Now that I’ve covered some of the basic principles of facial oils in skin care in the first edition of my two-part oil series, here’s where we get into the fun part of actually using some of these oils on your face. Not that science isn’t fun, but it’s definitely more of a means to an end for me—I’m here to put stuff on my face and go to sleep looking like a glazed donut.
Yes, I do have oilier skin, but I welcome the shine, especially in my nighttime routine. I can say that since I’ve been using facial oils in multiple steps in my routine, my skin feels stronger, looks healthier, and is more resilient when faced with treatment products that can potentially irritate skin like exfoliants and retinoids. Of course, I can’t promise that you’ll have the same results, but more often than not, my friends, family, and clients who have incorporated facial oils into their routine have seen improvements in their skin.
I can say that since I’ve been using facial oils in multiple steps in my routine, my skin feels stronger, looks healthier, and is more resilient.
Oils in Your Moisturizer
I feel like I spent an inappropriate amount of time in my early 20s hunting for every oil-free moisturizer humanly possible in the hopes that it would help keep my skin shine-free. Spoiler alert: They did not help with my shiny skin. At all. I swear the majority of them made my face even shinier, and all I ended up with was skin that felt tight and dry. It was a completely pointless exercise, and I am so glad that I got off that oil-free moisturizer train that clearly was not working for me.
Incorporating a moisturizer with some beneficial oils in it is one of the easiest ways to add in some oils to your routine because you’re probably already using a moisturizer. Everyone who is building a skin care routine really should be using one as it is, but unless you’re someone with truly oily skin who lives in a very humid climate, I don’t think you should fixate on finding something free of oils.
Something like the Dermalogica Pure Night is a great place to start, and you can really help support the health and texture of your skin by using a moisturizer with some oils in it. If you’re really nervous about how it might potentially interfere with your makeup or just general appearance during the day, try starting off using something containing oils just at night. My experience tells me that the vast majority of people will definitely notice some positive changes in their skin.
Oils in Your Cleansing Step
I’m sure I’ll speak more in depth about my deep, deep love for oil-based cleansers at a different time so I can give them the full appreciation I feel they deserve, but if you’re familiar with Korean or Asian beauty, this is likely a familiar concept to you already.
If you haven’t encountered cleansers of this variety, they’re cleansers that are often referred to as “first step” cleansers. These cleansers help get makeup, sunscreen, and other stuff that has accumulated during the day off so that your more traditional, water-based cleansers—that are usually some type of gel format—can clean your actual skin.
Speaking of Asian beauty, Japanese brands were some of the first to really champion oil-based cleaners, and they make some of the best out there. They always seem to rinse off very cleanly with water, leaving no residue, and come in huge sizes that will last you months upon months. The bottles are also pretty, and I’m never upset at a pretty bottle.
The Shu Uemura POREfinist Sakura Refreshing Cleansing Oil is the brand’s newest addition to their cleansing oil lineup—and also a mouthful—but the concept behind it is that it helps clean out your pores as well as cleansing and conditioning your skin. Dermalogica also makes a solid cleansing oil that is a great way to try out oil cleansing if you haven’t before.
Oils … as Your Oil
In my mind, the “ultimate” form of using oils on your skin is using a product that is in some type of dropper bottle that is just straight oil and that hasn’t already been whipped up into a cream or lotion. This probably is also one of the more intimidating ways of adding facial oils into your routine due to it being a less common method that could not be further from the oil-free vibes that I was going for before I could legally rent a car. However, this has, by far, been the most personally beneficial way that I’ve added facial oils to my routine. It has made an immediate difference in my skin and has had a lasting impact.
Heavy disclaimer here: I, as someone who still has very congestion-prone skin and had moderate to severe cystic acne for years, advise caution when incorporating oils like this into your skincare. I’m not saying that you should be scared of oils, period. The differentiation between the types of oils that I mentioned in part 1 (linoleic versus oleic) probably matters the most in this product format. But I want to highlight the fact that the amount of oil you’re using is going to be pretty small. I’m talking literal drops, not full (sometimes multiple) pipettes of product, like I see way too often on Instagram or Twitter.
I’ll take something like Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which has a good variety of oils for a highly moisturizing hit and yet a somewhat light finish on the skin, and add two to three drops into my moisturizer at night. It’s going to take some experimentation to discover what the right amount of oil is for you, but go drop by drop, y’all. The first time I tried this method, I dumped a full pipette into my night cream, and my skin felt so slick that I literally went and washed my face and did my entire routine over again.
My dry skin folks out there could easily get away with making a little oil + cream cocktail for the daytime as well, and even adding one or two drops into your foundation can give a beautiful finish if you find that your makeup can go flat and patch during the day. Just don’t mix anything into your SPF, which should be a dedicated product, as you don’t want to mess with your sun protection.