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Get Slick: Why Oils are the New Moisturizer

Jun 08, 2016 02:00PM ● By Becca Newell
By Becca Newell

Move over, moisturizer. There’s a new emollient in town—and it’s smoother and silkier than your typical every day cream. We’re talking about oils. Whether it’s for the face or feet or anywhere in between, these liquid beauties are taking over. And, after swapping out (or layering!) a couple of our favorite creams with the slick stuff, we can see why.

Face Oil

Either a combination of botanical oils or a single-origin product, face oils absorb quickly into the outer layers of the epidermis, hydrating and protecting dry, delicate skin. The antioxidant- and vitamin-rich formulas nourish the skin without weighing it down or clogging pores. Face oils are also suitable for combination, acne-prone, and oily skin. It might seem counterintuitive, but a drop or two of oil can help diffuse shine. And if you don’t like the thought of skipping your trusty moisturizer, oils are light enough to layer with your day or night cream. Some skincare professionals suggest a little oil under anti-aging creams even helps to improve the efficacy of those wrinkle-reducing formulas. It can’t hurt to try!

We love L’Occitane’s Shea Face Comforting Oil
($42 at L’Occitane in Annapolis).

Nail Oil

Nails needs hydration, too! And nail oil (often labeled as cuticle oil) will do just that. Apply a healthy coat to nails daily, massaging oil into the entire nail and cuticle area to help prevent peeling, cracking, and chipping. Often infused with essential oils for delightfully fragrant aromas, these formulas also soften and smooth even the toughest of cuticles. Many nail oils are packaged in easy-to-use brush pens or roller balls that make on-the-go application a breeze.

We love Uka’s Nail Oil 24:45
($36 at

Body Oil

Similar to face oil, body oil helps to nurture and nourish parched skin. These delicately light formulas help to lock in moisture, sooth dry, scaly skin, and boost radiance. Suitable for daily use by all skin types, it’s beneficial to apply body oil after a shower, particularly when skin is still slightly damp, to allow for quicker absorption and deeper penetration into the epidermis. While many body oils are fragrance-free, some are scented, doubling-up as a light-bodied, subtle-fragranced perfume.

We love Indie Lee’s Vanilla Citrus Moisturizing Oil
($36 at

Hair Oil

A few drops or spritzes of hair oil can revamp dull and dry locks, no matter how coarse, fine, wavy, or straight your hair may be. The best hair oils condition and improve tresses by nourishing damaged or overworked hair, while remaining lightweight and residue-free. Even better, hair oils are treatment products just as much as they are styling products, promising to revive curls, tame frizz, and add a little shine. Always start with a small amount—a little certainly goes a long way—and work into hair from the ends to scalp. For those with hair on the oiler side, apply oil from the ends to the middle of strands, steering clear of the scalp to avoid the grunge look.

We love Amika’s Oil Treatment
($34 at


Is Mineral Oil Bad for You?

Derived from petroleum, mineral oil is a transparent, odorless liquid found in skincare products aimed at hydrating and smoothing skin. Its use as a cosmetic oil can be traced as far back as the late-1800s. Like other emollients, mineral oil hydrates skin by sitting on top of it and locking in moisture. There are some claims that mineral oil can agitate skin and, in the same vein of questioning, whether or not it is a comedogenic (compounds and other ingredients that are likely to block pores). A 2005 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology states that cosmetic-grade mineral oil does not cause comedones, better known as blackheads. Another study compared mineral oil and virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer on very dry skin. The results suggested the two are equally effective and safe. The Environmental Working Group gave mineral oil a 1 to 3 (out of 10) rating; coconut oil received a rating of one.

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