Ultimate Guide To Face Oils: How To Choose The Best Facial Oil For Your Skin Type

No longer are oils relegated to the pantry, with the skincare market now offering a slew of facial oils designed to nourish, replenish, and soften the skin. While once upon a time, oil-free products reigned supreme, the skincare community as a whole has now embraced the luxuriously restorative benefits of a good facial oil (yes, even for oily and acne-prone skin).

IMAGE: ALIQUE

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If the thought of slathering your skin in oil still instils you with a sense of fear, worry not. Here’s everything you need to know about using a facial oil, plus the best facial oil for your skin type.

What is a facial oil and what does it do?

There’s a common misconception that face oils are moisturisers; technically, facial oils are not moisturisers at all. Face oils do not possess humectant properties, meaning they cannot pull moisture from the environment or from the deeper layers of the skin (like say, hyaluronic acid does), and thus cannot hydrate the skin. 

Instead, facial oils act as occlusives, sitting on the surface of the skin and preventing the skin from losing water and moisture. Essentially, oils work to form a protective layer on the skin and aid in improving the upper, oil-based layers of the skin.

What are the benefits of using a face oil?

Face oils can benefit your skin by providing your skin with an instant glow, working to restore and repair the skin’s barrier, sealing moisture into the skin, and can be used for facial massage.

How to incorporate a facial oil into your skincare routine?

Face oils should be used after all serum products have been applied, and before (or instead of) moisturiser. Alternatively, you can also mix a few drops of facial oil into your moisturiser to give it a boost. 

The best facial oil for your skin type

Whether you have oily, dry, sensitive, acne-prone, ageing, or normal skin, there’s a facial oil for you. Here’s how to choose the face oil that’s right for your skin type.

Oily skin

While applying oil to oily skin may seem counterproductive, the right facial oil can actually work to regulate your skin’s sebum (oil) production and red your face of excess oil. The advent of lightweight oils is a godsend for those with oily skin, with many face oils boating lightweight formulas more akin to a serum than a traditional oil. 

Jojoba and squalane oils work particularly well for oily skin as they closely mimic the skin’s natural sebum, allowing them to nourish the skin and regulate oil production. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory sea buckthorn oil is also a good option, working to calm irritated skin.

Dry skin

Drier skin types can arguably benefit the most from the use of a facial oil, however, it’s essential to pick the right type. Rich oils like marula, sweet almond, and macadamia, are high in fatty acids, working to lock in moisture and combat dryness. Our personal favourites? The Go-To and Bro-To Face Hero, which combine a blend of ten nutrient-rich oils to form a lightweight yet intensely hydrating facial oil suitable for even the most sensitive skin.

Acne-prone skin

Many conventional acne treatments work by stripping your skin of its natural oils, which your skin to overproduce sebum and results in more pimples and blackheads. Non-comedogenic oils like rosehip and hemp seed oil work well for acne-prone skin, as does anti-inflammatory sea buckthorn and all-rounder squalane.

Additionally, blemish-prone skin can benefit from blends containing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients like tea tree, rosemary, and blue tansy. Acne-saviour salicylic acid is also a good ingredient to look out for, found in dry-touch oils like Sunday Riley UFO and Trilogy Hemphip.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin types should avoid facial oils containing essential oils, and opt for soothing, nourishing face oil varieties. Anti-inflammatory oils rich in fatty acids like rosehip, jojoba, and moringa oil are good for sensitive skin.

Ageing skin

Mature, ageing skin can benefit from face oils rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Another good option is an overnight retinol oil like Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil or Tata Harper Retinoic Face Oil, which combine the anti-ageing benefits of retinol with the nourishing, sealant protection of a facial oil. 

Normal skin

Never oily, never dry; normal skin is typically balanced, producing just the right amount of sebum. That means you can use almost any type of facial oil without worrying about dryness, clogged pores, or irritation. Antioxidant-rich oil blends can aid in brightening skin and preventing dullness, while squalane, jojoba, rosehip, and marula oils are also safe bets to lock in moisture. 


Words by AR Staff