Oils are back under the spotlight and they deserve to stay there. Jayeeta Mazumder shares everything you need to know about facial and body oils, the hippest addition to beauty and skincare right now.
Winter vacations meant getting all toasty on grandma’s sunny terrace, right after a thorough oil massage from head to toe. There was no escape to this pre-shower routine. For a childhood immersed in extra haircare and skincare, I turned out pretty lazy. Well, one must remember, though, that a persistent grandma is mandatory to staying on top of all pampering routines. Facial and body oils may be having a major moment right now, but the whole hullabaloo around it all takes me right back to my childhood. And brings up a tinge of regret for not following through.
The good thing is that there is still time. If you have been erroneously told to drop face and body oils from your skincare regimen for fear of breakouts (oh, the horror of ugly pimples!), slap that fear right away. A good oil will never leave your skin clogged, greasy and on the verge of breakouts. Once you’ve accepted that, you’re good to start on your know-how of oils that are meant to nourish the face and the body.
But before you embark on the tough part—choosing the right oil—it’s imperative to know your skin type. A dermatologist visit, therefore, is in order. The primary thing to remember is that a face oil and a body oil are not the same. And while your grandmas might have slathered warm olive/almond/coconut/mustard (yes, mustard!) oil when you were young, your skin type and requirements change as you age.
The difference between body and facial oils
While you may choose to use the same oil for your skin overall, remember that your face most likely deserves a little more TLC than the rest of your body. This is because the thickness of your skin varies, and the skin on your face is much thinner than the skin on your body. A lighter oil for the face and a heavier oil for the body is the right way to go. Not without choosing the correct type of oil, though.
How to choose the right oil?
This brings us to point out that facial oil is very different from essential oil. The latter is mainly used for aromatic qualities, which work on mind and body alike. The former is emollient, have nourishing and moisturising properties. For instance, oils like marula are best suited for combination skin type and contain anti-bacterial properties ideal for acne-prone skin. Argan oil, on the other hand, has antioxidants that have anti-ageing and hydration benefits. So, in order to know which one is right for you, look out for the molecular size. A larger molecular size like coconut and olive are heavier, which are great for dry skin to hydrate, but could cause breakouts for those with oily skin. If you are prone to clogged pores and acne, pick a lighter oil like marula with a smaller molecular size that will absorb into your skin way quicker. Heads up: lighter oils include argan, marula, grapeseed, jojoba among others. Heavier oils include olive, coconut, and almond. Consult a dermat to get the best out of the overwhelming number of options available out there.
Why use a face/body oil?
That hallowed healthy, glowing skin you see on ads could come true with routine use of oils. Oils are rich in fatty acids, which are superhero nutrients for moisturising your skin. If intense hydration, nourished, hydrated and healthy complexion is your goal, go grab that bottle of oil, pronto. Good things come in small bottles when it comes to fighting signs of ageing, like pigmentation, wrinkles, and unevenness.
Oils vs creams
While both have their advantages, oils are more natural as they are usually derived from plants, seeds or fruits. With more active ingredients—like polyphenols and antioxidants—than petroleum or glycerin-based creams, chances are that oils will have fewer preservatives. They also work very well on every part of your body—dry elbows, soles, cuticles and knees.
Frankly, if like me, you wake up from deep slumber to nightmares of oozing zits on the nose—because, well, they really do happen—you’d do yourself a favour by adding oils to your beauty regimen. And it’s time you made your grandma proud.
A guide to knowing your oils
Argan oil: With a vitamin E base, argan oil is ideal for skin irritations and have great anti-ageing properties.
Tea tree oil: Looking for a zit zapper? Look no further than tea tree oil. Say goodbye to pimples with this one.
Jojoba oil: Use in moderation and you’ll see visible reduction in oil production. It also helps pull out grime and fats from pores.
Almond oil: Packed with hydrating omega-3 fatty acids, almond oil makes for a great choice if you’ve got sensitive skin.
Maracuja oil: Derived from passion flower with high levels of vitamin C and free fatty acids, this oil helps brighten the skin and repairs damaged skin barrier.
Olive oil: Those with extremely dry skin and eczema can seek help in olive oil as it’s rich in vitamin E and fatty acids.
Coconut oil: It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. However, coconut oil can also clog pores. If you’re prone to breakouts, stick to using it only on your body.
Grapeseed oil: Full of antioxidants and fatty acid, linoleic acid, this light, quick-absorbing oil is perfect for those who need help regulating oil production rather than heavy hydration.
Avocado oil: Packed with vitamins A, D, and E as well as multiple essential unsaturated fatty acids, this one gets absorbed deep into skin. So, it’s ideal for prematurely-ageing, dehydrated, or sun-damaged skin.