Remember the (Western) beauty industry B.O. (“before oils”)? Of course, oils have been used for thousands of years, but I can easily recall a time when the idea of using face, body, or—gasp!—hair oil seemed novel. To me, the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil seemed nothing short of revolutionary when it was launched in 2007: I couldn’t believe how easily it smoothed out my naturally frizzy locks right before my eyes!
Now, almost every hair line has its own oil—not to mention the plethora of different kinds of face and body oils out there. There are also many multifunctional oil blends that can be used on your face, body, and hair, so there’s no need to fill your bathroom shelf with dozens of different kinds to enjoy their benefits.
In case you haven’t joined the oil lovers’ club yet, here are five ways to add them to your beauty routine.
There are many multifunctional oil blends that can be used on your face, body, and hair, so you don’t need dozens of different kinds to enjoy their benefits.
1. To Make Your Locks Silky Smooth
One of the best things about hair oils is that they are so versatile. You can apply them on clean, damp hair to help keep frizz at bay, on dry hair to add moisture daily, or on dry hair a few minutes before you shampoo as an intensive treatment. And there are oils for literally every hair type!
“I used to use oil on my wavy Asian hair when it was dry to try to tamp down frizz, and it basically made it more limp and greasy,” says Anna Park, our editor in chief. “Then, I tried applying oil when my hair was wet and found that it would air dry into beautiful waves with minimal frizz,” she adds. “I basically threw away all my hair creams, lotions, balms, everything else, and only use oils—not even necessarily hair-specific ones—on my hair now.” Impressive!
Personally, my hair is curly and dry. I can attest to the fact that hair oils work well on my hair when it’s damp, but even better when it’s dry. I like to apply hair oil to my strands before bed, paying special attention to my ends, and then sleep the frizz off. It works like a charm! My hair is quite fine, so when using thicker oils, I sometimes mix a tiny bit into my hair cream, which helps avoid weighing down my locks. I may add more or less depending on the oil and how dry my hair feels that day. Hair oil has been a game changer for me, and since I started using it over a decade ago, I’ve really felt in better control of how my hair looks and feels every day.
2. In Your Bath Water
Why not add a bit of body oil to your bath water? Body oils often have an aromatherapy component to them, so adding them to your bath-time ritual can really set the mood and help you relax—not to mention soften your skin in the process. If you’re thinking of using essential oils in the tub, don’t forget to mix them with a “carrier oil” to ensure they don’t just sit on top of the water.
And regardless of the type of oil you’re adding to your water (body oil or essential oils), be careful not to slip! Despite all their positive aspects, when combined with the slickness of tubs and tiled bathroom floors, oils can be a slippery proposition.
3. To Seal in All Your Skincare Products
If you’ve ever wondered when in your beauty routine to apply face oil, you’re probably not alone. For a while, I mixed it in with my moisturizer—which is fine, if that works for you. But many experts agree it should be applied last in your skincare routine. The reason: Oils are occlusive, which means they help seal everything in, and other products can’t penetrate them.
If you still haven’t tried adding an oil to your skincare routine, I’d recommend giving it a shot (yes, even if you have oily or acne-prone skin). The proof is in your future perfectly moisturized, glowing complexion!
4. On Your Cuticles
One of my favorite things to do while attending virtual beauty events or editing articles or translations is filing my nails, massaging in some cuticle oil, and topping everything off with a nice hand cream. I’ve noticed that this routine has really helped keep my hands nice and smooth despite the indoor heating and Montreal’s harsh winter weather—a feat due in no small part to the cuticle oil, I’m sure! The benefits of cuticle oil include stronger nails, better hydrated cuticles, and fewer hangnails, to name just a few.
My all-time favorite is CND’s SolarOil, which is infused with jojoba oil and vitamin E. I love its fluidity and how easy it is to massage into my skin—not to mention the fact that it smells like a delicious marzipan dessert, which is always a nice bonus.
5. As a Body Moisturizer
If you’ve never tried switching out your body lotion for a body oil, it’s high time you joined the oil tribe. Although the idea of slathering your entire body in oil may seem daunting, the secret is in the timing. Whereas body lotion is best applied on moist skin, body oil, on the other hand, works optimally when applied on outright wet skin. You’ll want to keep your bottle close to the shower or bath, and apply it as soon as you’ve turned off (or gotten out of) the water. You can use your towel to blot off any excess water afterward. And voilà! Perfectly soft, moisturized skin.
Are oils part of your beauty routine? What is your favorite way to use them? Share in the comments!