Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rupali Goswami (Beauty Expert) on 27th Oct 2020

Do facial oils work? Are they good or bad for the skin

Do facial oils work?

Do you think face oils will make your skin look greasy, oily, sticky, and can result in breakouts? Give it another thought! Face oils have been considered a beauty secret for a very long time. It is believed that in ancient times Egyptians used moringa oils to keep their skin flawless and glowy.

As face oils are making a comeback and becoming a staple in the world of skincare, you can see more and more brands are coming out with cosmetics containing pure oils such as coconut, argan, marula, jojoba, moringa, and many others.

Facial oils are great whether you are a dry skin type that often deals with dehydrated and flaky skin, or you are an oily skin type who suffers from breakouts and has acne-prone, or even if you have combination skin. Facial oils are packed with goodness to provide you with a wave of hydration and nourishment.

All facial oils are not the same. Every facial oil is made differently to target a particular skin condition. While some oils can help nourish your skin, others can be proved as irritants.  

What are Face Oils?

What are Face Oils? 

Face oils are a type of emollient that strengthens the skin's outer layer and helps prevent water loss by sealing the skin's moisture, leaving with a softening effect. Our skin naturally produces oils and lipids to balance hydration and moisture. Face oils complement the natural oils of our skin by providing an extra layer of protection. Face oils are generally plant-based and are derived from the different parts of a plant such as roots, flowers, leaves, etc.

The list of benefits is endless, as they are packed with so many potent ingredients. Face oils are not necessarily just for the face but can be used on the other parts of the body.

While the primary role of face oils is to provide protection and hydration to the skin, it can also help in your anti-aging routine. It can also help heal your skin owing to its antibacterial properties. There are fragrant plant oils, often called essential oils (not necessary for your skin, though), and non-fragrant plant oils needed by your skin.  

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Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

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When to use: PM

Frequency: Twice a week

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How does face oil work?

Face oils can replace your moisturizer without doing any harm to your skin. You can see a beautiful difference with face oils. It will leave your skin softer and smoother with a natural glow and increase elasticity.

Adding face oils in your skincare routine will help balance the natural oils that your skin is naturally producing to add moisture into the skin and help restore the barrier that locks the water inside.

Face oils have numerous benefits depending on the type, such as coconut oil is mainly used for moisturization purposes. Argan oil has antioxidant properties, and rosehip oil is used to fight the damage from free radicals; jojoba oil is useful for acne and sunburns.  

As mentioned above, the central role of face oils is to moisturize to increase the moisture level in the skin. 

Face oils typically fall into the emollients and occlusive type of moisturizers. Emollients fill the spaces between the skin cells, which softens and strengthens the outer layer of the skin. On the other hand, occlusives are the one that helps seal the moisture inside the skin.

Many oils end up forming a protective barrier on the outer surface rather than profoundly penetrating the skin. While that may help moisturize the body, it won't be as hydrating for your skin.

The critical point here is the size of fatty acid molecules that the oil is made of. If the molecules are too big to pass through your skin's barrier, then it would just sit on the top of the surface. If the molecules are small enough to pass through the skin, they would be able to penetrate deeper into your skin layers and help with the healing process. According to the research, jojoba and argan oil can help repair the barrier of your skin.

Every oil may not be the right choice for every skin type. 


The fatty acids in face oils help nourish, strengthen, and normalize sebum production no matter what skin type you have. 

Good and bad oils for your face 

Face oils that promote hydration, moisturization, and renewal in the skin are the best kinds of oils to use. A blend of these non-fragrant plant-based oils will work wonders for your dry and dehydrated skin, leaving it with a silky smooth texture and a healthy glow.

Oils like coconut, argan, rosehip, marula, jojoba, and others are some of the best oils to eliminate irritation, redness if you have acne-prone skin.

Fragrant oils are often referred to as essential oils. While they can be beneficial for your skin but at the same time, they contain some potent compounds that can cause irritation and sensitization in your skin, especially when the skin comes in contact with the air.

Just like when fragrant oils oxidize, it can damage the skin when citrus oils are exposed to UV rays, it can change skin color.

Oils like lavender oil, neroli oil, sandalwood oil, peppermint oil, jasmine oil, and eucalyptus oil contain the fragrance compound you should be avoiding.  

Benefits of using face oils: 

1. Bye! Bye! Wrinkles: 

Too much sun exposure and UV rays is a build-up for free radical damage, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. Face oils that are packed with antioxidants can prevent further damage. If you suffer from dry and sun-damaged skin, then look for oils with vitamin E, which can be found in Argan oil. 

2. No more dry skin: 

Dry, flaky, and rough skin can be irritating to deal with. Oils specifically targeted to give you proper hydration and moisturization should be an ideal match. Coconut oil can be your best friend in the driest areas. Also, almond oil can be pretty beneficial as it contains omega-three fatty acid packed with hydration, and it's an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin. 

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Niacinamide 5% Face Serum
Niacinamide 5% Face Serum
Niacinamide 5% Face Serum

Niacinamide 5% Face Serum

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When to use: AM / PM

Frequency: Everyday

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3. Works great as a primer for makeup: 

You don't need to invest in a completely separate primer to start with your base. Just a little bit of face oil can help you create a great primer to put your makeup on top. Pumpkin seed and mandarin oil work great in that department as it absorbs quickly into the skin, giving it a plumping effect.  

4. Lessen the appearance of enlarged pores: 

Oils like jojoba and camellia can pull out fat and dirt from pores, making them less noticeable.  

5. Skin protection: 

Oils tend to penetrate the deeper layers of your skin; thus, it locks the moisture and water in a while, keeping other dirt and pollutants out. Some oils are also helpful in making the natural skin barrier stronger. Rosehip oil is the right choice if you are out more and deal with all the environmental aggressors. 

How to use face oils? 

1. Mix it up:

Face oils are great when combined with a moisturizer or serum to get an intensified effect. It can help lock the moisturizer or serum by deeply penetrating the skin and creating a protective layer on your skin's outer layer. 

2. Remember your skin needs:

Face oils are used after applying face serums. Fats are an excellent choice to use before bed so that it can soak up overnight and help your skin in the process of repairing, especially oils that are sensitive to sun exposure or have a thicker consistency.  

3. Pat it out:

Face oils shouldn't be rubbed into the skin like you usually do with a moisturizer. Dabbing and patting them into the skin will ensure that your skin absorbs the oil effectively and quickly. 

4. Less is more: 

Face oils are made with concentrated nutrients, so just little drops would be sufficient for your entire face. 

What do you need to know? Some important pointers

To have a good experience with face oils and have beneficial effects, it is essential to choose the right kind of oils depending on your skin type.  

Aging Skin: 

The oil production process slows down as you age, resulting in drier skin, which can trigger fine lines and wrinkles. Face oils that specialize in antioxidants are an excellent choice for reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and other aging signs. These oils absorb into the skin quickly that prevents water loss. Antioxidants are known to boost elastin and collagen production. Argan and rosehip are the best kinds of fats. 

Dehydrated Skin: 

These face oils should be profoundly moisturizing and help smooth your skin. Using hydrating serums before face oils will enhance the effect and provide more benefits to your skin. Coconut, jojoba, sunflower, olive, argan, and other oils are incredibly hydrating for the skin. 

Acne-prone skin: 

People with oily skin have this wrong thinking/misconception that they don't need hydration or moisturization because they already have so much oil in their skin. They end up using products that usually strip down all the natural oils from within, resulting in damaged skin. Using face oils that balance your skin's oil production can help you in a lot of ways. Jojoba, a camellia flower oil, can help with oil production in the skin.