The Violet Files presents its guide to facial oils, from unique ingredients to unsung benefits.
Written By Jayme Cyk
Whether your ski trip to Aspen has left your skin a bit chapped, sun-basking in Palm Springs has dried it out, or your at-home routine just needs a little more zip, you’re going to want some oils on hand. Think of these ultra-quenching liquids as your saving grace for everything from quick hydration to anti-aging to calming inflammation. Here, premier London facialist Amanda Lacey and cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman explain the allure of oils, from what they deliver to whom they benefit (hint: it could be you).
A popular alternative to moisturizer or serum, facial oils often consist of a blend of essential or cold-pressed oils (see below for more on these), along with acids, vitamins, and regenerative ingredients. 
These pure oils are distilled from plants using steam, a process that yields the most potent product available. Essential oils have long been sought for their therapeutic effects—think anything from enhancing beauty sleep to easing redness and irritation.  
Obtained through pressing and grinding fruit or seeds with stainless steel presses, these oils are considered the best bet for those with for sensitive skin. Benefits are comparable to those of essential oils, but their cold-pressed counterparts are generally gentler and less fragrant.
If you require an extra boost of hydration or covet a radiant complexion, oils are an effective alternative to heavy moisturizer or a replacement for your serum. “People like oils because they are multitasking,” explains Grossman. “They hydrate the skin and help fight aging through fatty acids and antioxidants.” Pro tip: When you want to wear both a sunscreen and an oil, apply your SPF first and layer oil on top for some added hydration. This creates a protective barrier, which will prevent moisture evaporation (often an occupational hazard of sunblock). 
Skin regenerates while we sleep, so Lacey and Grossman find oils ideal for evening as they soften and slough away the dead skin cells. “Use a tiny drop of my Oils of Provence at night by massaging it into the décolleté and facial area,” Lacey advises. Grossman suggests a similar regimen. “I tend to have people put on their oils in the evening either by mixing several drops into a moisturizer or layering underneath a moisturizer,” she says. 
A word of caution: “People with oily skin or acne may find that putting oil all over their face is problematic because their skin gets too greasy,” Grossman advises. “I tell those clients that they are better off spot treating.” (She recommends doing so with tea tree or peppermint oil to decrease inflammation.) “Tea tree oil has been shown to be very effective for acne—use it as you would benzoyl peroxide.” Lacey’s proprietary Oils of Provence contain sage and armoise, which are calming and antiseptic—ideal for her clients with oily skin. But if an oil is too intense for sensitive skin to tolerate, Grossman advises using it in combination with something that will lighten the texture (look for ingredients like chamomile or jojoba). “Sometimes when people use these oils on their skin it can cause breakouts because they are so rich and loaded with fatty acids,” she adds. “[But putting a few drops of essential oil in your moisturizer] is a good way to boost the hydrating properties of the everyday product you’re using.”
Whether you’re investing in a blend of various oils (an elixir containing multiple oil-based ingredients) or pure, one-ingredient oils (like rosehip or jojoba), mixing these power players into your favorite lotion can be an easy way to customize your skincare. Grossman has observed many of her clients doing this to target specific skincare issues. “For example, adding rosemary oil to your usual moisturizer can help calm inflammation,” she explains. Below, a primer on the best oils to seek out for every skincare concern. 
Bois de rose                    Pumpkin
Carrot seed                     Rosehip
Grapeseed                      Sea Buckthorn 
Hemp seed                     Vitamin E
Almond                    Jojoba
Argan                       Moringa
Avocado                   Olive
Aloe vera                   Neroli  
Calendula                  Peppermint
Camellia                    Rosemary
Chamomile                Sage 
Eucalyptus                 Tea tree

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