Why Use Facial Oil & Other Facial Oil FAQ

Facial Oils Explained: Incorporating Facial Oils into Your Skincare Routine

I previously wrote about facial oils, and my honest thoughts when first incorporating them into my skincare routine. Since I’ve been regularly using these oils for some time now, I wanted to revisit them and discuss some frequently asked questions. Facial oils are a bit confusing, I think, and potentially overwhelming. It seems counterintuitive to add oil to one’s skin, after all. However, using them in your skincare routine can make a big difference in your skin’s health and resilience. Here is the research I found for frequently asked questions about using facial oils and their benefits:

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Facial Oils

What is Facial Oil Good for and What Does Facial Oil Do?

Long story short, facial oils hydrate and moisturize the skin, and their benefits are extensive.

Facial oils are hydrating and restorative products for the skin. Our skin needs oil to maintain its health — think about how itchy or even painful dry, flaky skin can be! This oil also helps protect against breakouts, wrinkles, and fine lines. While our bodies typically produce the oil necessary, that production decreases with age.

Facial oils are suitable for most skin types, even acne prone skin. Facial oils promote hydration, reduce dryness, and even soften age and sun damage. These products come in a variety of different formulas, but many you’ll find feature things like jojoba, argan, rosehip, marula, squalane, and vitamin C oils. Many of these ingredients support the skin’s firmness and help with brightening.

Squalane facial oils are some of my favorites, personally. This oil can be derived from a few sources, but clean beauty brands like Indie Lee and Biossance derive it from plant-based sources, which I love. I find oils featuring squalane to be light, easily incorporated, and super nourishing.

Besides promoting plump, bright skin, facial oils can act as a protective barrier for the skin.

When to Apply Facial Oil

It can be overwhelming to add an entirely new product to your skincare routine, especially one that seems kind of foreign and confusing from the start. Plus, there’s a lot of contradictory information online about the order in which to use oils and when to put facial oil on during the day.

Facial oils, however, are super easy to incorporate and well worth your time. After cleansing the skin, try mixing a few drops of facial oil with your favorite moisturizer and apply it to your face and neck.

Alternatively, apply your choice of facial oil after you apply your moisturizer. This is the method I typically use. Applying oil after a moisturizer helps seal in the moisture and creates a nourishing barrier for the skin. I do this at night, so my skin has until the morning to absorb all the moisturizing goodness.

Why Use Facial Oil & Other Facial Oil FAQ - featuring Biossance, Sunday Riley, and Indie Lee Beauty

How to Apply Facial Oil

Like figuring out the timing for using facial oils, the actual application of them can be a little confusing. Unlike moisturizer, which you rub onto your skin, try patting or dabbing the oil into the skin. This is a subtle distinction, but an important one. By dabbing or patting the oil into the skin, you’re pushing the oil into the pores, rather than just moving it around on the surface of your skin. By pushing the oil into the pores, you’re making it easier for your skin to absorb the oily goodness more thoroughly and more quickly.

On that note, don’t go overboard with the amount of oil you use. You really only need a couple drops, especially with the patting method.

Go ahead and apply any excess oil you have on your hands to your neck and chest. I often do this and even get a few extra oil droplets to press into the skin there, as well.

What Products Should You Combine Facial Oils With?

Like I mentioned, you can mix your facial oil with your moisturizer and apply these two products as one. Besides combining such oils with moisturizers, it is also recommended that you combine them with serums, to help treat the skin.

If you want to use these oils in the morning, try adding a drop or two to your liquid foundation. This option gives you a nice, dewy look and helps act as a protective barrier for your skin during the day. I’ve found that it seems to mitigate some of the drying issues I notice with wearing daily makeup, as well.

Facial Oil and Acne: Do Facial Oils Clog Pores or Cause Breakouts?

This question of whether these products would clog pores or cause acne was one of the reasons I was so hesitant to try out facial oils. I have naturally acne-prone skin. Though I understood empirically that stripping the skin of oil actually causes the skin to produce more oil to compensate (causing more acne), it’s a difficult mental hurdle to get over.

Why Use Facial Oil & Other Facial Oil FAQ - featuring Biossance, Sunday Riley, and Indie Lee Beauty

Facial oils don’t clog pores. Noncomedogenic oils allow the skin to breathe, remain hydrated, and protect against breakouts. Furthermore, they shouldn’t cause acne.

Facial oils have anti-inflammatory properties which calm the skin, making them ideal for sensitive and damaged skin.

People with acne prone skin tend to do well with oil-based cleansers, according to this Dermstore article. Oil-based cleansers are nice, but not my favorite, personally. They’re definitely worth a shot, but I prefer my gentle foaming cleanser from Obagi. If you’re looking to try one out, this Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil option is really affordable for the size bottle you get!

Can Facial Oil Replace Moisturizers?

I’ve found myself wondering from time to time: can I use facial oil instead of moisturizer? Most nights, I like the combination of moisturizer and oil, but sometimes it can feel excessive, depending on the rest of your skincare routine.

I wasn’t able to find any definitive answer for the question of whether facial oils can replace moisturizers all together in your skincare routine. My guess — and personal choice for my skincare routine — is that they should not fully replace moisturizers.

Maybe this just depends on your skin type and preferences, but I find the mixture of moisturizer and facial oil — whether they’re literally mixed together or layered — works well for my sensitive, acne prone skin.

Indie Lee's Squalane Facial Oil on a blue backdrop, surrounded by a ribbon hair bow and rings

Do Facial Oils Expire?

Like all beauty products, facial oils do go bad eventually. The shelf life of oils — or any beauty product, really — depends a lot on the active ingredients in the mixture. Based on what I’ve read, facial oils and serums follow a similar shelf-life trajectory, and typically have a shelf life of about a year. One of the points of concern is contamination from dirty fingers or sun exposure to the bottle; so droppers that don’t touch your skin, pump bottles, and opaque bottles tend to last longer.

Dermstore has a great article about different beauty product expiration dates, and it has a some good detail on serums.

Are Facial Oils Worth the Money?

YES. I, too, was hesitant to buy my first bottles of facial oils because the higher quality brands tend to be kind of expensive. For example, Biossance’s Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil is $72 for a full sized bottle. That’s kind of a lot.

However, like I mentioned earlier, you use so few drops at a time that facial oil bottles tend to last a really long time. I’m still on my first bottle of the Biossance rose oil, and I use it multiple times a week.

I would recommend trying out smaller, travel-sized bottles first, if you’re unsure you’re going to like the product. A lot of brands offer these smaller sizes, including Biossance, Indie Lee, and Herbivore.


Read my original thoughts on facial oils here!

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Facial oils are a bit confusing, and potentially overwhelming. It seems counterintuitive to add oil to one's skin, after all. However, using facial oils in your skincare routine can make a big difference in your skin's health and resilience. Read all about using facial oils in your skincare routine and facial oil frequently asked questions here!