Aside from cleansers, facial oils are the other must have component of my skincare routine. I don't feel ready to go to sleep at night unless I have doused my face (and unfortunately my carpet - that stuff stains grrr) in large quantities of oil. I am heavy handed when it comes to application - no 'two pea sized drops' for me - I want to be able to cook a family sized portion of chips on my face before breakfast.
But before I begin eulogising about how great oils are it is probably worth clearing up the myth that oils are bad for the skin and cause spots. Not so - read here. I've had acne for most of my life and believe me, oils have only improved my skin. The Nouvelle Daily blog did a great post: 'An oil for every skin type' which saves me having to embarrass myself by trying to talk about the science behind why oils work so well for your skin.
I went BIG for oils about 2 years ago. My skin was in a mess, I was working hard, drinking lots of coffee, sleeping badly etc etc - it left me with the dullest skin and even with a serious dollop of night creme ( I was using Sisley Restorative Facial Creme at the time) my skin just always felt dry by the morning.
By the time I got pregnant last year I was already a convert. My skin got much thirstier with the baby guzzler on board and I was a bit more wary about using toxic goo on my face - so again, my oil addiction just got even more out of control.
I've tried going back to not using oils and just sticking to serums and night cremes instead. Sadly, they just don't cut the mustard in quite the same way and my skin is never as well hydrated in the morning. I actually now tend to skip a night time serum in favour of Juno (see below) on its own (after a good exfoliation) or after a dollop of Cult 51. My skin in the morning is definitely the best it has ever been with this routine.
My gateway oils were a couple of general crowd pleasers that are often recommended on various 'best for your skin' lists. I went for the Keihl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (£36 for 30ml) and the Neal's Yard Rehydrating Facial Rose Oil - £20 for 30ml. Both good, hard working oils that are a great follow up on top of a night cream - although I wouldn't necessarily use them straight on the skin as a single treatment as they don't give me quite enough oomph. I've long since finished the midnight recovery and am on my second bottle of rose oil. Good job peeps.
I also went to Morrocco last year where I NOT ONLY went to an argan oil cooperative (yep, they saw me coming) but I also bought virtually the entire crop. I was throwing this stuff around like it was going out of fashion: on my face, hair, body, cereal - I bloody stank. Actually it did get a bit whiffy at times and I pity my poor husband having to lie next to a nutty smelling oil slick. Still, that stuff is liquid gold and my skin and hair (if not my husband) thanked me for it. Neal's yard also do a good argan oil £17.50 for 50ml - cheaper than an Easyjet flight and 4 nights in a riad.
Sticking on pure oils I've also used rosehip (good for scarring) and jojoba and marula oils. They are all good for skin suppleness, hydration and are packed full of antioxidants. Ideally you are looking for cold pressed, top quality oils with NO additional ingredients. Many claim that oils are ridiculously overpriced and you are most likely paying for packaging/branding - this is probably the case for pure oils (I'm not going to pay £50 for 30ml of Argan oil) but i think with the higher end mixes (incorporating additional skincare ingredients) you do end up getting what you pay for. Be warned that oils do have a shelf life, so you don't want to leave them festering for too long. Read more about the top natural oils and what they are best at here.
Moving on to more of a big spender in the oil stakes are the Sunday Riley crew. Here is a great explanation by Ms Riley herself (in conversation with PIxiwoo) about which oil to choose based on your skin type. I started out with 'Flora' which is supposed to be for older and more mature skin. I thought it was great although I only had a sample size. It was enough to convince me to try more of their offerings and I went for Juno next. I have to say I have been really pleased with it and so far it has provided an unparalleled glow - although it is a whopping £70 so you'd like to think you'd wake up with a smile on your face (and no wrinkles) for that price. Available here.
I've not been brave enough to try Luna as I've read so many mixed reviews - I have also been steering clear of retinols (or derivatives) whilst preggo/breastfeeding. Given that i have acne it would be the natural choice for me plus IT IS BLUE. Cool. Hirons likes it. Nuff said.
On my oil wish list (other than Luna) is definitely the Kypris range and in particular the moonlight catalyst which is apparently an alternative to retinol (normally available from Selfridges but currently out of stock -boo). As ever a comprehensive review of the product range here by Caroline Hirons (before they changed their prices) and also the organic bunny.
So, there you have it. I love oils as the final part of my bedtime routine and can't go to bed without them (or my Gerard Butler cutout). The only downside is they stain your carpet if you drop them (which I somehow always manage to do) they turn your pillowcases brown and they are somewhat of a passion killer based on odour, taste and their ability to make you look like an otter. Still, what price good skin, eh? Xx