Incorporating facial oils into a beauty routine is a great way to acquire untold benefits from existing skin products. This post shares 7 of my favorite impactful facial oil hacks for the face, body, and hair. Other topics include the difference between essential oils, facial oils, and moisturizers and the benefits of 10 more popular oils for your skin.
How to Use Face Oil
Facial oils were not a regular go-to product in my daily skincare routine. At some point in the not-too-distant past, over 5 decades into my life more exactly, it dawned on me that perhaps I was shortchanging my skin.
Face oils, also known as carrier oils, have noticeably increased in popularity over the past decade or so. They now appear as a main ingredient in an array of skincare and makeup products. These oils come to us with an assortment of labels like cold-pressed, fresh-pressed, organic, and more. In fact, we can easily procure individual oils to custom-craft our own skin-nurturing recipes.
They are even worthy enough to be rated on a “comedogenic scale”. More on that in a bit.
With all this around oils, perhaps there really is a there there. Something important that can benefit our skin. But, how do we really use them?
Relatively speaking, I am an oil newbie although a growing oil convert. My post on double cleansing with oil is a toe in the water compared to the multitude of benefits waiting to be discovered.
With that said, I would like to share some ideas: 7 hacks pertaining to how I use facial oils for the face, body, and hair.
Let’s start with some fundamental definitions.
What is a Facial/Carrier Oil vs Essential Oil
In my neck of the woods, there is a lot of buzz around essential oils. To allay any kind of confusion, I thought it prudent to call out the difference between those and facial oils.
While both oil types are obtained from various parts of plants (leaves, flowers, stems, etc), the similarity begins and ends there. They serve very different purposes.
Essential oils are primarily used in aromatherapy for a variety of therapeutic benefits. They typically have a strong and characteristic smell derived from the plant from which they are extracted. Direct application to the skin can cause irritation and sensitization. Essential oils may be mixed and diluted into carrier oils.
Carrier or face/facial oils, in contrast, are typically applied directly to the skin for a variety of moisturizing or protective benefits. They have a subtle or even neutral scent.
Oils referred to in our discussion here are carrier or face oils.
Difference Between an Oil and a Moisturizer
It’s easy to confuse the purpose of oils and moisturizers. While they both can be used to hydrate the skin, they have distinct characteristics and goals.
- Face oils are often rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins which provide nourishment and hydration to the skin.
- Face oils create an occlusive or protective barrier on the skin which helps retain moisture and prevents water loss.
- When oil is used alone, it tends to remain on the surface of the skin and hair.
- Arguably, some face oils can help balance oily and acne skin as long as they are non-comedogenic (less likely to clog pores) and fight inflammation and irritation.
- Most OTC face oils will have a combination of oils (and other ingredients) in them.
Below is a reference chart of some of the more common face oils and their properties, benefits, and comedogenic ratings. The comedogenic scale rates how likely or unlikely an ingredient will clog pores. It runs from 0-5. 0 is less pore clogging and 5 is more pore clogging.
- Moisturizers, depending on the formulation, contain both water and oil. They serve to hydrate the skin by replenishing its moisture content.
- Different moisturizers have varying percentages of oil to water. A moisturizer in cream form, for instance, will have more oil in it than water. Conversely, lotions have more water in them than oil.
How to Use Face Oils-7 Hacks
Hack #1: Mixing Oil and Moisturizer Together
Moisturizers are some of the most expensive products in a skincare line. Yet, even paying a small fortune for them does not guarantee that they are “all that”.
Combining a facial oil with a moisturizer is a great way to customize or “tweak” a moisturizer to get a product that better suits your unique skin needs. Given that moisturizers contain both water and oil, adding additional oil will change its texture and skin benefits.
The type and amount of oil added affect the end result.
For example, I prefer oils that provide hydration because I suffer from dry skin. If I start with a thinner textured lotion, as I add oil, the lotion will become thicker and more viscous. Conversely, a very thick cream will become more malleable and possibly more beneficial for the skin.
The hack requires just a bit of facial oil knowledge (use the reference chart above), reading the ingredient labels of facial oils, and simple experimentation.
Here is a wonderful drugstore combination that does not cost much at all and for my skin, competes with the big guns in terms of moisturizing:
Milani Rose oil
A wonderful drugstore product that contains sunflower, apricot kernel, sweet almond, jojoba, and more. Skin soothing, nourishing, and hydrating. A real find for the money.
cerave daily moisturizing lotion
A no-frills but fairly solid moisturizer available most everywhere.
Hack #2: Mixing Oil with Hair Styling Cream
Many oils alone tend to sit on top of skin particularly if that something is bone dry. This is very true for hair.
Hair styling or curl creams alone meant to moisturize and define often result in stringy heavy hair.
However, magic can happen when combining an oil and a hair cream together. The result is a lighter cream and increased hair shaft penetration for a longer period of time. The hair also feels more moisturized.
Here is what I use for my wavy hair.
curlsmith bonding oil
Contains an assortment of oils including castor, seabuckthorn, apricot kernel, olive, and shea for great hydration benefits.
Not Your mother’s defining cream
A solid drugstore styling cream that is not anywhere near as good as when it’s combined with oil.
Hack #3: Mixing Oil with Body Lotion
The same line of thinking from hacks 1 and 2 applies to body lotion. By combining facial oil with body lotion, the end result is a body lotion that is customized for your skin’s needs.
Additionally, body creams are generally very thick, and in some instances too thick. Combining an oil with them provides great texture customization and depending on the oil, a nice scent. Listed below are a couple of products that are a great example of this.
cerave moisturizing cream
TRILOGY organic pure rosehip oil
One of the best pure rosehip oils out there.
Hack #4: Freshen Up Makeup with Oil
Most of us may know about misting water or some type of hydrating liquid on the face to glow up the skin after hours of makeup wear. For me that has never worked very well for very long, and even less so now that my skin is drier.
Instead, try taking a few drops of oil and rubbing it between your palms. Press it firmly onto your skin and onto whatever makeup you are wearing. This will provide a long-lasting glow and will renew the look of the makeup.
This is one of my favorite all-purpose oils. It is also wonderful for the body.
m-61 hydraboost face oil
Great for both dry and oily skin types, this oil contains squalane that prevents moisture loss and acts as an inflammatory (see chart above). Also contains Vitamin E and peptides that promote skin firming.
Hack #5: Oil and Mineral Sunscreen
Mineral/physical body sunscreen typically is thick, white, and difficult to spread but many of us prefer it to chemical sunscreen. Transform the texture into something more spreadable by mixing in a few drops of oil.
Hack #6: Oil to Remove Makeup
Using oil to remove makeup keeps the skin balanced and less dry particularly when followed with a water-based cleanser. Read more about this method called double cleansing in my article here.
Hack #7: Applying Oil Before a Sheet Face Mask
Sheet face masks are a wonderful way to provide nourishment to the skin. For those of you who use them, consider applying face oil underneath the mask.
This method is a great way to increase the mask’s effectiveness. The oil creates a barrier on the skin’s surface slowing down the evaporation of the mask’s essences, allowing it to penetrate longer and increase absorption.
To learn more about sheet masks, read my post here.
Other Recommended Face Oils
Here are a couple of other oil recommendations that can be used interchangeably with any of the hacks listed above.
tata harper beautifying face oil
All ingredients in this oil are organic and certified and grown on a farm in Vermont. Contains a long list of amazing ingredients including squalane, grapefruit, olive, jojoba and other oils. Also includes Arnica Montana for improving skin suppleness. Wonderful light scent and great for the hair too.
drunk elephant marula oil
Wonderful marula oil option for face, body, and hair.
Thank you for reading and I welcome hearing about your facial oil tips!
Facial oils are a great way to get added benefits from your existing skin products. This post discussed 7 of my personal favorite facial oil hacks for the face, body, and hair. Other topics included the difference between essential oils, facial oils, and moisturizers. I have also provided a reference list of 10 of the more popular facial oils for your skin.
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