The Ultimate Guide to the Best Oils for Skin
When shopping for skincare ingredients, you may have heard about the benefits of plant oils. Plant oils are fats that are typically taken from the seeds of certain plants. They’re usually extracted through methods such as steam distillation, CO2 extraction, solvent extraction, or cold or expeller pressing. These plant oils provide moisturizing, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and protective effects for skin. Usually diluted with other ingredients, they help nourish skin with essential fatty acids and other properties our bodies do not produce on their own.
Composition of the Best Oils
Plant oils typically have a variety of essential fatty acids, each with their own unique benefits for skin. Omega-3 fatty acids, which include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), can improve the totality of the skin barrier, while omega-6 fatty acids, which include linoleic acid (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), cause healthy skin shedding and renewal. Omega-9 fatty acids, which include oleic acid (OA), are anti-inflammatory and instrumental in fighting free radicals. Palmitic acid helps to remove dirt and excess sebum from the skin, while stearic acid can help protect against water loss.
Plant oils also contain vitamins that help maintain and repair skin tissue, control acne, and reduce lines and wrinkles. The minerals in plant oils can protect from environmental stressors while encouraging exfoliation. The structural proteins in plant oils promote skin cell growth as well as wound healing, and the antioxidants are known to fight inflammation and repair sun damage.
Quality of the Best Oils for Skin
When looking for the best oils for skin, you have to take into account several factors about the oil. The aroma of an oil can make a huge difference as to how much you enjoy having it on your skin, and so can the absorption rate. Oils that absorb slowly are more likely to leave behind an oily feeling, although this can be beneficial when applying skincare products to treat minor wounds or irritated skin. The extraction process is another important factor in these oils, as you want an unrefined oil that’s been cold pressed or CO2 extracted, skipping the harmful solvent extraction method.
There are many reasons for using plant oils as skincare ingredients, and each oil comes with its own unique benefits. Some plant oils are best used for moisturizing sensitive or dry skin, nourishing it without clogging your pores. Others are excellent at healing small scrapes and wounds due to their antibacterial properties. If you have eczema or other skin irritations, plant oils high in antioxidants can help soothe inflammation and protect the skin from further damage. Here are 30 of the best oils for skin and which skincare ingredients to look for to meet your needs:
Apricot kernel oil (Prunus armeniaca) comes from apricot seeds, extracted through a cold-pressed method. The oil maintains its light odor of bitter almonds.
One of the best oils for skin, thanks to its rich fatty acid profile, it moisturizes and protects skin against free radicals. The oil also contains phytosterols that improve skin barrier function and elasticity.
Perfect for all skin types, Apricot kernel oil especially helps nourish mature, dry, and sensitive skin. Its quick absorption rate and light skin feel also offer benefits in hair products.
Argan oil comes from the kernels of the fruit of the argan tree, native to Morocco. Extracted by grinding and cold-pressing the kernels, Argan oil’s scent is faint and earthy. Its INCI name is Argania spinosa.
Argan oil is packed with oleic linoleic, palmitic, and stearic acids. The combination of these acids fight aging skin and inflammation while exhibiting excellent nourishing and cleansing properties.
This skincare ingredient soothes and moisturizes, making it one of the best oils for dry skin. If your skin is sun damaged or sensitive, argan oil absorbs moderately quickly and leaves it feeling silky.
Extracted from the flesh of avocados (Persea gratissima), the oil is obtained mechanically by grinding the fruit’s flesh into a paste. Then the process requires malazing for 40-60 minutes at 45-50 degrees Celsius. The process leaves a fruity scent to the oil.
Avocado oil contains fatty acids that penetrate and nourish dry, flaky skin as well as a high vitamin content of vitamins A, D, and E. Because the body takes a while to process these fatty acids, avocado oil enriches skin with nutrients and improves elasticity.
Amazing for dry and damaged skin, Avocado oil isn’t ideal for those with oily skin. In addition to being one of the best oils for skin, it’s also great for hair as well. Avocado oil has a thick feel on the skin, but it absorbs easily.
Made from the seeds of the tropical babassu palm tree, the oil is extracted through CO2 extraction and giving off almost no aroma whatsoever. Its INCI name is Orbignya oleifera.
Babassu oil is rich in antioxidants and lauric and myristic acids, giving the oil anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effects. The lauric acid is also antibacterial, making it one of the most popular skincare ingredients for treating minor wounds.
Babassu oil deeply nourishes and moisturizes dry skin. It also treats minor scrapes or cuts. It melts at body temperature, allowing it to absorb somewhat quickly and giving you a refreshing cooling sensation on your skin. Its many benefits, makes it one of the best oils for skin.
Baobab oil (Adansonia digitata), is pressed from the seeds of the baobab tree. The oil offers a light and nutty scent that is almost floral. Its impressive fatty acid profile makes it one of the best oils for skin.
This superb oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, and Vitamin A, D, and E. These skincare ingredients help baobab oil repair skin, helping it to heal faster and improving its elasticity.
Baobab oil also moisturizes the skin while preventing water loss, leaving you with soft, smooth skin. It feels nice on the skin without leaving an oily feel, since it absorbs readily.
Blackberry seed oil (Rubus fruiticosus), cold-pressed from blackberry seeds, offers a fruity and earthy scent.
This oil is a natural source of phytosterol beta-sitosterol and omega-3 fatty acids, giving it a great anti-aging effect and protecting skin from the sun. It also contains vitamin C to help fight skin blemishes.
One of the best oils for skin that’s itchy, scaly, or irritated, Blackberry seed oil moisturizes and soothes. With a quick absorption rate, the oil feels light on the skin, nourishing and leaving it feeling hydrated.
Originating from marigold flowers, Calendula oil (Calendula officinalis) offers unique benefits. Extracted through multiple different methods, from CO2 extraction to dry extraction, the oil offers a mild and appealing floral aroma.
Calendula oil contains hesperidin, a skin-lightening agent, as well as catechol and pyrogallol, which are tannins that help moisturize skin. It also includes the anti-aging compounds quercetin, rutin, and lutein.
With many anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects, Calendula oil helps heal wounds and soothe eczema. Its light skin feel and easy absorption rate make it perfect for dry or irritated skin. This amazing plant oil makes it one of the best oils for skin.
Cold-pressed from the seeds of the Japanese camellia plant (Camellia oleifera), the process results in a relatively neutral aroma.
Camellia seed oil, rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and B, provides unique anti-aging abilities as well as improves skin elasticity.
Highly valued for nourishing and hydrating dry skin, Camellia seed oil also helps treat sun damage. It absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves it feeling moisturized without feeling greasy.
Carrot seed oil (Daucus carota sativa) comes from the seeds of the wild carrot plant and is extracted through the process of steam distillation or cold-pressing. Its scent is lightly earthy and herbaceous.
Carrot seed oil contains carotol, which has an antifungal effect. Alpha-pinene gives it an antibacterial effect as well. Lastly, the presence of beta carotene makes it an excellent antioxidant.
As one of the best oils for skin that’s damaged or aged, Carrot seed oil repairs and stimulates growth of new skin. With a moderate absorption rate, carrot seed oil leaves a slightly oily feel on the skin.
Castor oil (Ricinus communus) is pressed from castor beans, the seed of the castor oil plant. Castor oil’s lightly pungent scent offers an unusual, but not unpleasant aroma.
Containing ricinoleic acid, the oil provides analgesic and anti-bacterial properties . It also contains phytosterols offering anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties.
One of the best oils for skin thanks to its acanthotic activity, Castor oil increases the thickness of your skin. It also penetrates deep to boost collagen production, giving you amazing anti-aging properties. One drawback, Castor oil absorbs very slowly, which makes it quite heavy on the skin.
Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) is made by pressing the fat from the white meat inside coconuts, usually through cold-pressing when unrefined. Unrefined coconut oil offers a lovely tropical coconut scent.
This oil’s fatty acids include lauric acid, myristic acid, and caprylic/capric acid. These reduce inflammation, keep skin moisturized, and protect the skin from harmful bacteria.
One of the best oils for skin that’s dry or inflamed, Coconut oil easily soothes and moisturizes irritated skin. If you’ve got redness or sensitivity, coconut oil easily absorbs into the skin to hydrate and protect it. However, it may leave behind a waxy feeling while it warms to your body temperature.
Cranberry seed oil (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is extracted from from the seeds of cranberries through a cold-pressed method, leaving it with a light and fruity scent.
Because cranberries are an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, this oil penetrates and nourishes the skin. It also contains plenty of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and repair sun damage.
Cranberry seed oil soothes eczema, making it one of the best oils for skin that’s inflamed. Readily absorbing into the skin, the oil leaves skin smooth and light with any greasy residue.
Elderberry seed oil (Sambucus nigra) is cold pressed from the seeds of elderberries, which grow on the flowers of elderberry bushes. The oil’s nice fruity scent is appealing.
Its unique spectrum of fatty acids, including a high linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid, help to keep your pores clean through natural exfoliation.
This oil is one of the best skincare ingredients for regenerating skin and treating dirty skin that’s prone to acne. Elderberry seed oil feels rich and silky on your skin and absorbs fairly quickly.
Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the flowers of the evening primrose plant (Oenothera biennis), usually through either cold-pressing or extracting with hexane. The oil’s scent provides a light and sweet aroma.
The presence of the omega-6 fatty acids linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid provide excellent healing benefits. These can help reduce skin inflammation and even help it retain moisture.
It is one of the best skincare ingredients for helping to clear up acne and treat eczema. Evening primrose oil does have a pretty slow absorption rate, leaving behind a trace of oil on the skin.
Goji seed oil (Lycium barbarum) comes from the seeds within goji berries, usually extracted through the method of cold-pressing. The process leaves a strong, strawberry-like scent.
The oil is rich with vitamins A, C, and E, linoleic acid, and other antioxidants. These help protect against sun damage and fight free radicals in the body.
Particularly good for treating sun damaged or wrinkled skin, Goji seed oil defends against free radicals and increases skin elasticity. It absorbs fairly quickly into the skin, leaving you with a smooth, silky feel.
Grapeseed oil (Vitis vinifera) comes from pressing the seeds of grapes, typically through the extraction method of cold or expeller pressing. It has a light, nutty scent, and its INCI name is seed oil.
Generous levels of vitamin E give Grapeseed oil an antioxidant effect that protects skin from free radicals. It’s also high in omega-6 fatty acids, improving skin barrier functioning.
Grapeseed oil is one of the most popular skincare ingredients for treating acne or for moisturizing oily skin. With a fast absorption rate, it leaves skin feeling smooth and silky without an oily residue.
Extracted from hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), Hazelnut oil benefits all skin types. The method of cold pressing or CO2 extraction leaves a light, nutty scent.
High levels of Vitamin E and oleic fatty acids make Hazelnut oil a very effective moisturizer by creating an oil barrier to help your skin retain water.
Since it absorbs extremely quickly, Hazelnut oil is one of the best oils for skin offering an incredibly light skin feel. It does wonders for moisturizing and repairing skin without leaving behind an oily residue.
Jojoba oil is a liquid wax produced by the seed of the jojoba plant (Simmondsia chinesis). The oil’s slightly nutty scent usually remains after extraction through pressing, leaching, or both.
A unique biomimetic chemical structure makes Jojoba oil similar to that naturally produced by human skin. This helps it send signals to your skin to stop them from producing extra oil while also protecting dry skin.
Jojoba oil is one of the best oils for skin thanks to its ability to moisturize and protect without making skin greasy. Whether your skin is naturally oily or dry, jojoba oil helps balance it out. It has an average absorption rate, but it has a nice and light feel on your skin that makes it one of the essential skincare ingredients.
Derived from the seeds of the Kalahari melon (Citrullus lanatus), aka wild watermelon, result in an oil with a grassy scent. Extracted through a method of mechanical pressing, the oil provides many nourishing skin benefits.
High in palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids, the properties help the oil remove dirt and excess oil from the skin. Kalahari melon seed oil also contains vitamins A, C, and E, which helps hydrate and tighten skin.
Excellent for cleaning oily skin, Kalahari melon seed oil promotes skin growth. The oil also absorbs easily, leaving a light feel without residue after you apply it.
Obtained by cold pressing the nuts from the Hawaiian kukui nut tree (Aleurites moluccanus), the unique oil nourishes skin. The process results in a light and sweet nutty scent.
High amounts of vitamins A, C, and E in Kukui nut oil moisturize the skin without making it greasy. The linoleic and omega-3 acids soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
This is one of the best oils for skin that suffers from dryness or eczema. Kukui oil excels at moisturizing and soothing inflamed skin. It has an average absorption rate, leaving you with a slightly oily feel on your skin after you apply it.
Extracted from the seeds of the meadowfoam wildflower (Limnanthes alba), Meadowfoam seed oil is usually expeller or cold pressed. The process leaves the oil with a light, floral aroma.
This oil contains plenty of long-chain fatty acids that give it a long shelf-life, and its levels of vitamin E protect the skin against sun damage.
One of the most popular skincare ingredients, Meadowfoam seed oil provides moisturizing and emollient properties. It nourishes and protects dry skin and absorbs rapidly, with a soft and silky skin feel that doesn’t feel greasy.
Made from the seeds of the moringa plant (Moringa oleifera) found in the Himalayan mountains, the oil in highly beneficial. Extracted through either cold press or solvent extraction the oil offers a nutty, earthy aroma.
Rich in palmitoleic and linoleic acids, Moringa oil protects against sun damage and increases the production of collagen and elastin. It also contains vitamins A and C, which are powerful antioxidants.
One of the best oils for skin that’s mature or wrinkled, Moringa oil works to reduce fine lines and improve the skin’s overall appearance. It absorbs fairly quickly, with a smooth skin feel that’s slightly silky.
Coming from the seeds and leaves of neem trees, Neem oil (Melia azadirachta) is extracted through a method of cold pressing. The process leaves the oils with a somewhat garlic or mustard-like scent.
This oil contains high amounts of vitamins C and E, both powerful anti-inflammatories. It also contains azadirichtin, which works as a natural insecticide!
Great for treating dry skin and acne, Neem oil penetrates deep into the skin to moisturize and kill bacteria. It does have a pretty slow absorption rate, which can feel heavy on the skin.
Olive oil (Olea europaea), not surprisingly derived from olives, nourishes skin with incredible properties. Often extracted through cold-pressing whole fruit, Olive oil offers a pungent, fruity scent.
The oil’s high level of oleic acid provides anti-inflammatory benefits and helps fight free radicals. It also contains anti-aging omega-3 acids and polyphenols.
One of the best oils for skin, it soothes and calms damaged or inflamed skin. Olive oil protects the skin from the elements and repairs skin damage. It has a moderate absorption rate, so it does have a slightly oily feel to it on your skin.
Cold-pressed from pomegranate seeds, Pomegranate seed oil (Punica granata) packs amazing benefits for skin. The oil offers a pleasant, earthy aroma.
Containing high levels of omega-5 fatty acids, Pomegranate seed oil fights off free radicals and gives it strong anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. It also contains plenty of vitamin C to nourish and regenerate the skin.
Touted as one of the best skincare ingredients, Pomegranate seed oil repairs damaged, dry, or aged skin. It has an average absorption rate, leaving your skin feeling smooth without being greasy.
Raspberry seed oil (Rubus idaeus) is extracted from the numerous seeds of raspberries through the process of CO2 extraction or cold-pressing. The oil’s light and fruity scent is quite appealing.
Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, these properties make Raspberry seed oil an extremely effective and nourishing emollient.
This oil is an effective antioxidant that does wonders for eczema and other rashes, while soothing and moisturizing damaged skin. Raspberry seed oil has an average absorption rate, but has a nice, light feeling on the skin.
Extracted from chaff, the hard outer brown layer of rice, through a CO2 extraction method, Rice bran oil (Oryza sativa) benefits skin in many ways. Unrefined CO2-extracted rice bran oil offers a somewhat neutral, but pleasant scent.
Its plentiful micronutrients make it one of the best oils for skin. It contains phytosterols, tocopherols, and tocotrienols. However, the real starring ingredient is gamma-oryzanol, which provides excellent antioxidant properties.
Rice bran oil is amazing for dry or sensitive skin as it encourages moisture retention. It also improves circulation, helps to even out skin tone, and even increases your skin’s natural regeneration. Not only is it fast-absorbing, but it feels great and is excellent at soothing irritated skin.
Made from the seeds of rose bushes, Rosehip oil (Rosa canina) and extracted through cold pressing the oil provides powerful benefits. Rosehip oil typically offers a very pleasant, earthy scent.
This oil contains a lot of vitamin C and A, giving you powerful antioxidant properties. Packed with essential fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, linoleic, and gamma linoleic acid, the oil reduces dryness and skin sensitivity.
As one of the best skincare ingredients, Rosehip oil effectively treats sun damaged or mature skin. It’s also useful in treating acne, as it immediately absorbs into the skin without leaving behind an oily feel.
The seeds of the sea buckthorn shrub (Hippophae rhamnoides) provide oil through cold-pressing the seeds or CO2 extraction. It’s nutty, berry-like scent is light.
Sea buckthorn oil is rich in vitamins and minerals such as the anti-aging vitamin C and the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. It also contains omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
This oil is excellent for sensitive skin, as it reduces swelling and redness as well as promoting skin hydration and regeneration. Sea buckthorn oil absorbs fairly quickly, moisturizing the skin and leaving behind a slightly oily feel.
Last, but not least, Sweet almond oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis), obtained by cold-pressing almonds, giving it a strong, nutty odor.
Sweet almond oil vitamin A, which helps produce new skin cells, and vitamin E, which is a great antioxidant. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids that help protect against aging and sun damage.
This oil is one of the best oils for skin that has problems with dryness thanks to its moisturizing capabilities. It is a lightweight oil that easily absorbs into the skin, giving you a light, smooth feeling on your skin.
Plant-Powered: The Best Oils for Skin
Artificial chemicals can be harsh on your skin, leaving you with dry and damaged skin. All-natural, plant-based skincare ingredients infuse your skin with essential vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. These work with your body to heal and nourish your skin. Not only are these natural plant oils amazing for your skin, but they also do wonders to protect our environment and ensure a sustainable future. We believe in the power of all-natural, plant-based skincare.
Big brands use petroleum-based ingredients and heavy preservatives to create skincare products with a long shelf-life. GiveBody uses plant-based skincare ingredients to create products that are naturally stable and highly effective. Our mission is to create products with the highest quality ingredients that are ethically sourced and fairly traded. By making wise choices about skincare ingredients, you ensure healthy skin and a healthy world.