'Cause nothing says 'luxury' like... oil?
Embracing Beautifying Oils
I used to be afraid of putting oil on my face. I grew up hearing about how oils clogged pores, caused shininess, and left debris that caused facial breakouts. For most of my life, the general rule-of-thumb in the skincare community was to shop non-comedogenic "oil-free" skincare products in order to avoid reactions. But the harsh, oil-stripping approach to cleansing is being replaced by a skin-nourishing model of achieving a healthy glow.
Still, my past lessons from estheticians and dermatologists made me apprehensive to incorporate beauty oils into my regimen. At the same time, I have always felt drawn to nature's capacity to restore the body to wellness — particularly when it came to treating my autoimmune condition, for which I work with a Naturopath. I was even called the “Oil Girl" by a former adolescent client when I was a therapist because I encouraged the occasional whiff of soothing lavender for anxiety. (Not to mention, I have mad love for the life-changing effects of anti-inflammatory CBD oil.)
As it turns out, the kid was psychic. I have embraced beauty oils face-first.
"The Holy Grail Oil"
Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum ($65-$185)
Now that I'm committed to transforming my eyes, lips, face, and body with oils, my skin has never been so soft. On a daily basis I might use an oil cleanser, daytime and nighttime oil blends on my face, or an organic eye oil-serum that I have shared on Brit + Co. I reach for body oil as often as possible for my dry skin.
What convinced me to try them were the countless stories from beauty editors about oils that cured acne, that provided revitalizing hydration, that increased cell turnover (i.e. rosehip), and even balancing mattifiers (i.e. squalane). The beauty world's cult-favorite favorite oil is Vintner's Daughter, an eco-luxury line based in Northern California's wine country that is raved about by beauty editors and celebrities alike. As for the beauty industry's top-seller, Sunday Riley Juno Oil ($36-$72) is the leading antioxidant facial oil on the market. (And we all know I adore Sunday Riley.) The famous breakout-saving indie pick is green brand Indie Lee Squalane Oil ($14-$32), which goes on like velvet, while I bought the "O.G." luxury green oil blend by Tata Harper — pictured below — for my mom. (She loved it!)
"The O.G. Luxury Green Beauty Brand"
Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil ($78)
I once believed that I had combination-to-oily skin that got shiny in the afternoon, even though my extremely wise friend Ali was convinced that it was dehydrated. As usual, she was basically right, which I discovered when I began incorporating oil-rich products into my skincare regimen.
Turns out, the precious oils I was depriving my face of were causing an increase in sebum production — the culprit behind my PM-shine. Continuing to use the lipid-rich, fatty acid-containing reparative oils also improved the efficacy of my skin's moisture barrier. (A faulty barrier causes everything from skin reactivity, to moisture loss, to wrinkles.)
Below are 20 of my favorite beautifying oils to add to your regimen next. Along the way to the beauty collector's paradise that is my boudoir, these are also products that converted me. Y-oil love them, as Zoe Foster Blake — the founder of Go-To Beauty — would say...
BTW: The selections below are, of course, cruelty-free!
(1) Velvety Body Oil for Warm Weather
Monastery Lapiz Oil ($28-$42)
I regularly apply while still-damp after showers and baths — before body butter or lotion — in order to try to lock in as much moisture as possible. This lapis oil uses balancing squalane, which is non-greasy because it absorbs so well. The line is San Francisco-based and made, clean, and lovely.
(2) Post-Bath Body Pick for the PM
Tammy Fender Lavender Oil ($65)
Tammy Fender's body oil was a classic must-have for me. It's clean, green, luxurious, and apparently one of Gwyneth Paltrow's favorites. I have interviewed Tammy before and got my aunt addicted to the celebrity esthetician's spa in Palm Beach. She prefers the rose body oil, but the lavender blend is perfect for winding down at night.
(3) The Favorite Retinol Oil for the Face
Sunday Riley Luna Oil ($55-105)
Beauty editors go crazy for the naturally blue-hued nighttime oil, Luna. The blue tansy oil is anti-inflammatory, making the anti-aging active ingredient, retinol, gentle enough for sensitive skin. P.S. When you pair it with good genes, you get even better results! The exfoliation provided by the so-called Power Couple's lactic acid (or AHAs) in Good Genes allows for deeper absorption and efficacy overnight.
Note: Sunday Riley is clean (but not green).
(4) Eco-Chic Retinol for Lids
Votary Intense Eye Oil ($184)
I adore this line, I adore eye oils in general, and this one has retinol — which means it will treat and prevent fine lines and wrinkles, as well as any hyper-pigmentation or dark spots. Plus, I saw on Instagram that Emily Ratajkowski likes it...
P.S. For a non-retinoid eye oil serum, I dig Akar Organic Nutrient Boost Eye Serum ($85) with Orveda Eye Unveiler ($255) layered on top. (I know they're expensive but I'm on a mission here.)
(5) The Retinol Alternative for Mommas (Or Not)
Pai Rosehip Oil ($40)
Whether you use this alone or mixed in with your favorite moisturizer, it leaves your skin so soft. Over time, it will also improve fine lines, help prevent wrinkles, stimulate collagen production, and even tone. It's rich in vitamin A, making it the industry's favorite retinol-alternative that is safe for pregnant and nursing moms. P.S. It's $3 off at that link.
(6) The Royal Pick
Beuti Sleep Elixir ($65)
It's vegan, it's British, it's Kate Middleton's favorite — and it's my favorite. It's sold out many places right now and can be difficult to get ahold of (because it seriously is the bomb). Use it and wake up with skin that is unspeakably soft when applied before moisturizer. I am heading to the UK next week and plan on picking up a bottle (or three). I'm currently using this incredible night cap in my regimen.
(7) The Sun-Lover's Answer
Luna Nectar Heliophilia Glow & Fix Serum ($48)
I love this vegan line! But watch out — it can stain your pillow a shade of orangey-yellow if you lay down before it soaks in. This is what I'm using in the daytime right now, and I love it. It's anti-inflammatory and contains some of my favorite oil friends, including Marula, Camellia, Baobab, Gotu Kola, Meadowfoam, Rosehip, and Squalane.
P.S. I also adore the line's lash- and brow-boosting serum, Moon Boost ($75). I know it works because I was recently told that I have "really long natural lashes" on a plane! It's no longer back-ordered, woohoo!
(8) The Eco-Chic Insta-Favorite
Herbivore Botanicals Youth-Preserving Orchid Facial Oil ($64)
This product is Instagram famous. I love the eco-luxury line! It's clean, effective, and I use the line's Jasmine + Green Tea Balancing Toner ($39) regularly.
(9) The Luxury Green Game-Changer
Odacité Gt + L Radiance Booster ($39)
I have not tried this line yet, but it is luxury, clean, green, and I have heard it's amazing. I recently chatted with a gal on a flight with really great taste who highly recommends the line. I first heard about it at the opening for The Detox Market, a clean retailer you should definitely check out. Just add 2-3 drops of this oil into your moisturizer to see its glow-boosting effects. They also have blends to target breakouts, hyper-pigmentation, and wrinkles.
P.S. I use their Odacité Adventurine Kiss Lip Serum ($44) frequently.
(10) The Eco-Luxe Line I Love from Britain
Votary Jasmine and Calendula ($102)//Votary Super Seed Facial Oil ($110)
I adore this line and their Super Seed line is their top-seller, although they have clarifying blends and different oil products. I know it is great for barrier-repair, sensitive skin, and extreme smooth-making. (I am using the oil cleanser version right now.)
(11) My Personal Health Guru's Line
Moroccan Elixir Pure Argan Oil Revitalize Hair and Scalop Tonic ($30)
My hair and scalp are very dry, so I love using hair oils. You can apply them onto the ends, directly onto your scalp, or even as a styling tool. For a quicker drying-time and frizz-fighting smoothness and shine, I always reach for DryBar 100 Proof Treatment Oil ($36), but it's not silicone-free! The oil blend above is much more healing and I sometimes apply it directly to my scalp.
(12) The Best Make-Up Primer
LOLI Beauty Tea Seed Oil ($24)
This is a food-grade, luxury green line founded by a former beauty industry rockstar, Tina Hedges. Receiving they anti-inflammatory Redness Remedy in the mail following a Vegas facial gone rogue was absolutely life-saving for me. The line is zero-waste, food-grade, and incredible. If Gwyneth Paltrow only knew about it! I regularly obsess about this fabulousness.
(13) A Shamanic Hair Oil for Personal Growth
La Tierra Sagrada Hair Medicine ($24+)
Duh. I am so obsessed with this oil and the line's founder, Stefani Padilla, that I wrote an entire piece on her. I am convinced that every time I apply it, it brings insights. It worked on Tom, too! Just put a drop at the crown of your head. (I have even applied to to my pups there and they're brilliant.)
P.S. It contains the spiritually significant plant ayahuasca, but don't worry — its non-psychoactive. It's also great to apply during the new/full moons.
(14) The Bathtime Savior
Kari Gran Bath Soak + Jojoba ($58)
Adding a couple dropper-fulls of bath oil into the tub makes the most of your soak. If you have dry skin (I do) you will notice the biggest difference upon getting out. After getting out of the shower, apply your best body butter to your still-damp skin to get the most of the oil's benefits!
Tip: I use The Good Stuff Botanicals Gypsy Cream ($26-$45). Use code FOMO20 for 20% off!
(15) The Most Soothing Oil Ever//The Itchiness Cure
Flowers, Trees, and Skin Calming Oil ($46)
Before trying this oil, my legs were becoming unbearably itchy at night. I was miserable! Especially on days when I shave now, I'll put a couple drops of this on each calf before moisturizing. It incorporates Eastern herbs and wisdom to bring about anti-inflammatory relief. Love the product, love the founder, and I would love to pick her brain.
(16) The Aussie Beauty Cult-Favorite//All-Time Best Packaging
Go-To Face Hero ($34)
Like I said, best packaging.
I am obsessed with the fabulous founder of this line — as well as the magical land she hails from, Australia. She is absolutely incredible! The former beauty editor of prestigious publications like Harper's Bazaar branched off to start her own line of beauty products to be your new go-to’s. It's named Go-To because these filler-free, non-toxic bad boys will be your new go-to's — and it's 100% perfect for you if you're ever feeling cheeky. (The witty copy is 100% hers — read it and you'll be hooked, too.)
Anyway, this facial oil is the shining star of Go-To. It contains 10 expertly-selected facial oils that absorb sans residue. Everything from arnica, jojoba, and macadamia, to almond and kiwi oils serve a specific role. It's lightweight and you've got to try it!
P.S. For the body try Go-To Exceptionoil ($39). It is ideal for travel since it's less liquid-y than most body oils are. I used it today!
(17) The Perfect Plum Experience
Le Prunier ($72)
Plum oil is one of the most nourishing oils ever. I have used the elixir from LOLI and love it, but this is straight Kakadu plum oil. It's incredibly hydrating — one of the best options if you have reptilian-level dry skin. Le Prunier is a green specialty line that prides themselves on being connoisseurs of the plum. Plus, they're luxe AF. You'd be plum crazy not to try it.
P.S. Kakadu plum is also fantastic for hair — Kevin Murphy Hydrate Me Kakadu Plum-Infused Wash and Rinse ($95) are my favorite shampoo and conditioner. (I sadly just ran out!)
(18) The Vitamin C-Superstar
Camu Advanced Youth Recovery Facial Serum ($60)
I haven't tried this one, but I do have it at home. It's worth mentioning because vitamin C is one of the best antioxidants to apply regularly to your skin, and Camu is one of the top natural sources. It helps combat pollution and protect against sun damage, while mitigating free radical damage. It's also a must for brightening and for remedying any lingering post-summer hyper-pigmentation.
(19) The AM/PM Duo for Mermaids
Leahlani Aloha Ambrosia Morning Moisture Elixir ($56)//Mahina Evening Replenishing Elixir ($72)
The Elixir Collection ($115)
I just love the ingredients in this sustainably-sourced Hawaiian line. They're downright magical. I consider the founder, Leah's, Mermaid Mask ($38) to be one of the most potent detoxifying masks on the market. Some products are even crystal-infused, if you're into that sort of thing. (I am!)
(20) For Subtle (Body) Shimmer
Olive + M Shimmer + Glow Body Oil ($38)
I love this vegan line! The oil provides just a hint of shimmer and makes your stems shine in the sun. It's totally clean, great for the skin, and really, really fun.
The market is undeniably saturated with beauty oils after years of the "oil-free" prohibition suppressing their glory. My personal preferences gravitate towards organic, cold-pressed, luxury lines for health reasons (and because its my personal taste). But there are so many quality lines and products to choose from that even I find it overwhelming.
I tried to include just my favorites to help you navigate the skin-loving ocean of oils, but there are other ones out there worth mentioning. Dealing with redness? Nyakio Maracuja & Yangu Soothing Oil ($42) is an incredibly restorative blend that is sold out at Ulta but provides clean, cruelty-free, redness-fighting results using ingredients sourced from Africa. For dry body woes, I also picked up a largely organic body oil — Little Barn Apothecary Honeysuckle + Grapefruit Body Oil ($38) — at a Fab Fit Fun event that I just haven't tested yet. (Hint: Grapefruit is said to be great for smoothing cellulite.) Be sure to let me know if you have any specific questions, guidance, or ideas you'd like me to explore next!
If you have any other oil FAQ's or tips, let me know on Instagram!
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