Oils for the face are polarizing - some see them as a magical beauty product for daily skin care, others warn of their drying properties. In this article we start from the beginning: When does oil care alone make sense, what advantages does it have compared to creams and what role do lipids play in the whole story? Plus: You'll learn how to use facial oils correctly and which oil is best for your skin type.
Oils for the face: can I only care for my skin with oils?
Pure oil care vs. cream: What benefits do oils have for the face?
Pure oil care has two very decisive advantages over creams.
- Few ingredients and no fillers , because it contains: pure oil . And if you use natural plant oils instead of mineral oil , your skin will benefit from a wealth of antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fatty acids.
- Free from emulsifiers and preservatives . These are only necessary if a formulation contains water. A pure oil can safely do without this.
That sounds good, after all we're all into minimalist skin care, right? The answer to that depends entirely on who you ask. Certain oils for the face have a reputation for disrupting the barrier function and drying out the skin. This includes olive oil 1 . To understand what makes good oils for facial care , let's take a quick step back and focus on the structure of our skin.
Lipids, moisture and the skin’s protective barrier – what you should know!
Our upper skin (the epidermis) consists of several layers on top of each other, of which the stratum corneum is the outermost layer that closes off the skin from the outside. As a direct border to the environment, the stratum corneum fulfills an important barrier function, the importance of which we will now take a closer look at.
- Protective barrier : The stratum corneum contains horny fats (also called epidermal lipids) that hold the cells of the stratum corneum together. They play a key role in our skin health. Firstly, they bind moisture and secondly, they form a protective barrier against external influences.
- Bricks & Mortar : Imagine this interaction as a wall made of bricks (the cells of the stratum corneum) and mortar (the epidermal lipids). If there are too few lipids, the wall becomes permeable: moisture can escape more easily and the skin reacts more sensitively to environmental influences. The result: dryness and feelings of tension.
- Hydrolipid film & NMFs : And our skin has another line of defense: the so-called hydrolipid film. It covers the outermost layer of skin and acts as an additional barrier against harmful substances and intruders. It contains free fatty acids from the sebaceous glands, lactic acid and other secretions from sweat, as well as NMFs - the skin's natural moisturizing factors.
Oils for the skin: Why the fatty acid spectrum is important!
Unlike vitamin C, for example, which is a single substance, vegetable oils consist of a whole range of individual components. It is this cocktail that determines the suitability of a particular oil for skin care . Would you like a few examples?
Sea buckthorn pulp oil:
is considered perhaps one of the most valuable plant substances in the world 2 . It contains high levels of the rare palmitoleic acid , which is a component of our skin's own lipids. This fatty acid, also known as omega-7, stimulates skin regeneration, supports wound healing and reduces the appearance of scars and pigment spots.
And it gets even better: palmitic acid also ensures soft, supple skin and prevents excessive water loss across the skin's surface 2 . Other beauty boosters contained in sea buckthorn pulp oil are vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids (the antioxidant gives the oil its bright orange color) and phospholipids (important for cell renewal) 3 . We use the skin booster in FIVE facial oil for dry skin .
Black cumin oil:
is characterized by its high content of linoleic acid . Like palmitoleic acid, it occurs naturally in our skin - linoleic acid is the most abundant unsaturated fatty acid in our epidermal lipids 4 . As a component of ceramides (a special form of lipids) and the skin's natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), linoleic acid supports the functions of the skin's protective barrier and is important for a radiant complexion. That's why the potent oil is the ideal complement to the FIVE facial oil balance .
This is what oils can do in facial care!
When optimally formulated and used correctly, facial oils help the skin retain moisture better by preventing excessive transepidermal water loss. But be careful: oils do not provide moisture themselves, they only help the skin to bind moisture . By the way, I will dedicate myself to this aspect in detail in a second article .
But here's this much: If you apply oil to skin that is still slightly damp , this moisture is locked in, so to speak. The oil film protects against moisture loss by sealing the surface of the skin. A principle that many cultures used thousands of years ago - skin care with oils is considered one of the oldest forms of body care.
☝️ The fact is: When used correctly, oils for the face are phenomenal beauty boosters with very individual care properties that dry to impure skin can benefit from. In the FIVE facial oil for dry skin we use, among other things, sea buckthorn pulp oil, which has a regenerating effect and antioxidant properties. The FIVE facial oil Balance contains precious black cumin oil and essential grapefruit oil, which score points with their antibacterial effects.
When do facial oils make sense as the sole skin care product?
Oils for the face are sufficient as sole skin care if your skin has enough emulsifiers from its own production . Do you see a big question mark appearing in your mind's eye? Don't worry: let's break down what that means together.
In healthy skin, fatty acids, cholesterol and diglycerides fulfill the function of the skin's own emulsifiers. This means: They ensure that the water from sweat combines with lipids on the surface of the skin to form a mixture . The resulting emulsion is distributed seamlessly over the skin, binds the skin's own moisture and protects against excessive water loss.
Care that contains emulsifiers is then not necessary - a high-quality facial oil applied to damp skin is sufficient. The horny layer absorbs moisture and can keep it in the skin thanks to the sealing properties of the oil.
Thirsty skin: In which cases pure oil care is not enough!
If your skin does not have enough of its own emulsifiers , oil care alone cannot fully cover your skin's needs. And even for dehydrated skin, oils for the face are not enough as solo care.
The older we get, the more our skin needs not only moisturizing lipids, but above all moisture . The skin then needs care that provides it with moisture and helps to bind it to and in the skin. Applying oils to damp skin is no longer enough in this case.
My tip : Mix a drop of your facial oil with the FIVE facial serum , which provides your skin with lasting moisture in the form of gently scented rose water and keeps it in the skin with moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
How to use facial oils correctly!
We recap: The rule of thumb is to always apply facial oils to skin that is still slightly damp . The perfect time to do this is after the shower or after your daily facial cleansing ritual. In this way, the oil can optimally lock in the existing moisture in the skin - and you can look forward to well-moisturized, silky-soft skin.
However, there is one exception : for oil cleansing , e.g. with the FIVE make-up remover with mild jojoba oil, facial oil can be used on dry skin.
From around the age of 25 (when the skin's moisture storage abilities slowly decrease) and if you have dry skin, it is best to pamper your skin with a combination of facial serum and facial oil . In this way, you support your skin's water storage abilities with sustainable moisture boosters such as hyaluronic acid and at the same time nourish it with valuable lipids.
Expand your skin care expertise now!
Receive useful skin care tips twice a month for better skin balance and relaxed skin.
Also benefit from exclusive discounts that we have in store for our readers.
By registering for the newsletter you accept our data protection declaration . You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time and free of charge via a link in the email
Which oil for which skin type?
Its soothing, anti-inflammatory and calming effects make it an all-rounder for all skin types . Strictly speaking, jojoba oil is a liquid wax and is therefore similar to human skin sebum, which is also partly composed of wax esters 5 . Jojoba oil contains essential fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E.
These skin types particularly benefit from jojoba oil:
- dry and mature skin : The low viscosity (= good flowability) and high molecular weight of jojoba oil are responsible for its softening and skin-flattering properties on dry skin. The antioxidant vitamin E it contains protects against premature skin aging caused by oxidative stress.
- Sagging, pale skin : Jojoba oil stimulates the skin's own collagen production and ensures elasticity and tone
- Impure and oily skin : Its similarity to human skin sebum makes jojoba oil a particularly suitable care oil for acne and impurities. It has a clarifying effect by dissolving and removing excess sebum in the pores.
Black cumin oil for impure skin : The oil from the seeds of Nigella sativa is an insider tip against acne and impurities. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties caused a significant reduction in papules and pustules in acne patients in a scientific study 6 . We use it in the FIVE Facial Oil Balance .
Sea buckthorn pulp oil as a potent slow-aging oil: The oil from the pulp of the sea buckthorn berry is contained in the FIVE facial oil for dry skin . With good reason: It is quite unique because it contains particularly large amounts of the omega-7 fatty acid palmitolein 7 . And it has a lot to offer our skin.
This is what sea buckthorn oil can do for your skin:
- even, brightened complexion. Palmitoleic acid can reduce the appearance of pigmentation spots (6) . It inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the formation of melanin (the pigment in our skin and hair) 8 .
- Pure skin appearance: Palmitoleic acid also has an antimicrobial effect, supports wound healing and thus ensures well-protected, flawless skin.
Squalane as the ultimate softener : Squalane is a natural component of our skin fat, which we obtain from olives for FIVE Skincare. We use it in both FIVE facial oils because this silky-soft oil is flattering on all skin types.
This is what squalane 9 can do:
- ensures a supple skin feeling
- is highly tolerated because it also occurs naturally in the skin
- absorbs deeply and helps the skin retain moisture
Conclusion: Use facial oils in combination with serum to unleash their full potential!
Even if care with oil alone has many advantages at first glance - from around the age of 25 it makes sense to supplement oil care with hydrating and moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. If you combine facial oil and facial serum in one care step, you will have a completely nourished, healthy complexion in no time.
With FIVE you can avoid synthetic preservatives, fillers and emulsifiers: The FIVE facial serum and the FIVE facial oils contain exactly 5 carefully selected and optimally coordinated ingredients that sustainably support your skin health.
Wishing you all the best,
PS: In part 2 of the “Oils for the Face” series, I will address in detail the question of whether oils moisturize the skin .
- Lin, Tzu-Kai et al. “Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19.1 70. 27 Dec. 2017, doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
- Zielińska, Aleksandra, and Izabela Nowak. “Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil.” Lipids in health and disease vol. 16.1 95. May 19, 2017, doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0469-7
- Koskovac M, Cupara S, Kipic M, Barjaktarevic A, Milovanovic O, Kojicic K, Markovic M. Sea Buckthorn Oil—A Valuable Source for Cosmeceuticals. Cosmetics. 2017; 4(4):40. https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics4040040
- Angelo, Giana. Ph.D “Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health.” Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Feb 2012, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/essential-fatty-acids
- Vaughn, Alexandra R et al. “Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science.” American journal of clinical dermatology vol. 19.1 (2018): 103-117. doi:10.1007/s40257-017-0301-1
- Salih HM Aljabre et al. Dermatological effects of Nigella sativa, Journal of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 92-98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdds.2015.04.002.
- Solà Marsiñach, Marta, and Aleix Pellejero Cuenca. “The impact of sea buckthorn oil fatty acids on human health.” Lipids in health and disease vol. 18.1 145. June 22, 2019, doi:10.1186/s12944-019-1065-9
- Yoon, Weon-Jong et al. “Effect of palmitoleic acid on melanogenic protein expression in murine b16 melanoma.” Journal of oleo science vol. 59.6 (2010): 315-9. doi:10.5650/jos.59.315
- Huang ZR, Lin YK, Fang JY. Biological and Pharmacological Activities of Squalene and Related Compounds: Potential Uses in Cosmetic Dermatology. Molecules. 2009; 14(1):540-554. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules14010540