The 15 Best Face Oils for Every Skin Type

Don't let the word "oil" throw you off—these gems are the real deal.

collage of the best face oils including augustinus bader and drunk elephant
(Image credit: Future)

Face oils get a bad rap—and they shouldn’t. I get it: The word “oil” can throw you off. Your mind goes straight to greasy, slick, suffocating, and sticky. In reality? The best face oils are anything but. They actually have the power to treat your skin issues (looking at you, acne), work for all skin types (they’re derm-approved), and are masters of hydration. You’ll have to pick the right player (read: jojoba oil, marula oil, moringa oil—the list goes on) to get results, but once that’s said and done you’re gearing up for a lifetime of healthy, hydrated, and glowy skin. 

"Facial oils can provide benefits to the skin by acting as occlusives (which act like sealants in order to keep water in the skin) and emollients (which soften and strengthen the outer layer of the skin by filling in spaces between skin cells)," explains along with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin. "Skincare oils often form a protective barrier on the outer layer of the skin rather than hydrating the skin. The benefits of skincare oils is that certain oils can provide antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and skin barrier repair properties."

I know, you might still be questioning my oil-loving antics. But don’t knock it till you try it. To win you over, I, and some of the Marie Claire team, are sharing the best face oils in existence. Here, you’ll find the very top products for your oily, sensitive, dry, broken-out, and yes, even normal skin. So toss your excuses to the side and give one of the best face oils a go. 

What to Look For in Face Oil

  • Type of Oil

There is a wide range of oils to choose from—and the best one for you is closely related to your specific skin type and concern. "For example, for sun-damaged skin, rosehip oil is one of my favorite oils since it has a high ratio of linoleic acid, which has not only been shown to be beneficial for those with acne, but also has been shown to reverse UV-induced hyperpigmentation," explains Dr. Levin. 

Oily skin and acne-prone skin, on the other hand, is best off with jojoba oil. "It's structure mimics your own skin's natural sebum which is appropriate for oily and acne-prone skin while providing moisturization. Tea tree oil is also a great option as a facial oil alternative to acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide." There is a rare chance of allergic contact dermatitis with tea tree oil so if you develop a rash, it’s important to see a board-certified dermatologist. 

  • Treatment

At a baseline, a facial oil is going to offer hydration. But more often than not, these products are packed with additional ingredients that provide supplementary benefits. "Since some facial oils are antioxidants and have vitamins like vitamin C and E, they neutralize free radicals to slow the aging process," says Dr. Levin. "Certain facial oils have hydration properties and can be used as a moisturizer to help restore the natural oils in the skin and hair, improve skin hydration, and restore and strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier."

  • Fragrance 

If you're not sensitive, then by all means go straight for the deliciously smelling products. If you are sensitive? Steer clear. "Fragrant plant-based oils or essential oils can cause skin irritation, photosensitivity, and even cause allergic reactions. For those with known plant-based allergies or sensitive skin in general, I recommend avoiding fragrant essential oils and to test every oil in their forearm for at least a week before applying on the face to test whether a reaction will occur," says Dr. Levin. 

The Best Face Oils for Every Skin Type

How to Use Face Oil

As a rule of thumb, face oil is going to be the very, very last step in your nighttime skincare routine. Should you use it in the morning? Typically you'll want to put it on just before sunscreen and makeup, but exercise a bit of caution. "When using an oil during the day, you do need to be careful about how it interferes with your SPF, as oils have the ability to break down or dilute your sun protection," says Dr. Levin. "To be on the safe side, it’s best to use overnight instead."

Can I Use a Face Oil If I Have Oily Skin?

"It used to be widely believed that using oil in your skin-care routine was a no-no for acne or oily-prone skin. We now understand well that not all oils are the same and while some facial oils can clog skin and worsen acne, the right oils can actually re-balance the skin's sebum and water ratio as well as help hydrate and moisturize the skin," says Dr. Levin. You are going to want to opt for lighter, non-comedogenic oils however, such as argan, jojoba, marula, and rosehip oils.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Melissa Levin
Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin

Known for her honesty and love for bespoke medical and cosmetic skin solutions, Dr. Levin has established a loyal following of patients from all walks of life - entire families, skincare enthusiasts, actors, designers, beauty editors, physicians, lawyers, teachers, and many more. As a native Californian, Dr. Levin graduated summa cum laude from the University of California of Los Angeles (UCLA) and earned her medical degree from the University of California of San Francisco (UCSF), as a member of the highest honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her internship at the California Pacific Medical Center and dermatology residency at New York University Langone Health. As a clinical assistant professor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, she is committed to contributing to the field of dermatology by teaching dermatology resident physicians and medical students, as well as serving as a reviewer for various scientific journals. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Society, and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. She is a leading expert and speaker in facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, acne and rosacea. Dr. Levin has won awards and research grants for her research in laser surgery, acne, and global dermatology. Media knows expertise. Dr. Levin is frequently sought-after as a skincare and beauty expert, regularly contributing to major media outlets and consulting for skincare and beauty companies. Community is a passion for Dr. Levin. She has cared for patients, educated local health care providers, and performed clinical research in various international settings, including Thailand, Uganda, and Botswana. Dr. Levin serves as a member of the Skin Cancer Advisory Committee for Standing Voice, a non-profit organization focused on promoting the well-being of persons with albinism in Tanzania. As a yogi and prior ballerina, Dr. Levin believes in maintaining balance and natural aesthetics. Her commitment to global volunteerism, education, and communication has shaped her holistic approach to skin health. You can often find her in Manhattan, trying different restaurants, local bookstores, watching ballet, and visiting the Met museum with her husband, Ishay.

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.