Hi friends! How I have missed you! I have been absent, I know. I wish I had a great excuse for you, but I have just been enjoying and living life. There has been lots of family time, fun travels, and unplugging to be in the moment. I really believe life is about contraction and expansion, and there is a time to create and exert and a time to go inside and absorb. Sometimes, I don’t feel inspired to sit down and write or feel like I have anything relevant to share. Other times, I feel excited and eager to create new content that is just bursting to come out. You know?
But today, I have a topic I really eager to discuss because lately I have been OBSESSED with beauty oils. They have become a major part of not only my skincare routine, but also my makeup routine. I rarely apply foundation without adding a drop or two of an oil because it gives the most luminous, silky finish that foundation alone can’t provide. I am addicted to applying oils at night at the end of my skincare routine to lock in moisture and nourish my skin while I sleep. I also love applying them to my body when I step out of the shower while my skin is still damp.
I have been travelling A LOT, and that really takes a toll on my skin. Whenever I step off a plane, my skin looks 800xs worse than when I left. Like, just really dehydrated and dull and…gross. It takes me days to bring it back to life, and then I have to get back on a plane to get home and the cycle just repeats. The winter has also been tough on my skin because of the drier air and indoor heating. I have also been bouncing back and forth between tropical warm weather, and dry cold weather so it’s just not an ideal situation for my skin.
I was into using coconut oil as part of my skincare routine for a while about a year ago, but cut it out when I noticed major breakouts. I determined it was directly correlated to the coconut oil because my skin cleared up as soon as I removed it from my routine. I read so many amazing things about it and how anti-bacterial it is, how magical it is, how nourishing it is to the skin, and that it is basically unicorn dust. I even read tons of stuff about how it clears up acne. I figured there was no way it could be causing my breakouts, so I gave it another go and sure enough, my breakouts came right back. Make it stop!!!! I put the coco oil down and decided to stop using oils on my face altogether.
When my skin started feeling tight (the worst!) and flaky this past fall and winter, I decided to do some research about oils and see if there was a way to incorporate different types that may work better for my skin. Well, in my research I discovered the list of comedogenic ratings. An oil or ingredient that is non-comedogenic will not clog pores at all, and an oil that is comedogenic has the potential to be pore clogging. If you look on the back of some of your skincare products at home, you are bound to find a few that are labeled “non-comedogenic”, which is great. There are varying degrees of comedogenic-ness (I don’t think that’s a word, so let’s pretend) and they look like this:
0 – Will not clog pores (non-comedogenic)
1 – Low
2 – Moderately Low
3 – Moderate
4 – Fairly High
5 – High
Well…whaddya know. Coconut oil is a 4-5 on the comedogenic scale! This means there is a good chance it will clog your pores and cause acne, and should be avoided at all costs by people with normal, combo, and oily skin who are breakout prone. Ummm…why didn’t anyone tell me this before? All I heard about coconut oil was unicorn dust and here I was slathering it all over my face thinking I’d wake up a Victoria’s Secret angel. But instead I got acne. I really don’t know why this isn’t a more well known fact about coconut oil. I’m not saying it’s an inherently bad oil, but it’s really not ideal at all for the skin. Additionally, it is supposed to be incredibly moisturizing, but it actually is a very difficult oil to absorb because its fat molecules are much larger than so many other oils. The skin can’t accept it as easily, so it sits on top of the skin and basically does nothing other than smell good and make you greasy.
In my comedogenic rating research, I looked for the most non-comedogenic oils to see if I could try some of those out.
0 – Argan Oil. Hemp Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil
1 – Castor Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil
2 – Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Sesame Oil
I’ve been experimenting with lots of these and and fallen in love with Argan Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, and Shea Butter.
I love argan oil in the morning, because it sinks in so well that I can apply makeup right after. It has an incredible composition of nearly 80% fatty acids and is extremely high in vitamin E, making it like a superfood for your skin. It is an intense moisturizer that can hydrate even the driest skin, but is super lightweight and absorbs very quickly into the skin, sealing in your serums and moisturizer to help keep the skin hydrated all day. It also works wonderfully for oily skin because it balances and neutralizes your natural oil production. I have been using this daily for months and have not had a single breakout. In fact, my skin is looking the best it’s ever looked, IMO.
At night, I love using rosehip oil because I think of it as a more intense anti-aging treatment oil. It is packed with antioxidants, and vitamins A and C to stimulate collagen production, improve texture, and brighten dark spots and pigmentation. If you have any eczema or acne scarring, this is a great oil for you because its essential fatty acids promote skin regeneration. I personally love this oil so much because I notice my skin looks and feels very “fresh” and clear/even in the morning when I use this.
For my undereye area and any dry patches, as well as my neck, I adore pure shea butter. For how luxuriously rich it feels, it goes on incredibly light and smooth on the skin. I rub a scoop between my hands to melt it down and massage it all around my eye area, lips, and any dry patches on my face. I also take it all the way down my neck because I am understanding more and more with age how important it is to take care of that area. I even rub it on my cuticles, elbows, knees, and feet. Shea butter helps soften the skin, boost collagen production, and reduce wrinkles by deeply hydrating and plumping the skin. Its healing properties and plant sterols have also been shown to help reduce stretch marks and scarring, soothe skin rashes and sunburn, and even muscle fatigue. I keep a big tin next to my bed and dip into it all the time because it works for everything.
A very important fact about oils is that you cannot effectively moisturize with them. A great example I read of this is like sitting in a car while it’s raining outside and expecting to get wet. You just won’t. Moisturizers are comprised of 3 factors: humectants, occlusives, and emollients. Humectants (like glycerin and hyaluronic acid) are the only things that can pull water into the skin and moisturize. Oils are part of the occlusive and emollient designation. They seal the moisture into your skin by coating it as the last layer. This is not the same as drawing water and hydration into the skin. (source)
One big tip I have with oils that is so important in their application is they should be the very last step of your skincare routine. If you apply an oil before your other products, any moisturizer or serum treatment won’t be able to penetrate and sink into the skin. Oils should be used last, as a sealant to prevent the moisture you’ve applied with your other humectant products from escaping. Just as they can lock moisture in, they can also be a barrier to keep it out if they are applied before moisturizing treatments like serums and lotions.
Another important tip is to always purchase 100% pure oils! Many oils are cut with cheaper oils or have other oils blended in that are more comedogenic, which you may not notice unless you read the ingredients.
I hope this was helpful for some of you who haven’t been able to find an oil that works for your skin or have been scared to try them at all! Now that I have found the right types for my skin and understand the comedogenic rating scale for various oils, I have a whole new love for them and really enjoy using them in my skincare routine!!
I will leave you with a list of my favorites to check out: