To all our dry-skin folk out there who use lotions, butters, ointments, and creams in their valiant effort to quench their thirsty skin…, stop, collaborate and listen. This may come as a shock to you, but on your quest to treat that dear dry, flaky, temperamental, and unforgiving dermis, don’t forget about the sweet, natural gift from Mother Nature, herself...pure, innocent, virgin, oil.
Oil provides a barrier - it is a gatekeeper, per se, for your skin. Oil is an “occlusive” - a moisturizing agent that works by forming a protective layer on the skin’s surface to prevent moisture loss. It is an armor you can provide your precious body with before going out into the world where your skin will be subject to irritants like cold air, wind, friction, and the like. In a nutshell: occlusives stop water and natural moisture from escaping and evaporating by creating a waterproof coating.
Which Should I Use?
Disclaimer: Some oils you WON’T see on this list may surprise you. But we have thoughtfully sourced natural oils that are not greasy, not oily, and not pore-clogging. Which means, yes, we recommend using coconut oil on your split ends only and reserving your olive oil for your goat cheese and feta pasta recipe.
There is indeed a lot of oil to choose from, so keep your eyes out for the following oils with the most effective, hardworking natural properties.
1. Jojoba Oil - (pronounced: “huh-ho-buh” oil) comes from a shrub known to grow in northern Mexico, California, and Arizona. The oil comes from the plant’s seeds. The key properties here are its fatty acids, Vitamin E, and emollient properties.
Why it’s Great:
- Non-Comedogenic (BUZZWORD) means it is highly absorbent, doesn’t clog pores, is non-irritating, and great for all skin types, including dry, normal, oily, and acne-prone.
- High levels of Vitamin E help prevent scars and heal wounds
- Eases irritation
- Could prevent flare-ups
- It could improve skin elasticity and prevent wrinkles.
2. Argan Oil - Extracted from nuts of the Moroccan argan tree and known as Moroccan oil, it is packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. Although Argan Oil is excellent for dry skin, it is also light enough for normal to oily skin. DOUBLE-DUTY ALERT: your hair loves Argan oil, too.
Why it’s Great:
- Reduces irritation and flakes caused by dry skin
- Reduces sun damage and protects cell damage from free radicals
- Has a large amount of omega-6 fatty acids, oleic acid, and linoleic acid.
- Relieves symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
- It adds moisture and helps the skin retain it.
3. Sunflower Oil - extracted from seeds of the sunflower plant, sunflower oil is vital when dealing with dry skin thanks to its array of monounsaturated fatty acids and their *magical* antioxidant and calming properties. It’s super soothing and has a major pull in treating not only dry skin but other skin irritants as well with hotshot ingredients like oleic acid, vitamin E, sesamol, and linoleic acid.
Why it’s Great:
- Linoleic acid helps to protect the skin against bacteria and germs
- Oleic acid and sesamol work to heal wounds and blemishes.
A fan fave is this Botanical Body Booster -- chock-full of key, clean ingredients from Sunflower oil to 300 mg of CBD. It is praised for being luxurious, non-greasy, and the perfect antidote for dull, dehydrated, stressed-out skin. POPSUGAR called it “the body oil for people who hate body oils.” With CBD being all the rage for skincare and beyond right now, sign us up!
4. Grapeseed Oil - wine night and skincare comes full circle here with grapeseed oil: a byproduct of winemaking, basically the repurposed leftovers after making your favorite Cab Sav. Its benefits lie in the omega-6, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E. It even has more vitamin E than olive oil (and is way more lightweight... WIN). However, what sent us over the edge is how you can use grapeseed oil to easily remove your makeup after having one too many glasses of its first cousin.
Why it’s Great:
- Moisturizes skin
- Heals acne
- Tightens pores
- Reduces the appearance of scars
5. Hemp Seed oil, also referred to as hemp oil, is harvested from cold pressing hemp seeds, different from CBD oil, extracted from the cannabis plant flower itself. The kicker here is the omega-6 fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which acts as a soothing agent, while simultaneously encouraging cell growth and new skin generation.
Why it’s Great:
- Moderates oil production - dryness can also cause your skin to overproduce oil, which in turn can stimulate acne. Hemp oil can prevent dry skin without clogging pores. This helps reduce blemishes that are caused by excess oil.
- It can help reduce signs of aging by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles
- Calms skin irritation like acne and psoriasis
- Keeps skin nourished and moisturized
Vitamin E AKA Vitamin Essential
Many of these amazing oils contain this GOAT skin ingredient. Vitamin E is pretty much the bomb.com because…it is a natural antioxidant found in a variety of plant/seed oils. It searches the skin for free radicals (harmful compounds) and stabilizes them. This means decreased redness, a brighter and more even complexion, clearer pores, and fewer signs of aging (fingers crossed). In addition, it can reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, sun damage, dryness, redness, and itchiness.
How to Use Oil
Timing is everything, amiright? So before you dive in and oil up, do your body a favor and set the mood. Oil, among other things, just works better when you’re wet. Since oil helps lock in water, you need water to be present in the first place. So after a nice shower, turn off that faucet, lightly pat dry, and go to town putting on your armor. And our advice? Make it a ritual to look forward to. Set the mood. Don’t rush the process; embrace it.
Embrace the Process
- Set the mood - Play that Spotify playlist you love, whether it’s the one with Doja Cat or Lana Del Rey, just make sure you’re feelin’ like a bad b, because -- you are. Especially when you’re taking the time to care for that skin.
Get a Tool - as we’ve seen on TikTok, gua-sha has been gaining popularity in the United States as we learn the benefits of this ancient Chinese healing technique of massaging your skin to improve circulation, relieve tension, and encourage lymphatic drainage.
The Bawdy Tool is perfect for this - custom-crafted, made of 100% Agate stone, and allows for smooth, broad strokes to promote healthy blood and lymphatic flow. In addition, this tool, along with your empowering, loving touch, helps to balance the mind, body, and spirit -- releasing any negative or trapped energy.
- Breathe - take this sacred moment you have with yourself to be present, thank your body for protecting you, honor it for its strength, and show your appreciation by taking these moments to care for it and show your gratitude.
Body oils that butt against You
Olive oil is heavy oil instead of the lightweight oils we’ve recommended; it doesn’t absorb easily into the skin. And it is comedogenic (as opposed to non), which means it can easily harbor bacteria and clog your pores.
Coconut oil is also comedogenic, clogging pores and possibly causing acne and breakouts. Although it can be beneficial for some people, the risk of breaking out is just too sketchy for us to recommend. Coconut oil has many other amazing benefits to be utilized for, like a DIY lip scrub, minimizing dandruff, and as a cheap, all-natural lubricant. Coconut oil can degrade the latex in condoms, making it less effective in protecting against pregnancy and STDs.
Cover Your Ass: Tips To Ensure Fool-Proof Use
Before using any new skincare product, it’s always a good idea to do a sample test before fully incorporating it into your routine.
Here are some ways you could give a product a try:
- Patch test by dabbing a drop on your inner wrist and waiting at least 24 hours to see if there’s a reaction.
- Buy local from trusted suppliers.
- Avoid oils with added synthetic fragrances, aka “parfum.”
- The fewer the ingredients, the better!
Self-care is taking the time to learn what your body needs and giving your body what it wants. Do the research, learn a thing or two about natural chemical compounds and why and how your body can benefit, so you can love your body the way it needs to be loved. We are too smart, and information is too accessible to simply scour the Target shelves for aesthetic packaging or the newest trending skincare product. Your body is a temple; let’s protect it, nourish it, rub it, and oil it up as it deserves.