Oils: your complete guide

How to use skin oils – including on oily skin

Mystified as to what skin oils do – and how to use them? Here’s your ultimate guide on how to apply them and make them work for your skin.


If you haven’t used an oil in your skincare routine, now’s the time to start. Skin oils are ideal for all skins (and yes, even oily skin can benefit from them) and will supercharge, strengthen and restore skin to its pre-winter glory.
Here’s what you need to know before you oil up:

Go cold pressed

When you cook a vegetable, it usually loses some nutrients in the process. The same is true of skin oils. To get the maximum out of yours, find one that’s been cold pressed and is plant-based. Basically, apply the rules of maximising the nutrition in food to your oil.

Don’t worry about skin type

As oil is recognised by the skin, it works wonders on all types from blemished skin (it’ll help reduce scarring) to oily skin (it can help to temper oiliness as your skin stops overcompensating for being stripped by use of ‘oil reducing’ products) or dry and dehydrated skin (both desperately need the reinforced barrier that oil gives).
The key is to find an oil that feels right on your skin, so ask for samples at beauty counters (John Lewis and Selfridges are very good at offering samples of skincare) and test away.

Oils are versatile

Did you think skin oils can only be patted on post-cleansing? Wrong. You can use them in a number of ways. Put a drop in your day moisturiser if you’re feeling extra parched or want some glow. Use a few drops in the evening to offer some slip for a facial massage as you put your feet up in front of the latest episode of Sherlock. If skin feels sore, try using it directly on cleansed skin, patting it in to soothe. Experiment.

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