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Cheat Sheet: Face Oils

For years, we wouldn’t touch any skincare product that didn’t have the words ‘oil-free’ plastered all over it. But, as we’ve gotten older, we’ve wised up to the fact that oil is not evil —in fact, it’s actually a skin savior. Not only are face oils a cure for dry skin, but they’re also incredibly effective at treating a wide range of complexion issues, everything from hyperpigmentation to acne. Los Angeles aesthetician Rita Csizmadia, who is widely known for performing skin-clearing miracles, is a hardcore fan. She swears that oils are the answer to every skin problem —even if you have oily skin. To find the right face oil for you, read on for Csizmadia’s recommendations by skin type.

What is a Face Oil?

Simply put, face oils are silky formulas made entirely from natural oils. They can be a blend of a few different plant-based oils, or a single-origin product such as argan or avocado oil. Csizmadia says, “People are so concerned with putting oils on their skin, but once your skin gets used to it, you’ll see amazing results.” Some women, like wellness writer Daphne Oz, even swear by slathering regular olive oil all over their skin.

Why Oil?

Csizmadia says it’s simple. They are usually more effective at hydrating than a moisturizer and, despite their slick texture, absorb quickly. Most importantly, they nourish the skin, adding powerful vitamins and antioxidants. Csizmadia says that because of all those super ingredients, oils “nourish your skin, protect it from the sun and free radicals, and have antiseptic and firming.” They’re especially important for dry and aging skin, which can suffer from a lack of collagen and elastin. Csizmadia says you’ll see real results because oil gets below the surface and penetrates into two of the skin’s five layers to give “you that soothing and smoothing effect.”

Which Oil is for Me?

The best face oils are natural products made from pure oils and other plant-based ingredients. “If the product combines oils with synthetic fillers, it loses its effectiveness,” says Csizmadia. Depending on your problem, different oils do different things. For example, Csizmadia uses avocado oil to treat rosacea since it is extremely calming. For hyperpigmentation or discoloration, she says to pick one that has tons of vitamin C, such as pomegranate oil or avocado oil, because they will have a brightening effect on skin. Even oily skin can benefit from these natural hydrators. Csizmadia recommends lavender oil, because of its calming and antiseptic qualities, as well as pomegranate oil, because it firms and minimizes pores. For acne-prone skin, she suggests combining the oil with a glycolic acid or hyaluronic acid serum, and applying in place of a moisturizer. That way, she says, “it won’t give you an oily sensation or clog pores.” For a list of specific face oils by skin type, see Birchbox Picks.

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