Is face oil the beauty solution for you?

The one-time enemy is now being embraced across a plethora of daily beauty essentials.


Remember when we used to carefully scan beauty counters for ‘oil-free’ products. Where once oil was the enemy, our 90s selves were surprised on discovering it to be an elixir of youth, vitality and radiance. Our old fears were born of the fact that cheap mineral oils were used to bind makeup, which clogged the skin’s pores. Now the focus is on using high-quality natural oils such as rosehip, almond, argan, avocado and jojoba, with minimal additives to gently cleanse impurities and hydrate skin. The oils plump skin and fill out lines as, well as maintain its resilience and protect it from harmful factors such as pollution. With products flooding in all the time, the good oil well seems unstoppable. Here, we put a range of innovations under review.

A new way to cleanse
The saying ‘like oil and water’ needs re-thinking now that the new generation of oil cleansers work spectacularly well when rinsed with water. The significant difference between cleansing and treatment oils is their relationship to water. Cleansers are applied to the face with warm fingertips to break down makeup and impurities. Apply water and the oil calls on added emulsifying agents to remove dirt and excess sebum, rinsing off to leave skin silky smooth and plump. Treatment oils, however, are applied to clean skin and left on, hanging on to moisture as well as assisting the skin’s outer layer to repel nasties. The best thing about oil cleansers is their unrivalled ability to remove the most stubborn long-wear or waterproof makeup – a must if your daily face involves a masterpiece of colour. Some people prefer to treat these cleansers as a makeup remover only, requiring a secondary cleanse for squeaky-clean skin.

The natural way
Coconut oil had a huge moment in 2014, with advocates using the cold-pressed product in the kitchen as well as their beauty routine. If applying solidified white oil from a jar doesn’t appeal, but you seek a clean, simple approach to great skin, choose products made by our local power players. Their luxurious, highly effective botanical products are loaded with the potent antioxidants of pure plant oils. Kate Middleton reportedly swears by Trilogy’s organic rosehip oil during pregnancy to hydrate skin and ward off stretch marks. Evolu’s newest Facial Serum stands up among the big boys of anti-aging by harnessing the wonder ingredients vitamins A, C and E. Internationally, marula oil has nabbed the ‘next-big-thing’ tag. It’s used alongside camelia and argan oils in local brand Martina Organics’ three-product range, which is hand blended by Wellingtonian Marta Maria Camara herself. Camara rates marula, the oil of the nut inside the marula fruit, native to South Africa, because it’s said to be very close in structure to the skin’s natural fatty acids and it is easily absorbed.

Targeted treatments
Luxury facial oils are now being blended to target specific concerns, with some used as modern delivery systems that are supercharged with skin-boosting ingredients. Clinique’s new feather-light Turnaround Oil supplies a true, ‘lit-from-within’ result. Beautifully sheer and non greasy, massage into skin after your shower and by the time you’re dressed your face is ready for foundation. We love the click-top dropper, also used in Estee Lauder’s fatigue-banishing Resilience Lift oil. Apply it before moisturiser and get your glow on. A backstage trick makeup artists swear by to boost tired skin is to mix a drop of MAC Essential Oils on the back of your hand with your foundation before applying. Your skin will look and feel fresh and luminous in a flash. For mature skin, the targeted anti-aging Decleor Aromessence Serum is a pure wonder product paving the way for what natural plant products can achieve. If you prefer a more intensive approach, line-smoothing Retinol housed in oils are the next wave of treatment products headed our way.

Body beautiful
Lipidol, the maker of hugely popular Bio-Oil, has a wide range of treatments available in sleek bottles that belie their affordability. The cleansing body oil is our pick and leaves skin silky smooth in the shower – just watch for the potential to create a bathroom slip ‘n’ slide. Environ’s Body Oil doesn’t just save the vitamins for your face, it packs a decent punch of A, C, and E into its bottle, which is a particular help for dry skin or post-summer damage.

Smooth operators
Anyone with fine hair who has experienced argan oil’s ability to turn locks into a limp mess will be unfazed by the hype. Curly hair types, on the other hand, sing its praises. As with all innovation, trial and error results in finely tuned products that fall into the ‘how-did-we-live-without-them?’ category. And so it goes for argan-oil shampoos, conditioners and treatment oils from big brands like L’Oreal and Garnier, that quickly bring shine and softness to dull hair.

At the leading edge
The launch of YSL’s divine Tint-In-Oil represents new territory for makeup innovators, who had previously not incorporated new-generation oils into their products. With a soft lip tint suspended in a deep-conditioning oil, it gives the shine of a gloss but with none of the stickiness. Similarly, Clarins’ coloured Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil will be released here soon.

Our picks
For hair, face and body, there are oils to cover your beauty essentials. Hydrate, brighten, cleanse, regenerate and restore – the good oils do it all:


L-R: Lipidol Cleansing Body Oil, $10; MAC Prep + Prime Essential Oils, $46; Evolu Facial Serum, $65; L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil, $40.

L-R: Manuka Doctor Brightening Oil, $30; 6. Environ AVST Body Oil, $96; Murad Renewing Cleansing Oil, $62; Decleor Aromessence Excellence Ultra-Regenerating Serum, $175.


L-R: Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Restorative Radiance Oil, $133; Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, $24. 11; Davines Nourishing Oil for Face, Hair and Body, $45; Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil, $59.