THIS Is How You Use Facial Oils

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Would it be an overstatement to say that 2015 was a very good year for oils? Probably not. After all, sales of skin-care oils have more than tripled in the past five years, according to The NPD Group, and the internet has nearly exploded (here, here, and here are a few examples) with excitement about the slick substance.

Seeing as just about everyone we know is obsessed with the stuff, we're not at all surprised by these stats. According to Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Uma Oils, avoiding oils is one of the biggest and most obvious mistakes a skin-care devotee could make. She believes much of the hesitation around oils is due to the misconception that they exacerbate breakouts. "In reality, many face oils are non-comedogenic," she says. "They can actually work to regulate the skin's overproduction of oil."

Even this writer, who had previously been scared shitless by oils (lest they worsen my already oily complexion) has been converted. But even though most of us in the beauty sphere are singing oil's praises, we're not completely in the clear. It's not enough to simply grab any oil and slather it all over your face, hair, and body. You need to do your research and know the proper way to use those slippery elixirs to get the most benefit. Don't know where to start? Check out the slides ahead for eight of the most common mistakes people make with oils — and how to avoid 'em.


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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Using Oils At The Wrong Time
Although heavier oils, like avocado and coconut, are great to use at night, you should use more absorbent ones during the day, unless you want to end up looking like you fell face-first into a fryer. In fact, if your skin is oily, you may want to skip using oils during the day altogether — especially if you're planning on wearing foundation — oils may break your makeup down faster.

Some oils, like lemon and grapefruit essential oils, are photosensitive, which means they can react to light and cause your skin to become inflamed or red. When used during the day, these can actually harm your skin, so it's best to use them at night, says Holecek.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Using The Wrong Oil For Your Skin Type
Just like any skin-care product, using the wrong oil for your skin type can have negative effects. "There is a bandwagon phenomenon that concerns me when it comes to oil use," Holecek says. She's referring to oils like coconut oil, which has become extremely buzz-worthy in recent years. It isn't an ideal oil for everyone, because it's "fairly comedogenic." It's important to always spot test a product on your neck or jawline before rubbing it on your face to determine if it's really going to work for you.

For those with dry skin, Holecek recommends reaching for oils like avocado oil, which works to soften and moisturize the skin while reducing the appearance of age spots. For those with acne-prone, oily, or combination skin, jojoba oil is the way to go, as "it is able to rapidly penetrate the skin and deliver nutrients sub-dermally and 'trick' your skin into believing that it's produced enough oil," says Holecek. We also love rosehip oil for those looking for lightweight, but luscious, hydration.


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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Using The Wrong Oil For Your Hair Type
Just like with skin oils, a trial-and-error process is required to figure out which hair oils will do the most for you. If you have fine hair, using a heavy oil will just weigh your locks down and have you reaching for dry shampoo. If you have dry hair, a light oil may not pack enough of a punch to give you the results you want.

Holecek recommends almond, castor, or Moringa oils for fine hair, as they add shine without looking too heavy. For those with drier, coarser tresses, try argan or marula oil — they will nourish your hair without making it feel sticky. Avocado oil, Holecek adds, is also a great one for rehabilitating damaged hair.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Using Body Oils On Your Face
This is a huge no-no, because products formulated for the body can clog pores and may contain additional fragrances that could irritate the delicate skin on your visage. When it comes to your face, use products that are made for it, because they are usually formulated to penetrate faster than those made for the body.

"I'd stick with ultra-absorbent, yet highly nutritious oils [for the face], like pomegranate, jojoba, and grape-seed," says Holecek. Plus, since they're safe to use on sensitive skin, there's no harm in using them on the body, too.

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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Using Too Much Oil
How many times have we heard our mothers say "everything in moderation"? Well, turns out mom's right, even where oils are concerned. Many people don't realize how concentrated most oils are and tend to over-apply. If you can still feel a residue on your skin 10 minutes after you've applied, you may have gone overboard.

According to Holecek, a good starting point for facial oils is to use two to three drops per application and increasing or decreasing the amount depending on how much your skin needs.

"For hair oils, I recommend sectioning the hair into at least two sections," says Holecek. Then, apply one to two drops per section or four to five if you have very coarse or dry hair. Body oils are best applied in dime-sized increments, ideally just after stepping out of the shower to improve absorption, she adds.


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Using Essential Oils Without A Carrier Oil
As a rule, you should never use essential oils on your skin if they aren't diluted in a carrier oil. Essential oils like eucalyptus, lemon, and lavender oils are much more concentrated and can irritate the skin when applied directly, so a carrier oil like jojoba or grape seed oil is usually used to dilute it and carry the nutrients into the skin.

Plus, "undiluted essential oils are volatile compounds, and can evaporate quickly from the surface of the skin, even before penetrating it," says Holecek. Bottom line? Be sure to do a combo to save your skin from the irritation.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Using Hair Oils Near Your Roots
It may sound like a good idea to work oil into your roots for extra hydration, but that isn't always the case. "Our scalp produces its own natural oils, which act as a great conditioner," says Holecek. Using oil near your roots can make your hair look greasy. Instead, stick to using a few drops through the mid-lengths and ends of your hair to condition and add a few drops to your roots and scalp if you really need it.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Ignoring An Oil's Origins
Since so many oils come from developing countries, like Morocco and Kenya, it's important to buy fair trade when you can. "[Fair trade] contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers," says Michele Loeper, marketing manager of Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit organization that specializes in fair-trade merchandise.

Given that oils are flying off the shelves these days, it's up to us to make sure that what we're buying is sourced responsibly and not harming the environment or indigenous populations.


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