If you have dry skin, then you know that keeping your skin plump and flake-free throughout the day is a feat, which is where a face oil can come into play. Liz Kennedy, licensed esthetician and founder of Beauty Magnet, tells Elite Daily that the best face oils for dry skin contain ingredients like almond oil or marula oil, since their emollient properties help to balance the moisture barrier and lock in hydration without feeling too heavy or greasy. Elite Daily also spoke with dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, who recommends oils that offer additional skin care benefits thanks to things like antioxidants and UV filters. Ahead, you’ll find a rundown of our experts’ favorite face oils for dry skin
Joshua Zeichner, M.D., F.A.A.D., is an Associate Professor and the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He is also the medical advisor of the hormonal acne-focused skin care brand, JORI.
What To Consider When Adding A Face Oil To Your Routine
There is a difference between dry and dehydrated skin, with dehydration having to do with your skin’s water content and dryness having to do with your skin’s moisture barrier. “For dehydrated skin, an oil alone isn’t going to solve for the lack of moisture,” says Kennedy. “Use a facial spray, immediately follow with hyaluronic acid, and finish with a cream before you apply an oil to lock all that moisture in.” By addressing both dehydrated and dry skin, you’ll be able to reap the most benefits from a face oil.
Kennedy recommends applying a face oil as the last step in your nighttime routine, and as the second to last step during the daytime. Kennedy explains, “You have to apply your daily SPF after oil in the mornings to make sure your skin is protected. You only need two drops of oil, and you can use your hands to directly apply to your skin.”
Shop The Best Face Oils For Dry Skin
Want to get your hands on a face oil ASAP? Shop the best face oils for dry skin below:
- The Overall Best Face Oil For Dry Skin: NOW Solutions Sweet Almond Oil
- The Best Face Oil For Dry, Rosacea-Prone Skin: Pure Body Naturals Marula Face Oil
- The Best Face Oil Made From Superfoods: ELEMIS Superfood Facial Oil
- The Best Face Oil With Sunscreen: MELĒ No Shade Sunscreen Oil
- The Best Face Oil With Vitamin C: Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
- The Best Face Oil With Retinol: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
1. The Overall Best Face Oil For Dry Skin
- Does not contain skin care actives for additional benefits.
“For dry skin, you’ll want to [follow your skin care routine] with almond oil for a very satisfying, nourishing experience,” says Kennedy, who recommends this 100% pure sweet almond oil since it’s rich in fatty acids and soothing to sensitive skin types. But, skin care doesn’t stop at your face, and luckily, this investment of just $6 can be used as an all-over body treatment and even on the ends of your hair.
Key Ingredient: Sweet Almond Oil Cruelty-Free: Yes Size: 118 mL
2. The Best Face Oil For Dry, Rosacea-Prone Skin
- Does not contain skin care actives for additional benefits.
Kennedy recommends marula oil for dry, rosacea-prone skin “because [it’s] lightweight and doesn’t typically aggravate rosacea, which can be easily inflamed.” Marula oil, which comes from marula trees in Africa, is an absorbent oil that locks moisture into the skin while softening dry patches. With its antioxidant benefits, marula oil offers a one-two punch for both keeping skin moisturized and protected against environmental aggressors like free radicals. And this one, which is cold-pressed and 100% pure, can be used on your hair, skin, and nails (as is the case for most oils, admittedly).
Key Ingredient: Marula oil Cruelty-Free: Yes Size: 30 mL
3. The Best Face Oil Made From Superfoods
- Contains nine superfoods that provide antioxidant protection.
Kennedy says that her favorite face oil for dry skin is “the ELEMIS Superfood Facial Oil because it’s very lightweight.” Other than absorbing into skin quickly for a non-greasy feel, this oil is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to improve the skin’s moisture barrier, courtesy of flaxseed oil. It also contains broccoli seed oil which moisturizes, hydrates, and provides antioxidant protection, thanks to its high vitamin A content. But, these are just a few of the nine antioxidant-rich superfoods living in this compact 15-milliliter bottle, with most of them offering additional skin care benefits, too. Basically, this oil is like a nutrient-rich green juice for dry skin.
Key Ingredients: Meadowfoam seed oil, flaxseed oil, broccoli seed oil, orange peel oil, rosemary leaf oil Cruelty-Free: Yes Size: 15 mL
4. The Best Face Oil With Sunscreen
- Contains chemical UV protectors with SPF 30.
- MELĒ is a Black-owned brand that co-creates products for melanin-rich skin with dermatologists of color.
- Not everyone wants a face oil with SPF.
- Because it has SPF, it’s best reserved for nighttime use only.
Dr. Zeichner tells Elite Daily that the MELĒ No Shade Sunscreen Oil is one of the oils he commonly recommends to his patients with dry skin. “This oil both hydrates and protects at the same time. Emollient oils soothe the skin without leaving behind a greasy feeling, while the formula also provides broad-spectrum UV protection,” he says. This oil contains chemical UV protectors, meaning it won’t leave behind a white cast — just a dewy sheen. Since this oil contains SPF 30, it’s a two-in-one product you can use as the last step in your daytime skin care routine.
Key Ingredients: Chemical UV protectors, isohexadecane Cruelty-Free: N/A Size: 30 mL
5. The Best Face Oil With Vitamin C
- Contains vitamin C for free radical protection.
“The Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil is an ultra-light oil that dries down without leaving you feeling sticky,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Squalane is an emollient ingredient [used] to soften rough cells in the outer skin layer, while rose oil provides natural antioxidants to calm and protect the skin.” This oil is also rich in vitamin C to provide protection against free radicals and help fade unwanted hyperpigmentation. Though pricey, this is a luxe face oil that can be used as both a part of your morning and nighttime skin care routines.
Key Ingredients: Squalane, rose oil, vitamin C Cruelty-Free: Yes Size: 30 mL
6. The Best Face Oil With Retinol
- Contains a gentle retinoid to boost collagen and elastin production.
- Covers all your nighttime skin care bases in one product.
- Since it contains a retinoid, you can only use this at night.
- Very pricey at $55 for the tiny, half-ounce bottle (the full-size bottle will set you back over $100).
A trick to avoiding retinol-induced dryness is to use emollients to soothe and support the skin’s moisture barrier — and Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil happens to combine both a retinol and an emollient moisturizer in one. This oil contains a trans-retinoic acid ester that boosts collagen and elastin production in the skin, while blue tansy oil helps to soothe and chamomile oil offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Finally, avocado oil supports the moisture barrier with omega fatty acids.
Key Ingredients: Trans-retinoic acid esters, blue tansy oil, chamomile oil, avocado oil Cruelty-Free: Yes Size: 15 mL
Liz Kennedy, licensed aesthetician and founder of Beauty Magnet
Joshua Zeichner, M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist
Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future, by Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/