These are the best face oils to soothe every skin type

best face oils

The name alone implies an other worldly glow. But finding the right facial oil for your skin type has historically been the Rubik’s cube of beauty.

The good news is,  sometime over the past few years, face oils ceased to be of the snake variety. They shrugged off their bad reputation as pore-clogging and spot-causing and became cleaner, more refined and, in some cases, a delivery system for high-tech ingredients. 

Here, we call on the experts to reveal how they should best be applied by different skin types...

What is a face oil, and what does it do?

Sound the myth-busting klaxon. Contrary to popular belief, face oils are not moisturisers.

Even the best face oils are not humectants so can’t actually hydrate the skin. What’s more, the fatty acid molecules that make up an oil are too big to skink into the skin.

Instead, they act as a good occlusive barrier to help protect the skin.

‘Face oils are effective at preventing water loss when they sit on top of the skin,’ explains aesthetic doctor Dr Barbara Sturm. 

best face oils

How do you use the best face oils? 

The occlusive nature of a face oil means you should apply it as the last step in your skincare routine. For example, an oil applied over the top of a hyaluronic acid serum will seal all that water-attracting goodness into your skin cells. 

Dermatologist David Colbert, founder of Colbert MD Skincare, also highlights the benefits of using an oil alongside your anti-ageing night cream. 

‘Oil molecules behave like tiny Trojan horses. They trick the skin into letting active ingredients deeper into the skin,’ he says.

Stem cell scientist Professor Augustinus Bader has created one of the most high-tech oils on the market right now. The Face Oil is designed to be either applied on top of, or blended with, The Cream.

To turbo charge the results and add another layer of comfort to dry skin, he has bedded his famous TCF8 complex (vitamins and amino acids) among several cold-pressed  oils and other botanicals.

The Face Oil provides added nourishment from lightweight grapeseed oil; babassu oil, which is high in anti-inflammatory lauric acid and licorice root extract, which can help reduce skin pigmentation.

Is putting oil on your face good? 

When you consider you skin’s moisture levels and protective barrier become compromised after the age of 30, the benefits of a face oil extend beyond just a pretty glow.

Drier skin literally feeds off heavier oils - particularly ones rich in fatty acids and oleic acid, like marula oil.

The debate surrounding oils for oily skin, however, is still raging. The overriding advice remains, approach with caution.

But, according to Kiehls, blemish-prone skins don't need to avoid all oil completely.

The Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate contains hemp seed oil,  known to be an anti-inflammatory, as well as green oregano oil, which was traditionally used as an antiseptic. All of which makes it ideal for keeping breakouts under control.

best face oils

Best face oils for dry skin

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Facial Oil, Cult Beauty

best face oils Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant's offering is so lightweight that you'll barely realise it's an oil. The cold-pressed formula is nourishing enough for dry skin and is naturally antimicrobial to reduce redness for an all-round smoother complexion.

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Best face oils for glowing skin

Augustinus Bader The Face Oil, Space NK

best face oils, Augustinus Bader The Face Oil, Space NK

According to Bader, his patented TCF8 complex acts like a 'skin GPS', steering the vitamins and amino acids to where they are needed to regenerate skin cells. Add in moisture-locking oils, and it's no wonder this face oil keeps selling out.

Buy it now

Best face oils for oily skin

Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate, Space NK

best face oils, Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate, Space NK

Hemp seed and oregano oils are ideal for soothing skin when it freaks out. Even better, the formula is non-comedogenic, and so light that it almost doesn’t feel like anything on your skin.

Buy it now

Read on to see more of Marie Claire's favourite face oil buys...

More of the best face oils for dry, sensitive and oily skin

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.