Monday, November 11, 2013

Battle of the Oils

One of the latest trends in beauty products has been pure oils.  If you haven't tried them yet, you're definitely missing out!  I'm not talking about the serum oils, cleansing oils, or moisturizing oil treatments (like the Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil) that have been around for a while...I'm referring to plain, old pure oils. 

There are many great benefits to using a light layer of oil underneath or instead of your moisturizer.  Why?
  • Since these oils are derived from natural substances, you know they're healthy.  
  • They're gentle, soothing, and great for even the most sensitive skin types.
  • They're more potent than moisturizers, which means that your skin gets a stronger dose of beneficial ingredients.  Moisturizers that "contain vitamin C" for example also contain a lot of fillers that dilute the ingredient.
  • They offer benefits to all skin types.
  • Save time and money.  These 2-in-1 products are treatment + moisturizers.
  • Believe it or not, they often feel less greasy (they absorb pretty fast) than traditional moisturizers.  And they smell pretty nice too :)
  • You can use them anywhere on your body - try them as a hair treatment, makeup remover, or cuticle moisturizer too.
A lot people are hesitant to use oils though because some myths have given them a bad rep.  

Myth #1:  Oil = sun sensitivity   
Many of us have probably heard of people using baby oil to tan because it draws sunlight to react with your skin.  The truth is that certain oils, primarily citrus-based oils, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.  Many pure oils, however, will not.  Just be sure to check the packaging of an oil to make sure that it won't make your skin sensitive to sunlight.  In fact, you can use products like the Josie Maran argan oil and the Boscia tsubaki oil both day and night.

Myth: Oil = acne
Some oils such as mineral oil (baby oil) can aggravate acne.  First of all, there are often scents and fillers in baby oil that can make you break out.  Secondly, these lubricating oils are heavy, aggressive, and sit on the top of the skin (rather than penetrate it), which can clog your pores.  Pure oils are much lighter, more delicate, and get absorbed by the skin, so all skin types - even those with acne - can use them.

That being are the four most popular and commercialized pure oils on the market today:

1.  Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil ($48 at Sephora)
Winner:  Repairing/Replenishing 
You've probably heard about argan oil by now, since it's been one of the hottest new beauty products in the past few years for everything from skin to hair to cuticles to even stretch marks.  Argan oil comes from Moroccan Argan trees and is rich in both vitamin E and fatty acids.  Thus, it offers some really great skin benefits including repairing, nourishing, and conditioning and is really great for all skin types including acne-prone skin. Josie Maran is the queen of argan oil, which is featured in all of her products.  She even makes a "light" argan oil for those of you, who want an extra light-weight product.   

2.  Marula Pure Marula Face Oil ($78 at Sephora)

Winner:  Soothing/Softening
Marula oil comes from marula nuts in East Africa.  Why is it a super skin-saver?  In addition to its protecting, and rejuventating properties, marula oil is loaded with omega acids that smooth and firm skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Antioxidants also work to slow aging and fight free radical damage.  Overall, the oil offers great soothing and softening qualities for all skin types and is especially useful for people with skin conditions, dry skin, or sensitive skin.  Plus you can even add it to other facial products to increase efficacy.

3.  Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil ($46 at Sephora)
Winner:  Brightening/Radiance
Extracted from superfruits of the Amazon, maracuja oil is a great natural brightener.  Rich in vitamin C, which helps your skin cells with the natural turnover process, this product will rejuvenate your skin and leave your complexion with a radiant glow.  It also contains essential fatty acids that you're skin can't produce naturally, but help keep your skin supple and hydrated.  For those of you with dull skin or dark spots, this is the oil for you.  And don't forget that maracuja is a great anti-inflammatory too!  Just one thing to keep in mind is that this product may make your skin photo-sensitive, so limit your usage to night-time skincare.

4.  Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil ($46 at Sephora)

Winner:  Anti-Aging
The Japanese have always been pioneers in skincare.  Boscia's Tsubaki Beauty Oil features Japanese ingredients that will keep your skin flawless for years.  First, tsubaki or camellia oil (from camellia plants in Japan) is a great source of fatty and omega 3 acids to fight signs of aging and protect against free radical damage.  This product also includes wakame, or Japanese sea kelp, to replenish protein and assist in collagen product as well as rice bran oil to boost radiance and increase microcirculation.  Great for all skin types and ideal for mature skin!

Personally, I am a huge fan of pure oils because they feel great, and I generally see results faster than I do when I use other moisturizers or treatments.  I have tried all four of these products and absolutely can't say a bad thing about any of them.  However, since I have oily skin with blemishes and acne scars, I use argan oil in the spring and summer (vitamin E helps repair sun damage too) to treat the former and then switch the maracuja oil in the fall and winter to treat the latter.  Different oils offer differ benefits, so you have to look for the one that's best for you.  Usually, I put it under my moisturizer at night and sometimes, I use it in the morning too as extra hydration to lock in moisture on extra cold days when the air is dry or to keep my makeup in tact if I have a long day ahead of me.
You may see other cheaper brands of these oils in stores like Whole Foods.  Just make sure that they're pure, meaning that no stabilizers, scents, preservatives have been added, and that they're cold pressed, which minimizes the loss of nutrients during the oil extraction process. 

In addition to these more commercialized oil products, there are also some other oils that are great for your skin.  Some may be slightly less potent than the pure oils I just discussed.  But, they're still nourishing ingredients for your skin and only a fraction of the cost.  In particular, there are a few types of oil that can be power products for your complexion:
  • Coconut oil provides deep hydration by gently removing rough and dry excess skin cells and locking in moisture.  It's also great for hydrated, shiny hair.  Plus, it provides antioxidant protection.
  • Avocado oil is not only rich in free-radical fighting antioxidants, but it is also rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and omega-3 oil.  You get skin that is moisturized, soothed, protected, nourished, and more supple.
  • Grape seed oil comes from grapes and offers anti-inflammatory properties to fight acne, an astringent to tighten pores, antioxidant protection, and fatty acids to help stimulate cell regeneration.
  • Jojoba oil from seeds of the jojoba plant is actually a liquid wax.  Interestingly, it can be great in treating a variety of skin conditions.  In particular, it helps dissolve oil that can clog your pores, which controls blemishes, even out your complexion, and soften fine lines and wrinkles.  As an antibacterial anti-inflammatory, it helps soothe skin irritation related to conditions like eczema and sunburn.
  • Sweet almond oil is a great skin softener (rather than moisturizer) to keep your skin feeling supple and elastic...and not to mention that it is packed with soothing, turnover promoting, and anti-aging vitamins A, D, and E.
  • Rosehip oil has been growing in popularity, especially amongst celebs like Miranda Kerr and Victoria Beckham.  Why?  It contains the big three - vitamin A to fight wrinkles, vitamin C to fight dark spots, and vitamin E to fight damage - along with antioxidants and inflammation fighters. 
All of these oils are 100% healthy and can be conveniently found at Whole Foods and other grocery stores.  Like pure oils, you can simply use a few drops under or in lieu of your moisturizer at night. 
Now what about essential oils?  Essentials oils are highly concentrated oils that are derived from plants.  Many of them are good for your skin.  For instance, lavender oil offer soothing and antiseptic properties.  Since essential oils are so concentrated and can be quite fragrant, try to use them more cautiously and sparingly if you incorporate them into your skincare regiment.  In other words, rather than using a few drops of them each night as a moisturizer, mix a few drops into your jar of moisturizer.  This will dilute the oil a bit and keep it from irritating your skin.  And keep them away from your eyes!  I personally prefer to save essential oils for my baths. 

Overall, oils can be a rewarding addition to your beauty routine.  Just make sure that you are using the right types of oil and oils that will suit your specific skincare needs.
What types of oil do you use?


  1. I know a little bit about argan oil. The benefits of Argan oil are many and endless. When used on the face, it prevents wrinkles, minimizes fine lines, restores elasticity and reduces redness and irritation. It also rehydrates dry hair, eases frizzy hair, nourishes weak nails, prevents stretch marks, soothes sunburn and softens cracked heels.

  2. these oil brands are are so expensive because it's highly marketed, I guess.

    For Camellia Oil, I've been using Oshima Tsubaki Camellia Oil - 100% pure and cold pressed. Got to know this brand from some users in youtube, I tried it and its great! Boscia's priced at $48, but Oshima is less than $20 for 60 ml!

    For Argan and Maracuja Oils, Josie Maran and Tarte brands first come to mind. But like Camellia Oil (Boscia vs Oshima), I'm sure there are genuine and cheaper alternative brands out there! I'm on a quest to find out!