There’s no more luxurious feeling than massaging an oil onto your face. When you pick the right oils for your face you can make your skin look plump and refreshed in an instant. And if you add a hint of shimmer you’ll be glowing all day long.
In this post I’ll be talking about the different kinds of oils you can use on your face, which ones are right for your skin type and how to use them in your everyday routine.
To give your daytime face oil serums a little something extra, we’re adding just enough shimmer for a healthy glow.
**This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I might receive a small commission that goes to supporting this website.**
What Oils to Pick for your Skin Type
Grapeseed, evening primrose, avocado … the world of plant based oils can feel very overwhelming.
They are often called carrier oils and are not to be confused with what you’d use for cooking. Although sometimes similar, cosmetic oils are usually sold separate and can for example have (natural) preservatives and anti-oxidants added to them. There are also a lot of plant based oils that work wonders for your skin but should never be used to drizzle over your salad.
Choose Non Comedogenic Oils
Because we’ll be using these oils on our faces it’s important to choose non comedogenic oils, or oils with a low comedogenic score.
The term ‘comedogenic’ refers to the fact that the oil may clog your pores. You don’t want your pores to become saturated because that will lead to breakouts and an unhappy skin.
For example, coconut oil is said to have anti-bacterial properties so could be a great choice for acne prone skin, but at the same time this oil has a high comedogenic score (4 out of 5, auwch). That’s why it’s not recommended for use on your face, especially if you struggle with acne breakouts.
Shea butter on the other hand might feel quite greasy and thick but actually has a low comedogenic score (hello, zero!). That makes it an excellent ingredient in face products like an all natural cleansing balm.
Stay in the low ranges, from 0 to 2, for face oils. If you don’t have particularly fussy skin, you might be able to get away with a 3 as well.
I don’t want you to think that you can only use oils with a score of zero. Not only will your choices be very limited, your skin might love a different carrier oil more for its other amazing benefits. If you’ve been using coconut oil on your face and love it, feel free to keep up that routine. Why change a winning team, am I right?
Choosing the best face oils for your skin is really about weighing the pros and cons. And, to be honest, very different for everyone. (Because we are all unique etc. etc. *enter cute emoji of a puppy here*).
Pick a base oil
All of the carrier oils included in this list have a comedogenic score ranging from 0 to 2. There are many other oils that fall into these categories, but I selected the once below because they are the most common and easily accessible.
Argan oil (Score: 0)
What’s not to love about Argan oil. With a comedogenic score of zero, this carrier oil already has a jump start.
Argan oil is said to have both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. As its rich in vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) it should help protect your skin from the damage caused by free radicals. You can compare high levels of free radicals as ‘stress’ your skin undergoes when it comes into contact with a lot of damaging factors, like polluted air.
These properties make the oil a popular choice for people that suffer from sensitive skin problems like redness and irritation, and for aging skin types.
Argan is a great moisturizing oil, but if we have to find a con, it’s the fact that it comes with a slightly higher price tag.
Jojoba oil (Score: 2)
A much loved face oil for people with greasy foreheads, because the consistency of jojoba oil is very close to your natural sebum (that’s a fancy word for oil that’s produced by your skin). It can help prevent your skin from producing excess oil an therefore stop your face from feeling greasy.
Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax, and should form an effective protective layer onto your skin after you’ve applied it.
In addition, jojoba oil is said to have anti-bacterial and, again, anti-oxidant properties as this oil is also rich in vitamin E.
Grapeseed oil (Score: 1)
Fast absorbing grapeseed oil is one of my favorite carrier oils. This lightweight will sink into your skin fairly quickly and leave you with a shine free face in no time. I have a 2 pound bottle of grapeseed oil in my stash that I use for pretty much everything and anything.
Grapeseed oil is another great, lightweight moisturizing oil with anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties attributed to it.
Apricot Kernel oil (Score: 2)
A little higher up the comedogenic scale, but Apricot Kernel Oil is still a good choice as it’s quickly absorbed by the skin.
Apricot kernel is yet another oil that is used to treat inflammation. This oil is also said to be rich in vitamin E and C, both anti-oxidants that should be beneficial for aging skin.
Almond oil (Score: 2)
(Sweet) Almond oil is another common and versatile carrier oil. This carrier oil feels lightweight on your skin but at the same time it’s a popular choice for dry skin types.
Almond oil is also said to be rich in vitamin E, our favorite anti-oxidant.
Olive oil (Score: 2)
Yes, this kitchen favorite can also be used as a skincare oil. Olive oil might look like an easy and cheap option, but it’s a love affair that usually doesn’t last. Before you know it, you’ll want to upgrade to a different carrier oil.
Olive oil has a distinct color, texture and smell. It’s not as lightweight and subtle as most other carrier oils. Personally I stick to using olive oil in my homemade body scrubs and body products.
If you think this is still the oil for you, make sure to keep the bottle of pure extra virgin olive oil for your skin separate from the one in your kitchen.
Add extra skin loving ingredients
Now that we’ve got our base covered, it’s time to add some extras to the mix. Below you’ll find the best face oils that can give your blend that little something extra. These are ingredients that either should be used diluted, or have a higher price tag and therefore are best used sparingly.
Castor oil (Score: 1)
We all know what castor oil is known for. It’s the ‘purging’ oil.
For your skin that is. Exactly what you were thinking of, right? This oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, giving it its cleansing and antibacterial benefits for your skin. This oil makes a great addition to a face oil serum for oily and/or acne prone skin types.
Castor oil should always be used diluted. Not only because it’s such a powerful oil. Also because of its thick and glossy texture. On its own, it’s very slow to absorb into the skin.
Rosehip Seed Oil (Score: 1)
Ah rosehip oil, you lightweight oil with a low comedogenic score. For its pretty name alone you’d want to slather it onto your skin.
Rosehip oil is said to be rich in vitamin A and C, making it a preferred choice for aging and mature skin.
Tamanu oil (Score: 2)
If you’ve every bought Tamanu oil before you might have wondered when you opened the bottle why you spend this much money on green goo. The fact that it looks like a gloopy, thick spinach smoothie is not even the worst part. It’s the smell. Like you just scooped the goo fresh out of a swamp.
Now that we’ve got that out in the open, let’s focus on the benefits of this amazing skin oil.
Tamanu oil is said to have a soothing effect on the skin, thanks to its moisturizing and anti inflammatory properties. Another attribute is the restorative effect it has on aging skin and scars.
Luckily the texture and smell of tamanu oil can be somewhat masked by using it in low quantities in your facial oil blend.
Avocado oil (Score: 3)
The odd one out in this list: avocado oil. At a comedogenic score of 3 you might think it was a typo, but I wouldn’t disregard this oil that quickly.
It’s a much loved skin oil for people with dry to very dry skin types and is considered a moisturizing must for aging skin. Because of its thicker texture it’s best to use this oil in combination with other carrier oils.
Vitamin E oil (Score: 2)
Now we’re reaching an entirely new category of skincare oils.
Vitamin E is considered an anti-oxidant and can help prolong the shelf life of your oils. This oil is often mistaken for a preservative, but that’s not quite the same.
Let me explain.
All plant based oils have an expiration date. That might be very short (3 or 6 months) or reasonably long (1 to 2 years). That is of course if your oils are kept in superb conditions. There’s a good chance you might accidentally leave your bottle open some nights or leave it on a sunny window sill for a day or two.
Air and light speed up the oxidation process that makes oils go rancid. What can we do to try and prevent that from happening? That’s right, we can add an ANTI-oxidant. Simple, is it not? Only a few drops will do the trick. Typically 0.5 to 1 % is added to cosmetic products.
An anti-oxidant will only slow down the oxidation process. An oil based (anhydrous) product like a face oil serum doesn’t require a preservative. But contaminants can still get to the product. Keep your face oil serum in dark glass bottles and store them in a cool, dry and dark place.
I feel like I have to include essential oils in this list since they are so popular right now. Essential oils can be very potent, both in scent and sensitivity for your skin. As I have uber sensitive skin I like to keep the essential oils for my bath bomb projects and body products.
Avoid using phototoxic essential oils on your face, as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Most citrus essential oils for example are considered phototoxic oils.
Possible options for essential oils in a face oil serum are lavender, frankincense, roman chamomile and tea tree oil.
Essential oils are very concentrated so you only need the smallest amount. As little as a drop can make all the difference. The amount of essential oil in a face product is usually only 0.5 % or lower. Follow the indications by the supplier you bought the essential oil from and check the contraindications before you use it.
It’s also a good idea to perform a patch test first. One way to do this is by diluting 1 drop of essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil. Apply on a small patch of skin and wait 24 hours to see if a reaction occurs.
Feeling overwhelmed and spoiled for choice? The recipe at the bottom will give you guidelines about the quantities you need to use of each oil in your own face oil serum blend.
When to Use Oils in Your Skincare routine
Not everyone jumps for joy when you mention oils as a face serum. I love facial oils and have been using them as my daytime and night time moisturizer for years now.
Because the formulation of these face oil serums is so simple and pure, I know exactly what ingredients goes into making these serums. As long as you’re not allergic to one of the carrier oils that you’re using, you have a great hypoallergenic alternative for your store bought moisturizer or serum.
It’s key that you find the right carrier oils for your skin first. If you’ve tried an oil once and didn’t like what it did for you skin, don’t give up just yet. Figure out your skin type (dry/oily/combination) and pick a carrier oil accordingly.
The Perfect Day time Face Moisturizer
The recipe you find below uses cosmetic mica to add some sparkle and glow. That’s why I don’t recommend you use these face oil serums as part of your night time routine. Think of mica as an eye shadow or a mineral powder foundation. You wouldn’t go to sleep wearing your makeup either, would you?
The best time to apply this face oil serum is after you’ve cleansed and dried your face, on its own or after you’ve applied your favorite moisturizer. The subtle sheen forms the perfect base if you want to rock a makeup look.
If you still want to use your face oil serum as part of your night time routine I recommend that you leave the cosmetic mica out of the recipe.
How To Use Oils in Your Skincare Routine
It’s said that only a water based (or an emulsion of water and oil) will sink deep enough into the layers of your skin to give you the best effect.
I like to compare using a face oil with applying Danish oil to a wooden table (bear with me here). The oil makes the wood look hydrated, glowing and refreshed. It basically makes the wood look more attractive and makes it come to life. At the same the oil forms a protective layer, protecting the wood from outside influences.
For me, a face oil does pretty much the same. It makes your skin look instantly hydrated and plump, and leaves a protective layer that seals your skin from the outside.
In the winter I’m fine with using just a lightweight face oil as my day and night time moisturizer. But there are ways to incorporate a water element in your skincare routine to perk up your skin.
Mix with flower water
You can’t add a water based ingredient to your dropper bottle, unless you add a broad spectrum preservative as well.
To create an emulsion on the spot, spritz your face with flower water (like rose water or witch hazel) before you apply your face oil.
- Close your eyes and mouth and spray the flower water liberally all over your face and neck.
- Give your face oil serum bottle a good shake.
- Squeeze a few drops of face oil serum in the palm of your hand. A little goes a long way! Typically 3 to 4 drops is enough for your face and neck.
- Dip your fingers into the oil and dab it over your face.
- Massage the mixture onto your face with your fingertips until it starts to spread and sink into your skin.
Water and oil won’t mix on their own so you’ll need to help them out by ‘mixing’ them directly onto your skin. This is essential, otherwise the oil will just sit on top of the water and will take much longer to fully sink into your skin.
Apply After your Water based Moisturizer
You can also use your face oil serum in combination with a moisturizer.
An oil based moisturizer won’t be very effective, as our serum is already an oil based product. Most moisturizers with a lotion consistency have water as a main ingredient.
- Apply your water based moisturizer first and let it sink into your skin.
- Give your face oil serum bottle a good shake.
- Squeeze 3 to 4 drops of face oil serum in the palm of your hand.
- Dip your clean fingers into the oil and dab it over your face.
- Massage the oil into your skin while you spread the sparkles over your face and neck. Continue until there’s only a thin layer left.
The oil blend will form a protective layer onto your skin and seal in the moisturizer, making it work even harder.
That’s also why the order is so important here, as it won’t work the other way around. If you apply your face oil serum first it will form that protective layer first. Water and oil don’t mix that well, so the water based moisturizer will have to fight hard to work its way into your skin.
Morning Skincare Routine with Oils
According to yours truly, this is how I believe the ideal morning skincare routine looks like this:
- Cleanse your face with micellar water
- Apply your favorite moisturizer or spritz with flower water
- Massage 3 to 4 drops of oil serum onto your face
- Apply sunscreen and/or makeup once the oil has sunk into the skin
Did you think the fun stops there? There are plenty of more places where you can put your oil serum to good use!
Other Uses for your Homemade Oil Blend
Those 1 ounce dropper bottles might look small, but as you only use 3 to 4 drops with each application on your face and neck, it will last you a long long time.
I like to incorporate my oil blends into other parts of my grooming routine as well. Here are a couple of examples:
- Use your oil blend as a body moisturizer after a shower for a subtle glow from head to toe.
- These oils also work wonders as a hair serum. I like to use them on dry hair, so I make sure I don’t use too much and end up with an unwanted ‘wet look’.
- Create a subtle highlighter by dabbing a bit of oil on the top of your cheeks, down your nose or on your collar bones. Blend it just enough so the oil sinks in and the glitter shines through.
Now that you’ve learned all about oil blends, it’s time to head over to your beauty kitchen and start making!
How To Add Glow to Your Serum
A plain face oil works wonders on its own. But why not add a little bit extra sparkle? By adding shimmer to the bottle you give your skin a subtle glow with each application.
To give your face oil serum that glowing appeal you can add a small amount of cosmetic mica to the bottle.
Cosmetic mica is available in pretty much every color you can imagine and can be easily found online.
This glittery colorant is used to add color to many things. It’s also a common ingredient in cosmetics. Additionally it can be used to color soaps and bath bombs.
I chose a pearl, gold and blush pink color for my blends. Other great choices are for example bronze or coral.
Mica is originally made from a natural source. These days you can also find synthetic mica. In my opinion it’s fine to choose a synthetic mica option, for example if you want to make sure the mica is manufactured ethically and locally.
Always make sure that you’re using good quality ingredients for your natural skincare products. Check if the mica you buy is approved to use in cosmetics.
I added 1/2 teaspoon of colored cosmetic mica to each of my dropper bottles. They each contain about 0.7 ounces (20 grams) of face oil.
I found this ratio of mica to carrier oil ideal to get enough of that shimmery glow on your skin, but not risk going out looking like a disco ball. Feel free to add more or less cosmetic mica until you get just the perfect amount of sparkle.
Colored mica is often used in cosmetics and should be treated as a makeup ingredient. Even though the amount added in these face oil serums is tiny, you should look at it as if you’re dusting a face powder on your skin. Like other makeup products this might clog your pores. If that worries you, you can easily leave out the cosmetic mica and go with a pure, plain (but still beautiful) face oil blend.
Recipes to Make Your Own Face Oil Serum
Finally we’ve gotten to the recipe making fun part. To make my own custom blend I’m using a very simple formula. For all the oils listed above the ratios in the recipe below are great to use a guideline.
- 0.5 oz (~15 grams | 3/4 ) base carrier oil
- 0.2 oz (~5 grams | 1/4 ) additional carrier oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cosmetic mica in color of choice
- 4 drops of vitamin E oil (if using)
- 1 to 3 drops of essential oil (if using)
- 1 ounce dark glass dropper bottle
- Pick your preferred oils from the list above or the recipes below.
- Pour about 3 parts of base oil and 1 part of additional carrier oil into an empty, clean dropper bottle. You can use a small funnel to avoid spills.
- Carefully scoop the cosmetic mica into the dropper bottle. A funnel really helps here.
- Remove the funnel and add a few drops of vitamin E oil and essential oil, if using.
- Screw the applicator top back onto the bottle. Make sure that you don't fill the bottle to the rim with oil, or your oils will overflow.
- Shake the bottle before each application to properly mix the oils and mica together.
- Store the bottle in a dark, dry and cool place. Keep an eye out for signs of spoilage, like changes in texture or smell. Tip: Write down the expiration date of the oil with the shortest shelf life onto the dropper bottle, so you won't forget.
With this easy formula you can mix and match your own face oil serum, and create a beauty product that’s truly unique for your skin type and needs.
If your still lost for inspiration, here are the blends that I’m currently loving:
Ideas for your own Custom Face Oil Blend
1. Jojoba oil + Castor oil
- for acne prone and oily skin
This blend is ideal for acne prone and/or oily skin types. Most oily skin types tolerate jojoba oil really well. The castor oil adds an antibacterial touch and helps to clear out your pores.
The castor oil can make the consistency of the blend a little thicker. If that bothers you can add more jojoba oil (for example 0.6 ounces) and less castor oil (for example 0.1 ounces).
Unlike jojoba oil, castor oil does have a fairly short shelf life and can therefore be more prone to oxidation. That’s why I recommend to add a few drops of vitamin E oil to this custom blend.
For an extra antibacterial boost you can add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil.
2. Apricot Kernel Oil + Argan Oil
- for all skin types, a good all around oil blend
Both of these oils are fairly lightweight and have a low comedogenic score. That makes this a great face oil that most skin types will enjoy, including sensitive skin types.
This blend is a little different as it combines 2 base carrier oils from the list above. Since these are both good base carrier oils, you can change the formula to half apricot kernel oil and half argan oil.
These oils have a shelf life of 1 year and up, so as long as you use the blend within a reasonable amount of time you don’t necessarily need to add an anti-oxidant like vitamin E oil.
3. Grapeseed Oil + Avocado Oil + Tamanu Oil
- for dry, very dry and mature skin types
Both avocado and tamanu oil are praised as moisturizing and anti aging face oils. As they can both be unpleasant to use on their own, I’ve only used 0.2 ounces of avocado oil and 0.1 ounces of tamanu oil. To balance this combo out I added 0.5 ounces of lightweight champion grapeseed oil.
Both grapeseed oil and avocado oil have a fairly short shelf life so I do advise to add a few drops of vitamin E oil to this blend.
If you like this DIY than don’t forget to put a pin on it!
Now it’s up to you to create the perfect customized face oil blend for yourself or to give as a gift.
Will this be your first time making an oil blend for your face, or are you a seasoned oil connoisseur?