There is a lot more to facial oils than being just the latest fad in the beauty regime. Sapna Sarfare decodes its usage, effects and results
Actress Lauren Bacall rightly said, “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.” And the recent trend to make your face look superb is the usage of facial oils. They have gone one step further for beauty. However, it would crucial to know whether it is worth the attention.
Why the fancy?
Samantha Kochhar, managing director, Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic says, “Facial oils are a mix of pure essential oils which means they are an essence of a plant and nothing can be more powerful and potent than this.” While Dr Neena Chopra of Just Herbs agrees in terms of the facial oils’ rage due to its usefulness in skin care. “A face cream is nothing but an emulsion of oil and water where oil is the part that actually hydrates the skin along with other active ingredients. The better the quality of the oils, better the absorbency and consequently the results of the final product. So, the goodness of oils for skin is not new per se. Using oils as complexion enhancers has a long history in Ayurveda. This bears testimony to the fact that using oils for keeping skin healthy is an ancient practice in several cultures across the world. As the world comes to a full circle and is embracing everything organic and natural, there seems to be a revival of using oils for skincare.”
Beneficial or a money-making mechanism
Samantha feels the benefits depend on the oil one chooses. “If one is choosing an essential oil, you must have a carrier oil to dilute before using as essential oils cannot be applied neat onto the skin.” Dr Chopra agrees that for better absorption of ingredients in skin, proper vehicle needs to be given for it to penetrate the maximum. “Skin is covered with an oily lipid barrier; actives are transmitted via an oil vehicle as it gets absorbed faster. This makes facial oils great for boosting the glow of your skin. Plant-based facial oils are natural soothers, can lock in moisture, help prevent lines, and even ward off breakouts. You may think that using oil on your face may make your skin oilier; that is true to an extent if using simply carrier oils such as coconut, moringa or sesame. However, if plant-based oil is fortified with other herbs, it synergizes the skin’s metabolic functions and even those with oily skin types are able to use them without getting breakouts.”
Renowned beauty expert Shahnaz Husain says that every consumer is value-conscious and alert of products and their benefits. “Certain oils may get more emphasis and attention, but that does not mean they are not effective. And neither does it mean that other oils are less effective. Sometimes, a combination of oils is more effective. Also, one must remember that a skin care routine does not comprise only of oil. The skin also needs a moisturiser and facial oil cannot replace a moisturiser.” Dr. Chhabra thinks consulting a skin specialist is a good idea, as every skin reacts differently with the same regime.
Different oils for different skin types & moods
Dr Chopra warns, “They should not be confused with essential oils and have nothing to do with mood. If facial oil contains mood uplifting essential oils, it may help to that extent.” Husain further adds, “Many essential oils are mixed with pressed oils and used in beauty treatments. Essential oils of eucalyptus, neem, clove, tea tree and sandalwood are used for their germicidal and antiseptic properties. Many essential oils are used in facial oils due to their anti-ageing properties. Among other oils used for their anti-ageing benefits are almond, olive, coconut, jasmine, geranium, carrot seed, lavender, chamomile, lotus and orange flower (neroli) oils, etc. Many have a calming effect on the mind, reduce stress, tone the skin, improve blood circulation to the skin surface and rejuvenate the skin.”
Benefits in beauty regime
One might be interested to know about its benefits. Dr Jyotsna Makker, of Kama Ayurveda, feels these oils are beneficial apart from keeping the integrity of the lipid barrier. “Oils inhibit oxidative damage which in turn helps in delaying ageing signs like dark spot or fine lines.” Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, Celebrity Dermatologist, Skin Alive adds, “Using a good quality facial oil seeps into the skin and clears pores of excess sebum. A lot of people have this myth that using facial oils might lead to acne breakout.
But facial oils reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles since it absorbs into the skin quickly and therefore applying it regularly makes the skin firmer by lifting facial muscles.” Husain again states that any routine cannot be only around oil. “Facial oil, containing a blend of oils, may help to soften the skin and make it look and feel smooth. We hear a lot of Argan oil which is suited to normal to dry and ageing skin. Jojoba oil may be used for normal to oily, combination and acne prone skin, to relieve dryness. Apricot kernel oil is also popular for normal to dry and mature skin.”
Different methods to use them
About methods of using facial oils, Husain suggests, “From dispersing or diffusing the aroma of such products, to scented baths and massage, there are several ways of using oils. Dried flowers and leaves, for e.g., can be used as pot pourri. Just add a few drops of an essential oil to these.” Dr Makker further reveals, “Facial oils are applied on face; usually we don’t put them in bathing water. For better absorption, one should apply a toner before applying oil as floral water or mist as these enhances oil’s absorption.” Dr Chopra recommends using facial oils at bedtime on a cleansed face as that works on your skin quite well while you take your beauty sleep.
Reading the labels properly
Reading the label here might help. Dr Chopra suggests, “Facial oils do not mean any oil in any form should be slathered on to your face. Opt for plant based natural oils that have fatty acids to benefit your skin. Cold-pressed is even better as these have all the nutrients intact to provide additional benefit. The best option is to go in for a natural formula blended into a cold-pressed vegetable oil.” Husain suggests, “Check for any mention of skin type suitability and method of use. If there are essential oils, the usage directions should be followed. Check for fragrances used, as they may be photosensitive and react on sun-exposure. Also, look at the therapeutic properties of oil before purchasing.”
Different types of facial oils available
There are three kinds of oils: Essential, pressed and mineral oil. Essential oils are obtained from plants and plant products. Pressed oils are coconut, sesame seed, olive, almond and sunflower oil. Plant oils contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Cold Pressed Oil is mainly used to extract essential oil. Essential oils must be mixed with pressed oils or mineral water in prescribed proportion.