Face Oil FAQ

It seems like a mere moment ago people reacted with (what can only be described as) disgust when they learned I used face oil.


"You put oil ON YOUR FACE??!?!"

It was obvious from their expression what they were imagining. Something along these lines...

But That Was Then

Happily, times have changed and people have begun to embrace the age old practice of applying face (and body) oil.

Along the way, many questions have been put to me - from customers, DIY'ers, and fellow formulators.

So, I've put together a little face oil FAQ for all of you. If you can't find the answer to your question, please feel free to add it in the comments.



Is Serum and Oil the Same Thing?

It can be. The term Serum is used for both aqueous (water-based) and anhydrous (water-free) products. Both may be packaged in a small bottle with dropper or drip applicator (as pictured at the top). Understandably, this can cause confusion.

The only way to know what you are purchasing is to check the ingredients list. If you see AQUA anywhere on the list (it is often the first ingredient), then the serum is water-based and not oil-based. 

Why Use Face Oil?

A properly formulated face oil blend offers nourishment for the skin and locks in moisture. It melts in quickly leaving the skin feeling velvety smooth without a trace of greasiness.

In short, face oil is an effective, multifunctional skincare product that is equally suited to men and women, dry, normal, combination, sensitive, mature, and even oily skin types.

It's also ideal for folks who prefer a more fuss-free skincare routine as a good face oil functions as a stand-alone product.

But Can Face Oil Be Used With Other Skincare Products?

Absolutely!  Even though a good face oil functions as a stand alone product, it is also great as a 'primer' under other products.

Apply a face oil blend under cream, lotion, sunscreen, make-up – anything you normally apply to your face and neck.

How Much Should I Apply?

It only takes a few drops to do the job!

In this day and age of slathering, correctly dosing a face oil seems to be the most difficult thing to adjust to.

For 1 application to face and neck, only 5-8 drops are needed.

The bottles pictured at the top are a mere 30 ml (approx 1 oz), but last up to 6 months with daily application to face and neck if dosed correctly.

In short: less is more when it comes to face oil.

How Do I Apply?

For optimal effect, apply face oil immediately after cleansing while the skin is still damp. If you use skin tonic, apply it before face oil.

Add a few drops (5-8) to the palm of your hand. Warm the oil between palms and apply to the face with gentle upward strokes. Massage the face and neck gently.

Ta-da! You're done!

Can't I Use Just One Oil as a Face Oil? Which One is Best?

A face oil does not have to be a blend. If you have allergies, budget issues, or problems sourcing some ingredients, it is indeed possible to use a single oil as a face oil.

However, there is no one 'best oil'.

Each oil has its own special properties.

If you want to try a face oil using a single carrier oil, try Apricot Kernel, Sweet Almond, Avocado, Olive, or Jojoba.

These are all generally well tolerated.

If One Oil is Enough, Why Bother Making a Blend?

A blend is created to offer extra nourishment, additional properties, and to include oil-soluble actives to the mix.

How Do You Compose a Good Face Oil?

To create a successful face oil blend, you should be familiar with each ingredient in the mix and know how it will react when combined with the other ingredients. You must also be familiar with the requirements of the skin you are creating the blend for.

In short: it takes both practice and a healthy passion for the ingredients to create a satisfactory blend.

If you lack experience but have passion, then you've got the ideal starting point! The rest is 'just' practice.

The more you work with different carrier (and essential) oils, the better you will be able to compose a successful blend.

Additional Questions?

Please leave a comment below.

Learn Oil Stuff!

Want to know more about carrier/fixed oils?
Check out this fabulous book : a must-have for enthusiasts of all things lipid!


Molly Elmore said…
Hi Lisa - I love this post! I have been formulating my own face oils and are curious what oil soluble additives / actives you like to add to your blends. All of the neat extracts I have gotten thus far are all water soluble.
LisaLise said…
Hi Molly - Thanks for your kind words! You asked about oil soluble actives for your face oil blends. You might introduce specialty oils such as nigella seed, raspberry seed or pomegranate. E vitamin and A vitamin are both oil soluble, and then there are the possibilities of creating your own herb-infused oils as well. There are also many oil soluble extracts available. I've seen oil-soluble marine extracts as well as herb-based extracts. Finally, you have essential oils - multifunctional powerhouses that can add a real boost to your face oils. Have fun with it!
LisaLise said…
suki-san wrote:

Hey Molly! these are just some starting points, but i love adding alpha-lipoic acid powder @ a usage rate of 5% (b/c i read a study that elucidated all the benefits to wrinkly skin from using a 5% cream specifically(i should have a source here, but i can't recall where i read it; however, i took notes & it was @ a university, peer-reviewed, double-blind, good # of actual human volunteers, w/a control group, published in some respectable journal, etcetc))..it blends in 'like butta', & i think it does so @ room temp (i've read that it snot-wads into rubber cement when you heat it)..also, i have a curcumin extract powder that's oil-soluble, but you have to be super careful w/this or it'll dye your skin, temporarily, orange or yellow..also, co-q10 has some great benefits & is also oil-soluble.
I get my extract powders @ bulksupplements.com & purebulk.com, b/c they're sooo much cheaper & pure, hi-quality powders w/no fillers & both have free shipping after 49$..both have huge amounts of awesome niacinamide, dmae bitartrate, & the best instructions & quality & $ for 1% hyaluronic acid gel (this would be the hi-molecular weight), & 1 of them has vegan h.a., if that's important to you.
Hope this helps! muchlove, suki

Posted by suki-san

Apologies Suki-san! I accidentally deleted your comment but managed to find the text.
Anonymous said…
I love oils. I`m using the Oil Cleansing Method (castor oil+ infused oils- at the moment lavender and daisy infused oil) , hydrating hydrosols (lavender, rose or neroli) and facial oil serum blends. I do my own infused oils and blends. That`s what i call love <3. Greetings from Slovenia.
Elisabeth Wilks said…
Thank you Lisa for writing this blog post. Your blog is so informative and feeds my creativity. I am working through my first course at Formula Botanica and your blog helps me out. I think carrier/seed oils are fascinating! I have been reading Power of the Seed: Your Guide to Oils for Health & Beauty and it is a great book. I happened to see mention of this book on a instagram feed and picked it up. I am glad I did.
Unknown said…
Hi Lisa, I am using Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil to treat Rosacea. I have been using it for about three years now. My skin condition has improved substantially! I no longer get the deep flaking of the top layers of skin. Of course the Rosacea is still there. But it doesn't bother me anymore. Diane
LisaLise said…
Hey there @anon from Slovenia: thank you for your kind comment and great input. Using herbal infused oils for cleasing sounds fabulous!

@Elisabeth: You are off to a great start studying with Formula Botanica and Susans book Power of the Seed really is a great resource!

@Diane: Good choice of oil - it’s a bit of a challenge formulating for rosecea but it sounds like you’ve found what works for you - excellent!
Juhi said…
Hey lisa , do you need any preservative if you want to add any oil soluble extracts in face oil. Like I have white willow bark( oil soluble) extract . And I want to put this in one of my face oil for acne prone skin.
Or suppose hibiscus extract(Os)
Is vitamin E enough to prevent oxidation.
LisaLise said…
Hi Juhi -- If your entire product - including extracts - is oil-based, your product will benefit with the addition of an antiixidant- Vitamin e is a great choice. No need of preservative in an anhydrous product (unless it is the kind of anhydrous product that risks exposure to moisture like, say, a body scrub). :)