By Olivia Paladino
Face oils are essential to maintaining healthy skin, as they act as a sealant to keep moisture in and protect skins’ natural lipid barrier (which helps products to absorb and shields skin from toxins). These products also induce an instant, radiant glow, while feeding skin essential nutrients and adding hydration (even for those with oily skin!). But, like all the good things in life, these products come with a catch—if you use a face oil that is unsuitable for your skin type, things can go terribly, terribly wrong.
What if we told you that you could create your own, designed specifically for you and your skins’ needs? We sat down with Katie Maier, a licensed massage therapist (LMT) and holistic esthetician based out of Westfield, NJ, who taught us how to do just that.
To create your DIY face oil, start off with one ounce of a carrier oil.
“This is what you use to deliver your essential oil. If you apply [essential oils] directly, a lot of the time you’ll end up with chemical burns from long term use. So, you want to dilute them with the carrier oil,” said Maier.
While these oils are less concentrated than essential oils, it is important to use the right one for your skin type. In choosing the most effective carrier, take a look at the kinds of fatty acids an oil contains. There are two important ones to pay attention to: linoleic and oleic acids.
For oily skin, Maier recommends carrier oils that are high in linoleic acid. According to XOjane.com, this type of acid is found in lighter oils that have thinner consistencies. Oils with linoleic acid are great for oily skin because they nourish and protect skin without clogging pores.
Dry skin, Maier says, will benefit from oils that contain more oleic acid. These types of oils have a more thick and heavy viscosity. When applied to skin, they deliver intense hydration and create a coating that seals in moisture—making them ideal for dry and mature skin types.
For all skin types, she also suggests combining one ounce of the targeted carrier oil with one ounce of rose hip.
“Rose Hip is so universal. It has a lot of antioxidants, like vitamin E’s and A’s. You can feel it on your skin, but it’s light enough and heavy enough that it works for everybody,” she said.
Finally, add 10-15 drops of the essential oil of your choice (you can combine different oils together for a multi-use treatment!). We’ve outlined what essential oils are best for each skin type, along with their benefits, in the chart below.
Maier typically purchases her carrier oils off Amazon, but advises using unrefined, organic, cold-pressed oils. Among her favorite essential oil brands are Snow Lotus and Eden Botanicals. For New York natives, she also recommends a visit to Enfleurage on W. 13th Street, the city’s first and only store specializing in essential oils.
Read on for the rest of our interview with Katie, and more information on how to assemble your own face oil!
Olivia: What is a face oil and how is it used?
Katie: A face oil is something that you can use as a moisturizer—that’s typically what people use them for. But they’re a very versatile product. You can also use them as serum, underneath a regular moisturizer, or add it to your moisturizer before applying it to make it more effective. You can mix them with a toner in your hand for light weight hydration underneath makeup or a day cream.
They’re nice products because you can adjust them to your skin. Obviously you can go out and buy a pre-made face oil, but you can also just make your own and that you adjust to your skin type.
O: How does a face oil work?
K: You can adjust your face oil to your specific needs. If you have oily skin, you want to use a carrier oil that is higher in linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid that’s great for replenishing acne-prone skin especially. And if you’re dry, you want to use something higher in oleic acid. You don’t want to choose an oil that is wrong for your skin, because that’s a huge thing that I see with people using face oils. They use the wrong kind and then they break out, but they don’t understand why [they are breaking out] because they’re using all natural products. But often, it’s simply because they’re using an oil that’s too fatty for their skin.
O: Isn’t it counterproductive to use a face oil on oily skin?
K: Most people assume that using an oil on oily skin is bad. But when you’re using an oil, it’s hydrating more effectively, because when your skin is dry it overproduces oil. It helps regulate the skin so that you’re not overproducing oil. It obviously depends on what moisturizer and what brand, but I find that a lot of moisturizers tend to clog the skin. With homemade face oils, you’re not looking at a list of ingredients that has 400 different things that you can’t pronounce. You literally made it yourself.
People think that dehydration and dry skin are the same thing, but they’re not. You can be oily and be dehydrated. And when your skin is dehydrated, it looks dull and you don’t have a barrier to protect against environmental toxins.
O: How would you recommend storing your face oil?
K: I buy these two ounce glass jars on amazon. You can get them with the dropper top. The one that I have is tinted so it filters out light, which is good especially when working with essential oils. You want to store them in cool, dry places because they can go rancid.
O: What is the benefit of actually making your own face oil?
K: You’re literally feeding your skin. You don’t want to put anything on your face that you can’t eat yourself. You’re feeding your skin on the cellular level. Even energetically—you’re sitting down and making something for yourself with love. It’s self care. Just having that good intention is enough. You can even get crazy and buy little gemstones and put it into your oil if you want to energetically charge it, like quartz pieces or amethyst or whatever stone resonates with you.
Follow Katie on Instagram, @katiekatmeower.