Facial oils work wonders for instant hydration, with the added benefit of not feeling heavy on the skin, as some creams can do. Ideal for an instant skin pick-me-up, oils can also do double duty as a gentle eye makeup remover. While beauty-boosting miracles are often promised, it’s important to recognize all oils aren’t the same.
When looking for an oil that’s truly going to do what it promises, without clogging pores and doing more damage than good, it’s crucial to choose natural, and where possible, organic.
From herbs to seeds, nature is an expert at delivering oils that come with beautiful benefits. Rosehip is a big favourite thanks to its ability to kick free radicals to the curb and work with collagen to deter early aging. So it’s common to see many oils containing this skin-saving ingredient. However, when seeking one to add to your bathroom cabinet, be sure to check the label for purity and potency. Choose one that’s mixed with synthetic ingredients, you’re doing your skin and health a disservice.
Other natural ingredients that top my list for inclusion in oils are avocado for its moisturizing good fats, almond for its Vitamin E content and barbary fig seed oil also for its Vitamin E, but also for its linoleic acid and betalains content, which protect against free radicals, stimulates new cell growth, and calms inflammation.
Cold pressed almond oil, used internally or topically, has extensive health and beauty benefits. High in Omega 9, almond oil also boasts skin enriching vitamin and minerals. When eaten, this combination also works to cleanse and nourish the often overloaded and overworked digestive tract, leading to healing and nourishing the body’s largest organ, the skin.
When looking for almond oil for topical or internal application, choose cold pressed to avoid unnecessary chemicals and extensive processing.
Extracted from the fruit flesh, avocado oil has myriad beauty benefits when applied topically or eaten.
Plentiful in Vitamin E, which is known as a beneficial skin healing and rejuvenating ingredient, avocado oil works wonders as an all-over body moisturiser, and is a tried and tested dry scalp remedy.
Brimming with protein and good fats, it also contains sterolin, a compound that has shown to soften skin and reduce sun and age spots. Also rich in antioxidants and vitamins such as A, D and E, the oil is ideal for nourishing sunburned skin, and is often relied upon to foster younger-looking, supple skin.
Applied topically, avocado oil can help relieve dry and itchy skin, treat wounds and burns, while also working to increase collagen production and easing symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. Health conscious parents also turn to the oil to help heal nappy rash.
An ancient oil revered by Native Americans for centuries, jojoba has long been used to help heal skin wounds thanks to its anti-bacterial properties.
Extracted from the jojoba plant in northern Mexico and South West America, the cold pressed oil can be used to prevent and treat skin infections, while reducing swelling—benefits that have made it widely adored by acne sufferers. Its ability to cleanse and moisturise ensure those treating acne aren’t left with clogged pores, as can happen with over-the-counter chemically produced acne treatments.
As a moisturiser, jojoba is particularly effective because of its close profile to oils that the human body naturally produces. Easily absorbed and deeply nourishing, it’s also non-greasy and is an ideal remedy for chronic dry skin sufferers.
One of the most recent beauty product trends, rosehip oil has become a widely used ingredient for good reason. Rich in lycopene, beta-carotene and Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids, as well as a potent source of vitamins A and C, rosehip oil is said to help prevent premature ageing caused by free radical damage, including excessive sun exposure.
Research has also found rosehip oil, which is extracted from the fruit of the wild rose plant known as Rosa Mosqueta, may reduce scarring and help to reduce facial rosacea redness. While also relied on for anti-ageing benefits, the oil has also been found to improve skin quality of those who suffer from acne.
A drop of two of the oil can also be rubbed through freshly washed hair to tame fluffy fly-aways, rather than the traditional chemical cocktail combination of salon-bought products, while doing double duty as a leave-in replenishing mask.
Barbary Fig Seed Oil
Morocco’s barbary fig seed oil, or prickly pear, is extracted from sweet fruits of the opuntia ficus-indica, a cactus native to Mexico.
Plentiful in deeply moisturising linoleic acid, this widely revered oil easily penetrates the epidermis—the outer layer of the skin—making it a favourite ingredient for inclusion in moisturisers and other skincare products.
Because of its high Vitamin E content, the oil rapidly absorbs into the skin, ensuring no film or grease is left behind. Skincare experts say barbary fig seed oil resembles the skin’s natural oil chemistry, which helps to balance sebum production, which is often produced in excess when the skin has been stripped from overuse of products that contain chemical ingredients.
Look for brands that are certified organic, and that use a cold press extraction method, as some manufacturers use harsh chemical solvents.
Highly processed oils, which are refined, bleached and deodorised, contain little to none of the benefits found in the barbary fig seed. Oil that has been highly processed will be light yellow to almost clear, while cold pressed oil will be a warmer and richer hue.
This post originally appeared in Australian Natural Health magazine.