If you browse the skin care aisles at your local grocery store, facial creams are marketed as if they hold the secret to immortality. They claim to reduce wrinkles and restore youth... and maybe they do. However, for those who prefer to use the purest facial products and do not want to apply unnecessary added ingredients to their skin, you may want to reconsider using cream and try an oil instead.
What's the Purpose of Facial Cream?
Facial cream is intended to hydrate the skin and provide substances that help retain that hydration. These creams may also provide nutrients and other ingredients to help improve skin elasticity, increase firmness, etc.
What is a Facial Cream?
The base of a cream requires 3 ingredients: oils, water, and an emulsifier to hold the oil and water parts together as a cream. Without the emulsifiers, the oil and water would sit in the jar as two separate entities. However, when you look at the ingredients of any given facial cream, it is quite a list! Some of the items on that list are the aforementioned ingredients and nutrients that help with hydration, increasing firmness, etc. However, many of the ingredients in these creams are preservatives and stabilizers.
Oil and water do not combine well, and when they sit together, it creates an environment for rancidity and mold. To prevent this and meet the "3+ year shelf life" retail requirement, skin creams must have preservatives. The problem is, some of these preservatives and stabilizers may not be ingredients you would want to apply to your skin or absorb into your body. By using a facial oil, you can skip the preservatives and get straight to the hydration. An antioxidant or two is all that's needed to preserve facial oil, and you can get all of the same benefits from either the oil or ingredients you add to the oil.
Another important factor for face creams is the "heaviness" of the cream. While some people like the feeling of heavier creams on their faces and want creams that sit on their skin for longer, many people have skin that is more delicate and would be better suited to a lighter option. Facial oils simply absorb into your skin without the added thickness from facial cream's emulsifiers and waxes.
What's the Benefit of Using Oils Instead of Creams?
Oil nourishes the skin, providing nutrients and essential fatty acids. Oils also "lubricate" the skin, allowing it to cleanse itself. If the skin does not have the proper fat content, it cannot properly function. This could lead to acne breakouts and sensitivities. Oils help your skin reach the proper fat content and give it what it needs to stay hydrated without the extra stabilizers and preservatives.
When using oils, you can still incorporate the water you would get from a cream. I place a few drops of the oil in my palm, then add a few drops of water, mix it, and apply it to my skin. It's that simple!
How Can I Find Facial Oils?
You can either purchase pre-made facial oils, or keep it simple and make your own! Using pure oils such as olive, jojoba, or rosehip seed oil can sometimes be all you need. You can also use herb infused oils such as St. John's wort or calendula oil.
Adding essential oils to your facial oil is always fun and can greatly enhance both the experience and the skin benefits! Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, frankincense, helichrysum, and neroli have healing properties and are commonly used in the cosmetics industry. To add an essential oil to your facial oil, I recommend adding 10-30 drops of essential per ounce of base oil.
Always use high-quality essential oils, especially on your face, as adulterated oils may contain synthetic fragrances, which can cause a reaction. Personally, I like Mountain Rose Herbs and Floracopeia for essential oils and Banyan Botanicals has great base oils. These are a few of the higher quality oil companies out there, but you can also find good oils at your local co-op or health food store. When possible try to find companies that use organic or wildcrafted and sustainably farmed resources.
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