Looking for a product that rehydrates your skin, dissolves dirt and protects your face against harsh weather? Try a facial oil. No longer considered a niche product, they're now a mainstream must-have.
"The evolution of extraction and blending technologies, as well as a rediscovery of ancient ingredients and formulae has brought us a new generation of face oils", says co-founder of Cult Beauty, Alexia Inge.
There are two types of oils: carrier oils and essential oils that have to be combined in order to work efficiently. Carrier oils are usually cold pressed from fruits and nuts. "This gives them a strong penetrative ability that allows them to carry botanically derived essential oils deep into the skin", says Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Uma Oils.
Confused about what oils are essential for you and which ones aren't? Find your perfect formula here...
Problem: Dry skin
Our skin is composed of lipids responsible for preventing dehydration, retaining moisture and keeping toxins out, but as we age, we produce less oils that compose this layer. This is where essential oils come in play. They have a high concentration of oxygen and are of a lipophilic nature, so they quickly pass through the skin's lipid barrier, plumping it with active ingredients more effectively, while preventing water loss.
Best carrier: Avocado oil is high in Vitamin E and sterolin, which softens the skin. It's also rich in lecithin, a lipid that helps deliver nutrients directly to the bloodstream and deeper layers of the skin.
Best essential: Rose oil is active in promoting and retaining your skin's natural moisture levels thanks to its high levels of Vitamin A, which help to increase collagen production and Omega's 3 and 6, which strengthen your lipid barrier.
Problem: Oily skin
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, essential oils can help balance your natural oil levels, without stripping your skin. "The weather, stress, genetics and your menstrual cycle can all lead to over production of sebum, but a few weeks of using oils will help you get back your balance", says Shrankhla.
Best carrier: Jojoba oil resembles the actual molecular structure of your skin, delivering nutrients sub dermally, while tricking your skin into thinking it has produced enough oil.
Best essential: The ester (drying agent) within Clary Sage oil, known as Linalyl Actetate, works with your skin cells to regulate sebum production without over-drying it. Studies have also found that this oil helps women maintain hormonal balances, which can be the cause of increased oil production throughout your menstrual cycle.
Best buy: Uma Beauty Boosting Day Face Oil, £98
A lack of lipids in the epidermis impairs the water barrier function, resulting in bumps and rough skin texture. This, combined with excessive sebum production, forms a blockage within the hair follicle, resulting in a pimple or cyst. Essential oils can help regulate your skin's pH balance, heal existing damage, and stimulate cell renewal – ridding your complexion of unwanted toxins while maintaining a healthy lipid barrier.
Best carrier: Grapeseed oil controls your skin's natural oil producing functions to help balance the pH levels of your skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants to protect and vitamin C to help heal.
The essential oils: Clove and Tea Tree are naturally antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and anti-bacterial. Sandalwood and Lavender soothe inflammation and reduce redness, while Orange oil is high in vitamin C, which helps both prevent and repair skin breakage.
Problem: Large pores
We all know that pores don't open or close and you can't make them bigger or smaller, but you can make them appear smaller by keeping them clean and unclogged.
Best carrier: The small molecules of pomegranate oil penetrate your skin to deliver nutrients quickly, so the oil doesn't sit on the surface of your skin, enlarging your pores.
Best essentials: Lemon oil is a natural astringent that cleans out your pores, making them appear smaller, while Chamomile is rich in a naturally occurring compound, Azulene, that helps cellular turnover, so you won't have dead skin cells clogging up your pores.
Best buy: De Mamiel Summer Facial Oil, £67