5 Cult-Favorite Skin Buys That Leave Out The Essential Oils

Essential oils are everywhere: your serum, your shampoo, your scent diffuser, even your hand soap. Which isn't technically a bad thing — unless you have sensitive skin, in which case there's a fair chance it turns red and itchy at the mere mention of lavender oil. Or bergamot. Or lemon. Or, really, any of the fragrant botanical oils and extracts that make products smell fancy and luxurious but make reactive complexions flare up like a Roman candle.

It's a bummer — but it's not the end of your beauty world. As more and more brands catch on to the fact that people want more from their products than just smelling good and seeming "natural," they're taking essential oils out of the equation, too.

Ahead, a few of the best-loved, essential oil-free skin-care products on the market right now. Finally, everyone can get in on high-performance beauty without having to worry that their clean, green skin-care routine might just be the root of all evil... or just the root of all their redness.

Drunk Elephant prides itself on its essential oil-free guarantee — the brand was founded on the premise that such sensitizing ingredients only serve to exacerbate skin issues, not help fix them. All of the products have earned rave reviews, but there's a reason this overnight treatment is a consistent bestseller: It combines hardworking acids to exfoliate and brighten with soothing extracts like aloe, white tea, and raspberry, so you get the resurfacing, radiance-enhancing benefits without any dryness.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $90.00 Buy
Thanks to its potent, high-performance formulations and nature-meets-science approach, cosmetic chemist Sunday Riley's eponymous brand has practically become a household name for the skin care-obsessed. The catch: Most of the products get their power from essential oil blends that, while expertly combined by Riley and generally safe, don't always play well with sensitive types. But this intensely nourishing oil leaves out the essential oils and is instead packed with antioxidant-rich vitamins, amino acids, and seed oils that leave even dry, reactive skin happy and luminous.
Sunday Riley Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil , $90.00 Buy
After noticing that more and more of their clients were coming to them complaining of skin irritation and imbalance tied to essential oils, skin-care specialist Kristina Holey and brand founder Marie-Veronique Nadeau came up with a much-needed solution: a cutting-edge line formulated specifically to support the skin's natural processes and barrier function, all without the use of essential oils. This mask in particular is a skin reset in a jar — packed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory green tea extract, sodium PCA (the same moisture-absorbing humectant found in human skin), hydrating plant oils, and probiotics, you can even use it as an overnight treatment to wake up with healthy, nourished, glowy skin.
Marie Veronique Micronutrient + Hydro Mask, $135.00 Buy
This newer brand believes that less is more when it comes to skin care, which is why all of its products — specifically formulated for sensitive skin — are straightforward and appealingly minimalist. The list of what they don't contain is longer than what they do: There are zero parabens, sulfates, phthalates, PEGs, phenoxyethanol, silicones, petroleum, nut oils, limonene, floral extracts, or essential oils to be found in any of the offerings. This cleanser is one of the most simple yet effective we've ever tried, thanks to a complex of aloe, green tea, and comfrey that comforts the skin while cleansing.
Peet Rivko Gentle Cleanser, $30.00 Buy
Glamorous and sexy it is not, but as far as affordable, accessible, essential oil-free skin care goes, you can't do better than Paula's Choice. The selection is huge, there are products for every skin type or concern, and there's a 100% money-back guarantee — so if you try something and don't love it, there's no risk. That said, we've yet to find a single person in recorded internet history who hasn't loved this cult-favorite formula: Used twice daily, the lightweight fluid sweeps away dead skin cells and gently exfoliates for a clear, even complexion.
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, $29.00 Buy
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