One of the rising beauty trends of the moment is the usage of oils for beauty purposes. With formulas targeting everything from your hair to nails, these oils seem to be able to do everything and anything! And we don’t mean just the cult favourite Argan oil as popularized by Moroccanoil. From Jojoba oil (which works wonders for those with oily skin) to Marula oil (a potent scar remedy), brands have been capitalising on nature’s multi-tasking wonders by releasing a slew of products to keep you well-oiled from head to toe.
What’s the hype?
With so many products in the market aimed at eliminating oils (think oil-free moisturisers, mattifying primers and clarifying shampoos), it seems rather counter-productive to be reapplying oil to your hair and skin. “Won’t it clog up my pores and cause me to break out?” is a common misconception most women have with regards to using oils for the face. Body oils are mistaken to be used exclusively for massages, and hair oils will leave you with limp and greasy locks à la Severus Snape. All these and more have led women to shun the use of oils on the body, until now that is.
Dermatologists assert that oils are important to your skin’s health because they keep your outer protective layer of skin cells together, making you look younger while protecting against future damage. This is especially important since we’re using soaps and facial washes with ingredients that strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and thus forced to produce more oil, leaving us with a dreaded greasy sheen. By replenishing the oil on your skin with face/body oils, you moisturise and protect your skin from the external elements. What’s more, some oils are chock-full of powerful antioxidants that help to repair free radical damage, keeping your skin looking youthful and supple.
While they tend to be more pricey than other beauty products, oils are certainly worth every penny because they not only have multiple benefits, but also multiple uses. Butter London Global Colour Ambassador Katie Hughes advises applying a thin layer of oil over freshly manicured nails (after giving them about 5 minutes to dry slightly) to help prevent any accidental smudges. The oil acts as a protective layer over the fresh paint, so any accidental scrapes glide easily over the nail, leaving no damage behind! Kim Kardashian’s hairstylist Jen Atkin loves using oils for hair treatments and styling.
Out with the old, in with the new!
OLD: Traditional oils tend to have a thicker and richer formulation, with moisturizing and soothing properties. That said, hair oils can leave your hair feeling heavy and weighed down, which is a problem especially if you have fine hair. For fine hair, you need a lightweight formula keeps hair smooth and hydrated without weighing it down, which can leave it looking limp and lifeless. For body and face oils, such formulas sometimes leave a greasy residue behind which can feel uncomfortable, especially in warmer climates.
NEW: The newer beauty oils on the market are reminiscent of dry oils – Light-weight, more easily absorbed and leaving little to no greasy residue behind. These oils usually come in a spray bottle, which makes application convenient and effortless as you can just spritz and go, minimal rubbing required. Despite their light consistency, these oils still have the moisturizing ability of their weightier counter-parts, minus the greasiness! You can even apply them from the roots of your hair to ensure that every strand is completely moisturized and protected, without having to worry about ending up with an oily scalp.
Ready to start stocking your beauty cabinet with these oils of the moment yet? Before you hit the shops, here are some of our picks from both the traditional and new oil categories!
Our Reviews & Recommendations
For Fine hair:
Traditional: Moroccanoil® Treatment (100ml) (USD$43) can be used as a conditioning, styling and finishing tool. It even speeds up drying time and helps restore and revive hair damaged from chemicals found in shampoos, color processes and perms, as well as environmental factors. Infused with antioxidant-rich argan oil, strengthening proteins and shine-boosting vitamins. A completely transformative treatment that leaves the hair healthy, shiny and more manageable.
How To: Apply a small amount to clean, towel-dried hair, from mid-length to ends. Blow-dry or let dry naturally.
Review: Most Moroccanoil products have very thick formulations and this oil treatment is no exception. Thick and viscous, it left my hair feeling very smooth and moisturized when I applied a dime-sized amount to damp hair. It has a very strong and exotic scent, reminiscent of a blend of spices from the Middle East, so if you’re sensitive to scents, this may be a turn-off for you. That said, the smell fades after a while so if you can bear the smell for about 10-15 minutes, your locks will thank you for it! I personally really enjoy the musky scent so I’m a little bummed that the fragrance doesn’t linger in my hair and keep it smelling great all day.
It comes in a glass bottle with no pump, so application can be a bit tricky as you have to carefully tilt the bottle to get the right amount of product out. This can be a hassle when you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning as you’ll end up with way too much oil on your hands if you aren’t careful! I am however, willing to bear this tiny inconvenience because the effect of this oil on my hair is phenomenal.
I have dry and thick hair so it never looks smooth and glossy like in those shampoo ads on TV, even after piling on conditioner and hair masks in the shower. (I have to admit that I don’t have the patience to wait a good 10-20 minutes for the conditioner/mask to work its magic.) This oil treatment on the other hand suits me perfectly. I apply it to damp hair right after getting out of the shower and it works like a leave-in hair conditioner, no rinse-off required. When my hair finally dries, it is incredibly silky to the touch and even leaves a TV-ready glossy finish! It also works on dry hair to tame any flyways and give some added shine so this is a very versatile product that I highly recommend for anyone with a thicker head of hair.
The downside is that this isn’t readily available in Singapore so you can either make your way down to Sweeny’s Hair Salon in Holland Village, or order it online.
Sweeny’s Hair Salon
211 Holland Avenue,
#03-28 Holland Road Shopping Centre,
New: Percy & Reed Volumizing No Oil, Oil (for fine hair) (60ml) (£14.00) contains violet extract to give you lovely locks which are smooth, sleek and shiny while also adding volume. It nourishes and repairs hair, with pro vitamin B5 which helps out with strength and heat protection.
How To: Work 1-2 drops of the oil through towel dried hair. Apply from root to tip.
Available at Sephora Singapore.
Review: The bottle comes with a handy pump that made it easy to dispense the appropriate amount of oil needed, and not having to end up with a small puddle of oil on your palm (Yes, I’m talking about you Moroccanoil!) 3 drops of oil were all that I needed for my hair and I first warmed up to oil by rubbing my palms together and then running them through my damp locks, right from the roots to the ends.
While it did not seem to add any additional volume to my hair, which is alright with me since I already have thick hair, it did help moisturize my dry strands and leave a subtle sheen to it when my hair finally air-dried. That said, I have to admit that Moroccanoil did a better job in terms of moisturizing ability and leaving my hair looking glossy, but it could also be because my thick hair requires a thicker oil. If you have fine hair, this would definitely be better for you than Moroccanoil as the formulation is less thick and will not weigh down your hair. Although it has a slight scent, the smell goes away after a while so it’s suitable for those who are sensitive to fragrances.
Traditional: Kérastase Elixir Ultime The Imperial (125ml) (USD$56) is a multi-use oil that can be used pre and post styling. It delivers purest anti-oxidants to protect color-treated hair from external aggressors and provides ultimate shine, deep conditioning and nourishment. It also offers UV protection and enhances the true depth of color and also has a pleasant floral scent.
How To: Work into the ends of the hair to control frizz, smooth and style
Review: This oil left my hair soft, shiny, and smelling beautiful! I let a friend smell my hair and he thought i had put perfume in it because it has a strong floral scent.
New: Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist (125ml) (US$25) is a weightless, nutrient-rich oil mist that protects hair from heat styling tools, enhances shine, and boosts hair’s health. It can be used as both a deeply nourishing treatment that helps to repair split ends and environmental damage, and as a colour protecting style primer.
How To: Spray liberally throughout damp hair and style as usual. May be used on dry hair to enhance shine.
Review: This has been a staple in my professional hairstyling kit since I tried it out on my own hair! Ultra lightweight, it doesn’t interfere in your styling, can be used on curly or straight hair, and leaves a gorgeous scent. Every time I use it, the models and celebrities ALWAYS ask me what it is and where they can get it from. That’s a true testament of it’s universal appeal!
Available at Sephora Singapore.
Traditional: DHC Olive Virgin Oil (20ml) (USD$42) contains 100% certified organic Flor de Aceite, one of the purest forms of olive oil available. It has a superior ability to moisturize and soften skin and to help you achieve a remarkably healthier complexion. Its unique hydrophilic properties allow it to form a protective moisture barrier against irritants without clogging pores.
How To: Rub 1–2 drops between palms to warm oil, then gently press onto face.
New: Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil™ 100% Purified Squalane (30ml) (USD$38) is feels like an oil, acts like an oil, but it’s not an oil! Derived from farmed naturally-sourced sustainable sugarcane, this lightweight, clear, odorless, anti-aging moisturizer helps improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, radiance and hydration.
How To: Start with one drop and apply it to entire face.
Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil (50ml) (USD$46) is a lightweight and non-greasy oil that hydrates and replenishes, leaving skin smoother, softer, and more supple. An excellent source of fatty and omega 3 acids, this soothing oil prevents premature signs of aging by defending the skin against free radical damage.
How To: Apply two to three drops in the morning prior to makeup or at night.
Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Restorative Treatment (30ml) (SGD$88) is formulated with rare Dilo Oil from Fiji which is cherished for its multiple restorative benefits and promoting healthier looking skin, it is also rich in essential natural lipids that work in harmony with skin’s own lipid layer. This unique, fast-absorbing oil helps to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier improving skin hydration, improves the look of skin firmness and elasticity, evens skin tone, and helps to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
How To: Apply 1 to 2 drops to clean face and neck. For best results, use on damp skin.
Available at Sephora Singapore
Traditional: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse® MULTI-USAGE DRY OIL(100ml) (SGD$57.90) is a it is a unique combination of 30% Precious Plant Oils and Vitamin E to nourish, repair and soften your face, body and hair in a single step.
How To: Other than rubbing 1-2 drops into your skin or face directly, you can also spray a little Dry Oil into the palm of your hand then gently tousle your hair for a natural result. Sprinkle a few drops of Huile Prodigieuse® into your bath for a truly relaxing experience.
Available at Watsons.
New: ESPA Body Silk Spray (100ml) is a lightweight moisturising dry oil spray that will nourish and soften skin, enhance a glowing tan and give a radiant finish. Nourishing Inca Inchi Oil gives skin a light moisture boost, refining Rosehip leaves it beautifully soft, while antioxidant-rich Pomegranate and Chia work to protect from environmental aggressors and pollution.
How To: Simply mist this dry oil spray from top to toe and lightly massage into skin
Review: The oil comes in a luxurious glass bottle with a spray nozzle for convenient application, ensuring that you can get all the hard-to-reach places like your upper back (and then having to contort yourself to rub it in becomes another issue). The downside is that the fragile bottle is difficult to transport so you may have to decant the oil into another smaller spray bottle if you want to bring it along for travel. There have also been some near misses with my butter fingers when handling this relatively weighty bottle so careful handling is also a must!
When spritzed on the skin, the oil is lightweight and very easily absorbed into my skin, without leaving a greasy residue on my skin or on my palms. This makes it perfect for usage in the day since you won’t have to worry about it rubbing off on your clothing and it also won’t leave you feeling sticky and uncomfortable. It does have a scent that may be a hit or miss for some people since it is a rather strange and exotic smell, so I would recommend giving it a whiff first since you don’t want to be applying a fragrance you don’t like to your entire body! I personally am not a fan of the scent but it does fade away over time so it is still alright for me.
It leaves a subtle glow on the skin, so it complements my tanned skin and leaves it looking nice and healthy. That said, I did not notice any significant moisturizing effect so I’ll still have to use my usual moisturizer to keep my skin hydrated. I would recommend this product if you’re looking to achieve a healthy beachy glow but not if you need some heavy-duty moisturizing.
You can get ESPA products from ESPA itself, which is located at Resorts World Sentosa.
Traditional: CND Solar Cuticle Oil (15ml) (£11.95) is an award-winning cuticle oil is infused with Jojoba Oil which carries Vitamin E deeply into the skin to help prevent cellular damage and reduce visible signs of ageing, keeping skin soft and supple. Repeated use drives nutrients in deeper, creating stronger, healthier nails and hydrated cuticle area.
How To: Sweep the brush across all 10 nails, rub gently into the nail and the surrounding soft tissue.
New: Leighton Denny Miracle Drops Speed Dry Nail Oil (12ml) (£9.00) helps stop annoying and time wasting smudges and also adds lustre to your nails and cuticles.
How To: Apply a few drops over touch dry polish
Hope you guys are more than ready to try out this new beauty trend for yourselves and that this guide comes in useful in choosing the best oils to suit your needs. Beauty oils are definitely going to be an essential step in my daily beauty routine for now on!