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8 Best Face Oils for Sensitive Skin (Plus How to Choose the Right One)

face-oils-sensitive-skin I Dermstore Blog

Face oil is one of those products you’ve heard about but likely have been too intimidated to try—especially if you have sensitive skin. Whether your sensitive skin is characterized by reactivity to certain ingredients in terms of oil production, breakouts or sudden dryness, it’s not something you want to challenge. Believe it or not, face oils can actually do quite a bit of a good—even for the most sensitive skin. To help sell you on the idea of massaging oil into your face like it’s a ritual, we consulted NYC Dermatologist, Dr. Sejal Shah, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology. By the end of this article, you’ll be wrestling over which bottle of skin-rejuvenating goodness to add to your sensitive skin care routine.

What Makes Face Oils Beneficial for Sensitive Skin

While face oils are widely marketed toward all skin types, it’s the right oil or the specific combination of oils that can be particularly beneficial for sensitive skin. “Face oils are rich in fatty acids, antioxidants and other essential nutrients that make repairing the skin barrier and locking in hydration possible,” Dr. Shah says. What’s more, they can give the skin an instantaneous silkiness and superficial hydration that’s known for today’s must-have dewy skin look. At last, the secret to model-off-duty skin!

How to Choose the Right Face Oil 

As with any skin care product, it’s important to consider your specific skin concerns when choosing a face oil. When it comes to sensitive skin, Dr. Shah recommends looking for oils that are rich in fatty acids to reinforce the skin barrier, antioxidants to protect and combat future damage, and anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe. Not sure where that leaves you? Think avocado oil, marula oil, chia seed oil and sunflower oil, just to name a few.

Beyond the ingredients, you’ll want to think about texture and scents. “If you have acne-prone, oily or combination skin (which can still be sensitive), you will want to use lighter, drier oils or oils with astringent effects, while heavier oils are better for dry skin,” Dr. Shah says. From there, consider your reactivity to fragrances. If you’re not sure where your skin lies, play it safe and use caution with fragrant and essential oils, as they can sometimes aggravate sensitive skin.

When Should You Apply This

Depending on your sensitive skin’s specific needs, your face oil will soon join the ranks of your AM or PM skin care routine—or both. Dr. Shah points out that oils are best used at night since they tend to leave a shiny visage which could potentially interfere with daytime makeup, however if you have dry skin it may be beneficial to use an oil during the day as well. At the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference, but it’s important to remember that face oils are meant to be an addition to your skin care routine, not a one-stop solution for everything. “Keep in mind that face oils lack other essential ingredients for the skin, such as hydration-boosting humectants and rich blends of emollients,” says Dr. Shah. “It’s these ingredients that provide skin with deep and long-lasting moisture, so you don’t want to cut them from your routine in favor of a face oil,” explains Dr. Shah. So, when it comes to applying your soon-to-be-favorite face oil, simply add a drop or two into your moisturizer, or follow up your first step of hydration with a few drops dabbed on top.

The Best Oils for Sensitive Skin

Now that you know more about face oils and, more important, their effects on sensitive skin, you might be feeling a bit intrigued. Before heading blindly down the skin care aisle, you may want to brief yourself on the industry’s most effective face oils for your sensitive skin type.

Ready to find your perfect match? Check out some of our favorites below.

  1. 1. Éminence Organic Skin Care Facial Recovery Oil
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    1. Éminence Organic Skin Care Facial Recovery Oil

    Great for: Fighting early signs of aging
    Éminence Organic Skin Care Facial Recovery Oil features a blend of precious herbs and nourishing oils to soothe and renew sensitive and aging skin. While clary sage oil works to calm skin and balance oil production, olive oil works to deeply hydrate, sage-leaf extract to rejuvenate and ylang-ylang to cleanse. In the end, you’re left with a visibly refined complexion.

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  2. 2. RMS Beauty Beauty Oil
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    2. RMS Beauty Beauty Oil

    Great for: Illuminating the complexion
    RMS Beauty Beauty Oil is formulated with buriti oil to filter and absorb harmful UV rays, licorice to lighten discoloration, vitamin E and olive leaf extract to protect and condition, jojoba seed and rosehip oils to nourish and soften and St. John’s Wort to calm irritation. Whether applied morning or night, you can expect a visibly brighter, smoother and younger-looking complexion.

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  3. 3. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
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    3. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil

    Great for: Reducing and preventing breakouts:
    Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil is designed to reduce the appearance of acne, blackheads and blemishes, while simultaneously working to combat fine lines and wrinkles. With ingredients like tea tree and chamomile oil, both of which are known for their purifying properties, brightening agents like licorice root and hexylresorcinol, as well as salicylic acid, a drop a day will totally transform your skin.

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  4. 4. DHC Olive Virgin Oil
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    4. DHC Olive Virgin Oil

    Great for: Replenishing moisture
    DHC’s Olive Virgin Oil is formulated with handpicked, 100% certified organic olives to repair and support your skin’s natural moisture barrier without weighing down your pores. The lightweight, antioxidant-rich oil sinks into skin to create a healthy, natural-looking glow without the slightest bit of irritation.

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  5. 5. Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil
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    5. Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil

    Great for: Balancing oil production
    Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil is formulated to thoroughly hydrate skin without weighing it down. This power-packed formula combines the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of azulene, the protective properties of squalane and the moisturizing and soothing properties of jasmine. Designed to balance moisture while regulating sebum production, this calming facial oil is not only beneficial for sensitive skin, but combination, oily and blemish-prone complexions, as well.

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  6. 6. Juice Beauty Organic Treatment Oil
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    6. Juice Beauty Organic Treatment Oil

    Great for: Nourishing and reviving dull skin
    Juice Beauty’s Organic Treatment Oil is chock-full of complexion-boosting antioxidants and nutrients, like cranberry seed, grape seed oils and carrot extract. With just one drop evenly blended into skin, your face will look and feel healthier and more vitalized.

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  7. 7. Prim Botanicals The Face Oil

    Great for: Reducing inflammation
    Prim Botanicals The Face Oil offers a luxurious blend of anti-aging, soothing and restorative benefits in every single drop. Cold-pressed sea buckthorn, black cumin seed, wild moringa, Polynesian tamanu and African marula combine to create the nourishing oil that’s gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.

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  8. 8. Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
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    8. Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil

    Great for: Promoting firmness and elasticity
    Indie Lee’s Squalane Facial Oil is rich in omega fatty acids, delivering skin with optimal hydration. Derived from olives, this lightweight oil works double-time to reduce inflammation, neutralize free radicals and promote firmness and elasticity, ushering in a more youthful-looking complexion with every drop.

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Rebecca R. Norris

Rebecca R. Norris is a full-time freelance writer living in the DC metro area. She writes for a variety of publications, covering everything from beauty and wellness to style and celebrity news. She is a graduate of George Mason University. There, she earned her B.A. in Media: Production, Consumption and Critique, along with a minor in Electronic Journalism. The Virginia native is a lover of lists, Stevie Nicks, dark chocolate Sprinkles cupcakes and the Oxford comma.