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The Best Face Oils for Glowing, Healthy, Soft Skin

by Katie Muirhead

Aug 29, 2022

Not too long ago "oil-free" was a skincare buzzword. But not anymore. Now, the beauty world has wised up to the link between oils and healthy skin. Once you add face oil into your skincare routine you'll likely never turn back.

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Oils are beneficial to any skin type. They can help nourish, soothe, and protect your skin. From jojoba to marula to rosehip and beyond, there's an oil blend suitable for everyone.

Why should you use face oil?

The skin barrier is made up of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids that work to protect the skin from environmental stressors.

Over time, age, extreme weather, and harsh exfoliants can erode the skin barrier, which can lead to irritation and premature aging.

This is where face oils come in. They can help to replenish and restore the vital skin barrier, keeping your skin soft, conditioned, and protected.

While the effects of a facial oil may sound similar to your favorite moisturizer, it's important to note that they are not the same. Moisturizer usually has substantial water content, this allows it to penetrate and hydrate the skin. In contrast, facial oils sit on the skin's surface.

Creams, serums, and oils make a great team. The latter creates a barrier and helps the skin retain hydration. (This means that face oils work best at the end of your routine.)

Many face oils are also formulated with active ingredients (such as vitamin C or retinol) to help target skin concerns like hyperpigmentation or fine lines.

Can face oils be used on acne-prone skin?

While it may feel counter-productive to apply oil to skin that is already oily or congested, face oils can actually be beneficial.

When the skin gets dry or irritated it responds by creating more of its own natural sebum, which leads to oily skin and potential breakouts. Oils can help to reign in this response, and ultimately balance the oil production of especially oily or combination skin.

However, choosing the right oil is important.

If you have acne-prone skin, use an oil or oil blend that is non-comedogenic. (This means it won't clog your pores.) Jojoba oil, for example, is structurally very similar to our skin's natural sebum, making it safe for acne-prone skin.

Other non-comedogenic options include rosehip oil, hemp seed oil, and evening primrose oil.

If your skin is acne prone, avoid comedogenic oils such as coconut oil, marula oil, and cocoa butter.

Also, while it can be confusing, keep an eye out for essential oils in skincare. These concentrated plant essences don't provide the softening and conditioning effects we're after, and for some people, they can trigger sensitivity or a reaction.

When should you apply face oil?

Once you've found a face oil that works for you, it can be added to your daily routine.

Most people prefer to use face oil at night, though it can also be applied in the morning. (Just make sure it doesn't hinder your SPF application.)

Apply a face oil at the end of your skincare routine following any serums or moisturizers.

For a little extra luxury, use the oil application as an excuse to give yourself a facial massage. Pull up and out along the contours of your face with moderate pressure to aid with lymph drainage and boost circulation to the skin.

The best cruelty-free face oils

The right oil for your skin will be one that keeps your skin feeling soft and conditioned, is light enough to not cause congestion, and has a formula that you enjoy using.

Finding the right oil for you may take some trial and error, but that glowing, plump skin will be worth it.

We've rounded up some of the most loved facial oils on the market for a range of skin types. (And there are a lot!)

As always, all of these products are cruelty-free. We believe that there is no place for animal testing in the beauty industry, and want to make it easy for you to make conscious consumer choices.

Here are some of the best face oils to help you achieve soft, healthy, glowing skin.

Best For Acne-Prone Skin:

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan, clean beauty
Types of oilSqualane
Other active ingredientsVitamin C
Best forDry skin, dullness, loss of firmness, acne-prone skin

If you've never tried a facial oil, this lightweight formula will be the perfect intro.

Squalane oil is structurally similar to the skin's natural sebum, so it feels natural and absorbs easily. Formulated with an oil-soluble form of vitamin C, it will also help to treat any discoloration, keeping your skin tone even and bright.

Because it's so lightweight, this oil can easily fit into both your morning and evening routine. (You can even mix a few drops with your favorite foundation or tinted moisturizer.)

This formula is suited to oily or blemish-prone skin, but it is worth introducing it slowly to make sure your skin tolerates it well.

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan, organic
Types of oilSweet almond oil, pumpkin seed oil, grape seed oil, neem oil, evening primrose oil
Other active ingredients-
Best forDry facial skin, scalp & hair, body, cuticles

If you're into gardening, you may have used neem oil to fight fungal, bacterial, or pest outbreaks. Well, believe it or not, neem oil has the same anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiseptic effect on the skin.

This multi-purpose healing oil is formulated for use on the face, scalp, hair, and body. It helps hydrate the skin, soothe any scalp issues, and leaves the hair feeling soft and smooth. It can even be used to keep your cuticles smooth and stimulate nail growth!

When applying this oil to your face, start with a small amount and massage it into the skin. It works well on skin that is damp from either the shower or a hydrating toner.

Note that this formula contains lavender, rosemary, rose geranium, frankincense, and myrrh essential oils. These are all skin-safe, but if you're particularly sensitive, it is worth spot-testing first.

This product listing is sponsored.

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilOlive oil, avocado oil, red raspberry oil, broccoli oil, cucumber oil, squalane
Other active ingredientsVitamin C, turmeric
Best forDry skin, dullness

This plant-packed facial oil is specifically formulated to be light enough for daytime wear and to help protect against the pollutants of everyday life.

A lineup of olive oil, avocado seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, broccoli seed oil, cucumber seed oil, and squalane are blended with vitamin C and the antioxidant powers of tomato extract. Your skin is softened, supported, and protected from stressors such as pollution and UV rays.

To use, massage 5-6 drops to your face and neck both morning and night. (If it's the morning, don't forget to follow it up with your favorite sunscreen!)

Best Budget:

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilRosehip oil
Other active ingredients-
Best forDry skin, dullness

This single-ingredient oil is a great simple option to finish off your skincare routine and boost your skin's hydration.

Rosehip seed oil is rich in linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and pro-vitamin A. These work to support healthy skin and can help reduce signs of photo-aging.

This oil has a thickness that makes it well suited to your evening skincare routine. Use it after a hydrating serum or moisturizer to trap that hydration in and wake up feeling plump and glowy.

This oil is particularly great in the dry winter months when your skin may need that extra layer of protection.

InnerSoul Shine Vitamin C Rosehip & Ginger Root Facial Oil

This product listing is sponsored.

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan, organic
Types of oilRosehip oil, ginger root oil
Other active ingredients-
Best forDry skin, dullness, aging skin

This facial oil combines the nourishing power of rosehip oil with the antioxidant properties of ginger root oil to promote healthy, youthful skin.

The molecules of rosehip are small enough to penetrate the surface of the skin, providing long-lasting moisturization to skin that feels dry or dull. Ginger root oil works to protect the skin from the aging, oxdiating effects of free radicals, keeping the skin looking smooth, even, and firm.

Use it overnight to give your skin a boost of glowy moisture by morning, or try mixing it with your morning moisturizer or foundation.

The benefits of this oil are long-lasting, keeping your skin protected and nourished from morning to evening.

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan, organic, clean beauty
Types of oilSunflower oil, jojoba oil, squalane, flaxseed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip oil, pomegranate seed oil, cranberry seed oil
Other active ingredientsMaqui, acai & goji (antioxidant fruits)
Best forDry skin, dullness, fine lines

This lightweight facial oil packs a serious antioxidant punch. With an extensive blend of oils and the free-radical fighting power of maqui, acai, and goji berries, this oil will leave your skin feeling protected and bright.

This facial oil is light enough to be used morning or night, and can even be mixed in with your foundation for a glowing daytime routine.

Note that the dropper applicator is fairly delicate, so maybe avoid throwing this one in your travel case!

Best For Dry Skin:

This product listing is sponsored.

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilPlum kernel oil, olive oil, cloudberry oil, meadowfoam oil, rosehip oil, sunflower seed oil, oat kernel oil
Other active ingredients-
Best forDry skin, dullness

This skin rescue face oil is formulated for those that live in harsh climates or who have to face the cold, wind, and other forms of extreme winter weather.

The blend of oils works to support your skin's natural moisture barrier, making it more resilient to environmental stressors. The antioxidant properties of cloudberry seed oil, rosehip oil, and edelweiss extract work with the other conditioning oils to leave your skin bright, even, and supported.

Use this oil morning in the morning as a physical protectant from the elements, and use it again at night to support and replenish your moisture barrier while you sleep.

While this oil is unlikely to clog pores, it's best suited for dry skin types and in the winter.

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilMeadowfoam oil, hemp oil, sunflower seed oil, cranberry oil, olive oil, broccoli oil, grapeseed oil, blackcurrant oil, tsubaki oil, sacha inchi oil, sea buckthorn oil, prickly pear oil, cucumber oil, rosehip oil, watermelon oil, pomegranate oil
Other active ingredients-
Best forDry skin, dullness, loss of firmness

You read that right. This face oil is formulated with 16 different oils.

This non-comedogenic blend works to deeply condition and boost the elasticity of the skin, leaving your skin feeling plump. This luxurious oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, which work to replenish and support your skin's natural moisture barrier.

Apply this as the last step in your skincare routine in the evening to lock in the hydration and nutrients.

If you're after a little extra morning glow, add a drop or two to your moisturizer to pump up the hydration.

Best For Sensitive Skin:

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilCamellia japonica seed oil, inca inchi oil, meadowfoam seed oil, rice bran & germ oil, camelina sativa seed oil, rosehip seed oil
Other active ingredients-
Best forDry skin, redness, loss of firmness, sensitive skin

For skin that has been over-stripped or stressed, this oil will help support and restore the crucial moisture barrier. The barrier is the protective layer that keeps your skin balanced and healthy, which, when compromised, can lead to dryness and sensitivity.

This facial oil is formulated with a microbiome-friendly blend that works to soothe the skin and leave it more supple and hydrated.

A great option for sensitive or very dry skin, this non-greasy oil can be applied both morning and evening. If you're working on restoring a damaged skin barrier, try skipping the harsh actives (such as exfoliants) until your skin feels balanced again.

Korres Santorini Grape Velvet Skin Drink

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilGrapeseed oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil
Other active ingredientsResveratrol
Best forDry skin, uneven texture, loss of firmness

This grape-powered oil will help leave your skin soft, smooth, and more even.

Grapeseed oil softens and moisturizes while resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes, works to smooth the skin texture and treat hyperpigmentation. The overall effect will be glowing, even skin that feels and looks healthy.

This oil has a unique, velvety texture and is suitable for even oily skin. It absorbs quickly, making it a great choice if you usually don't like the feeling of face oils.

Apply it morning and evening as the last step in your skincare routine. (Caution: a little goes a long way.)

Best For Aging Skin:

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilMarula oil, soybean oil
Other active ingredientsRetinol 0.5%, ceramides
Best forDry skin, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, aging skin

This face oil combines the nourishing properties of virgin marula oil with the regenerative power of retinol. It is formulated to treat fine lines, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation while keeping the skin moisturized.

Ceramides also help soothe sensitivity and redness by supporting a healthy skin barrier.

This facial oil is suitable for most skin types, but like anything with retinol, it should be eased into.

Avoid layering it with chemical exfoliants that could cause irritation and make sure to thoroughly apply SPF in the morning. (Retinol can make the skin more photosensitive.)

Best Luxury:

EthicsCruelty-free
Types of oilAvocado oil, olive oil, babassu oil, sunflower seed oil, evening primrose oil, raspberry seed oil, bilberry seed oil,
Other active ingredientsCollagen
Best forDry skin, dullness, loss of firmness, aging skin

For how lightweight this oil is, the level of moisture it can deliver to your skin is impressive.

Formulated with a blend of oils and added collagen, this non-greasy formula works to plump the skin, nourish the skin barrier, and leave your face looking glowy and feeling hydrated.

Best suited for dry or aging skin, massage this oil as the final step in your skincare routine.

Note that it contains a few essential oils (lavender, bitter orange, and rose). These make it smell amazing, but are worth avoiding if your skin is easily irritated or you are sensitive to fragrance.

DAMDAM Rice Drops Vegan Face Oil

EthicsCruelty-free, vegan
Types of oilRice bran oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil
Other active ingredientsCollagen
Best forDry skin, dullness, uneven texture, aging skin

This face oil is an oil-serum hybrid that provides lightweight yet rich moisture. Its nourishing blend of oils is able to hydrate without clogging pores, leaving the skin moisturized and supple with only a few drops.

This oil serum is absorbed well into the skin, making it a great choice for morning or evening use.

In the morning, try adding a few drops to your favorite moisturizer or makeup to infuse them with extra hydration.

The verdict

Our skin naturally produces its own sebum, which is clear proof that oil is crucial for healthy skin function.

However, sometimes our skin needs a little extra help. Adding face oil into your routine can help keep your skin soft, make the rest of your routine more effective, and support a healthy skin barrier.

Whether your skin is dry, sensitive, aging, or acne-prone, there is a facial oil that can help you achieve glowing, hydrated, healthy skin.

Our fave facial oils are:

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