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What You Need to Know About the Most Popular Skincare Oils
Once upon a time, we’d shrink in terror by the mere thought of drenching our skin in oils. Nowadays we use oils as freely as ever like nobody’s business because science (and the radiant complexions among us) have demonstrated the undeniable benefits that botanical oils bestow upon our largest organ.
Derived from various parts of plants, including the seeds and nuts, botanical oils practically do everything: they moisturize, prevent water loss, decrease or prevent blemishes, protect against sun damage, stimulate skin renewal and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Some oils even go so far as to control natural oil production on the skin by mimicking it.
Of the multitude of oils out there for skin transformation, there are a handful commonly used as “base” oils, which are often found in the highest percentages, as they act as the foundation in which to concoct the entire formula. Check out our breakdown of some of the most popular below.
Marula oil is born from the kernels of the fruit that sprout on the Marula tree. It’s been used for years by the Tsonga people of South Africa and Mozambique as both a moisturizing and a massage oil. (Fun fact: these populations, despite spending hours under the sun, have remarkably luminous and healthy-looking skin well into old age.)
Marula is high in oleic acid, or omega-9, rendering it a thicker, richer oil. But despite its relatively heavier texture, it absorbs rapidly into the skin and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. In addition to its incredible moisturizing powers, Marula oil bursts with antioxidants that effectively fight free radical damage; these two qualities render Marula the perfect elixir to prevent and alleviate the visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and the loss of elasticity and firmness. That’s not all though: Marula oil also has antimicrobial properties, which means you can hydrate your skin to plumpness without causing breakouts. This oil can be used on both dry and acne-prone skin with exceptional results.
If you want to deep dive into the world of Marula (including why it’s so good for our Earth), read more about it here.
Derived from the fruit of the Argan tree native to Morocco, argan oil is one of the most popular facial oils on the market. Chances are you’ve seen it inside a huge variety of skincare products, either as part of a formula or as a standalone.
Argan oil is composed almost equally of oleic (46-48%) and linoleic acid (31-35%). This particular composition makes argan oil moisturizing and absorbent without leaving a greasy residue. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, making it a great ally for ageing skin, as it fights free radicals in the body. Vitamin E is also known to encourage new skin cell growth and boost cell regeneration.
Like Marula and Argan oils, Avocado oil is also particularly great for mature skin, as it contains antioxidants and vitamin E. Those with acne-prone skin, however, may want to proceed with caution because it is a thicker oil more likely to clog pores. Yet when it comes to extremely dry and chapped skin, Avocado oil is a godsend. It’s known for being especially soothing with protective elements, with research indicating that it can also prevent sun damage. Avocado oil is also high in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known for encouraging cell production and stimulating the growth of fibroblasts, which are the cells that keep skin taut and prevent sagging.
Native to southern Arizona, southern California and northwestern Mexico, Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the Jojoba plant, a desert shrub. Jojoba oil is light and absorbs quickly and easily into the skin. It has also been shown to be effective as an acne treatment. This may be due to the fact that jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties (ultimately, while oil and bacteria are also involved, inflammation is the root cause of acne). Jojoba oil is also one of the oils closest in composition to the natural sebum produced by the skin which, in short, means it’s highly welcome by the epidermis. When it comes to acne, in fact, jojoba oil “tricks” the skin into thinking it’s already produced enough sebum, which in turn prevents it from producing any more. Thus, skin remains hydrated and perfectly balanced without getting too oily, keeping those pesky breakouts at bay. Jojoba oil is best for naturally oily and acne-prone skin, but can be used to hydrate dry skin as well.
Grape Seed Oil
Pressed from the seeds of grapes, typically after they’ve been used for wine production, grape seed oil continues to grow in popularity thanks to its incredible one-two punch when it comes to skincare: it’s both a potent moisturizer and has the ability to assuage pimples.
Grape seed oil contains almost 70% linoleic acid, the type of fatty acid particularly helpful for acne-prone skin. Linoleic acid results in lighter oils that don’t sit heavily on the skin and clog pores, leading to blemishes. As a lighter oil, it also absorbs more easily into the skin, providing hydration and a softer, smoother feel and appearance. Grape seed oil is also high in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, giving it a high antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants help fight ageing of the skin by demolishing the very free radicals that would attempt to damage cells and speed up the ageing process. Overall, grape seed oil is a well-rounded oil, as it can be used on dry, mature and acne-prone skin with great results.
Olive oil has been associated with Italian feasts for so long you might be hesitant to slather it on your face, but it’s actually very common in skin care. It is a hydrating powerhouse with ageing well benefits containing high amounts of squalane, a terrific emollient that hydrates dry skin. Squalane is also a potent antioxidant that can potentially minimize signs of ageing.
So Which Oil Reigns Supreme?
Although all these oils help hydrate and protect skin, Marula is significantly higher in antioxidants, particularly because it contains the ultimate brightener, Vitamin C. (In fact, Marula contains about 15%-20% more antioxidants than the famed Argan oil!) On top of that, Marula’s high concentration of omega-9 acids helps the oil penetrate the skin more deeply—where it can do real transformative work—all while offering antimicrobial properties. For this extraordinary versatility and effectiveness, Marula is one of our Global Botanicals—yes, it’s that good!
Another important note to keep in mind is that these oils, like in LUXE Botanics formulations, are not used alone—they are key ingredients of a larger recipe created to synergize into a skin-transforming treatment. So even if you have oily skin, for example, you don't necessarily need to avoid a richer oil like Marula, as it’s part of a carefully crafted elixir with overall intents to create healthy skin.
The LUXE Botanics Team