Which plant oil's best for my skin?
Soft, cleansing and nourishing oils are the darlings of the skincare world - all we need to do is choose the right one for our skin! Plant oils are often misunderstood - greasy, shine-inducing, whiffy substances that don't penetrate skin - when nothing is further from the truth! Here's the lowdown on these skin-saving superheroes. Oils are packed with goodness: they're gentle, healthy (particularly if organic) and bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids. But just like with other skincare products, you need to use the right type of oil for your skin type. Here are 5 different skin types and what oils you should be using for each.
1. The best oils for oily skin
You've got it into your head that open pores and shiny skin don't need another layer of grease. Kick that idea to the curb! Non-comedogenic oils won't leave you with zits, clogged pores or a shiny glare. Jojoba oil, for example, works wonders on acne-prone skin, particularly if it's organic. Its composition's close to that of sebum, meaning it actually controls sebum production. It softens skin, balances sebum production, banishes blemishes and prevents clogged pores. Once blended with essential oils such as sage, tea tree, rosemary and lavender, you can use it as a cleanser. Its balancing action also makes it suitable for combination skin - it clears up greasy T-zones and hydrates dry patches.
2. The best oils for sensitive skin
Sensitive skin only needs to be within sniffing distance of an unsuitable treatment or cream for it to flare-up. It needs soothing, protecting, nourishing and moisturising with all the love in the world. To calm itchy red patches and inflammation, invest in some calendula oil. Made from marigolds, its packed with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Its thick texture means it can be easily blended with other oils - sweet almond oil's a good bet if you want to nourish, soothe and tone up your skin. Sweet almond oil's also great for calming eczema.
3. The best oils for dry skin
Dry skin lacks suppleness, feels tight and guzzles creams. It also leaves us with leathery lines around our eyes. The culprits? The elements - pollution, sun, central heating, and smoking - alongside unsuitable treatments, often designed for acne-prone complexions that don't give dry skin what it craves. The result? Skin that can't harness water, meaning it dehydrates. We need to pamper it with an oil that'll reconstruct our skin's protective hydrolipidic film. The podium winner? Avocado oil! Avocado oil is gorged with vitamins A, B (including niacin), C, D, E, H and K. Often used in face masks, avocado oil has hydrating, regenerating and protective properties. It's the ultra-nourishing, antioxidant It-girl of the dry skin world.
4. The best oils for mature skin
Mature skin needs treatments that will restore elasticity, lift facial contours and prevent wrinkles. First up is borage oil, made from its small, blue, star-shaped flowers. It improves elasticity, prevents dehydration and combats wrinkles. Then there's fatty acid-rich evening primrose oil, which slows down the signs of ageing. This revitalising oil hydrates tired skin, leaving our complexion soft and supple. An oily elixir of youth!
5. The best plant oils for dull skin
Dull skin is often caused by a lack of sunlight and vitamin D. Our skin looks pasty, sallow and tired. It has a hard time eliminating toxins, which will build up over time. Apricot oil to the rescue! Rich in omega 6 and 9, fatty acids and vitamins A and E, it protects our skin's natural barrier, combats oxidation, adds a healthy glow and deeply moisturises skin. Ditto for carrot oil. Packed with pro-vitamin A, it helps our skin to tan, leaving us with a radiant complexion. Your newly glowing skin will feel baby-soft and supple.
Easy to use, oils can be applied each morning before your make up - just tap a few drops on to your face - or at night by massaging on several drops to deeply nourish your skin and boost your circulation. But, to get the best out of an oil, it's important to choose one suited to your skin type. Follow this handy guide to identify the right oils for your skin and enjoy the benefits of these nourishing skincare products.