Oil tends to get a bad rep when it comes to skin, but it’s all really a misunderstanding. And if you want to look your freshest and glowiest for your big day, there's no better time than now to start introducing face oils into your pre-wedding skincare routine.
We associate oil with oily skin—and oily skin with breakouts—but that’s not exactly how it works. Oil is an incredibly hydrating protective substance, and even our bodies produce it naturally in the form of sebum. However, when our skin is dehydrated, our bodies can get carried away with sebum production which can lead to breakouts.
Weirdly, the answer to this conundrum is face oil. A face oil can help balance that overproduction by essentially telling our bodies, “Hey, we’ve got it covered out here. You can cut back on all that sebum.” And if you’ve chosen the right oil, it won’t clog your pores as sebum can—it will just deliver a punch of nutritious, hydrating ingredients.
Meet the Expert
“Face oil gives your skin a natural glow, combats wrinkles, can help with texture and scars, and protects your skin lipid barrier,” says New York-based aesthetician Taylor Worden. In other words, it can do just about anything.
Of course, you’ll want to get started sooner rather than later. “It’s best to start prepping your skin four-to-six months out,” says celebrity aesthetician Natalie Aguilar. “That way, you’ll have enough time to recover in case a new product causes a negative reaction.”
Convinced but don’t know where to start? Here are 15 of our favorite face oils that cover every skin type, every budget, and every need.
Best Overall: Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
We're sure you've already heard rave reviews of this cult classic face oil. Marula oil is super high in antioxidants, omegas, and fatty acids which tackle all kinds of issues like fine lines, dehydration, and dullness. If you can’t decide between all of our suggestions, make this one your pick.
Runner-up: True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil
If you could bottle Olivia Wilde and turn her into a skincare product, it would be this one (she also happens to be an avid fan and ambassador). By that we mean, elegant, simple, clean, and honestly practically perfect.
True Botanicals has a few facial oils—one for oily skin and another for sensitive skin—but this OG organic and non-comedogenic formula delivers on the ceramides and antioxidants needed for glowy, hydrated, Olivia Wilde skin.
Best Budget: The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil is one of those ingredients that is bound to agree with just about any skin type. It’s light enough that it won't cause breakouts, soothing enough that it won’t irritate sensitive skin, and simple enough that you can combine it with any other products. The Ordinary’s budget-friendly oil is a great way to try out face oils without a significant investment, and you just might end up hooked on its collagen-producing power.
Best Clean Beauty: Biossance 100% Squalane Oil
Our bodies naturally produce squalene oil (yes, with an “e”) as part of our sebum. Squalane oil (with an “a”) is a lighter derivative that doesn’t clog pores and delivers the same big-time hydration. Not only does it lock in moisture, but it also calms irritated skin, improves elasticity, and balances the pH of your skin.
We love Biossance’s squalane in particular because it's eco-friendly, vegan, non-toxic, and fully derived from renewable sugarcane.
Best Multi-Tasking: Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate and Glow Dream Oil
Most Youth To The People products makes us feel like we’re frolicking through the most abundant garden on earth. This face oil is no exception. Made with Maqui (a Chilean wineberry that combats pollution and free radicals), hydrating prickly pear, and antioxidant-rich acai, this lightweight formula is a veritable smoothie of nutritious skin food.
Best Splurge: Mara Evening Primrose and Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil
Sometimes the best part about our skincare routine is the luxury of it all. Mara skincare products are all infused with algae, which can plump, firm, and smooth the skin. Top that off with a dash of retinol, fermented green tea, and cacay and you’ve got a soothing magic potion for glowy skin.
Best Overnight: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
If you’re new to the retinol game, prepare to be amazed. It’s a magic skincare ingredient that gets you all-around clearer, plumper, and…well, just better skin. But it can be a little harsh, which is why it’s best used overnight (instead of in the morning, when you’ll be exposed to UV rays throughout the day). “It’s perfect for somebody that likes a minimal nighttime regime,” says Worden. Massage this oil before bed and wake up looking totally refreshed.
Best Hydrating: Marie Veronique Barrier Lipid Complex
Your lipid barrier is what retains moisture in your skin. Unfortunately, if you don’t take care of it, it won’t be able to do its job. That’s why we love this super moisturizing combo of ceramides, plant-based cholesterol, and an all-star lineup of fatty acids like cranberry seed oil, chia seed oil, black raspberry seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, and evening primrose oil. Plus, if you’re avoiding fragrance and essential oils in your skincare, this one fits the bill.
Best Brightening: Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil
When looking for a product that can brighten dull complexions, keep an eye out for vitamin C. Worden recommends this Supernal oil because “it works for all skin types, it’s packed with vitamin c and omegas, it’s vegan, goes on smoothly, and smells amazing.”
Best for Timeless Skin: Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil
“If a bride wants to add an oil to her skincare routine, I recommend starting with a single origin—or one ingredient—product, which decreases the chances of an adverse reaction,” says Aguilar. Argan oil is a great natural ingredient for timeless skin because it’s rich in antioxidants and helps to prevent moisture loss. This Josie Maran oil is 100% pure, and a great way for brides to get in the face oil game.
Best for Oily Skin: Herbivore Lapis Blue Face Oil
This (actually) blue oil is fast-absorbing, which means oil isn’t sitting on the skin and clogging pores. The hero ingredient—blue tansy oil—helps to soothe irritated skin, reduce redness, and clarify breakout-prone skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Antedotum Vital Face Oil
“I love the Antedotum Vital Face Oil for sensitive, redness-prone skin,” says Worden. Headlining ingredients include vegan squalane and a blend of essential fatty acids. “It helps to reduce inflammation and calm redness to give your skin a dewy glow.”
Best for Dark Spots: Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil
Every bottle of this Korres oil is infused with the petals of one full rose—which might be the most extra thing we’ve ever heard—but you’ll be grateful you indulged. The wild rose is a great glow-maker, while the vitamin c fades dark spots and even out your skin tone.
Best Under Makeup: Heritage Store Rose Oil
Aguilar loves how this oil performs under makeup (it sinks in well, so it doesn’t affect makeup application), but that doesn’t mean it’s just a primer. This simple formula contends with every oil on this list with its nourishing blend of apricot kernel, olive, rose hip seed, and damask oils. “It’s also very lightweight,” she says, adding that it's a solid bet for any skin type.
Best for the Wedding Day: Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil
“The best face oil that can be used on the day of your wedding is plum oil,” says Aguilar. “Plums have a natural sun protection factor in them, as well as having major antioxidants.” She recommends this luxe oil that’s handcrafted at a sustainable, family-owned orchard in Northern California (which is the dreamiest way to start your wedding day). “It’s the perfect go-to product for daily glowing, healthy skin.”
Don’t be afraid of face oils! Not only are they emollients (meaning they seal in ingredients from products that you apply before them and lock in moisture), but they can pack a really great punch of skin nutrition.
Just be judicious while reading ingredients and take note of how your skin is reacting. For example, some skin types don’t play with essential oils—a divisive topic in the skincare world. “Essential oils are distilled from the leaves, flowers, root, bark, and any other scented part of the plant. These oils are distilled and tend to be heavily scented, which can be irritating to a lot of people,” notes Aguilar. On the other hand, many argue that essential oils can be safe and effective in the right concentrations.
“Fixed oils are pressed from the fatty portions of the plant such as seeds, nuts, or kernels,” says Aguilar. Oils like prickly pear seed oil, rosehip seed oil, or apricot kernel are types of fixed oils, and they tend to work for most skin types.
Always remember that there is no one-size-fits-all oil, either essential or fixed. Start experimenting early in your bridal skincare routine and adjust accordingly, or consult with your dermatologist or aesthetician to help you pick the right face oil.
How can I get flawless skin before my wedding?
Sometimes, it takes a team! Aguilar recommends consulting with an aesthetician on your skin goals 10-12 months before the wedding. Together, you can work out a plan and a skincare routine that's best for your specific needs.
What should I apply on the day of my wedding?
You’ll want to chat with your makeup artist a few months before your wedding. They may have a preference for primers, and can even help you source something glowy and nourishing for your skin. In general, Aguilar recommends plum oil as a gentle day-of ingredient.
Should I apply oil before or after my moisturizer?
It depends on what ingredients you’re using and what skin concerns you’re targeting, but in general, oil should follow your moisturizer. Moisturizers can’t penetrate oil, but oil can penetrate most moisturizers.