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Are You Applying Facial Oil Wrong?

I keep seeing something crazy all over skincare and beauty blogs—celebs and beauty gurus recommending applying face oil in place of your routine’s regular serum step. It seems logical; facial oil has a similar texture and viscosity to serums.But applying oil before your other skincare products might actually muck up the efficacy of your routine. Oils are occlusive ingredients, meaning that while they are excellent at keeping moisture in the skin, they don’t let much else penetrate the skin once they’re applied. Can’t get enough of your fave facial oil? Here are a few tips for using it correctly.

Apply After Water-Based Products

The purpose of most water-based serums and moisturizers is to deeply infuse the skin with water and active ingredients. Skin needs both oil and water to remain healthy: water to keep skin plump and oil to trap moisture in the skin and reinforce its natural lipid barrier. Because oil molecules are so large, much of it remains on the surface of your skin. When you apply oil before water-based products, it acts as a seal, preventing your creams and serums from sinking into the skin. Apply it last to lock in the moisture provided by the serums rather than keep it out.

Don’t Nix Moisturizer

Many oil-based skincare companies claim that oil is all your skin needs. The fact is that most skin types require products that infuse the skin with both oil and water. While the body does naturally produce both in the skin, not drinking enough water, hormonal changes, and environmental factors can cause a decrease in skin hydration. If you’re dry, use both a standard moisturizer and a face oil to ensure your skin is getting the two essential types of moisture.

Nighttime Only

When clients ask me how to apply facial oil, I almost always recommend that they only apply it at night. The reason is simple—some sunscreens degrade when mixed with oil and may not fully protect your skin. With loads of mixed information out there about how to use facial oils with the different types of sunscreens available on the market, I think it’s best to play it safe. Stick with an SPF moisturizer during the day to ensure that your skin is protected from UV rays and save your facial oil for nighttime.

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