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Why You SHOULD Be Putting Oil On Your Face (And How To Choose One!)

Just a few years ago, we balked at the very suggestion of putting oil on our faces. The prevailing attitude for a long time was quite the opposite — oil was considered Public Enemy No. 1 to a clean, clear, healthy visage, and so we did everything we could to get rid of it; avoiding oil-containing products like the plague and scrubbing, sloughing and Sea Breeze-ing like our lives depended on it.

Unbeknownst to most of us back then, our vigilant degreasing efforts were actually doing more harm than good, stripping our skin and making it cry out for hydration — often in the form of breakouts and excessive oil (go figure). The good news is, we’re older and wiser now (never mind the fact that putting oil on your face goes way back to the ancient Egyptians... listen to your elders!). And times have clearly changed — these days it seems like everyone’s touting the benefits of oils (and not just for skincare). Accordingly, there’s a dizzying selection of oil-based products on the market that make lofty claims about their ability to give you the most supple, youthful, radiant, perfect skin of your life. Still, old habits die hard, and you might still be hesitant to slather your skin in oil. Here’s where we remind you that knowledge is power! You just have to figure out which oil is right for you. Then you’ll be well on your way to reaping the hydrating, nourishing, protective, brightening benefits these all-natural powerhouse products provide.

As an added bonus, applying a face oil never fails to make us feel a little fancy — and we’ll never say no to a product that elevates our daily / nightly bathroom ritual into a spa-like experience. Say aahhh…



  • The stratum corneum makes up the five outermost layers of your skin. It’s composed of dead skin cells held together by lipids. This lipid barrier is what protects your skin against the elements and from becoming dehydrated. But the oils in that lipid barrier deplete as we age, so in addition to causing our skin to look dull, it becomes less protective. A bevy of environmental factors, like UV rays, extreme heat or cold, wind and chemicals can all damage this precious layer. Oils, on the other hand, nourish your skin and seal in existing moisture. Plus, by beefing up your skin’s protective barrier, you’re less vulnerable to breakout-causing bacteria.

  • Oils contain essential fatty acids. Just like eating “good fats” helps you glow from the inside out, applying them topically has the same effect.

  • It may seem counterintuitive, but oils can actually help alleviate excessively greasy skin. When your face is an oil slick and you respond by stripping it using drying cleansers and harsh toners, your skin responds back by producing more sebum. On the other hand, when you feed it the right oils, you can “trick” your skin into thinking it’s got plenty of moisture, thereby putting the breaks on sebum production and restoring balance.

  • During the cold winter months, you need to preserve every bit of hydration you’ve got. Oils seal in the moisture you have and protect your skin against harsh winds and the dryness, redness and irritation that can come with it.

  • In chemistry class, you learned that like attracts like, and some dermatology and aesthetics authorities say the same concept applies to skincare. The theory is that a substance — oil, in this case — can break down substances similar to it. So it follows that applying oil to your face will dissolve existing oil (and draw out gunk from your pores). It’s the idea behind the recently-popular oil cleansing method (or OCM), and while, like any movement, it has its detractors, many people swear by it.

  • Lotions and creams can have all sorts of questionable ingredients. Lotions in particular tend to be full of hydration-sapping alcohol, and many products contain waxes that may help them work initially but clog pores over time. When you choose a pure, all-natural oil, you know exactly what you’re putting on your face. And since oils aren’t packed with water and other fillers, they are more highly concentrated and powerful. That also means a little goes a long way—a good argument for splurging on a super-high-quality product.

  • Oils can work overtime—after applying a few drops to your face, rub the excess into the dry ends of your hair, your cuticles or any rough patches of skin.



  • There are two main types of oils: carrier oils, which penetrate the skin and are usually cold-pressed from fruit, nuts and seeds (think jojoba, coconut + avocado), and essential oils, which are distilled from leaves, roots and bark (like lavender and grapefruit). You need the former to — you guessed it — carry the latter deep into your skin.

  • Go for 100% pure, organic, expeller-pressed or CO2-extracted single origin oils. Cheaper oils are generally refined and expelled with heat (which damages the naturally-occurring chemical compounds) and contain fillers and additives. Check labels for added fragrances, which can be irritating.

  • There are lots of high-quality oil blends on the market as well; just like with pure oils, be wary of questionable additives. You can also make your own blend to suit your unique skin type.

  • The best oils come in dark-colored bottles that protect their contents from light, which can break them down and spoil them.


  • Sensitive skin: Sweet Almond, Chia
  • Redness: Avocado, Hazelnut, Chamomile, Evening Primrose
  • Oily or breakout-prone: Jojoba, Grapeseed, Neem. Tea Tree for spot treating.
  • Dry: Olive, Coconut
  • Mature or sun-damaged/dark spots: Argan, Rosehip, Pomegranate
  • Combination: Maracuja, Marula


    6 Discussions on
    “Why You SHOULD Be Putting Oil On Your Face (And How To Choose One!)”
  • Sakara Life says:

    So great! Which oils do you use?

  • Jen says:

    thanks! sorry if being dense … but where is the quiz?

  • Sakara Life says:

    linked in the post, but find here also – http://doshaquiz.chopra.com

  • jen says:

    would be nice to know of specific brands and / or places to buy these oils as am very interested. have been using coconut and it’s been good but not ideal given my skin type. thank you!

  • Sakara Life says:

    HI Jen! Great question. Do you know your skin type? Take the dosha quiz, and go from there. Coconut isn’t great for my skin either, it clogs my pores, whereas for my sister, it keeps breakouts away. Everyone is vastly different – that’s the beauty in the abundance of oils we can use! It’s a fun process in the discovery of what works for you, and what just doesn’t. Some pure, organic, high-grade EO brands we love are Pratima, Evan Healy, Odacité, Living Libations, Earth Tu Face… and anything and everything in the beauty section at Whole Foods!! You’ll find practically anything you want there. Start with the dosha quiz, analyze what it is that you want for your skin (i.e. hydration, or blemish control, or rosacea control, or wrinkle prevention, etc) then look into products from these companies to support that, or venture into making your own blends!

  • Blair says:

    I just started using oils on my face and it has been simply MAGICAL. So happy to have made the switch. Morning face oil + spritz of Rose water = daytime perfection!

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