Adding a face oil to your skincare routine can have many benefits if used correctly. We’re here to give you all the information about how to do that so you can enjoy a newly hydrated, glowing complexion.
First up, the biggest misconception about facial oils is that they’re only for people with dry skin. But in fact, facial oils can work for all skin types including sensitive skin and can even help calm oil production. You just need to find the right facial oil for you and your skin’s needs.
What exactly are face oils?
Face oils are like moisturisers in that they bring hydration to the skin, but that’s where the similarities end. Moisturisers are water-based, and they help to lock water into the skin. Oils can’t add water, but they are masters at sealing in moisture and preventing it from evaporating from the skin’s surface.
Facial oils are made from a blend of plant oils and come with a host of benefits, we're talking more radiant skin, smoother skin and a natural looking glow. The right formula can help boost hydration, calm irritation and even help balance oily skin types. Of course, a face oil that benefits one person may not work for another—the key is to find a formula suited to your skin type.
What are the benefits of using a face oil in your skincare regime?
Face oils are excellent at caring for the skin barrier function. Natural ceramides, fatty acids and lipids help to make up the top layer of the skin and facial oils are similar enough to our own oils to really replenish the barrier function. This top layer is crucial for healthier-looking skin, signs of a weakened skin barrier include redness, sensitive skin, blemishes, and dry patches. Restoring dehydrated skin every evening with a silky oil that’s targeted to your skin type will help to care for this essential protective barrier meaning you have more radiant skin.
Look for a face oil that contains a blend of antioxidants for protective benefits that will lead to a stronger, more resilient complexion.
How to use face oils in your skincare routine
It’s important to apply your products in the right order. Generally, we recommend layering your skincare products in order of weight. In other words, it’s better to use the thinner, lighter-weight products— like serums— first and apply heavier products—like oils—towards the end of your routine. Face oils seal in all the beneficial ingredients you’ve already applied, so it’s a good idea to apply a face oil as the final step in your routine, meaning none of those expensive ingredients will go to waste.
- In the morning: apply your face oil at the end of your skincare routine, but before your sunscreen.
- In the evening: apply your face oil as the final step of your routine.
We also recommend applying your facial oil at least 20 minutes before you lie down. The oil needs time to soak into your skin, rather than your pillow.
Kiehl's Expert Tip:
Always ensure you have thoroughly cleansed skin before applying any skincare, including face oils.
How to apply a facial oil
To get the most out of your facial oil start slowly. The key is to use it sparingly, both face oils for dry skin and face oils for blemish-prone skin can leave you feeling a bit oilier than you’d like if applied excessively. Instead of slathering it on like you would sunscreen, start by patting just a few drops of your chosen oil onto your face, focusing on your problem areas (you can always add more if needed).
How to use face oil with makeup
If you have dry or mature skin, applying your face oil before foundation can help to boost hydration and seal in moisture for plump, smooth skin. If you have oily skin, we recommend saving your face oil for no makeup days, as the extra oil means makeup will simply slide off. To apply dab a few drops of facial oil onto palms and smooth over your face and neck. It’s crucial to wait a while – at least 5 mins – before applying foundation, so the oil as time to absorb and hydrate dry areas. You can also mix a few drops of oil with your primer if you need a little extra hydration. If you’re looking for a dewy light base, then mix 1 drop of face oil with 2 pumps of foundation on the back of your hand for a bespoke base that lets your skin glow.
Face oil vs face serum
Unlike oils, serums are typically water-based and very lightweight; they are usually designed to help correct specific skin concerns such as uneven skin tone, sensitive skin or dullness. Generally, they’re best applied after cleansing and toning and before hydrating products. Face serums pair beautifully with face oils – we suggest applying serum, then following with an oil later in your routine to help seal all the beneficial serum ingredients into the skin, especially if you have any signs of a weakened skin barrier function.
Our Best Face Oils
Best for blemish-prone, blotchy and oily skin types
Dehydrated skin produces more oil to make up for the lack of natural moisture in the skin. This excess oil production can make skin appear oily and lead to clogged pores and blemishes. To keep skin hydrated use a non-comedogenic face oil like our Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil. Formulated with 100% naturally derived ingredients, including Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil and Green Oregano Oil. This unique facial oil helps relieve stressed skin and visibly reduce skin redness for calmer-feeling, smoother skin. With regular use, it also helps strengthen the skin barrier function to help skin defend itself from environmental aggressors. Discover our top tips to calm stressed skin here.
*We consider ingredients to be naturally derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.