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The best facial oils

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Facial oils are a great way to add a bit of oomph to your skincare routine. They give an extra moisture injection, minimise the appearance of fine lines and can transform your complexion from dull to radiant. In winter, when the wind and harsh temperatures strike, these silky-soft formulas act as an additional barrier, shielding your skin from the elements.

While it might seem counterintuitive to add oil to your skin, these skin-friendly formulas won’t block pores if correctly applied. In fact, they are often absorbed quicker than moisturiser and their silky-soft feel gives your beauty routine a seriously pampering vibe.

If your skin needs a bit of overnight TLC, we’d highly recommend massaging in a few drops of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate before you hit the pillow. Beauty junkies rave about this iconic formula, and we can certainly see why. For a truly versatile product that’s also exceedingly purse-friendly, try Fushi Jojoba Oil, which rapidly dispelled dryness and can also be used as a makeup remover. Like Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Oil, it is 100% pure oil and entirely chemical-free. 

For max effect, it’s best to apply your facial oil to freshly cleansed skin. Pat it softly onto the surface of the skin while it’s still damp, to seal in moisture. Alternatively, try mixing a couple of drops into your moisturiser, for an added hydration boost. The right facial oils can also work wonders overnight, softening and plumping your skin while you catch up on your beauty sleep.

(Image credit: Palmers)

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil

Impressive results on a budget

Reasons to buy
+Contains Retinoll+Incredible value+Easily absorbed
Reasons to avoid
-Utilitarian packaging

Palmer’s Skin Therapy facial oil might be purse-friendly, but it certainly holds its own against some of the much pricier brands. The lightweight formula is a powerful blend of 10 pure oils, including sweet almond oil, apricot oil, argan oil, rosehip oil, macadamia nut oil and coconut oil. It contains Retinol too, which is credited with boosting cell turnover and collagen production, improving the appearance of sun damage and fine lines. 

We love the fact this oil isn’t greasy – it rapidly sinks into skin, without leaving any unwanted residue, leaving it super-soft and glowing. As an added bonus, it’s also designed to improve the appearance of scars, making it ideal for those of us who’ve suffered with acne.  

(Image credit: Keil's)

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Overnight treat for thirsty skin

Reasons to buy
+Lasts a long time+Soothing scent +Recyclable packaging
Reasons to avoid
-It’s not cheap

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is something of a beauty classic, and when you start using it, you’ll soon see why. The price may seem a little steep, but in our book it’s worth every single penny. You only need a few tiny drops each evening, meaning a bottle will last you several months, with fantastic results. 

As the name suggests, this is an overnight oil and the soothing lavender scent makes it perfect for winding down after a long day. After just a few uses, we found we woke up with noticeably brighter, smoother skin. It felt considerably more hydrated too, and dry patches rapidly disappeared. Midnight Recovery is paraben-free and also comes in a recyclable glass bottle, earning it some serious eco-credentials.

(Image credit: Elemis)

Elemis Superfood Facial Oil

A superfood shot for the skin

Reasons to buy
+Non greasy formula+Natural, nourishing ingredients+Brightens skin
Reasons to avoid
-Higher price tag

Elemis Superfood Facial Oil is packed with nourishing ingredients, including anti-oxidant and omega-rich broccoli, flax seed and daikon radish. It took just a couple of drops each morning to pep up dull and tired skin, leaving it feeling incredibly supple and soft. In fact, you really do get the sense it’s ‘feeding’ your skin with goodness, as the name suggests! 

Massage the light formula to the face, neck and décolletage before your day cream and it speedily sinks in, without leaving any sticky or greasy residue behind. Skin seemed noticeably brighter and healthier too and while the slightly earthy, herbal smell may not be for everyone, to us it felt deliciously indulgent. Ideal for those not on a tight budget.

(Image credit: Fushi)

Fushi Jojoba Oil for Skin and Hair

A multipurpose, 100% natural oil

Reasons to buy
+Budget-friendly+Versatile+100% pure oil 
Reasons to avoid
-Subtle, earthy smell may not appeal to all

This 100% pure oil, from ethical beauty brand Fushi, is freshly pressed from golden jojoba kernels, harvested this season. It’s blissfully unrefined and hypoallergenic, and quickly soaks into the skin without making it sticky or excessively shiny. It rapidly dispelled tightness too, leaving the face feeling supple and well hydrated. 

Thanks to its rich vitamin E content and antioxidants, this is a great product for soothing fine lines, making it ideal for those of us who want to slow down the clock (let’s face it, who doesn’t). It also doubles as a makeup remover and nourishing hair oil, making it the perfect travelling companion.

(Image credit: Drunk Elephant)

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

Good for all skin types

Reasons to buy
+Antioxidant +Fragrance-free  +Chemical-free
Reasons to avoid
-It’s not cheap

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil is the hero product from the Drunk Elephant collection, which has taken the beauty world by storm since its launch in 2013. The brand’s cult products are entirely free from six types of ingredient that founder Tiffany Masterson believes could potentially trigger problem skin - essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance dyes and sodium lauryl sulphate. 

When we tried the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was incredibly hydrating, without being greasy or heavy, and gave skin a radiant glow. Rich in antioxidants, it also eased the appearance of fine lines too. And while this silky formula may be expensive, a few drops definitely go a long way!

Sophie Barton

Sophie Barton is a journalist and editor with 18 years’ experience in the national media. She spent 11 years as both Deputy and Executive Editor of Closer magazine, and now specialises in lifestyle, wellbeing and celebrity. She is an experienced product reviewer, with a focus on beauty, family and travel.