If you suffer from oily skin, and I mean OILY skin, then, like me, the thought of putting MORE oil on your face makes you simultaneously want to scream in terror, berate the silly person who’s suggesting such an outrage and look for some powder, any powder, that you can pile on your forehead liberally. That was precisely my reaction when work asked me to trial the latest in facial oils. The fools!
My skin is oily (I think you may have gathered that…) and as a teen I suffered from very mild (but it felt pretty darn severe to me!) acne. I will always remember one shuddering occasion, when, out of my teens by this point and in the final hours of a hideous night shift, my colleague asked if I’d just washed my face. No. I hadn’t. I was just looking that oily. I mean, words can’t, I just can’t even… oh my god, the mortification. I took to bringing a full arsenal of make up with me from that day/night onwards for regular touch ups.
Make up guru, Lisa Eldridge, tells us greasy-skinned folks to just face up to it – we will always have oily skin, and we will probably always have to reapply/touch-up our make up throughout the day. There is no miracle product that will leave us matte all day long (a girl can dream though). On her (excellent) suggestion, I switched my foundation to Clarins Ever Matte, and have to say, that on the whole, it does the trick, along with the little cheap Maybelline powder compact I keep in my handbag. But now I’m actively being asked to put oil on my skin?
I feel that this suggestion warrants an isolated ellipsis.
Anyway, this is for work, so I did my research and found that there are actually quite a lot of oils out there for greasy-skinned moi. Pffft, I thought. Apparently, even if your forehead, nose and chin are oil-slicked, your cheeks are probably dehydrated. Well, we’ll see about that.
First, Jurlique and their Skin Balancing Face Oil, £35. This claims to hydrate, smooth and protect using safflower, rosehip, avocado and macadamia oils. Gulp. And it’s suitable for all skin types. Hmmm. It all just seems so counter-intuitive. I must admit, I like Jurlique and their ethos of natural skincare using biodynamic ingredients so I thought I’d suck it up and stop acting like a baby. The oil looks like oil – yellow and glossy – I warmed a few drops in my palms, inhaled the pleasantly mild scent and patted it into my face. They suggest using either morning or night, but I opted for night, just in case my natural oiliness reared its terrifying head. The result? No immediate change. You should really give any skincare products a month to see any effects but I wasn’t enamoured enough to try. On to the next!
Liz Earle’s Superskin Concentrate, £40.50, has gained a sort of cult status to plump, smooth and rebalance the look and feel of your skin. It’s also suitable for all skin types, but they recommend only using it at night. This has a much stronger smell – intensely aromatic – I’m not sure if it’s a bit too much actually. It also contains rosehip oil, and then on top of that argan, neroli, lavender and camomile oils. It describes itself as potent and I think that’s right on the money. Even though it’s meant to soften and plump dry and mature skin, it also claims to balance combination and oily skin – call me cynical, but I just don’t see how it can do both. I think this is probably best for dryer skins, although I can see why it’s a big favourite.
Origins’ Plantscription Youth-Renewing Face Oil, £38, specifies it’s for dry, tired and overworked skin so I skipped this with a clean conscience.
Last, but not least, is Clarins’ Lotus Oil, £32. I was quite looking forward to this as it’s another cult product, and unlike the other formulas, it’s designed for combination skin. It claims to offer a ‘purifying, calming and normalising experience especially recommended for rebalancing combination skin prone to oiliness. The lotus oil softens and decongests, while rosemary soothes and geranium purifies’. I’m happy with any product that uses the word ‘decongests’ quite frankly. It comes in a glass bottle (in fact, they all do and it feels like luxury skincare at its finest; lovely!) with a dropper (ditto). The smell is a happy medium between Jurlique and Liz Earle, and there are definite tones of lavender in there, but that’s ok, I like lavender. They suggest you use it at night and inhale the oil while you press it on your face.
I’m still using this a few weeks later. My skin isn’t any greasier at all, I’m not sure if it’s been ‘balanced’ but I’m not breaking out and it barely adds a second to my routine so I’m happy to continue (while it’s free!). Clarins also do a Blue Orchid version for dehydrated skin and Santal for dry skin (although I’m not sure what the difference is between dehydrated and dry!).
None of these come cheap but I do think we’ll be seeing more oil-based products on the market; in fact, L’Oreal have just released a much more affordable version (£14.99). I’m not so terrified by the prospect of putting oil on my skin as I was before, but I think, on the whole, I’d rather save my pennies (well, pounds to be more precise!) for a top-notch foundation. If that changes and I suddenly develop glowing clear perfect skin over the next few weeks, I’ll update you!