The Truth About Oils
The beauty product you need in your skin care routine
Far from being the next short-lived beauty fad, the use of oils in skincare is one of the most ancient of beauty secrets – dating back to the likes of Cleopatra some 2000 years ago in Egypt (not to mention ancient Greek, Roman, Indian and Chinese civilisations). Cleopatra, celebrated as an icon of ageless beauty, was, reportedly, always glistening with vegetable and nut oils over her face and body. Indeed, communities today continue to use the same beauty oils as their ancestors; including the use of Dilo Oil in the Fijian Islands and the use of Emu Oil by Indigenous Australians.
Somewhere along the way oil acquired an undeservedly bad reputation.
For decades now, advertising has tried to tell us oil is bad; flooding our pages and screens with promises that 'oil-free' was the way to clearer, healthier looking skin. We stripped our skin of moisture with aggressive facial scrubs, astringent toners and alcohol-laden cleansers. We damaged the moisture barrier of our skin, causing our skin to produce more oil to overcompensate, making us break out, and feeding into a never-ending, problem-skin loop.
But oil is back; having grown modestly in popularity since the 1970s, before exploding onto the commercial beauty scene over the past five years.
What does oil do for skin?
Designed to mimic the natural oils in our own skin, oils help to balance our skin by stabilising natural oil production. Their ability to deeply penetrate the skin, allows oils to provide intense hydration and nourishment, resulting in a glowing, plumping and smoothing effect.
Oils used in skin care, which are largely vegetable, fruit, flower, seed and nut cold pressed oils, are nutrient powerhouses; with high concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants, helping to produce anti-aging effects as well as protecting the skin from bacteria, free radicals, and damage from the elements.
And because they’re natural, oils are generally well tolerated by all skin types and perfect for those who are conscious about reducing the levels of toxins and nasty chemicals in their lives.
What's the best way to apply a skin care oil?
The correct application of facial oils has been the subject of much debate - to pat or to massage in?
Aside from being gentler on the skin through causing less friction, patting or pressing facial oil into the skin helps to increase the absorption and effectiveness, as well as helping to stimulate blood flow. For best results, warm the oil in your finger tips first and use slow, patting/pressing motions across your face and neck. For more information on how to incorporate a facial oil into your skin care regimen, read our guide.
How to choose the right oil for you
With so many different facial oils on the market, it can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming deciding which oil is right for you. Some important things to take into consideration when choosing your facial oil include:
- Your skin type - are you normal, dry, oily or combination?
- Your main skin concerns - including ageing, acne, dryness, dullness, texture issues
- Any allergies or sensitivities you may have - including concerns with fragrances and synthetic ingredients.
- Whether you prefer a lighter oil that absorbs quickly into your skin (dry oil) or one that's heavier and stays moist longer (wet oil).
Checking the comedogenic rating of the ingredients in a facial oil is a good way to check if it may be suitable for your skin type. The Comedogenic Scale ranks ingredients by how likely they are to clog your pores, from 0 (won't clog pores) to 5 (high likelihood of clogging pores).
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you should avoid oils with a high comedogenic rating, such as coconut oil and avocado oil, as these are more likely to cause breakouts.
The main ingredient in Obv. is Kiwi Fruit Seed Oil, which is a light, non-greasy, easily absorbed dry oil with a comedogenic rating of 1. It's been blended in with 14 other oils, including emollient oils such as Dilo Oil. The blend has been carefully developed to suit most skin types, with no ingredients rating high on the Comedogenic Scale. Learn more about the properties of the main ingredients in Obv. here and see how Obv. stacks up on the Comedogenic Scale here.