One of the recent key advances in the skincare world, is the consumer's realization that oils can be beneficial for all skin types and do not necessarily cause breakouts. As consumers warmed up to the idea, skincare brands started launching all types of mixtures, appealing to many of us, product junkies, that have filled our medicine cabinets with various oils, each promising different results. We wanted to take a couple of minutes to go over some basics before we share our faves.
There are two major types of oils:
1- Plant oils, otherwise known as carrier oils: They are typically pressed. A few examples are Almond, Grape-seed, Olive, Jojoba, Rosehip, Safflower, Camellia and Coconut oil. They generally provide antioxidants, hydration, and cleansing properties. Some are more occlusive than others. When shopping for a suitable oil for your specific skin type, please follow this simple guideline:
- Normal to oily skin types: Look for Argan, Sesame, Grape-seed, Camellia, Rosehip, Evening Primrose and Safflower oils. If they are listed within the first few ingredients, that means they make up the majority of the formulation, and hence the overall consistency should be lighter and more suitable for your skin type. A plus is if the oil is hydrolysed, meaning refined and broken down to smaller molecules allowing better absorption into the skin.
- Dry skin types: You want to select richer oils that will provide long-lasting hydration and glow to your skin. Best options are Apricot, Avocado, Jojoba, Olive, Coconut and Almond oils.
2- Essential oils: these are used in abundance in perfumes and skincare products. They are mostly produced through a distillation process, using alcohol. They tend to be very concentrated and volatile. Many have medicinal properties and can be effective in treating certain skin conditions. Cosmetic companies love to use these because they can still maintain the claim of using natural ingredients, while providing a highly perfumed pleasant-smelling product. I hope that, by now, you know that natural in no way equals safe or suitable for use on your skin. Depending on the type of the essential oil, some can cause quite a bit of damage to the lipid barrier if used consistently or in high concentrations. The biggest culprits are citrus oils. They are widely used in skincare because they deliver the fresh uplifting scent that most of us enjoy and love. Meanwhile skin is being sensitized as the surface layer is compromised overtime.
Oxidation is another term that we've heard quite a bit about in recent years. To put it simply, it is when an element that comes in contact with oxygen, changes in appearance. This applies to our skin as it is exposed daily to all the toxins, chemicals, pollution, sun rays and many other elements in the air, which cause aging. That is why it is advisable to use Antioxidants which are generally effective in fighting against oxidation of our skin cells. Skincare products are also susceptible to oxidation when they come in contact with air, that is why it is always advisable to use products housed in airtight container versus jars. Manufacturers also use preservatives that help prevent or slowdown oxidation in skin care products.
When it comes to oils, especially in natural formulas, some clean brands have been avoiding the use of preservatives to limit the amount of toxins and synthetic materials in their formulas. While that's great, we need to remain conscious of the fact that oils oxidize quite fast, especially when stored incorrectly, and being exposed to air and light. This not only renders the oil ineffective, but in fact, harmful to your skin as it may result in increased oxidation of your skin cells and therefore; inflammation and aging.
Here are some best practices to follow when you shop for your facial oils, and while you use them:
1- Only buy one oil product at a time. Use it up, then try that other one you've been dying to buy. Many of us accumulate several oils, which stretches the amount of time we own each product. Also, think about the amount of time that product might have sat in a warehouse, then on a store shelf before it even made it to your home.
2- Smaller is better: I know, I know! Larger sizes are the better values, but not in this instance. I would rather pay a little extra and have a product that is fresh and good for my skin, for the duration of time that I use it, than have a large bottle of oxidized oil that can potentially age my skin.
3- ONLY buy oils in airtight opaque packaging or dark glass bottles, and store them in a cabinet away from heat and direct sunlight. If your favorite formula is packaged in a clear glass bottle, we'll approve, but only under one condition; please store it in a dark place and put it away immediately after each use.
Now that we got the basics out of the way, lets get to the fun part and discover the best of the best. Our list has been carefully vetted. All recommended oils are natural, clean, ethical. We've added a 'SHOP' page on the Beauty Doctrine site to make the best choices available in one place, but also added some of the most popular clean oils on Amazon that have great reviews to our list for the sake of variety and transparency. Here we go:
1- Lina Hanson Global Calm Soothing Face Treatment: Number ONE in our book for many reasons; an active ingredient list you can count on two hands, 100% natural, lightweight consistency, cruelty-free, vegan and free of gluten and essential oils. The principle ingredient in this ultra soothing elixir is Kalahari Melon, harvested by cooperatives in Namibia, using sustainable practices. An oil that's been used for centuries in ancient Egypt to heal and repair damaged skin, reduce inflammation, regenerate, moisturize, and support skin's cellular matrix. Amazonian Passion Fruit treats acne while moisturizing and delivering antioxidants and essential Vitamins A and C. And lastly, Cucumber Seed Oil known to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis while increasing skin's suppleness and elasticity.
2- Arcana Nine Herb Charm Clarifying Face Serum: While using oils has been a no-brainer for drier skin types, oily skin types continue to struggle finding suitable options. The search stops right here with this incredible elixir. Packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidant from a variety of powerful actives including Hemp Seed oil for calming irritation, Astringent Vervain to treat bacteria, and Meadowsweet to accelerate cellular turn over and prevent build up in the pores. Cleavers increase lymphatic drainage, while Plantain soothes and reduces inflammation.
3- ODACITÉ ALL-EMBRACING SERUM WATERMELON + HIBISCUS: If you've ever thought that clean isn't powerful, think again! We're not sure how Odacité did it. The texture in unbeatable - so light and fast absorbing, you'd never believe it's packed with Shea Butter, Oatmeal powder, Vitamin-E, Watermelon, Chia, Apricot and Sea Buckthorn Oils. This powerhouse ticks every box and works for every skin types. A skincare product that truly lives up to it's name; ALL-EMBRACING! We can't move on without touching on the gorgeous smell and color for those of you that want it all ;)
6- Pai Organic Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil: A simple 4-ingredient formula with Rosehip Fruit Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Vitamin-E and Rosemary Leaf Extract. The last two ingredients are typically used as natural preservatives that help extend the oil's shelf life. This product has over 400 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.5 - not too shabby! Rosehip is rich in Vitamins A and C, helps treat sensitivity, acne or you may simply use for its hydration and antioxidant properties. While this is suitable for all skin types, it is ideal for oily / combination. Can't go wrong here for a mere $44; https://amzn.to/2RY2cJT.
7- True Botanicals Organic CALM Pure Radiance Face Oil: This is our primary pick for sensitive skin. While Arnica, Chamomile and Hemp Seed Oils soothe, Pomegranate, Olive, Grape-seed, Sesame, Chia and Red Algae get to work firming, hydrating and brightening the skin. This is a super star in our book! Not sure why no one has taken the time to review this yet on Amazon, but please make sure to give it a five when you unravel all of it's wonders; https://amzn.to/3i0kjtd.
8- Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir: A sweet-smelling blend of 14 anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich botanical oils, many are essential oils, mixed into a base of Camellia, making this a perfect problem-skin product. We recommend spot treating acne overnight or mixing a couple of drops into your night moisturizer to help rebalance oily and combination skin types. This has a 4.2 average star rating on Amazon and will cost you $69, which isn't too bad for the number of organic ingredients; https://amzn.to/2HuK1ti.
One last, but essential, point on this topic; No matter how incredible an oil formula is, from a hydration perspective, it is NEVER enough for your skin, and can never replace your moisturizer. You ask why? What your skin needs more than oil, is water. So make sure to incorporate a good alcohol-free toner, spray, essence, or water-based moisturizer into your routine, and add the oil to seal the deal, and trap all that goodness into your skin for long-lasting comfort and hydration.
Be well. Be safe. Be Beautiful!