Beauty

12 of the best facial oils to revive parched summer skin

By Fiona Embleton

Getty.

Punishing winter temperatures aren't the only thing to leave skin feeling papery. UV rays can also deplete skin's moisture reserves, which is where a facial oil steps in

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The best facial oils are deemed so precious they’re decanted by the drop onto moisture-starved skin. However, the ability of these golden elixirs to lock in hydration relies on the correct application.

“Face oils are occlusive ingredients that create a physical barrier to trap moisture,” says Martin Lyne, founder of Woods Copenhagen. For this reason, they should always be applied at night over serum and moisturiser as the last step in your routine. “When it comes to layering, it’s moisturiser first, facial oil second,” says Lyne. “Face oils are composed of large molecules so they are only able to reach the outermost layer of skin," he adds. "If you apply a face oil as one of the first steps in your routine, the skincare that follows won’t be able to penetrate the oil barrier.”

Once on the skin, their benefits are two-fold. Facial oils drip-feed fatty acids, vitamins and potent antioxidants into the topmost layer to soften, brighten and trigger repair. Lest your skincare feels too functional, an oil's botanical scent will soothe away anxiety when we crave calm.

Ahead the best facial oils for all skin types and concerns.

Woods Copenhagen Vitamin Face Oil

Melanin-rich skin typically has fewer natural moisture-trapping ceramides, which is why it can often feel scaly and parched. This 100 per cent natural oil is packed with replenishing argan oil and cloudberry to improve elasticity, deliver a mega-dose of brightening vitamin C and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier.

Woods Copenhagen

Vitamin Face Oil

Augustinus Bader The Face Oil

Considered the OG of facial oils, this blend is charged with cold-pressed grape seed oil and babassu oil alongside Professor Bader's signature TCF8 complex. A souped up mixture of vitamins, synthesised molecules and amino acids activate stem cells, boosting them into healing mode in order to repair the signs of ageing.

Augustinus Bader

The Face Oil

Raaw By Trice Drops Of Gold Rejuvenating Facial Oil

There are two standout oils in this blend. Tamanu contains anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties, which is particularly well-suited to sensitive skin or to help heal scars. The addition of rosehip seed oil, which is considered nature's retinol, further helps to regenerate skin cells and repair damaged tissue.

Raaw By Trice

Drops Of Gold Rejuvenating Facial Oil

Amazing Space Rosehip Repair Rescue Face Oil

Rosehip seed oil is packed with a natural, high-concentration of omega 3, 6 and 9, adding another layer of comfort to skin that has become drier after the age of 30 when oestrogen levels dip. Additionally, rosehip is considered a “dry” oil, meaning that it soaks into the skin easily without leaving a greasy residue.

Amazing Space

Rosehip Repair Rescue Face Oil

Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil

Those who have overdone it in the sun or with an overzealous skincare routine will love slathering on the omega-rich plant and nut oils to seal in hydration while a blend of calming essential oils (think neroli, lavender and rose) slow down your breathing and send you to sleep within minutes.

Aurelia

Cell Repair Night Oil

Verso Super Facial Oil

Retinol, beauty's much lauded, wrinkle-fighting ingredient, doesn't just come in a cream formula. In fact, because retinol is fat-soluble, "an oil formula is a great carrier to deliver retinol into the skin,” explains Verso founder Lars Fredriksson. Also interesting: retinol retains its stability in an oil so fewer ingredients are needed to prevent irritation.

Verso

Super Facial Oil

Drunk Elephant A-Gloei Maretinol Oil

Drunk Elephant's Marula Oil is undoubtedly one of the brand's bestsellers. But even icons need to be reinvented to stay relevant. Now a low dose of retinol has been added to the moisture-packed marula oil– hence the "Maretinol" moniker – so you get the benefit of this line-smoothing active without the downsides of flaking, redness or irritation. The addition of only three other ingredients – ceramides, soy been oil and antioxidant vitamin E – makes this a skincare minimalist's dream product.

Drunk Elephant

A-Gloei Maretinol Oil

Gisou Honey Infused Face Oil

Despite being an age-old skincare ingredient, honey is experiencing a renaissance right now. Not surprising, given how deeply it hydrates. In this oil, the story is about home-grown Mirsalehi honey and over 95 per cent natural cold-pressed botanical oils, such as evening primrose and grapeseed oils, to even out skin tone and reinforce the delicate skin barrier.

Gisou

Honey Infused Face Oil

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

Squalane is an oily liquid that is already present in the skin's sebum. So applying a generous layer of this bio-identical oil means the skin immediately recognises it and knows exactly where to deploy it. Expect plumper skin, free of any dehydration lines, by morning.

Biossance

100% Squalane Oil

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

When winery owner April Gargiulo became increasingly concerned with the high levels of ‘fillers’ in her skincare she embarked on a two-year journey to create an oil-serum hybrid featuring 22 of the world’s most active organic botanicals – from grape seed and hazelnut to bergamot and avocado oils. It works on multiple skin complaints, including loss of elasticity, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.

Vitner's Daughter

Active Botanical Serum

Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate

If you thought the idea of applying a facial oil to oily, congested skin was counterintuitive, think again. The scientists at Kiehl's have taken hemp seed oil, a well-known anti-inflammatory, and mixed it with green oregano oil, which was traditionally used as an antiseptic, to keep breakouts at bay.

Kiehl's

Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil

Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil

Yes, this deeply nourishing oil is at the top end of the market. But its high concentration of plum and camellia oils, omega 3 and 6 and, not forgetting, the highest quality rosa damascena flower oil, is guaranteed to leave skin with an unparalleled radiant glow.

Sisley

Black Rose Precious Face Oil