What are the best natural oils for your skin? And which oil is good for what? We explain!
By Arwa Lodhi
For centuries, beautiful women have known that by using the best natural oils for your skin, you can achieve a glowing complexion, glossy hair and strong nails.
Now, get that image of chip-frying oil out of your head! There’s a wide variety of different kinds of beautifully fragrant vegetable oils derived from myriad plants that each have their own unique beauty-enhancing properties.
These oils don’t clog pores, or leave your skin feeling greasy like mineral oil does. On the contrary: they protect, hydrate and can even cleanse your skin!
In our guide to the best natural oils for your skin, we researched which oils brought which benefits, and in which products you can find them. Some of them can not only be rubbed into you body, face and hair, but can be eaten to deliver awesome results, too!
So without further ado, here’s our list of the best natural oils for your skin. They bring beauty benefits of all kinds!
Image below: Subtle Energies
The Best Natural Oils For Your Skin
1. Monoi Oil
The “sacred oil of the Polynesians” traces its roots back to the native Maori tribe, the indigenous Polynesians in New Zealand. The British explorer of the eighteenth century, James Cook, discovered that Monoi oil was used by the Maori people for medicinal purposes, beauty routines, and religious rituals, and he brought that knowledge to Europe.
To create this precious oil, the fragrant blooms of the Tahitian Monoi plant are soaked in oil carefully extracted from young coconuts.
Benefits: Monoi has soothing, restorative properties, and can be used on the hair, skin and nails. This this one of the best oils for beauty to prevent stretch marks on the breasts and bellies of pregnant women and reverses and prevents damage to even the most distressed hair caused by heat-styling, colour-treating and chemical straightening. Smells amazing, too!
Best for: The body
Brands: NARS is one of the few brands that use this exotic oil in a wide range of their organic products.
2. Argan Oil
This ancient Moroccan beauty oil is extracted from the nut of a slow growing tree, which only exists in the driest parts of the world–hence the high price of the oil.
When you buy argan oil, you’re also contributing to environmental conservation, as the argan trees are conserved due to the monetisation of their fruits. Additionally, you’ll be helping traditional communities of women. It’s normally Berber women who harvest the seeds and get fairly paid for their labour.
Benefits: The perfect all-in-one moisturiser for the skin, body, face, hands, nails, scalp and hair. It has long been known to be one of the best oils for beauty, especially for keeping the hair strong and luscious.
Best for: Hair
Brands: Look for brands that use pure, unadulterated oil, like those by Kahina and Moroccan Natural. Because it is so expensive, some brands only use a few drops and dilute the oil with other products, but pure Argan Oil, such as that used by the brands above, will give you the best results for smooth skin and hair–check the label! (PS: One that contains very, very little Argan at all is the popular brand Moroccan Oil. Avoid!)
This oil is from the nut we all love to bake with and eat! The oil is simply taken from the pressed fruit of the humble almond tree.
Benefits: This sweet smelling oil is very high in Vitamin E and makes a great moisturiser and cleanser. Perfect for rubbing into cuticles, dabbing onto the ends of hair, or using to hydrate and nourish skin. Me? I dab a bit of it onto a reusable cotton sponge with a bit of water. Makeup melts right off!
Best for: Hair, face, those on a budget
This is pressed from the oil of the aromatic wood from trees in the genus Santalum. These woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and retain their fragrance for decades. Due to high demand, the sandalwood tree is actually endangered in some parts of the world. Make sure whatever sandalwood oil you buy is sourced sustainably!
Benefits: Sandalwood essential oil is packed with benefits, including its properties as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, disinfectant, emollient, expectorant, sedative and tonic substance. It smells wonderful too, and is used not only in skincare products, but in perfumes as well. See the chart below for all of sandalwood’s beauty benefits.
Best for: Aromatherapy, face, anti-ageing…loads of things!
Brands: Aromatherapy Associates and UMA Oils both use Sandalwood to wonderful effect in a wide range of their products. For example? UMA’s under eye hydrating oil with Sandalwood is a huge best seller.
5. Avocado Oil
This highly nutritious oil comes pressed from the humble pit of that salad favourite, the avocado. Whilst eating avocados provides essential Omega 3 fats, which are great for our skin, the avo kernel also produces one of the best natural oils for your skin.
Benefits: Cold pressed avocado oil is rich in proteins, antioxidant vitamins, and is particularly high in skin-protecting Vitamin E. This is a great one for sensitive skins, as avocado oil is highly alkaline.
Best for: Face and body
Brands: Avocado oil is used by many natural beauty brands. But one of our faves is Odylique. This vegan brand is well known for its organic ingredients. It’s also female owned. Yay!
6. Olive Oil
A Mediterranean favourite, this oil has been used for centuries. The Romans used to apply it to their skin and have slaves scrape it off to exfoliate and cleanse it (no soap back in those days!) Today, it’s not often used for beauty, due to its rather potent smell.
Benefits: This is a deeply hydrating oil, rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that protect the skin from harm.
Best for: Hair and skin
Brands: Though you can use olive oil right out of the bottle (as my grandma did!) it’s best when diluted with other natural oils to hide the vegetable smell. Odylique makes a great olive oil based balm for extremely dry skin. And don’t worry, it smells rather citrusy, not at all like salad dressing!
Trevarno also makes a lovely cream using olive oil.
7. Coconut Oil
This is derived from that trending favourite fruit, the exotic coconut.
Benefits: Where do we begin? Women in tropical countries have been using this for centuries as a hair tonic, massage oil, skin soother. Some even believe it can protect the skin from sun damage! The oil is high in proteins, saturated fats, antioxidants and also has antibacterial and anti-microbial features.
Eating it is just as beneficial as applying it to the skin, nails, or hair. Some like to ‘swish’ it in their mouths (moving it back and forth over the teeth) for about 10 minutes. This practice, sometimes called ‘pulling’, is said to detoxify the body and whiten the teeth. It can also be used to take off makeup; guaranteed not to clog pores! There are loads of ways to use this stuff! It’s definitely one of the best natural oils for your skin.
Best for: Makeup removal, hair, skin
Brands: It’s easy just to buy this in its purest form, but some brands that incorporate it with amazing results. For example? Sudtana’s awesome Turmeric, Coconut & Sesame body oil blend! Made from fresh Thai coconuts and organic sesame and jojoba oils, this is an all-day hydrating shield to smooth your skin. It’s also got turmeric to support collagen production and repair your skin, too.
8. Grape Seed Oil
Extracted from the pips of grapes used to make wine, this oil is also used in the kitchen for cooking, or to put over salad.
Benefits: The oil is extremely rich in beta-carotene and vitamins D, C, E. It also happens to have a concentration of essential fatty acids like palmitic, stearic, and linoleic acid. These fatty acids have performed well in clinical anti-wrinkle trials. They have also proven to be effective at minimizing the prominence and size of scars. You can use this oil directly on your skin from the kitchen. And cooking with it will bring the same beauty benefits.
Best for: Face and body
Brands: Caudalie famously uses the grape seed oil from their French vineyards.
This is one of the most loved and commonly used oils for beauty. It’s extracted from the seeds of flowering Evening Primrose plants, and the best part? It doesn’t cost a mint!
Benefits: This highly curative oil can help with a variety of issues, such as cell renewal and correcting an uneven skin tone. Perfect for mature skins, it has an anti-inflammatory effect, and can be taken orally as a supplement for a variety of health concerns, ranging from PMS to asthma.
Best for: Mature skin
10. Moringa Oil
Of all the best natural oils for your skin., this one is truly exceptional!
First used by ancient Hindu and Egyptian societies, it contains an extraordinarily high content of antioxidants. Moringa Oil (or Ben oil, as it is sometimes called) is obtained by pressing the seeds of the Moringa oilefera tree. Moringa oil can be used in cooking as well as beauty products.
Benefits: The strong antioxidant properties protect the skin from sun damage and ageing. Both the fatty acid profile and antioxidant content can diminish the appearance of wrinkles, lighten skin tone, and deeply moisturise the skin. Some people use this oil for post-acne marks, which actually tend to fade much quicker due to these skin-refining properties in the oil. Psoriasis and eczema sufferers may find some relief with this oil, too.
Best for: Eczema and other skin conditions
11. Marula Oil
This is one of the most expensive natural oils for your skin, but it’s a seriously beneficial one! It’s high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm reddened skin that’s irritated by pollution and other external factors.
Expect a nice surge of plumpness and hydration after applying this oil, as it has a wonderful protective barrier that also retains the water that naturally occurs in your skin.
Benefits: Pollution protection, moisture retention.
Best for: The face. A little goes a long way – this is not a cheap oil!
Brands: Try Luxe Botanics. This brand specialises in natural oils, and concentrates them so they really work!
12. Rosehip Oil
This may have ‘rose’ in the name, but don’t expect a flowery scent here! This oil is more herbally fragranced, and contains essential fatty acids help to regenerate skin cells and to repair damaged skin tissue. This is one of the best natural oils for your skin if you need to tighten it up a bit. It’s great for pregnant women, those who have lost a lot of weight in a short time, or for mature skins.
Benefits: This oil is renowned for being able to repair dry, sun damaged skin and helping to improve the appearance of burns, scars, wrinkles and stretch marks.
Best for: Firming the skin on the face or body; damaged and mature skin
Brands: Arithmos makes the best rosehip oil based facial oil. It also features neroli, jasmine and other delicious, plant-based oils. Yum!
13. Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed is one of the best natural oils for your skin! It’s perfect for most skin types as it can moisturise without clogging pores. It can help to balance out oily skin, hydrating it and regulating the skin’s oil production. Ironically, dryness can also cause your skin to overproduce oil, which in turn, can stimulate acne. But hemp oil can prevent dry skin – without clogging pores. This helps reduce acne that’s caused by excess oil.
One of the omega-6 fatty acids that hemp oil contains is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory while simultaneously encouraging skin growth and new cell generation. This can help to calm inflammation and irritation on the skin, including acne and some conditions like psoriasis, while keeping the skin nourished and hydrated.
Benefits: Heals skin conditions, balances oil production
Best for: Dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, very dry skin
Brands: You can buy this in its natural form (ingesting it helps your skin, too! Use it on salads or on cooked veggies, for example) or purchase it in a more concentrated form in Votary’s facial blend.
14. Sunflower Oil
In addition to vitamin E, sunflower oil is also rich in vitamins A, C, and D, making it effective in the treatment of acne. Sunflower seed oil contains vitamins and fatty acids that act as antioxidants to regenerate new skin cells and help your skin rid itself of acne-causing bacteria.
Benefits: Moisturises, cleanses and protects skin
Best for: Face and body; those with acne
Brands: Again, you can buy this in its natural form, but it doesn’t smell that great. Le Labo, on the other hand, make it smell absolutely sublime in its shower oil!
15. Pumpkin Seed Oil
It’s for more than just autumn! Pumpkin seed oil offers Vitamins E & C, plus Omegas 3,5,6,7 & 9 to protect skin cell structure and enhance elasticity. These oils help your skin to stretch and bounce back into shape without showing signs of damage.
Pumpkin seed oil also stimulates skin cell regeneration, visibly diminishing the appearance of existing marks and skin blemishes. It absorbs readily into the skin without leaving greasy residues, too.
Benefits: Helps with skin’s elasticity, stretch marks and firmness.
Best for: This is one of the best natural oils for your skin if you need to get rid of stretch marks, boost collagen or improve firmness.
Main image: Flickr