We obsess over facial oils. Having tested many, we know that all oils are not created equal. In this guide, we will cover what you should know before buying one and how to best use them.
Oils oxidise which makes them less effective
The rate of oxidation depends on the type of oil you buy, how it is produced and handled. Oxidation is a series of chemical reactions that lead to the degradation of the quality of an oil. There are two major oxidation reactions which can occur:
• Auto-oxidation: This occurs in the presence of air; and
• Photo-oxidation: This occurs through exposure to UV radiation and heat.
Whilst you can’t stop oxidation altogether, you can slow it down by shielding your oil bottles from heat, sun and air exposure. When shopping for an oil, we recommend you take into consideration:
Dark packaging is the best as it protects against UV rays. We love amber glass, it’s effective, recyclable and can be upcycled in many ways.
#2 Best before date
The best before date is the duration of life after production not to be confused with life after opening. Studies have demonstrated that most oils are at their maximum nutritional capacity within 6-12 months after production.
One of the worst enemies of nutrients within oils is heat. Most oils must be kept under 30°C to remain bioactive. When shopping in store, we recommend avoiding oils which are on shelves with light bulbs, exposed to sunlight or in a store where the temperature is too high.
Some plant oils might be better suited to your skin than others
A good quality first press plant oil will elevate any skincare routine. However, depending on your skin type, your concerns and the season, some oils might be more appropriate than others.
This is our guide on how to use the most popular and accessible plant oils
Oils which won’t clog pores
Argan Oil: Dry oil that absorbs easily into the skin. Rich in healing Vitamin E and plant squalene which help improve skin elasticity. Can’t go wrong with this one!
Hemp Seed Oil: Multiple anti-inflammatory properties which make it an ideal oil for acne prone and inflamed skin types. More sensitive to light and temperature changes than other oils. Critical to store your hemp seed oil in cool and dark place.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil: Ultra lightweight oil that sinks into the skin. High concentration in healing Vitamin E, brightening Vitamin K and demonstrated capability as a free radical scavenger. This is the ultimate anti-aging oil.
Oils presenting a low risk of clogging pores
Black Cumin Seed Oil: Rich in Vitamin A, B, C and amino acids. Helps brighten the skin and reduce acne scars. I personally use this whenever I have breakouts (hormonal) because I tend to get dark acne scars but the very pungent smell is a deterrent to many.
Castor Oil: Very rich in Omega 9 fatty acids. Has antimicrobial properties which makes it helpful for psoriasis and acne skin types. Castor oil takes time to absorb into the skin. This makes it a great cleansing oil. Some people have reported skin irritations when using low quality castor oil. Ensure you buy from a reliable and trustworthy brand.
Rosehip Seed Oil: Contains Vitamin C, A and E. Has a good essential fatty acids profile. This is a great choice for dry and weathered skin which needs nourishment. Needs more time to sink into the skin. Rosehip seed oil is a delicate oil highly susceptible to oxidation so handle with care.
Oils presenting a moderate risk of clogging pores
Almond Oil: High in vitamins A, D, and E with a great fatty acids profile. Almond oil is soothing which makes it ideal for sensitive and inflamed skin. Sweet almond oil tends to be better tolerated by the skin than bitter almond oil.
Avocado Oil: Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A and E. Contains sterolins which help heal sun damage and age spots. Highly recommended for dry and mature skin types.
Jojoba Oil: High in Vitamin E and good fatty acids profile. Helps rebalance sebum production so recommended for acne skin. If your acne skin is oily too, recommend diluting with another dry oil to it balance out.
Oils presenting a higher risk of clogging pores
Coconut Oil: Rich in Vitamin E, Capric/Caprylic/Lauric acids and saturated fats. Coconut oil helps soften and repair dry skin + hair. This is one of those ingredients that you need to try and assess for yourself. There are as many people who say it clogged their pores as there are for whom coconut oil was a godsend. I personally only use it in my hair.
Marula Oil: Light oil rich in Vitamin E. Has a good fatty acids profile and is said to promote skin elasticity.
Shea butter: Whilst this is not technically an oil, it melts easily and is fast absorbed by the skin. It is rich in Vitamin E, unsaturated fats and allantoin. This makes it a great moisturiser and emollient.
As usual, whichever plant oils you go for, keep it fresh and certified organic to ensure you get the most out of it. You can shop for our all-time favourites here
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Ahimsa Collective is an Australian-based business that creates biodegradable, waste-free, vegan-leather totes from Pinatex, a material that’s made from the waste of the Pineapple industry.
Bob Melbourne is a zero-waste hair salon based in South Yarra. They turn your offcuts it into hair booms that get taken out to the Great Barrier Reef and help suck up oil spills.