Your customers were probably told to wash their faces every night to prevent them from getting oily. It is often the first anti-breakout lesson most of us are taught as teens. We learned to view oil as clean skin’s natural enemy. But beauty rules are seldom black and white, and this story is far more nuanced. Although our bodies produce oil naturally, the amount decreases as we age. And we all know that a dry dermis is prone to wrinkles, fine lines and blemishes. Furthermore, conventional creams often rely on wax to seal in moisture, which has the unwanted side effect of keeping out some of the water and oil contained in those products. Oils cut out the middleman, packing pores with invaluable ingredients that promote hydration while improving elasticity. Plus, they work on every skin type–even acne-prone. Here are the top seven facial oils you can recommend to your customers to kick 2019 beauty regimens off to a stellar start.
It’s true that good things come in little packages. The yellow fruit of the marula tree, which grows in Africa and Madagascar, is chock-full of vitamins–most notably vitamin C. (A single serving contains approximately eight times the amount found in an orange.) Native Bantu peoples have relied on the fruit’s nutrients for centuries. Animals like it too, though for slightly different reasons. Elephants, ostriches, warthogs and baboons have been reported to become intoxicated after imbibing fermented marula.
The Good: Along with its aforementioned, off-the-charts vitamin C concentration that brightens skin to counter hyperpigmentation, oil extracted from its walnut-size seeds is high in flavonoids and vitamin E. Together, the trio reduces redness, guards against inflammation and fights to repair free-radical damage caused by sun exposure or pollution. Its omega-6 (linoleic) and omega-9 (oleic) essential fatty acids effectively seal in moisture and serve as dry skin’s ticket to soothing hydration. And, it manages to infuse richness sans grease, which might be marula’s most valuable trick. “The oil’s inherently light texture absorbs quickly into skin to repair the dermis barrier without clogging pores or imparting a heavy residue,” says Julia Noik, cofounder of African Botanics.
The Bad: A few cases of marula-related skin rashes have been reported among users with tree-nut allergies. Recommend that customers do a patch test first to be sure they’re in the clear.
The Bottom Line: This is the best oil for combatting hyperpigmentation.
“Consumers love the nongreasy texture of our African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil,” enthuses the company’s cofounder Julia Noik. “It absorbs quickly, protecting skin from transepidermal water loss, leaving a healthy glow.”
Its appearance is unmistakable. No one could look at an orchid and confuse it with another plant. Notoriously nitpicky, orchids have a reputation as challenging flowers to cultivate and keep alive. That’s due in part to their nature: These fragrant beauties thrive in warm, humid climates–tough conditions to reproduce at home. Some are so sensitive that they bloom for only several hours. Some so rare that they’ve sold for upwards of $200,000. In total, about 28,000 known orchid species exist, making them among the most abundant families of flowering plants.
The Good: Western cultures are familiar with the scent of orchids in perfume, but in Asia, the plant has long been a popular skin and haircare staple. That’s because their leaves contain a pigment called anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid we can thank for the richly saturated hues of red, blue and purple plants. More importantly for skin, anthocyanins (like other flavonoids) contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents. They battle free radicals to balance pigmentation while minimizing oxidative stress. The extract is also a natural humectant that draws and locks in moisture. Wrinkles and fine lines relax when skin’s smoothness is restored.
The Bad: Money, honey. The high cost of extracting and producing orchid oil can make this product feel prohibitive.
The Bottom Line: It’s the best oil for reducing facial inflammation.
Orchid Facial Oil from Herbivore Botanicals is beloved for its hydrating features and luscious floral smell.
Pine trees arguably contain the elixir of youth. Most of these coniferous trees live between 100 to 1,000 years–though the oldest, named Methuselah, is 4,850 years old and still thriving in California. When pressed, pinus needles produce a clear to pale-yellow oil that might be a veritable panacea. Its benefits are vast. Before the advent of cold medicines, pine served as a natural nasal decongestant and pain-relieving ointment. It’s effective at repelling insects, cleaning household surfaces or freshening a space gone stale. After all, who doesn’t love the smell of Christmas trees?
The Good: The same properties that make pine good at nixing stains and killing odor serve to aid the health of skin. The oil is packed with natural antioxidants that neutralize pesky free radicals and harmful toxins. It’s both antiseptic and antifungal, so it can fight bacteria and germs. As a natural toner, it clears pores of oxidized sebaceous oils that are to blame for blemishes like blackheads and acne. After cleansing, it promotes healing. Pine extract stimulates blood flow, encouraging the growth of tissue and cells, which translates to brighter complexions.
The Bad: There’s no doubt pine is powerful. But, if improperly diluted, it may irritate the skin and its mucus membranes it first set out to cleanse and heal.
The Bottom Line: Pine is the best oil to double as a cleanser.
“Boosted with natural lipids, our innovative Korres Black Pine Sleeping Oil visibly plumps skin to promote firmness and elasticity,” shares the company’s cofounder Lena Korres. “The experience of waking up to supple, younger-looking skin is pure luxury.”
To find rosehip, look for a berry-shaped fruit growing below the petals of a rose. Most are red or orange, but they can appear dark purple in a few plant species. Traditionally rosehip was dried for herbal tea or boiled to make jam, jelly and syrup. It contains carotenoids–the same organic pigment that turns carrots orange–and beta carotene, both of which are being studied for their possible cancer-fighting links.
The Good: Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr caused a stir when she called rosehip her favorite 2018 antiaging serum. Maybe that’s due to its high content of nourishing essential fatty acids plus vitamins A and C. “The combination of these elements helps to improve the appearance of skin tone, texture and pigmentation, while infusing moisture,” says Karen Behnke, founder of Juice Beauty. Retinoic acid present in vitamin A further stimulates the growth of fibroblasts, those essential collagen-producing cells. Facial scars fade while skin regains its elasticity.
The Bad: Acne-prone skin, beware: This oil has been known to further inflame already-clogged pores.
The Bottom Line: It’s the best oil to promote younger-looking skin.
“Those concerned with dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles will love Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Lifting Neck Cream,” promises Juice Beauty’s CEO Karen Behnke. “It absorbs quickly to even out tone.”
Sage, a member of the mint family first found in the Mediterranean basin, boasts a long and storied history of both medical and culinary use. Greeks and Romans called it sacred, relying on it as an effective treatment for digestive ailments such as stomach pain and heartburn. More recently, sage has been lauded for its ability to promote brain function, including staving off memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Good: Camphor present in sage oil is to thank for its antifungal quality, so it’s great for those with certain skin conditions, including dermatitis and psoriasis. Inherent antioxidants lessen sags and wrinkles, but here’s what makes the extract most unique: It has the power to communicate with skin. “Sage naturally balances oil-secretion levels to achieve a more normalized skin tone,” marvels Natalie Pergar, lead skincare trainer at Eminence Organic. “It’s ideal for those suffering from excessive oil production.”
The Bad: Balance is key. Because it’s a known stimulant, too much applied topically might inflame sensitive lip or eye areas.
The Bottom Line: Sage is the best Goldilocks oil: It’s neither too dry nor too oleaginous.
"Customers call our Eminence Organic Facial Recovery Oil liquid gold,” enthuses lead skincare trainer for Eminence Natalie Pergar. “It can be used for a variety of skin concerns, on faces, necks and hands.”
It isn’t your imagination–sunflowers really do tilt their heads during the day to face the star for which they’re named. This practice, called heliotropism, was first described by ancient Greeks. Records indicate that American Indian tribes cultivated the plants as far back as 3,000 B.C., to soothe snakebites and serve as history’s first hair conditioner.
The Good: Oil pressed from sunflower seeds has more vitamin E than almond oil or shea butter. As the body’s foremost fat-soluble antioxidant, the emollient traps moisture inside cells, keeping the dermis dewy. While the plant itself may crave sunshine, its oil protects faces from harmful UV radiation. “Vitamin E can further help to combat the effects of environmental stressors on skin,” adds Elyse Blakely, Image Skincare’s lead corporate educator. Vitamins A and D are an added bonus. They help skin regenerate new cells and rid itself of acne-causing bacteria.
The Bad: If your customers suffer from a known ragweed allergy, sunflower oil may cause similar adverse reactions. Recommend that they speak with a dermatologist before using it.
The Bottom Line: It’s the best oil for extremely parched skin.
“I love Image Skincare’s ultra-lightweight Vital C Hydrating Facial Oil because it soothes dehydrated skin and brings back radiance with a beautiful light orange scent,” says the company’s lead corporate educator Elyse Blakely. The oil is a blend of sunflower, grape-seed, avocado and other oils.
Tea tree is actually a shrub. The plant is a cousin of myrtle, native to New Zealand and Australia. Legend holds it got its name from British explorer Captain James Cook, who used its leaves to brew an infusion when he ran out of English breakfast tea. It has many useful applications, from curing dandruff to cleaning laundry. “In fact, the only things that don’t love tea tree extract are pests, mold, germs and bacteria,” says Christine Allmer, director of marketing at Desert Essence.
The Good: The extract is a mighty antiseptic. Studies show that a solution containing five percent tea tree oil can work to treat acne as effectively as benzoyl peroxide, the chief ingredient found in most drugstore cleansers. “Yet unlike some chemical remedies, tea tree won’t cause dryness while it deep cleans pores,” Allmer explains. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help heal eczema itch, and, when mixed with aloe vera, it’s a proven sunburn cure.
The Bad: The oil is toxic if ingested orally. Stick to topical beauty offerings that include diluted amounts.
The Bottom Line: This oil is the best at nixing acne.
“Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil is grown in Australia and steam-distilled, with no chemicals used during processing,” notes Christine Allmer, the company’s director of marketing. “We brought it to the United States in 1978, in clear bottles–instead of amber–that highlight our oil’s quality and clarity.”