THE IN-TRAY

Everything you need to know about facial oils (no matter whether you have dry or oily skin)

In what seems like a miraculous turn of events, we have almost made it to July. Winter is well and truly on our side, and if your skin isn’t feeling (and showing) it—you’re one of the lucky ones. As for the rest of us, we’re reaching for the richest, most hydrating and protective formulas on our skincare shelves. Before you change or layer on more of your moisturiser, try reaching for a facial oil—it’s the dry (and oily) skin saviour that will change your face for the better.

Although you can’t go too wrong in choosing one from our range, making that choice can be hard—especially for the air signs among us. We enlisted MECCA skincare education manager Lucy Shaw to give us the low down on oils.

AN OIL IS THE MVP OF YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE: HERE’S WHY

“Your skin is made up of oil and water,” says Shaw. “This means that it is important to incorporate both oil and water within your skincare routine, to ensure that your skin’s barrier is intact and that your skin can retain water better—particularly in winter when the atmosphere is dryer and trying to suck moisture out of your skin.”

It’s like-for-like: because your skin naturally produces oil, it recognises oily substances easily. This makes compatible with your skin while very rarely running the risk of irritation. And, “oils in general are rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, and these properties help to reinforce your skin’s barrier, protecting it from environmental damage and acting as a skin soother,” says Shaw. They also help to carry your actives into the skin at a cellular level, thanks to its compatibility with a phospholipid (or ‘oil friendly’) bilayer surrounding new skin cells.

For dry skin

Your skin produces a natural oil called sebum which helps reinforce your protective barrier. “If you have dry or combination skin,” advises Shaw, “it means there is a lack of oil being produced by the skin so it needs to be supplemented by your skincare.”

For oily skin

If your skin is oily, do not be afraid of incorporating an oil into your routine. It will not make your skin oilier. “In fact,” starts Shaw, “by using an oil in your skincare regime it will help to regulate the amount of oil your skin produces.” She recommends choosing a super absorbent lightweight oil for this purpose.

READ MORE: The 10 bestselling face oils at MECCA

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH OIL TO CHOOSE?

At the time of writing, there are 69 facial oils in our collection—and growing. We understand that trying to choose ‘the one’, can feel a little overwhelming, so our resident skincare genius jumped in to simplify.

“Oils come in many different shapes and sizes, and they are generally classed by weight,” said Shaw. “Heavyweight means they have a larger molecular size and work more on the surface, lightweight means they have a smaller molecular size and can be absorbed.” You will notice whether they feel heavier/thicker or lighter/thinner in your hand before you apply.

“The consistency of the product speaks more to absorption, so if it’s lighter it will absorb quicker and not leave a residue, versus a product that is of a heavier weight which would spend more of its time on the surface of the skin.” If you like a lightweight moisturiser, you will probably prefer a lightweight oil and vice versa. While it comes down to personal preference for the most part, Shaw shares that “essentially all oils work in the same way.” They help to reinforce the lipid barrier and retain water within your skin, which is important no matter what your skin concerns are.

Light

Lighter oils are typically formulated with a base oil of squalane, argan or jojoba oils, the latter of which is similar in molecular structure to the sebum that your skin produces. They sink into the skin quickly and easily, and won’t leave a noticeable residue. Our top picks for lightweight oils include Tatcha’s Camellia Beauty Oil, with squalane, camellia and macadamia oils, Cosmetics 27’s Huile 27, with macadamia, sesame and safflower oils, and Malin+Goetz’s Recovery Treatment Oil, with evening primrose, argan and jojoba oils.

READ MORE: Squalane is the skin-softening multitasker you need, stat

Midweight

For an oil that sits in the middle—maybe you’ve been using something lighter and want to step it up, or your current oil is a feeling a little heavy on your skin—look to formulas with cannabis sativa seed, rosehip or avocado oils. Our favourites include Eve Lom’s Radiance Face Oil, with cannabis sativa seed, avocado and rosehip oils, Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil with sweet almond, apricot kernel and borage seed oils, and Elemis’ Superfood Facial Oil with sweet almond, meadowfoam and flaxseed oils.

READ MORE: Why cannabis sativa seed oil is the skincare ingredient you need right now

Heavy

Ideal for very dry skin (or those who enjoy the feeling of a rich layer of oil on their skin), heavier oils often include sweet almond and apricot seed oils. Reach for Rodin’s Luxury Facial Oil, with jojoba, apricot and sweet almond oils, Chantecaille’s Rose de Mai Face Oil, with sweet almond, squalane and apricot oils, or Sunday Riley’s Juno, with a unique blend of cold pressed blackberry, blueberry and chardonnay grape seed oils.

HOW TO INCORPORATE OILS INTO YOUR EXISTING ROUTINE

If you’re just starting out using an oil, choose a lightweight formulation with squalane, jojoba or argan oil as the first listed ingredient,” suggests Shaw, since it’ll absorb into the skin quickly.

For the skincare mixologists and experimentalists, Shaw suggests mixing your oil into your moisturiser—"it allows you to customise the level of moisture you are getting, switching up the ratios depending on how your skin is feeling.” Her favourite to do this with is Huile 27.

A rule of thumb with oils, she says, is to always apply them last, unless specifically directed otherwise. “Oil always sits on top of water (like if you pour olive oil into a pot of boiling water) as it’s molecular weight is larger, therefore if you apply it last you won’t risk blocking the absorption of your water based products.”

“Mixing an oil with your moisturiser won’t disrupt any absorption and is often a really great place to start if you’re wanting to add an oil to your routine.”

READ MORE: Layering your skincare in order is the underrated selfcare ritual - learn how here

SHOP THE MEMO

viewing of products

Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$152.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$116.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$131.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$125.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$177.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$88.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
Online Only
$154.00 - $272.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$298.00
Three Deluxe Samples With Every Order
$115.00