As a resentfully aging member of the 35-44 demographic, I’ve gone through enough whiplash-inducing reversals of skincare philosophy to put me in a neck brace for life. The most shocking of those reversals was the upheaval of my understanding of oils. When I was younger, I saw them (wrongly) as an evil to be strenuously avoided. Now I know better. When it comes to skin texture and radiance, oils are far from evil. Actually, they’re key!
This is a paid post. All research, tips, advice, and opinions are my own.
Anatomy of a glow
Typically, glowing skin owes its radiance to several discrete but synergistic factors. I’ve talked about them all before, but as a very quick refresher, “glow” is produced by the interaction of light both at the surface of skin and within the upper layers of it.
At the surface of skin, texture is what increases glow, since a smoother texture will reflect more light than a rough or uneven one. Down in the upper layers of skin, on the other hand, moisture levels are what matter. The more moisture your skin holds, the more effectively it can refract light, producing that lit-from-within look that can’t really be reproduced with makeup.
This is where facial oils come in. Facial oils can turn up your skin’s youthful radiance like very few other products. They lock hydration into skin, maximizing the dewy, “watery” component of your glow. They can also fill in the microscopic cracks and crevices between skin cells at the surface, smoothing skin texture for a higher-wattage result. And the best facial oils and oil blends also provide antioxidants for long-term anti-aging benefits, keeping your skin firmer for longer.
Early last year, I discussed three ways to use facial oils. Here are two more!
Oil under mask
The intensive hydrating properties of sheet masks make them a perfect counterpart to the powerful moisturizing properties of facial oils. Sheet masks pump skin full of water and humectants, not only delivering that dewy glow but also plumping skin up to temporarily minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles exacerbated by dehydration. Oils seal in that hydration, extending its effects while further plumping and smoothing the surface of skin. Result? A juicy, supple, more youthfully luminous complexion.
Several brands now sell sheet masks prepackaged with a single dose of oil to apply under the mask, but you don’t have to use the sets to get those effects. You can layer your own favorite facial oil under your own favorite sheet masks instead.
Just pat a few drops of oil on your skin, then apply your sheet mask and use as you normally would. The mask sheet and the penetration enhancers in the mask essence will help the oil sink in more thoroughly than it would otherwise. You may need a little extra time for any essence residue to dry after removing your mask, but the end results are worth it.
It's #sheetmasksaturday again and this week's letter is "J." I've chosen the #Naruko Supreme Rejuvenating Treatment Mask, which uses Job's Tears (coix lacryma-jobi) water as one of the sixty mllion brightening and #antiaging traditional Chinese herbal medicine extracts in the ingredients list. . #3RIFIC product provided with compensation for sponsored testing and review by @3rific_skincare. . Naruko product provided by @narukous. #Amorepacific product provided by @amorepacific_us. . Before putting on the sheet mask, I'm going to pat just a drop or two of 3RIFIC Premium Face Oil on my forehead and neck to deal with some dryness that's popped up there the last few days. . The Supreme Rejuvenating Treatment Mask is a 4-D mask, meaning that it's made out of a stretchy material with a seam down the middle of the face (to encourage closer fit with no tenting, I think) and side and chin flaps that end in loops that hook around the ears for full coverage down to the neck. . This mask is cut a little on the small side, so it isn't the most comfortable out there. Also, the neck flaps feel a little strangly to me–I hate having things around my neck! But the strong moisturizing, firming, and brightening effects keep me coming back to this when I want some heavy duty pampering. . The Naruko mask is so moisturizing that combined with the oil beforehand, I doubt I'll need heavy cream tonight. Finishing with Amorepacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel. . Swipe through the slideshow to see the ingredients for the mask and to get #eggrolled. TARDIS included because I think I'm binging some Doctor Who tonight. . Play Sheet Mask Saturday with us every week and check out @nourishtheskin @snowwhiteandtheasianpear @modgeek @lotusandthesnail @woodnote_song @kimmie_sings5 and @asianbeautyja for more Sheet Mask Saturday posts! . #fiftyshadesofsnail #rasianbeauty #abcommunity #beautycommunity #skincare #beauty #skincarediary #sheetmaskaddict #masking #dryskin #beautyreview #maskreview #instaskincare #30plusbloggers
I particularly like using oils under eye masks–the combination of a dab of oil and a plumping hydrogel completely erases the fine lines under my eyes for a good 12 hours or more at a time.
Oil as a serum mixer
One of my biggest skincare challenges is warm weather. Because it’s not like heat and/or humidity can cause my skin to magically not need skincare anymore, but heat and/or humidity sure can make my usual multilayered skincare routine feel completely unbearable. And this is where oil mixed into serum (or essence, really) can come in handy.
Mixing facial oil in with your most indispensable essence or serum step can create a skincare powerhouse, giving your skin all the expected benefits of your serum plus all the benefits of your oil, but without the heavy feel that a layer of oil on its own may produce. Just mix a couple of drops of oil in with essence or serum, then pat into skin as usual to give skin an extra bounce. Normal and oily complexions may not even need an extra moisturizer on top.
A couple of cautions with this method:
Don’t mix your oil with L-ascorbic acid vitamin C or AHA or BHA chemical exfoliants. Since the effectiveness of acids depends strongly on concentration, you don’t want to dilute them.
Also, don’t mix your oil into your essence or serum bottle. (Most) commercial skincare products are preserved specifically for their particular formulation and packaging, and introducing another substance into the mix can compromise the preservatives’ effectiveness. Instead, mix the oil into the essence or serum immediately before application each time. If you’re generally so pressed for time that that extra step doesn’t sound feasible, use a small travel container to pre-mix just a few days’ worth of product, but no more than that.
About 3RIFIC Premium Face Oil
This post was sponsored by Singapore-based beauty brand 3RIFIC, who compensated me to write about their Premium Face Oil, which was named Best Facial Oil by the The Beauty Shortlist Award 2017 in the UK and the Beauty Hall of Fame Awards 2017 by Singapore’s Cleo Magazine.
I’ve had a couple of months to test the product (mostly using the methods described above and in my earlier post on ways to use face oils), so I feel comfortable telling you guys about the Premium Face Oil now.
Made in Japan and composed of 99% naturally derived and 85.5% certified organic ingredients according to the brand, 3RIFIC Premium Face Oil is an oil blend which claims to hydrate, moisturize, and rejuvenate the appearance of aging skin.
(Many oils claim to hydrate, but it’s important to note that unless they actually contain water-based and humectant ingredients, the oils themselves aren’t hydrating. Instead, their “hydrating” effects come from their ability to help skin retain its own natural hydration as well as whatever hydration you’ve added using other products. This is why I always recommend that you pair oils with watery products in your skincare routine. In the case of 3RIFIC Premium Face Oil, it does contain rose flower water to provide some hydration, though presumably the proportion of that ingredient to the others is quite low.)
3RIFIC Premium Face Oil ingredients: Isoamyl laurate*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, argania spinosa kernel (argan) oil*, adansonia digitata (baobab) oil, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, squalane, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, oryza sativa (rice) bran oil, lupinus albus seed (lupine) extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, rosa centifolia flower (rose) water, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, glycine soja (soybean) oil, tocopherol, caprylic/capric triglyceride, ethylhexylglycerin, glyceryl caprylate, stearyl glycyrrhetinate
The ingredients in this oil blend make it look like an antioxidant powerhouse. That’s just the thing to provide preventative anti-aging benefits (along with sunscreen!) for younger complexions and to supplement a more focused anti-aging skincare routine for older skin.
When they can be properly absorbed and utilized by skin, antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals generated by unavoidable enemies like UV radiation and environmental stressors. They can also help prevent some types of excess pigmentation by minimizing the oxidation of melanin in the skin. The grape seed oil high up in the ingredients list here is particularly exciting for its known potent antioxidant content, but pretty much all of the plant oils used in the product are said to be rich in antioxidants.
3RIFIC also claims the collagen-boosting properties of the lupine seed extract it uses in the product. I’ve seen references to lupine seed extract’s ability to stimulate collagen production (and therefore increase skin firmness) in a couple of patents available online, like this one. 3RIFIC uses a patented extraction process to obtain its lupine seed extract, trademarked as Collageneer, and pairs it with the Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate vitamin C derivative to substantiate the product’s anti-aging claims.
Since the Premium Face Oil contains several ingredients flagged as acne triggers in CosDNA, breakout-prone skin should patch test before using. Of the flagged ingredients, soybean oil appears to pose the most risk, with a rating of 3 out of 5. Macadamia seed, evening primrose, olive, and avocado oil and tocopherol (vitamin E) are flagged as 2s, while squalane gets a 1. Remember that comedogenecity ratings are flawed, however, and consider your own sensitivities (or lack thereof).
As always, avoid if your skin is sensitive to any of the ingredients in the ingredients list. Otherwise, 3RIFIC Premium Face Oil is suitable for all skin types, but particularly normal-to-dry and dry skin.
3RIFIC Premium Face Oil is a comparatively thin and lightweight, unfragranced oil in a slim and sturdy glass button-top dropper bottle. Dispensed from the bottle and spread over skin, it smells very lightly of plant oils just at first; the thin consistency allows it to sink in quickly on its own and even more quickly when used under (or immediately after) a sheet mask or when mixed into a cream or serum.
My skin has been happily normal for the past few months, so I rarely use oils full-face anymore. Instead, I most frequently turn to the Premium Face Oil when I’m dealing with discrete dry patches or undereye fine lines. I’ve been very happy with its performance: it smooths out my undereye area and eases my forehead dryness well and is a thoroughly pleasant addition to my face oil collection. For what it’s worth, I personally haven’t experienced any breakouts or irritation with the product.
3RIFIC Premium Face Oil is free of petrolatum-based ingredients, silicones, parabens, artificial colors and fragrances, and animal-derived ingredients. It is not tested on animals.
Into anti-aging? Check out my many other posts on the topic in my Anti-Aging tag!