more importantly, to not necessarily treat it as a replacement for your traditional cream and lotion moisturizers. “It’s important to note that face oil does not necessarily replace a moisturizer, especially for those with dry skin,” she says. “Moisturizers may help to draw moisture in, while the oil helps to create a barrier for the skin to trap moisture in, creating a seal. Although oils may be a thinner consistency than a moisturizing cream or lotion, it’s generally best to apply them after moisturizer as they'll help seal in moisture. If oils are applied too early in a routine, they may even prevent subsequent products from getting absorbed. It’s also best to apply them at nighttime to help repair the skin while you’re sleeping.

The 26 Best Face Oils for Every Single Skin Type

One thought on “The 26 Best Face Oils for Every Single Skin Type

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