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The Ultimate Guide to face oils and how to choose the right one for your skin type

Exfoliation 101: How to Choose the Right Scrub For You Reading The Ultimate Guide to face oils and how to choose the right one for your skin type 9 minutes Next Clean Beauty Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin

While it may seem tiresome to know about yet another skincare product and may pose a dilemma whether it deserves a coveted spot in your skincare routine, worry not; we are here to break down the basics for you, and leave it up to you to decide whether face oils are truly as effective as they are hyped up to be! The main function of a face oil is simple - to replenish and renew the skin cells. While we all know that both oil and water are present below the skin's surface and that they create a protective barrier for the skin, what is not common knowledge is that they prevent dehydration and environmental pollutants and stressors from damaging it. 

Why do I need a face oil in my skincare routine?

Over the years, harsh cleansers, scrubs, other products or even an inadequate diet can damage the skin’s barrier and leave it susceptible to a range of problems from ageing, acne, sun damage, etc. This is where face oils emerge as the true stars, as they act like natural protectors for the skin as they feed it with a range of nutrients, fatty acids and antioxidants. This aids in the function of repair and allows better absorption of other products into the skin too. Moreover, as we age, the amount of natural oil produced by our body slows down and causes the lipid or fat layer to be compromised. It reduces the skin's ability to hold moisture and causes trans-epidermal water loss, which dries it out and decreases its elasticity, making it dull and dehydrated. The beauty of oils are that they are lipophilic in nature, which means they love fatty acids and allow them to pass through and combine with chemical molecules and replenish the lipid layer. These anti-ageing heroes alleviate further water loss and make the skin plump and smooth. They also prevent acne, pigmentation, sun damage and much more!

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What are the things to keep in mind while choosing and using a face oil?

  • Always look for a face oil with smaller molecules so that they can penetrate into your skin easily without clogging the pores. 
  • Opt for oils which have darker bottles. This limits their exposure to light and heat that can potentially damage the contents.
  • When browsing through the ingredients, ensure that water is not the main ingredient in an oil. It is best to choose pure oils or blends of pure oils as they are more potent and effective than their counterparts.
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However, the most important factor in determining the right oil for you is your skin type. It can be quite a disaster if you choose the wrong oil and can cause major havoc for your skin barrier. Here is the complete guide to finding the right one for you.

Oily skin

SL Recommends: Vaunt Tamanu + Cranberry Seed Face Oil with Vitamin F Forte

The most misconstrued notion in skincare is probably that those with oily skin should skip out on using face oils! While it may seem counterproductive, a face oil helps in both replenishing as well as balancing the skin's natural oil levels and preventing dehydration that can lead to breakouts and irritation. Tamanu Oil is great for oily skin, owing to its anti-bacterial and healing properties that can calm the skin and prevent breakouts without clogging the pores. Cranberry Seed Oil on the other hand improves skin elasticity, giving you a radiant, natural glow while Vitamin E shields your skin from environmental stressors that cause daily wear and tear. 

Pro Tip: If you have oily skin, it is best to use a 1-2 of the face oil in your PM routine, and not twice a day.

Read more about how to choose a face oil for oily, acne-prone skin here.


Normal skin

SL Recommends: Natural Vibes Ayurvedic Beauty Oil with 24k Gold Flakes

Those with normal skin may be truly blessed, but must avoid excessively heavy oils. The Natural Vibes Ayurvedic Beauty Oil is the perfect concoction, which gives you a healthy and well-nourished complexion. It has Rosemary Oil, which relieves congestion and detoxes your skin, while a combination of Chamomile, Tea Tree and Patchouli help to calm it. Moreover, Rose, Kesar, Rosehip and Sandalwood have soothing properties while Orange peel works to reduce spots, pigmentation and marks. The icing on the cake is the solid combination of Olive Oil or 'liquid gold' and Swarna Bhasma (actual gold) that repair the skin's barrier, enhance your complexion and give you ultra smooth and velvety soft skin!

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Dry skin

SL Recommends: Cowshed Cranberry Seed Rejuvenating Facial Oil

On the lookout for firm and well hydrated skin? You have officially met your match! Cranberry Seed Oil is power packed with Omega fatty acids and antioxidants, which work in conjunction to protect the lipid barrier of the skin and prevent moisture retention, a common problem faced by those having dry skin. Moreover, it not only plumps up the skin and restores dullness, but also prevents dehydration and irritation. The seeds also contain a potent form of Vitamin E, which has soothing properties and fights free radicals, reducing sun damage and countering wrinkles, lines and loss of elasticity.

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Combination skin

SL Recommends: Shankara Kumkumadi Oil

This time tested Ayurvedic beauty recipe is a magical remedy to uplift your skin's health while tackling various skin problems at once. Enriched with a healthy blend of herbs from Red Gold Saffron, Red Sandalwood, Manjistha, it nourishes the skin's texture and works to brighten and tighten the skin while renewing, rejuvenating and improving its luminescence. Furthermore, its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties help to reduce acne, rashes, signs of ageing and pigmentation. This all-rounded skin hero is 100% pure and non-comedogenic, and is often called the ''miraculous elixir' for good reason!

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Sensitive skin

SL Recommends: Herbis Botanicals Cacay Nut Oil - 100% Cold-Pressed

If you have sensitive skin and are hesitant to try a face oil or any new product generally, we are here to put your worries to rest! The Herbis Botanicals Cacay Nut Oil is a super gentle and exquisite oil that is ideal for those who cannot handle heavy formulations or essential oils on their skin. Finely crafted using nutrient-rich nuts of the Cacay tree from the Amazon, it helps to comfort, soothe and calm the skin's natural barrier. In addition to its tightening properties, its high penetrative abilities ensure that it gets absorbed into the skin effortlessly, making the skin super smooth. The cherry on top is that it has 3x the amount of natural Retinol, an active ingredient that not only delays the signs of ageing but also improves skin texture and feel. 

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Acne-prone skin

SL Recommends: RAS Luxury Oils Luminous Skin Clearing Face Elixir

While acne could be a byproduct of overly active sebaceous glands, it is also caused when the skin’s natural barrier wears off and it is stripped off its moisture. On the other hand, the presence of acne is often an indicator that your skin’s water and oil balance is off. Enter - a lightweight, super-absorbent yet nutrient-rich elixir to save the day! This Luminous Skin-Clearing Elixir has a purifying blend of pure cold-pressed as well as antimicrobial essential oils that reduce inflammation, cleanse and balance your skin from within, diminishing acne, its scars and revealing well-balanced and glowing skin! 

Pro Tip: It is always best to conduct a patch-test before using it all over your face to ensure that it suits your skin. 

Learn how to patch-test your products here.

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Mature skin

SL Recommends: Swisse Argan Youthful Facial Oil

As we age, not only do we lose skin elasticity and firmness, but also start noticing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. The best way to ward off any environmental stressors is to counter them using a power-packed face oil. Argan Oil is a great choice because it is rich in antioxidant compounds such as Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E, Omega 6 and Omega 9, which help to renew, revitalise and enhance the skin's natural barrier. Overall, this oil reduces skin unevenness, improves moisture retention and gives you a youthful glow. Say hello to younger, plumper and well-hydrated skin from within!

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Where do face oils come in the skincare routine?

Cleanser > Toner/Mist > Serum/Ampoule > Moisturiser > Face Oil > Sunscreen

As a face oil newbie, it is best to apply it only in your PM routine and see how your skin responds before adding them to your AM routine too. You can always play around with it over time and even add it in your foundation for a dewy glow occasionally.

This is an image of where face oils come in the skincare regime

The Bottom Line:

Always remember that your skin needs oils as well as moisture to remain healthy and hydrated. While the skin requires 30% oil and 70% water, striking a healthy balance between them is key. The right face oil helps to provide that extra nourishment to promote a healthy glow while retaining the moisture it receives. A face oil in no way is a replacement to a moisturiser or vice versa. They both deserve a spot in your routine to adequately perform their individual functions and leave your skin feeling plump, healthy and naturally radiant.

- Krisha Jhaveri


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