Facial oils will make your skin glow. They will instantly give you sought after skin dew. They will nourish, soothe, soften, moisturise, protect, replenish… the list goes on. Using facial oils the right way brings all of these skin benefits. Using a facial oil the wrong way may only get you a few.
How to use a facial oil
Facial oils can be intimidating. As ultra-rich, water-free treatments, a little goes a long way. Question is, when do you use those 1 to 2 drops? Is it before moisturiser? After cleanser? In replacement of serum?
The answer to all these questions is easy once you understand this simple nugget of skin science.
Skincare products should be applied in order of thickness.
Which means serums come before facial oils.
Lotions come before moisturisers.
…and the answer to your question, when to apply facial oil? After all 3, serums, lotions and moisturisers.
Facials oils are the thickest of all skincare products with just one exception – face balm. Meaning you will mostly be applying a facial oil, like our Amazonian Cacay Facial Oil as the last step in your skincare routine.
Pro-tip: If you’re new to using facial oils or find they take a while to sink in, apply another thin layer of moisturiser over top of your facial oil to help the oil based actives absorb fully.
When to apply facial oil
Another way to think of it is like this… moisturisers give a lot of water and a little bit of oil. Facial oils give a concentrated dose of oil. The bottom layers of your skin are both water and oil based. The top layers of your skin are almost completely oil based. Meaning serums needs to go deeper to benefit your skin, whereas facial oils are also very active even when absorbing into your skin’s first few layers.
Applying facial oils as the last step of your skincare routine allows serums to work just as effectively as your facial oils. Maximum benefits for skin.
Face oil vs. cream
Now you know when to apply facial oil, you might be wondering if you need both face oil and cream. Can you skip one? If a face cream has both water and oil and a face oil is just oil, can you use just a serum and oil?
This is the magic. Yes you can.
Face creams are a mixture of everything. Made from some water based actives, a few skin conditioners and a pinch more of nutritive oils. They’re a great cover-a-little-of-every-base approach. However if you want specialist solutions, you’ll likely find maximum skin benefits from using a separate serum and facial oil specifically catering for your skin’s unique needs.
Face oil before or after sunscreen?
Here comes the last caveat in the answer to your question when to apply facial oil. Sunscreen should always be applied after your facial oil. The purpose of sunscreen is to protect your skin against damaging UV light. It can only shield effectively when it’s in the very top layers of your skin. If you apply a facial oil on top of sunscreen, it will either not be absorbed or… it will sink sunscreen into deeper layers of your skin. Bottom line: Use face oil before sunscreen.
Do you have more questions about when to apply facial oils? Ask us them in the comments below…
Looking forward to trying it
Can you please tell if we can skip serum while applying facial oil.
Yes, you can skip a serum if you would like and just use a facial oil. It is really up to you!
What about if you have a moisturiser with build in sunscreen, when should your oil be applied before that?
If you have an SPF, then this should go on top of all other skincare. I hope that helps! x
I’m a bit confused (Ive been wondering the same thing and different things I have read say many things), but I also use a moisturizer with SPF in.
For day time, I apply vitamin c serum, then moisturizer with sunblock and lastly, pat on a light layer of face oil. Please explain if that’s wrong and why. If I put the oil first, wouldn’t the moisturizer not penetrate? Is the sunblock in the moisturizer being affected?
I have been wondering the same. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the the order I have been doing is : vitamin c serum, moisturizer with 30 SPF sunblock and then a few drops of face oil on top. Am I doing that wrong or if I change it will my face oil penetrate SFP moisturizer?
It’s a good question and it can be very confusing. If it’s a moisturiser with in-built SPF, then applying a few drops of facial oil on top, followed by regular daytime makeup is ok.
You’re doing it right, but the problem with a moisturizer with SPF is that it’s not going to give you the adequate amount of sun protection needed. So I’d suggest continue to do what you are now, but add a sunscreen to your routine after the facial oil. After all it is the most important part of your skincare routine. It protects your skin from Sun, UVA, and UVB rays. And all other types of environmental damages. You’re doing great so far! Keep it up, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen 🙂
Thank you for this detailed reply! You are right, a moisturiser with an SPF is good, but a separate SPF is better! And that would go on top of the facial oil.
Hi. I like to use two oils in morning under SPF cream ,one oil is light retinol based which I apply first ,then I put on light rose oil ,then SPF is this alright to keep doing
Thank you very much would love helpful reply
If it’s a plain/regular SPF cream, then applying it on top of your facial oils like you are already doing is ok. If it is an SPF that is built in to a moisturiser, then applying the moisturiser under the facial oils would be better so that your skin benefits from the properties of the moisturiser as well as the SPF.
I hope that helps?
Please tell me if I am doing these in an effective order:
– moisturizer (without SPF)
– facial oil
Thanks in advance,
It sounds like you are doing it perfectly!
Can face oils work with an oil based serum?
Technically, yes. If the serum is a water/oil formulation (check the INCI list to be sure), you would apply the facial oil as a final step to lock in the moisture and benefits of the serum underneath. If the serum is a 100% oil formulation with no water at all, then chances are it’s actually a light facial oil and not technically a serum. So, you would treat this like a facial oil and you can then decide which facial oil to use as the final step OR layer the facial oils, starting with the lightest and thinnest one first, followed by the heavier one. I hope this helps!
How are you?
I’ve was wondering do I cleanse, tone, moisturizer with SPF then OIL on top or OIL then moisturizer with SPF on top..
Thankx so much,
If your moisturiser has an SPF in it, then applying the moisturiser/SPF under the facial oils would be better so that your skin benefits from the properties of the moisturiser as well as the SPF.
I use a moisturizer, facial oil and then sunscreen and I was wondering if the efficacy of the sunscreen is compromised when I use it right after I put my facial oil on my face, because it might get diluted?
kind regards Sarah
That’s a good question. It shouldn’t have an impact on the effectiveness of the sunscreen, however, if you are concerned you may want to wait a few minutes after applying the oil to let it sink into the skin, then follow with your SPF.
Best, Alexandra x
I use a tinted sunscreen. When I apply it over my oil it balls up. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Terry, thanks for your comment! You are doing it right – it is ok to wear a tinted sunscreen over the top, as this will sit on top of your skincare. It sounds like the tinted sunscreen is the issue if it is balling or pilling – or it might be the product that you are using underneath – perhaps the two are not compatible in terms of the texture. What product are you using underneath and what type of tinted sunscreen is it?
Thank you for responding. Here is my routine: After cleansing and toner:
Timeless Vitamin C Serum
Timeless Synthe 6
Timeless Matrixyl 3000
Oilixia (Pink Bottle)
MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid Tint SPF 50 in Natural Tan, Oil-Free Zinc-Oxide Tinted Sunscreen
Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.
Hi Terry, thank you for sending your regime, these products look great! You are using quite a few products at once and one reason that the product could be balling up is that the layers of product haven’t had the chance to absorb into the skin before the next one is applied. If you haven’t tried this already, try waiting a few minutes between each layer/application and see if that helps? Particularly between the facial oil and oil-free SPF = waiting about 5mins if you have the time should help the SPF go on smoothly without balling up. Please let me know if this works! Alexandra x
I thought I was waiting long enough, but will try waiting a bit longer. I may be applying to much oil also. Do you have a recommendation for how much oil to use? Thank you so much for responding!
You’re welcome! 2-3 drops should be enough facial oil. If you are finding it’s taking too long to absorb in the morning you can stick with the Amazonian Cacay Facial Oil in the evening only and perhaps try the Explorer Blend facial Oil in the morning. Our Explorer Blend is a little lighter in texture and absorbs more quickly into the skin, so it might be a better match to use underneath your tinted SPF. I hope that helps! x
Hi, I came across this article and I just wanna ask if it’s okay that I put facial oil (mixture of argan oil, rosehip oil, tea tree oil, neroli oil, grapefruit extract oil and vitamin e) before sunscreen SPF50 (with active ingredients of candelula extract, licorice root extract aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid) or should it be the other way around? Some says sunscreens should always go last and some says it should be from light to heavy application. The facial oil is heavy while my sunscreen is very light and when I apply the sunscreen, I’m concerned if the oil is diluting it. Hope you can help. Thank you!
Thank you for reading our article and leaving a comment! Yes, this is a very good question. If it’s a straight/proper SPF (ie, not a moisturiser with added SPF) I would advise that it goes on last, before makeup. If you are worried about the Facial Oil mixing with it, perhaps wait a few minutes for the facial oil to fully absorb before applying the SPF. I hope that helps! Alexandra x
Hi, can i use my facial oil followed by mask sheet after that? & can i apply oil after my moisturizer?
I have sensitive skin & is facial oil too rich for me & does it cause oil seeds or skin tags on my face? Any face oil that is not too rich for sensitive skin? As i will need to use facial oil for face massage daily
Thank you for your comment and question. It’s probably better to use the sheet mask on freshly cleansed skin and then apply the facial oil after. Since the mask contains water / moisture, it will hydrate the skin and the oil will create a thin ‘barrier’ on the skin to stop moisture loss. So it would be better to apply the oil after you do the mask. If you have sensitive skin, a facial oil would be a good choice as they are normally blends of pure oils that skin can find comforting (as opposed to a moisturiser that often has emulsifying ingredients in it to help bind it). If you are sensitive to essential oils (like lavender for example) that is one thing I would look out for on the ingredients list. Alexandra xxx
Could you please tell me if my skincare routine is in the correct order?
Retinol (only in the evening)
Facial Oil (Jojoba oil)
All of these products are No7
It looks like you have a great regime there! If you are enjoying retinol and Jojoba Oil, you might like our Amazonian Cacay Facial Oil – it absorbs well into the skin and contains a natural source of retinol (the Cacay oil)
Can i mix face oil with sunscreen?!
Hi Munyrath, thank you for the question!
It is best not to mix a sunscreen with any other product (as in, mix it together) before applying it to the face, because it may effect the level of sun protection that you receive.
Hi! I have one only used facial oils as my only skincare product (after cleanser & rose toner) but I am told I should really incorporate a sunscreen into my routine. I love the dewiness the facial oil leaves. Any suggestions on your favorite sunscreen that compliments the facial oil and doesn’t matte down that dewy look? Thanks!
how often should you use face oil? everyday? couple times a week? once a week? twice a day? i’m rlly not sure
You can use a facial oil every day, twice a day (morning and night). It really depends on personal preference though – some people like to use them only in the evening. I would recommend using it every day to see the benefits.