- Grapeseed oil Best for: Oily skin: If you have oily skin — even if you don’t have acne — you’re probably as averse to oils as I was. In the middle of the afternoon I needed blotting papers or pressed powder — definitely not more oil on my already shiny forehead. But grapeseed oil (like peppermint oil, which I mentioned earlier) can actually help regulate your natural oil production, says holistic skin care expert Cecilia Wong. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants, including skin-brightening vitamin C. Still not convinced? “I often tell people who are interested in skin care oils to start using it on your body, and if you like the results, try it on your face,” Wong says.
- Argan oil Best for: Anti-Aging: When I think about Argan oil, supermodel and skin care guru Josie Maran immediately comes to mind. Her entire line is based around this miracle ingredient — and her perfect complexion is proof of how well the stuff works. The oil contains a high concentration of vitamin E and fatty acids, and it’s more stable in sunlight than other antioxidants — so it’s perfect to wear during the day. It’s also very rare and expensive — so it’s a good thing that you only need a tiny amount for it to be effective. “If you see 1 ounce of Argan for $15 that’s not right,” says Wong. She adds that these cheaper versions may have added ingredients that make them less effective.
- Black currant oil Best for: Repair: I asked Wong what she would recommend for a client whose skin had been traumatized in some way — like after a laser treatment, too much time in the sun, or even wind-burned from skiing. Her answer? Black currant oil. It’s her favorite reparative treatment because it’s rich in fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties. It even works on eczema.
- Chamomile oil Best for: Sensitive skin: The same way you can drink chamomile tea to relax, you can use chamomile oil to calm your skin. It soothes redness and irritation in a matter of seconds. “It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for patients with rosacea,” says Baumann.
Just be sure to dab some on your wrist and wear it for a day to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction, she says. And be especially careful with organic versions. Since organic ingredients are treated with fewer chemicals, they’re often growing alongside weeds and other allergens, which means organic essential oils are more likely to have traces of those allergens than conventionally farmed varieties. The result? They’re more likely to cause allergic reactions on the skin.
- Rose hip seed oil Best for: Discoloration: Mally Steves Chakola, the founder of M. Steves Skincare, first realized the healing power of rose hip seed oil after applying it to an 18-year-old scar for two weeks — it faded significantly. So she developed her brand around the ingredient, which contains essential fatty acids, an antioxidant (vitamin C), and a natural retinol (vitamin A). It’s ideal for protecting your skin as well as increasing cell turnover. She recommends using it as a boost for your moisturizer — just mix in a few drops before you apply. If you’re skeptical about putting oil directly onto your face, this is a great option.
- Olive oil Best for: Dry skin: We’ve all heard stories about women in Italy bathing in the stuff — and I’m sure they have beautiful skin. But using olive oil as a face oil is the scariest of all. I may have become an oil enthusiast, but I’ve never been able to use this one for anything other than cooking and salad dressing.
However, Baumann loves extra virgin olive oil for patients with very dry skin. (Note the word “very.”) She says you can buy it at the grocery store — just be sure to look for the term “first cold press” on the bottle. (These formulas are higher in antioxidants than other varieties.) Not only is it super moisturizing, olive oil is also rich in compounds like polyphenols, squalene, and fatty acids — all of which are nourishing and help fight aging.