By Aimee L and Helen Chiang

If you had asked me to rub oil on my already greasy face a year or so ago, I would have bitten your ear off. But now, after working for Lifestyle Collective and being educated on the best possible skin care products ever created, I would say, “yes please!”

We all know that our skin naturally secretes an oily substance called sebum (the thing that makes us shine like a disco ball by the end of the day), which is found in the skin’s sebaceous glands. But did you also know that there are other lipids produced by cells in the protective outer layer of skin, that functions as the skin’s primary protection against water loss?

Good on you if you did, because this was certainly news to us. Together, the oils produced keeps the layers of our skin soft, seals hydration in, and protects us against allergens and pathogens by keeping the protective layer in tact.

So what has this got to do with face oils? well, here’s how. Oil is hydrophobic, including the oils that your face produces, which means that they keep water from escaping. And that in turn helps to keep your skin hydrated. Hydration is really a function of water balance, so oils help hold water in, and prevent the environment from stripping water out.

What’s The Big Deal About Face Oils?

Face oils help complement our natural oils, and while they have many potential benefits, their overall purpose is to serve as an extra level of protection for your skin. They can be considered a type of emollient, that helps to strengthen the outer layer of your skin (the stratum corneum) by softening and sealing it, preventing water loss.

Which Part Of Your Skin Care Routine Do They Belong In?

When applying skin care products, go from the lightest to thickest. So apply your lightest products first, such as your serums or oils, and move your way up to the thickest products, such as your moisturiser and sunscreen.

You can also add a few drops of your preferred oil in your moisturiser or serum to achieve additive properties. Face oils can also be applied after a serum, to allow for the benefits of the serum to be ‘locked into’ the skin. They can be applied either in the morning or evening, or be used as a spot treatment to tackle specific skin issues like dark spots and dryness.

The Best Face Oil For Dry Skin

For ultra dry skin, massage in a facial oil, then use a rich moisturiser on top. If you have dry skin, a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid in conjunction with a facial oil would work well. The best oils for dry skin would be coconut, rosehip, olive, sunflower, argan, maracuja and squalane.

If you have dry or pigmented skin, we strongly recommend Essano Certified Organic Rosehip Oil $29.95, 20ml. This oil is non greasy and quickly absorbs into the skin. It harnesses the unique healing power of Rosehip Oil, which clinical studies have proven to be effective in minimising the appearance of fine lines, scars, stretch marks and sun damage. This 100% natural and certified organic oil has been scientifically formulated to improve the skin’s firmness and elasticity, aid in the natural repair and renewal of the skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and enhance skin tone and brightness.

The Best Face Oil For Combination Skin

If you have normal or combination skin and no other concerns, look for oils that have fatty acids and antioxidants in them to help seal your skin and protect it against the damaging effects of pollution. Marula, jojoba, grapeseed and carrot seed oils are a great choice.

If you have normal to combination skin, we highly recommend Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil $102, 20ml. This facial oil comes straight from the pip of the marula fruit and is untouched by chemicals and fragrances. DE’s raw, cold-press extraction and filtration process results in the purest and most concentrated form of the oil, allowing the delicate antioxidant and fatty acid compounds to be preserved.

Containing greater concentrations of polyphenols than dark chocolate, green or black teas, this oil is a powerful antioxidant defence against pollution and damaging environmental free radicals. Think of it like rehab for your skin, it helps to moisturise, rejuvenate and nourish your skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, redness and blotchiness, and it also works to restore your skin’s elasticity and glow.

Marula oil is also a great for those suffering from acne and oily skin, since it’s super light and won’t clog pores.

If you have normal, oily, dull or congested skin, we highly recommend the Aesop Fabulous Face Oil $77, 25ml. This divinely scented oil is a concentrated hydrating formulation boosted with botanicals renowned for their purifying, balancing and skin-softening properties.

Enriched with juniper, jasmine and ylang ylang, this much-adored facial oil works on all skin types, but is especially good to use if you have sensitive, congested and reactive skin. The oil is also non-greasy, absorbs instantly and smells so amazing.

The Best Face Oils For Ageing Skin

Face oils rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients can help boost radiance, enhance the skin’s elasticity, protect it from free radicals and encourage healing.

If you are concerned that you are beginning to show signs of ageing, we recommend you try Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil $140, 15ml. This powerful replenishing facial oil harnesses the power of the sea to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles whilst leaving the skin looking revitalised and radiant.

Formulated with a trio of marine actives including Padina Pavonica, Golden Seaweed and Roaring Water Kelp, the lightweight formula delivers maximum, skin-plumping moisture for a more youthful look. It also smells amazing and feels great on the skin.

We also recommend JYUNKA Pure E Concentrate $67, 5x3ml. Vitamin E is truly a powerful active ingredient and anti-oxidant that serves many important functions including treating skin sensitivity, delaying the signs of ageing, repairing damaged cells and healing scars. This unscented oil is slightly thicker, so a little goes a long way.

Suitable for all skin types, this oil is particularly effective for those with sensitive skin as it is anti-inflammatory and soothing. 

A Worthy Mention

CNP Propolis Ampoule Oil In Cream $54.90, 50ml

While not exactly a face oil, the reason why we had to include it in our list is because this gorgeously scented, intensive moisturising oil-type cream contains Propolis Bee’s Extract and a mixture of five different types of nutritious moisturising oils (Macadamia Ternifolia Oil, Argan Oil, Shea Butter, Rapeseed Oil and Mauritiaflexuosa Fruit Oil), combined with ceramides to retain the skin’s youth through promoting healthy radiant skin which is suitable for matured skin types.

It absorbs instantly and feels wonderful on the skin. A little goes a long way and we would recommend this for use at night, especially if you sleep in air-conditioning which can strip your skin of moisture.

If you are looking for a really good face oil, we hope this article helps. Although we did categorise the oils under specific skin conditions and issues, they can all be used by everyone, irrespective of their skin type. We personally tried each of the oils, as well as several others in the market for over two weeks, and whittled our list down to these top six must-haves!