If you’re familiar with our line, you know that we’re big proponents of using oils in your skincare routine. Since our skin naturally produces oils to protect itself, it is able to absorb and utilize oil more readily than an emulsified product (aka lotion).
This means that using oils in your skincare routine allows for deep penetration of the healing qualities found in them. We infuse our facial oils with herbs and add essential oils for additional healing properties, but using a simple oil itself also provides the skin with significant benefits.
Since everyone’s skin is unique to their own bodies, it’s important to use the right kind of oil for your skin. It’s entirely possible to over or under moisturize your skin, which can lead to breakouts, irritation, clogged pores, increased dryness, and/or dehydration.
Because our facial oils are designed to work with specific skin types, each contains a specific blend of carrier oils.
We wanted to take some time to explain the differences between these oils and what each of them does for your skin.
What is a Carrier Oil?
Let’s start from the beginning. A “carrier oil” is simply one of the cooking oils that you have sitting in your cupboard. They are oils derived from the fatty parts of a plant — usually the nuts, seeds, or kernels. (Whereas essential oils are derived from the non fatty parts of the pant, such as the leaves or the flowers.)
Typically, carrier oils are called such by natural practitioners and in traditional healing roles — skincare professionals, herbalists, etc—and the reason is in the name. Carrier oils are often used to dilute essential oils and carry the healing properties to deep within the skin.
Grapeseed Oil - for Oily and Combination Skin
High in antioxidants, this oil helps repair damaged skin and protect from free radical damage. Grapeseed oil also helps to increase circulation in the skin and is high in vitamin E, making it helpful for preventing injury along with repairing it.
Because this oil is anti-inflammatory, it’s great for people working with inflamed conditions like cystic breakouts, rosacea, and irritation. In one study, grapeseed oil was shown to reduce the occurrence of acne breakouts in participants using it topically, which is thought to be partially due to its high linoleic acid content. (You can read more about that here.)
Grapeseed oil is a popular ingredient in our skincare — you’ll find it in both Herbal Facial Oils, the Unscented Facial Oil, and both of our body moisturizers. It’s light enough to be absorbed by even the oiliest skin, it doesn’t cause breakouts, and it still provides enough moisture for people that are working to balance out their natural sebum production. If you’re working with very dry skin, grapeseed oil may not be the option for you, it’s very lightweight so it doesn’t provide the longer-lasting moisture that dry skin sufferers need.
Jojoba Oil for Dry Skin
Jojoba oil is actually a wax ester that is similar in texture to the sebum that we produce naturally, making it ultra moisturizing and easily absorbed by the skin. Because of its waxy texture, jojoba acts as a long lasting moisturizer that can improve the look and feel of the skin immediately upon use.
Like grapeseed oil, jojoba is also anti-inflammatory and works well for healing damage and easing sun burns. Because it’s so gentle and high in vitamins and minerals, it’s a great oil for those who suffer from rosacea and any sort of irritation in the skin.
We use jojoba in our Anti-Aging Facial Oil, Anti-Aging Eye Cream, our Repair Serum, and we always recommend it for people that are experiencing dry skin. Although it can help to balance sebum production, it can also be over-moisturizing and pore clogging for people that are working with oily or combination skin types, so it’s best for those who are not prone to acne.
Sunflower Seed Oil for All Skin Types
Sunflower seed oil is another amazing oil for skin care. It has the unique quality of strengthening the skin barrier, which has been shown to decrease transepidermal water loss. This means that in addition to being moisturizing, it also helps to keep the skin hydrated. (Yep, there’s a difference between hydrated and moisturized skin.)
Like grapeseed, sunflower seed oil has high amounts of linoleic acid and is so absorbable that it has been used as a topical treatment to help balance essential fatty acids. It is also anti-inflammatory and considered very safe for the most sensitive of skin.
It’s a great moisturizer and it’s thin and absorbent enough for all skin types. We use sunflower seed oil in our Anti-Aging Facial Oil, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin, both of our body moisturizers, and Sun Love.
Coconut Oil for Anti-Aging
Coconut oil seemingly has an endless amount of uses and benefits for our bodies, and it’s no different with skincare. Coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, along with being ultra-moisturizing and nutritious. We use it in a lot of our products, favoring fractionated for facial formulas and unfractionated coconut oil for body products. You can read about the differences here.
Unfractionated coconut oil, like the oil in our Coconut Body Oil and our Coconut Honey Mask, is solid at room temperature. It’s very moisturizing, nutrient dense and high in vitamins like A,C, and E, so it’s a powerful ally in boosting cellular regeneration along with fighting dry and damaged skin. Its large molecular size makes coconut a heavy oil that holds in moisture and can clog pores. Thus, this form of coconut oil can cause breakouts in people that are prone and we typically suggest they use fractionated instead. Got dry skin? Unfractionated may be right for you.
Fractionated coconut oil is the same ingredient, but with the long-chain triglycerides removed, causing it to remain liquid at room temperature. It retains the antioxidants and vitamins but has a reduced molecular size, and is great for collagen boosting and damaged skin.
This form of coconut oil is still very moisturizing, but is a lot lighter and thus absorbs more readily into the skin. This is good news for those with oily or acne prone skin, who can use fractionated coconut oil without having to worry about breakouts. We use fractionated coconut oil in both of our Herbal Facial Oils and our Unscented Facial Oil.
Avocado Oil for Scars
Avocado oil tops the charts in terms of fatty acid content. Oleic acid in particular increases permeability of the skin and helps to repair damaged cell membranes, making it great for scars and wound healing. Avocado is also high in fatty acids that help to reduce sun damage, inflammation, and aid in DNA repair when used topically, so it makes a really lovely during and after-sun moisturizer.
Avocado oil is moisturizing enough for dry skin and penetrates deeply so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling too oily. It may cause breakouts for people who are sensitive, but it can also be very helpful for balancing for the sebum production in the skin. We use Avocado oil in our Sun Love and in our Anti-Aging Eye Cream.
Hazelnut for Acne Prone Skin
Hazelnut oil is another lightweight oil that provides good moisture. It’s packed full of vitamin E and antioxidants along with properties that protect from UV damage.
Hazelnut oil is also astringent and gentle, making it great for balancing oily skin that is also sensitive.
The easy-to-absorb, astringent properties of hazelnut oil also lend to fighting bacteria that are embedded deep within the skin. Yep, this makes this oil really great for acne-prone skin. It can help to balance extra sebum production while clearing up breakouts and repairing damage that can lead to further breakouts, this is why it’s in our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily/Acne Prone Skin. Because of the astringent nature of this oil, it isn’t the best carrier oil if you’re experiencing dry skin.
Olive Oil for Balance
People have been using olive oil on their skin for centuries with wonderful results. It’s a great moisturizer, not too heavy or too light, so it’s helpful for balancing the natural oil production without over-moisturizing. It is high in vitamins E, K, and A along with squalene so it’s very antioxidant and healing for the skin.
We use olive oil in our Coconut Body Oil and in our Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin because it’s so great for maintaining balance. Olive oil may be too moisturizing for people with oily skin and it may not be heavy enough for people working with very dry skin.
So whether your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between, there's a facial oil out there that's right for you. It's all about knowing your oils and doing a little experimentation to find out which one really makes your skin glow.
Which carrier oil works best for your skin type? Let us know in the comments below!
Seed Guides - Grapeseed Oil
Realize Beauty - Jojoba Oil and Sebum
Dermatology Times - Sunflower Seed Oil Benefits
SkinVision - Olive Oil
DIY Natural - Carrier Oils
Minimalist Beauty - Acne Prone Oils