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8 Best Clean Face Oils

by Kristin Granero October 26, 2021

8 Best Clean Face Oils

There’s just something about facial oils that feels luxurious. They’re soft and silky to the touch, glide over the skin like a dream, and tend to look ultra-chic sitting on a nightstand or bathroom cabinet (cue the shelfies!). Because of their smoothing, illuminating properties, theyalso happen to have priming potential, clearing and moisturizing the way for other products that follow in their path.

“Makeup doesn't sit well, appearing cakey or even accentuating fine lines, if the skin is not well hydrated. Exfoliating properties also help, as a skin tone and texture that is smoother and even doesn’t require as much coverage,” says  Jenny Liu, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.

But how exactly do face oils work, and how do you decide which formulas are right for you? Read on to learn more about one of the beauty industry’s most coveted formulas and discover some of our favorite face oils for different skin types.

How Face Oils Work

Oil cleansers are known to attract and help soften sebum, working as a magnet for dirt and oil that can build up in pores. “They’re great for removing waterproof makeup, sunscreen, and heavy makeup, and can be more gentle for dry or sensitive skin types,” explains Dr. Liu. “Oils can also act as occlusives, reducing water loss, and can contain fatty acids which can be anti-inflammatory and help with skin barrier repair.” 

What to Look for in Face Oils

“For dry skin, look for nourishing ingredients like jojoba, marula, and argan oils that contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory compounds,” advises Dr. Liu. “Tea tree oil is antimicrobial, which can be helpful for dry and acne-prone skin, whereas vitamins C, E, and retinol can help with brightness, texture, and anti-aging.”

Best Face Oils for Dry Skin

  1. Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, $86

This beloved oil cleanser from Tata Harper has a five-star rating for its ability to break down buildupwithout stripping the skin barrier of its natural moisture. It’s also chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants (such as vitamin E, calendula, and sunflower seed oil) for nursing dry, parched skin back to health.

  1. Expert Pick:  Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, $72

Referred to by the brand as “rehab for your skin,” this organic facial oil from Drunk Elephant is rich in omegas 6 and 9, along with polyphenols, for nourishing skin and providing ample protection against damaging free radicals. The super-absorbent, gentle formula is also ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Best Face oils

Best Face Oils for Glowing Skin

  1. Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil, $73

Recommended for all skin types, this glow-getter from Murad is fueled by six key vitamins—A through F—for packing a powerful punch against dullness, along with signs of aging. All you need is a drop or two to reveal a new, more radiant you.

  1. Expert Pick:  Biossance Squalane and Vitamin C Rose Oil, $32 

Biossance’s award-winning Squalane Oil gets a brightening boost in this rosy pick, which harnesses the glowing, firming, hydrating benefits of vitamin C. Rose petal extract also helps to calm and soothe, while lending the formula a subtle botanical scent. 

best face oils

Best Face Oils for Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

  1. Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil, $40

This innovative pick from Sunday Riley serves as a face oil and acne treatment in one, providing the skin with essential moisture while combating breakouts. Infused with salicylicacid, tea tree oil, and black cumin seed oil, the brand also recommends the formula for targeting blemishes along the neck and back. 

  1. Expert Pick:  Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil, $72

The hero ingredient in this Herbivore oil is Azulene, known for its moisturizing, soothing properties. More specifically, it’s recommended for combination, oily, and blemish-prone types in need of balancing hydration.

best face oils

Best Face Oils for Aging Skin

  1. Beautycounter Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil, $49

Erase signs of aging along with your makeup thanks to this bestselling cleanser from Beautycounter. Part of the brand’s Countertime line, it’s enriched with fatty acids, vitamin E, and a plant-derived Retinatural Complex for a softer, smoother surface.

  1. Elemis Pro-Collagen Definition Facial Oil, $79

Last but not least, refine and define with this vitamin E and antioxidant-packed facial oil from Elemis. It’s made with raspberry plant stem cells and Himalayan gentian extract for helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and providing a light, luminous plumping effect.

best face oils

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