Everything You Need to Know About Oils
Oils are everywhere, but how are you supposed to know which ones you need? There’s an oil for dry skin, sure, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s an oil for dandruff, one for fading dark spots, and even one for pimples. And while using oils in the quest for beauty is ancient practice, they’re having a moment in the spotlight right now. You’ve probably noticed almost every celebrity we interview has one in her routine: Ginnifer Goodwin washes her face with coconut oil, Kourtney Kardashian uses that same oil as a scalp treatment for stronger hair, while her sister Kourtney slathers avocado oil on her face. Even Sophia Loren adds olive oil to her bathwater for suppler skin.
You can buy pure oils at your local health food store—look out for words like extra virgin and unrefined—or you’ll find them listed among the ingredients of a surprising number of products. To help guide you, we’ve assembled a handy guide detailing what oils do and how best to use them.
Native Americans used jojoba oil hundreds of years ago for everything from treating wounds to hydrating hair. Why? It’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and non-comedogenic.
Uses: Heat a tablespoon or two and apply as a hot oil treatment to your hair in the shower. For skin, press it into your damp face in place of lotion, or massage into dry cuticles for hydration.
Thanks to very high levels of fatty acids, coconut oil is incredibly hydrating. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, plus it smells amazing.
Uses: For hair, use it as a deep conditioner, frizz-fighting serum, or as a scalp treatment. (Kardashian applies it to her scalp, combs it through to her ends, and shampoos it out one hour later.) It will also replace your richest body cream, lip balm, cuticle oil, and makeup remover. It’s very thick, so a little goes a long way.
Essential fatty acids make this oil hydrating and nourishing, but the texture is closer to a serum, so it soaks in quickly.
Uses: Have an itchy scalp or dandruff? Part hair and massage onto your scalp, working a light amount through the length and ends of your locks. Let it soak in overnight, then shampoo in the morning.
The fresh-smelling essential oil is found in everything from candles to lip balms to desserts, thanks to high levels of invigorating and tingling menthol. It also calms red skin and makes hair shinier.
Uses: It’s too strong to apply full strength, so try adding a few drops to your shampoo or body oil to get the benefits.