As Noella Gabriel, co-founder Elemis, explains, “Facial oils support the moisture barrier, helping to create balance so the skin is not overproducing natural oils, which is what happens when you strip it with harsh products in an attempt to dry it out.”
Typically, they’re used layered with serums and moisturisers: used atop a serum, and ‘sealed’ with a moisturiser afterwards. “The densest product in the lineup will seal in the other skincare products, ensuring optimum efficacy of all those powerful actives,” says Gabriel. But thanks to new-gen oils, we can skip a step – and anything that saves time in the morning gets SL’s vote.
Oil-serum hybrids combine the best of both products – soothing, nourishing oils and serums packed with powerful antioxidants, calming botanical extracts and hydrating hyaluronic acid – and are absorbed in mere seconds (meaning no sticky pillows or sliding make-up).
Even Kate Moss is a fan. In a recent interview with the Evening Standard, the supermodel revealed she uses a few drops of Decorté’s Vitality Tincture each morning – a ‘soft-oil infusion essence’ with plumping baoab tree oil. “It makes your skin look and feel amazing,” she said. “I don’t know how but it just works! I’m obsessed with it."
And while Ms Moss may be slightly biased in this case – she is a Decorté brand ambassador, after all – she’s previously professed her love for a similar (slightly more purse-friendly) product from Sanctuary Spa. “Occasionally, I’ll book an appointment with Nichola Joss for a facial,” Moss told the Telegraph. “She does this facial massage for lymphatic drainage using Sanctuary Spa Wonder Oil Serum. It’s like getting a natural facelift.”
Just as with oils, you'll get the best results from oil-serum hybrids when applied using massage techniques. "The massaging process helps to smooth and soften the skin, ensuring it’s fully prepped for what’s to come," adds Gabriel. And if you thought having combination or acne-prone skin meant you should skip oil-based products, she says to reconsider: “It feels counter-intuitive, but treating oiliness with oil really does work. Combination skin evens right out and of course dry skin will drink up as much oil as it needs."
Having combination skin ourselves, we can vouch for the smoothing, refining and radiance-boosting power of these innovative new oils. Tata Harper's Rejuvenating Serum is a team SL fave – Vogue called it "life-changing", and it's not an overstatement. Made with 100% natural ingredients, olive, linden and rosehip oils are blended with firmness-boosting narcissus bulb, Spanish lavender and date palm (nature’s equivalent to Botox) and nutrient-rich alfalfa to deliver an enviable glow. May Lindstrom's cult Youth Dew – a lightweight-yet-indulgent cocktail of 22 of the world’s most active organic botanicals – also deserves an honourable mention. Into The Gloss called it "the face oil to end all face oils", and we're prone to agree.
Or, if you want to channel Moss without breaking the budget, bareMinerals' Eternalixir Skin Volumising Oil Serum is also enriched with Decorté's go-to: baobab seed oil, along with mineral calcium to encourage skin cell turnover and anti-inflammatory plantain leaf extract. As it's non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores), it's an ideal oil for those prone to breakouts.
Shop SL's edit of the best oil-serum hybrids...
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