The marketing hype around the modern facial oil trend would have us believe that these golden liquids are your one-stop shop to a flawless face, but although some oils are effective multi-taskers, the truth is not quite so simple.
Oils are excellent cleansers, able to swoosh away dirt, grime and make-up fast. Moreover, many possess natural anti-oxidant and soothing properties that may help ease rosacea, diminish wrinkles or reduce dark spots. Still, experts generally agree that alternative skincare ingredients such as glycolic acid, retinol, niacinamide and vitamin C are even more effective when it comes to fighting the ageing process, as well as combatting other skin woes.
Where face oils do come into their own, however, is when they are use on particularly dry skin. Their ability to effectively lock in moisture is a brilliant boost to your normal skincare regime. “The fatty acids found in oils are needed when skin is dry,” explains skincare expert and founder of Paula’s Choice, Paula Begoun. “At these times, they work to rebuild and strengthen the skin’s vital protective barrier by helping to keep in skin-smoothing hydration and prevent moisture loss due to dry, cold, or arid environments.”
Dr Maryam Zamani Oculoplastic Surgeon, Aesthetic Doctor and founder of MZ Skin agrees: “Those with dehydrated skin will notice the benefits of the fatty acids (100% in oils versus only around 20% in most moisturising creams) to replenish the skin’s barrier.”
Still, experts are quick to flag that facial oils should be an additional supplement, not an alternative to the moisturisers and serums that make up your daily skincare routine. This is because while oils are a source of antioxidants and replenishing emollients, which are helpful for keeping skin’s vital hydration locked in, they are neither a good source of skin restoring ingredients (think peptides, retinol or niacinamide), nor hydration-boosting ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides).