People all over the world have been using plant-based oils to keep their hair, skin, and nails healthy and nourished since the days of Cleopatra (no, seriously). But somewhere in between then and now, the once-prized oils — rose, argan, jojoba, even argan — became the focus of a smear campaign blaming them for breakouts and clogged pores, and an oil-free ingredients list became a selling point. We know now that oil is not the enemy; in fact, it’s an essential.
“The skin’s natural oil production decreases as we age, causing the moisture barrier to break down,” explains Noella Gabriel, beauty expert and co-founder of luxe skin-care brand Elemis. When water is lost, the skin dries out, which can lead to both dehydration and increased oil production — the kind you’ll need to carry blotting papers for. Facial oils, however, help to maintain and strengthen the moisture barrier to lock in hydration and leave skin better hydrated and more resilient. Bonus: When the barrier is restored, the skin is better able to absorb the replenishing nutrients in the active plant extracts that reduce signs of premature aging.
Yes, this also applies to oily skin… even if you’re not quite sure how it works. “It can be a very difficult concept to relate to a client with an oily skin type, but oil-on-oil results in stabilizing the oil flow, which calms the skin,” Gabriel says. Consider that the all-clear you need to make like Cleopatra and add an oil to your routine. Ahead, the low-down on the most popular picks, and the formulas you need to try.