The A to Z Guide to Beauty Oils

Victoria Moorhouse
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Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

The explosion of beauty oils isn’t a hot-second trend—there’s a reason we’re now turning to this–let’s face it–greasy substance to help us cleanse, moisturize, strengthen our skin, add shine to our hair, keep our cuticles soft, and tons more. Some oils are more popular than others, being combined with say, a lotion or a shampoo for the ultra beauty cocktail, while others have more holistic, aroma-therapeutic qualities—one sniff and you’re on your way to a super calm vibe.

Most beauty brands call out these magical oil ingredients in their descriptions, allowing you to get an idea of what’s really making the difference in your routine. From the powers of argan oil to the newly trending action marula oil is getting, there’s a lot of beauty oils out there. We rounded up a few from A-Z (plus some tips for how to use!) and broke down what they’re said to be most beneficial in – plus what types of products you’ll likely see each specific oil listed on the back of.

MORE: 6 Daily Habits That Mess With Your Skin

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Almond Oil
Almonds, almond milk, almond butter! This nut has a lot of beneficial relatives. In the beauty world, almond oil is an ingredient that will, most likely, show up in the cases of moisturizers, as it provides your skin with gentle nourishment.

Aloe Vera Oil
Sun burn? Aloe is your go-to. We don’t have to tell you twice. Aloe vera oil is calming in nature, so it’s known for soothing irritated skin and, obviously, burns, so it’s common in moisturizers, too. Anti-inflammatory is it’s claim to fame, but aloe vera is said to house many antioxidants that work to repair the skin.

Argan Oil
Argan oil was one of those ingredients that pretty much exploded over the past two years. Here’s why—it can be used for just about EVERYTHING you’d possibly imagine in your beauty routine. Because it’s super moisturizing, it’s a big player in hair care products and skin care products, alike. It’s also extremely light, so it doesn’t feel like you’re coating your skin in something greasy. It can also be used on your lips and cuticles, and is packed with vitamin E for an extra special protective treat.

Avocado Oil
Put down the avocado toast and listen up! Avocado oil, as you might imagine, is a hair care dream! It’s an alternative to coconut oil as a leave-in treatment or deep conditioner, leaving hair soft and shiny as it works to repair with its fatty acids. Vitamin E and A are present in this ingredient, and you can find it in anti-aging eye treatments, facial masks, conditioners, and even lip gloss to add hydration. Lupita Nyong’o has been said to use it to take off her makeup off, too.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Black Seed Oil
Love all things Kardashian? If you’re truly a super-fan, this ingredient may sound a bit familiar. It’s ever-present in the girl’s beauty line, infused in just about every single one of their new hair care products for its sheen-enhancing and moisturizing qualities. It’s very big in the middle east but has not yet shown up in a ton of beauty products here in the US.

Bergamot Oil
It’s citrus-y in nature, as it comes from tiny yellow fruit (not lemons, obviously) found on bergamot trees. It smells great, which might not surprise you to learn that it can be used as a deodorant. It’s actually an antiseptic, which is while it’s great to use for that very purpose and helps to heal blemished skin. It’s scent is often used in perfume notes and has been said to be used in aromatherapy.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Castor Oil
Probably most recognized for having anti-inflammatory qualities, as it’s often used on sunburn and acne and has been used as a method to promote hair growth (it’s rich in fatty acids needed for hair growth). It’s extracted from a bean that’s grown on its plant. There are lots of other apparent claims to fame, but not all have been confirmed. Often, you can find it in lip products as a moisturizer.

Carrot Seed Oil
Taken from the seeds of carrots, this oil is rich in beta-carotene (found in, surprise, carrots) and therefore, antioxidants. It’s also a decent moisturizer.

Calendula Oil
Trying to calm your skin? Calendula oil is a call-out in many redness-reducing products for your skin for its anti-inflammatory, soothing benefits.

Chamomile Oil
Similar to the tea that holds that plant in its name, this oil is believed to have soothing properties for your skin if irritated, often found in soaps and after-sun products.

Chia Oil
Got a thing for chia at breakfast time? Chia seed oil, an extracted ingredient from the seed, reportedly contains fatty acids, antioxidants, and can apparently strengthen the surface of your skin. Could this be a beauty regimen essential, too?

Coconut Oil
Brittle, breaking hair got you really down? Coconut oil is often used to boost hydration and strengthen hair. Then, there’s that whole oil pulling trend that uses the ingredient, swished around in the mouth, to reduce toxins and bacteria.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Dull, dry hair can benefit from the nutrients that are held in oils—and most facial and hair oils, specifically coconut oil, can be multitaskers. One bottle, two uses–who can argue with that?

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Evening Primrose Oil
Extracted from a flower, it’s reported that this oil, rich in fatty acids, has been used to soothe skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. However, it’s not one you’ll see so wildly talked about as, say, argan oil.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Flaxseed Oil
Only associate the word flaxseed with your cereal? Well, flaxseed oil is a notable in the skin care world. It can be found in beauty products but also bought on its own. Known for having omega-3s which hydrate. It’s been said that flaxseed oil also helps reduce secretion, which in turn can make your pores appear smaller.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Grape Seed Oil
True to its name, grape seed oil is extracted from the seed of a grape, making it what’s called a “carrier oil” If you use a lot of Caudalie skin care products, this ingredient will sound very familiar. This brand, specifically, calls out grape seed oil for its levels of vitamin E and omega-6 (a fatty acid) for skin health. Vitamin E, specifically, for its antioxidant qualities helps with skin nourishment and regeneration. It’s also been said by some that it helps regulate the skin’s production of oils.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Hemp Seed Oil
This oil comes from the hemp plant, and is found in a ton of beauty products, from moisturizers to lip products, due to its high volume of fatty acids and being an emollient. The Body Shop uses the ingredient to make a series of heavy duty lotions and creams.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Irritated skin can benefit from the light, soothing powers of aloe vera oil, tea tree oil, and plenty more – which is why investing in an oil can be a must in your beauty routine.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is often found in moisturizers of ALL different types (we’ve seen it in lip scrubs, nail products, daily lotions) as it has been said to be very similar to the skin’s sebum (a natural moisturizer), penetrating the surface and getting to work.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Keep a body oil (yep, they have those too!) in the shower for the days when you run out of shaving cream. It’s silky enough so that you won’t feel like you’re dragging your razor against a tough surface, preventing nicks and cuts. Plus, you’ll moisturize and shave in one go!

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Lavender Oil
It’s one of those big time mood-boosters, often used in aromatherapy practices and in lotions for its calming effects and pretty scent. It’s a common note in fragrances, too. According to “The Essential Oils for Health,” a guide to oils by Certified Integrative Reflexologist Kymberly Keniston-Pond, Lavender oil is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance that has been used for healing burns and cleaning wounds.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Marula Oil
This one is getting a TON of buzz! It’s harvested in South Africa from the Marula plant and can be used in your skin care routine as an anti-aging treatment, warding off wrinkles and protecting from free radicals as it’s filled with antioxidants (it’s said to have more than Argan oil) and fatty acids that protect, soften, and strengthen your skin and hair. This product often comes in a dropper bottle that you apply to either your skin (it’s really light and won’t clog your pores) or the ends of your hair. It’s also said to be rich in Vitamin C (making it ideal for your complexion).

Moringa Oil
This ingredient might not ring familiar to you, but it’s included in many skin care products and reportedly fights germs and is often found in hydrating products for your hair.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Neroli Oil
Neroli often shows up as a note in fragrances, but the essential oil is actually contained in hair products like Shu Uemura‘s Cleansing Oil Shampoo that works to soothe and purify dry hair while providing it with the moisture it needs—AKA, hydration without the weight.

 

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Olive Oil
The heavy formula of olive oil is often used as a deep conditioner in hair masks and a hydrating ingredient in lotions and soaps.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Peppermint Oil
The scent is one you’ll remember, and peppermint in general can be found in skin care products (you’ve definitely seen moisturizers touched with this ingredient) for its ability to soothe, but it’s reportedly used for normalizing oil production as well. The scent is regenerating. According to ‘Essential Oils for Health,’ the oil form of this ingredient is anti-inflammatory, an antiseptic, and helps reduce itching.

Pumpkin Seed Oil
While the benefits of this oil haven’t yet been thoroughly explored, it’s getting a ton of action in the headlines thanks to beauty-trendsetter Gwyneth Paltrow. Its polyunsaturated fatty acids, natural antioxidants, and vitamins are reportedly beneficial to both the hydration of your skin and hair. Another expert claims that the nutrients it holds can help control acne and even skin tone.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Quickly tame fly-aways by lightly coating your hands in an oil and running it over the top of your strands.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Rosehip Seed Oil
This oil is reportedly rich in vitamin A, which can help promote collagen production in your skin, making it possibly beneficial as an anti-aging treatment. Experts also say that it may reduce facial redness, puffiness, and the appearance of scars. It’s obviously also a good agent for moisturizing.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Sunflower Seed Oil
This particular oil is an emollient and is reportedly great for re-hydrating dry skin and protecting it due to the vitamin E it holds. Experts claim it’s also a quickly absorbing oil. What can you find it in? Aveda’s Energizing Composition Oil as well as Fresh’s Fresh Life Body Oil both call it out in their lists, as well as a ton of other products.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Tea Tree Oil
We’ve got A LOT to say about tea tree oil. It’s rather healing (but gentle!), so putting this stuff on blemished skin is a common use. It’s also been said to be used on bug bites and cuts, for it’s anti-bacterial qualities. There are lines devoted to tea tree oil, and it has a very distinct, almost herbal scent.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Understand that even those with oily hair can use oils to nourish their locks–just place them midway down the hair shaft and at the ends!

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Vitamin E Oil
You can get the restorative and replenishing (see hydration, skin brightening, and free radical-fighting!) benefits of vitamin E from A TON of the beauty oils listed here, but you can also pick up a pure version of the treatment in an oil form. However, it’s been said to be rather thick, so using it during the day and under your makeup might not be ideal, but experts say it’s good for extremely dry skin. Note that many beauty brands’ vitamin E formulas hold other essential or important oils in their ingredients list, as it’s often the feature ingredient in a medley of sorts.

 

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Wheat Germ Oil
Although it’s been said to be a carrier of many vitamins and nutrients, wheat germ oil, derived from the wheat kernel, it’s been said to be a great carrier of vitamin E, a reparative vitamin often found in overnight serums and facial products.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

X-rated oil you shouldn’t regularly use? Tanning oil. While drawing in vitamin D is always an essential, purposefully attracting UV and UB rays to your skin could end up in sunburn, premature aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and in serious cases, skin cancer conditions.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Ylang-Ylang
This oil, known for having an aroma-therapeutic use, is gathered by being distilled from flowers. It’s floral scent is often called out in many beauty products, including body oils, perfumes, and hair care products. In terms of hair, products call out this ingredient often for its reported conditioning benefits.

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Zzz! Facial oils are great reparative options for your skin while you sleep, as they can penetrate deeply into the layers of your skin.

 

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