Why You Should Join Me in Using Face Oils. Stat.
When I was researching what to include in my 10-step skincare routine more than a year ago, I thought about incorporating face oils. At that time, 2015 Elaine chickened out and decided against it, because, wouldn’t that make my face super greasy, or worse, break me out? Fast forward to early this summer, I was liking the improvements my skin has seen in the past year, but felt that it could do with a boost of radiance. A glow. I dug deeper into my research and decided it was time to try face oils. And that is possibly one of the best decisions I made, if not the best decision I made, skin-wise (this year)!
A week into using face oils, I was positively glowing, sans pregnancy hormones. Face oils made such a difference to the way my skin looked that my co-founder Tricia actually commented on my new glow! And the science behind it shows: some face oils are formulated with superfood seed oils that are packed with antioxidants and omega fatty acids, which can boost luster in your skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, and even keep allergies like eczema and psoriasis at bay with their anti-inflammatory properties. And since these oils are by nature lipophilic, they can penetrate the skin deeply and lock in moisture in our epidermis, which in turn strengthens the skin barrier. Skin and Tonics has a great article on the importance of fatty acids that I’m sure some of you fellow nerds might want to check out.
Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil
This oil claims to give you an “obsession-worthy radiance” with “naturally soothing agents that leave skin hydrated and protected”. Check, and check! Star ingredients such as Blueberry Seed Oil and Cranberry Seed Oil are rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids, providing the heavy lifting needed for the boost in glow and vibrance. Broccoli Oil rich in Vitamin A is a natural retinol with anti-aging and brightening properties. It even has Black Cumin Seed Oil, which according to Skin and Tonics, “is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, and zinc… It helps to calm acne, and can alleviate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.” Score! And since there are no fragrance oils in this formulation, there was no chance of any irritation for my eczema-prone skin. My face lapped up Juno like a parched camel that found an oasis.
The only thing about Juno that may deter some people is the smell. It does smell herbaceous, but not necessarily in a light, pleasant way like Kicho’s Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream. I do like the smell of plants so I’m okay with it, but I can see why some people would dislike it. If this helps at all, Juno is a dry oil that seems to absorb really quickly—so the smell should only affect you for a couple seconds, tops.
I bought my Juno Face Oil from Sephora, where it retails for $90.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
While every other skincare blogger out there raved about Luna, I resisted trying it for a long, long time. For one, I hate the idea of buying into the hype. But after experimenting with a few other face oils for night-time use and not finding something that really worked for me, I caved in and decided to try Luna. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. My skin retained a glow even after a night’s worth of tossing, turning, and sleeping into the pillow – I smoosh half my face in when I sleep, apparently – appearing petal-fresh in the morning. I think my sleeping packs definitely did a lot of work there, but with Luna incorporated into the routine I can see the glow sustained. Luna contains hydroxypinacolone retinoate, which is the trans-retinol ester of all retinoic acids, and can be used at higher percentages without causing significant irritation. “The large amount of carrier oils makes it a gentler option than some over-the-counter retinoids,” said Caroline Hirons, renowned UK beauty consultant.
The product contains Blue Tansy Oil and various Chamomile Oils which can help soothe and calm redness, a must in my skincare routine. Although many think the deep blue color comes from Blue Tansy, it should be noted that this is the result of 2 synthetic coloring agents, I 61565 (Green 6) and CI 60725 (Violet 2). I remember reading somewhere on the Sunday Riley website (currently down) that these dyes were not harmful and helped to signal when to stop massaging the oil into your skin – it goes from blue to clear so you won’t get a blue face! – they nevertheless make Luna a synthetic product. Several fragrance oils such as Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Blood Orange, and Vetiver have also been added in an attempt to make Luna smell “better” than Juno and other Sunday Riley oils—I can only say they didn’t do much to transcend the strong “old people” smell, although Luna’s scent is slightly more pleasing than Juno’s to my nose. I’m also glad that these fragrance oils did not irritate my skin when I patch tested for a week before full-blown usage, but they could be a potential irritant to some. Despite some of these “shortcomings”, Luna is still my preferred oil for use in the night-time for what it does to my skin as I sleep, guaranteeing that beautiful morning glow.
I bought my Luna Night Oil from Sephora, where it retails for $105.
Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Oil Balancing Facial Oil
I got this as part of Herbivore Botanicals’ Spring-Summer set, and I am loving it. It is basically Luna’s all-natural cousin, also containing Blue Tansy Oil, which is how it got its turquoise hue. One hero ingredient in it that I can’t wait to get more of in my skincare is Squalane—HB has theirs derived from olives, and it says on their website: “Squalane has excellent emollient properties and acts as a light protective barrier to keep moisture in the skin. It also protects the skin against hyper-pigmentation and premature aging.” Not sure about that second sentence, but Squalane, according to chemists, is hydrogenated squalene, which makes it more stable (and thus highly suitable to be added into cosmetics), although some say, also less beneficial than squalene. Squalene is naturally found in our skin to keep it young and supple, and is expensive to produce, so most cosmetics companies use Squalane for its desirable characteristics like a longer shelf life and oxidative stability. Squalene or Squalane aside, Lapis has worked well so far, playing the supportive team member in my skincare entourage, and it smells a lot better than any of the Sunday Riley oils.
My only gripe is that this is travel size and comes as a rollerball. It is great for testing purposes but not the best way to hygienically dispense the product into my palms. I am OCD enough to wash my hands with soap and dry them before every step in my skincare routine, but a rollerball makes dispensing the oil a bit of a headache—I do prefer pipetting it into my palms and rubbing them together to heat it up a little. Nevertheless, I can appreciate the travel size because it’s so easy to chuck the rollerball into your purse and go.
I bought my Lapis Facial Oil Roller as part of a set on Herbivore Botanicals. You can buy this product alone for $26 on the website. Sephora has also recently started selling Herbivore Botanicals, but I can only find the full-sized version for $72.
Herbivore Botanicals Men’s Face Elixir
I bought this on a whim for my boyfriend who could seriously up his skin game. Not that he has horrible skin – he doesn’t – but he does have an issue with enlarged pores, especially in the nose area. We’ve tried pore packs and pore masks, and they’ve helped, but he doesn’t use them every day.
Enter the Face Elixir. It contains Jojoba Oil, an oil very similar to sebum and is well-known for its humectant properties; Chia Seed Oil, which is choke-full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, as well as Alpha Lipoic Acid, which helps minimize pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and increases radiance on the whole; and Rosehip Seed Oil, which supermodel Miranda Kerr credits her glowing skin with. Not only is Face Elixir packed with some heavy-hitters, it also smells good because of the Vetiver and Bergamot Oils in it (I love Bergamot in my Earl Grey so clearly this was going to be a hit).
After a week of use, I noticed that his pores were subtler-looking—and that is without using his usual pore packs or masks. My boyfriend also has a natural glow around his cheek area that makes him look even more dashing than usual! At only $20 on Herbivore Botanicals, I say, get it for your guy!
Key To Radiance is not affiliated with Sunday Riley, Herbivore Botanicals or Sephora in any way.