Updated: May 18, 2020
the down low on oils...
There are so many amazing plant oils made by mama earth and they all have different qualities and benefits.
Not too long ago oils were shunned and we thought using them would encourage our skin to be even more oily. Instead these golden liquids are incredible at boosting our skin, deeply nourishing and help rebalance it’s oil production.
I’ve been working with plant oils for several years now and thought I’d share a little of what I’ve learnt and how I’ve utilized some in my range ILA + AVA, as a lot of people ask me what I think about them and which is best for their skin.
There are a lot of factors to consider like where the oil is sourced, how it is extracted and then how it is stored. When taking a closer look at oils, like food, they each have varying benefits and uses.
Commonly we may view them for their ‘material’ values like their constituent breakdown (what makes up the actual oil e.g. vitamin C, fatty acids etc), but we also want to understand their ‘functional’ values, meaning how it makes the skin behave and therefore the effect it can have.
Personally I prefer using a few oils together in blends so they can support each other and give a more balanced approach to the skin. Below I’ve listed and explained some of the main oils I use in my range to hopefully help you make a more informed choice for what you may need.
There is a lot of info out there about oils and some is contradicting which can make it confusing. I’ve taken on board feedback from my customers which combined with research and facts can try to cover all bases as best possible.
Jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba)
The queen of oils, although it is actually a liquid wax. It is so beautiful and eventhough it is on the pricier side it is well worth it as it is the closest botanical source that mimicks our skins natural sebum (oil) production. Its waxy component is why it is great at keeping the skin cells plump and boosting a healthy complexion. Basically this means it can also help ‘restore’ the oil production on our face. So if our skin seems like it’s producing too much OR not enough oils it can help balance that. It contains many fatty acids, vitamins and powerful antioxidants (more on this soon), has amazing moisturising qualities and it’s gentle and non-irritating qualities make it great for all skin types. It is a nutrient rich oil and is able to carry other active ingredients deeper into the skin layers.
It’s Australian!! It also acts similarly to jojoba oil although I’d personally say it’s a little drier and a little less rich as jojoba. That being said I do find it sinks in well without feeling too greasy. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (and omega’s), and its strong moisturising, softening and regenerating qualities are matched with its anti-inflammatory benefits. It also has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which is why I use it as the main carrier oil in the deodorant, and in face products this can help it to restore the skins natural protective barrier. Its also great for hair products.
Its vitamin E content helps with free radical protection (which have a disruptive oxidising effect). It contains good amounts of squalene (antioxidant and anticancer properties) which is a type of fat that our skin naturally generates, which unfortunately can decline with age. This aspect of macadamia oil can help prevent fine lines and wrinkles and help maintain youthful skin. It is often sourced from sharks so luckily the beautiful macadamia can offer a cruelty free substitution.
Extracted from the seeds of a wild rose bush this oil helps repair and regenerate the skin due to its high essential fatty acid content. It has skin brightening and anti-aging properties. Rosehips natural source of vitamin C helps improve and restore the skins appearance and tone. I combine smaller amounts of rosehip with other oils as I have found and spoken with many women that it can be a little heavy on its own and not penetrate as deeply or quickly.
Another beautiful oil, this rich oil is pressed from the kernals(seeds) of the argan tree in Morocco. It has natural skin boosting properties, is hydrating, softening and is a great moisturiser. I tend to use smaller amounts of this with other carrier oils to help it move deeper into the skin to utilise its benefits as I find some forms of it to be quite rich. Often considered a wonder elixir for both the skin and hair it has several uses and is packed with botanical nutrients.
The humble coconut is a wonder plant and has so many uses, and there was a time when coconut oil was used for absolutely everything which was wonderful. Personally I don’t use it in my face products as I find it to be a heavier oil that tends to sit more on the surface rather than penetrate deeper. I do use it in my lip balm as it is a great moisturiser that like I said sits more on the surface and I use it in the deodorant as it has antibacterial properties. You can use it for full body self massage - then head in the shower and only use soap on your underarms and groin area. The oil protects our skin from the harshness of the water and prevents it from drying out. It can be a great beauty hack for removing eye makeup with a soft cloth, using it in the morning for oil pulling (swish it around in your mouth to help clear bacteria and stains) and I love cooking with it!
This oil is made by pressing the seeds or kernals of the almond tree. Almonds tend to be classed as nuts although they are ‘drupes’ or stone fruits. Before the kernal is removed it has a thick green and firm, fruit flesh layer then a hard pit. Inside this pit is the almond kernal. Almond oil is a great base oil for things like massaging and I tend not to use it much now for other products as I find it doesn’t penetrate as well as other oils. It has gentle cleansing and softening qualities.
Ofcourse these are just some of the main oils you might come across. There are countless other oils which would be added to these for additional skin benefits and it depends on the whole formulation and desired effect of a finished product.
As a rule of thumb, just like with food labels, ingredient volumes arelisted from first to last ingredient so you can get a rough idea of the content of an individual oil and how it may work for you.
Also many brands may have ‘dry skin’ or ‘oily skin’ etc products, although I find it makes more sense to try to balance the skin so it can function as best possible. A less is more approach is also always important so if you are using an oil (opposed to a cream) opt for adding a few drops to your palm then pressing it into your face. For your body rubbing it in is fine and you can always add in a mini self massage too.
Other things to consider is what products or routines you are doing ‘topically’, meaning ‘on’ the skin, like how you wash or cleanse your face for example. I have written a blog specifically for this that you can find under ‘My 5 top tips for clearer gorgeous glowing skin’ which also talks about the importance of keeping things simple to not confuse your skin.
I hope this helps and shines a little light on the world of oils.