9 Finest Face Oils for Zits-Inclined Pores and skin | The Strategist


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When I first started researching skin care in high school to heal my relentlessly shiny skin, I carefully avoided any products with oil – the last thing I wanted was to make my already oily skin look oily. So I picked up oil-free acne treatments and matte foundations, and spent every five minutes between high school classes dabbing my face with powder. But no matter how many pore-refining foundations I tried, I would come home at the end of the day to get skin that looked (and felt) wet.

Over the years I have tried in vain to find out what every single “mattifying” skin care and makeup product on the market feels like. That all changed when I lived in humid Bangkok when I decided – mostly out of desperation – to give in to my Asian Ayurvedic roots by patting some pure sesame oil into my skin as the last step in my nightly routine. To my great shock, I woke up with oil free skin for the first time in my adult life. It turned out that I had completely dried out my skin for years. It compensated for the drought by overproducing natural oils. Since then, oils have become a staple of my skin care routine, and my skin has never looked better. My acne is all but gone (barring the occasional hormonal breakout), and I almost never wear foundation, relying on facial oils for glowing skin. In my arsenal, I have favorite standbys – some are better for carrying me through a breakout, while others are great for days when I want a bit more coverage.

In front of me are the nine face oils that I use almost every day (and the ones I want to buy next).

Farmacy Honey Grail Ultra-Moisturizing Face Oil

The best face oil I’ve found is this one from the honey-centric brand Farmacy. It not only contains nourishing, non-greasy flower oils such as hibiscus, rose hips and sunflowers, but also buckwheat honey rich in antioxidants and omega-rich sea buckthorn oil. The honey extract gives your complexion an instant glow after patting it on your skin during the day, and the omegas protect the skin from free radical damage. At night, I take a little harder time with how much I put on my face so that the moisturizing flower oils really penetrate my pores – it’s a staple for nights when I want to wake up with super glowing skin.

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

This Biossance oil is one of the lightest formulas on this list. So it’s a great formula if you’re as oil shy as you used to be. When my skin recovers right after a hormonal breakout, I use this twice a day, both during the day and at night, as the vitamin C treats existing acne scars while preventing new ones from getting worse. The squalane is super moisturizing, but has a water-like consistency that feels (and looks) practically unnoticed under makeup.

Kiehl's midnight relaxation concentrate

I have a somewhat masochistic hobby of eating large amounts of sticky carbohydrates, although it manifests as irritated red spots all over my face. After an evening full of pasta, I end my night with this equally opulent oil. This formula is too slippery to wear under makeup during the day. It works like a magical eraser overnight. The lavender essential oil soothes the redness of my skin almost instantly, and primrose oil improves the glow overnight. I like the smell too – after you pound it into your skin, put your hands in front of your face, take a deep, aromatherapy breath, and thank me later.

Boscia Rose Hip Omega Facial Oil

When my skin feels particularly dry and sensitive to breakouts or redness, I reach for it. No matter how rough my skin structure is, it remains pillow-soft and supple. Rose hip and omega are traditionally used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, but my favorite side effect is the way my skin feels instantly softer. A little is enough for this oil, so I find it best to use it sparingly and really dab it into your skin. The texture evening quality makes this ideal for day or night.

Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil

Although this aptly named oil is mainly touted for its lightening and moisturizing properties – which it has – I love it mainly for its first ingredient, grapeseed anti-inflammatory oil. Do you know when you can feel a pimple under your skin? I haven’t built the confidence to wear my white clay spot cream in public yet. That’s why I’ll dab some of it on my skin during the day to make sure the spot is either smaller or completely dissolved at the end of the day. Its convenient packaging makes it a wallet and a staple for air travel for me.

Odacité Bl + C black cumin cajeput pimple serum concentrate

Although my years of overdrying, oil-free products made me cynical about all products that are suitable for acne-prone skin, this particularly clean formula contains only three high-quality ingredients: clarifying cumin, antiseptic cajeput and nourishing vitamin E oils. I have recommended this to several friends, all with different skin types, and each of them loved it.

Kosa's tinted face oil

For those days when I want to fake eight hours of sleep and a spa day without wearing a full face with heavy makeup, this medium coverage tinted face oil is my go-to choice. The non-greasy texture feels light on my skin, and the sheer coverage mixed with jojoba and avocado oils gives my skin a glow that triggers hundreds of selfies. I wouldn’t recommend this for oily skin types, but it works great for dry and combination skin. The color palette is great too – as an Indian with medium skin tone and mixed undertones, it can be difficult for me to match my skin, but my shade (5.5) suits my skin perfectly.

Until I actually met the influencer who became CEO Shea Marie, I didn’t get into all the CBD hype. I thought it was all a gimmick – and then I actually tried the Feelist’s face oil. This is not just any CBD oil. It’s packed with antioxidant-rich jojoba and rose hip oils, which instantly makes my skin feel super plump. It almost looks like I have makeup on when I wear it. Also, I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging, so I love putting it on my bathroom counter. I usually don’t like the smell of CBD either, but the evening primrose and rose hip oils give it a light, fresh scent that I enjoy wearing during the day. No wonder the waiting list inducing oil sold out in almost a month.

MARA evening primrose + green tea algae retinol oil

I’ve been an advocate of retinol for years, so I found this blend that combines a clean, natural form with a laundry list of oils that contain all 20 known amino acids and feels like flashy gold. When I experience a hormonal breakout along my chin and jaw, the retinol speeds up the process of cell turnover, while fermented green tea prevents future breakouts. I wear it right after cleaning and tightening my skin at night, or I mix it with a thick moisturizer for nights when I crave even more moisture. Retinol increases sensitivity to the sun, so I don’t recommend using it during the day, but when I use it at night I wake up with practically new skin and even wear less makeup all day.

Sahajan The beauty oil

I strongly believe in FUBU (for us, by us) skin care. As an Indian, I know that my skin responds very well to brands founded by South Asia. I have looked at this face oil for a while for its blend of oils which is based on the principles of Ayurveda. It also contains frankincense, which is rarely found in skin care, but is an oil I heard a lot about from my grandmother for its lightening effects.

KORA Organics Noni Glow Facial Oil

If there is even a one percent chance that my skin will look like that of KORA founder Miranda Kerr, I’ll give it a try. But I’ve seen this all over my Instagram feed too, with plenty of skin care and beauty influencers raving about the instant shine this gives. And while I usually like to stay away from products with long lists of ingredients, I love this product because it contains only natural fruit oils and flower extracts. I suspect that given the inclusion of lavender, rose, and jasmine it must smell amazing too.

Goop GOOPGENES all-in-one super-nutrient facial oil

This oil appears to be the all-in-one multivitamin in skin care. It contains retinol alternative bakuchiol, vitamin A and vitamin C: the holy trinity of skin-loving ingredients. I’ve even heard the light consistency has a non-greasy feel that people apply it all over their bodies, and that it’s the ultimate treatment for dry hands too. I think this would be a great vacation oil if I wanted to wrap light.

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