The 16 Best Facial Oils for Healthy, Hydrated Skin

If your skincare goals include increased hydration, a healthy skin barrier, and an all-over glow, the best face oils are worth considering adding to your skincare routine. Not only does facial oil feel super soothing and luxurious on the skin, but it also serves as a protective barrier for all the products that come before it, sealing in the benefits of your serum and moisturizer while also preventing outside bacteria and dirt from entering your pores.

The best facial oils add an extra boost of hydration and protection But not all facial oils are created equal. For the best results, use a facial oil targeted to your skin condition and goals. Whether you have dry skin in need of moisture or oily, acne-prone skin that could benefit from the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties in certain face oils, we spoke with a dermatologist to determine the best face oils for every skin type.

How Do Facial Oils Work?

Let’s get one thing straight: facial oils and face moisturizers are not the same thing. Most moisturizers are water-based, which hydrate the skin. Facial oils are oil-based and are used to soften and condition the skin. The main difference between moisturizers and facial oils is that oils can only retain water content—not add it—which makes facial oils moisturizing but not hydrating. It’s a subtle yet important difference, and for healthy, glowing skin, you ideally want to have both.

Because oils sit on the surface of the skin, you want to apply facial oil as the last step in your skincare routine. Facial oils work by sealing in the hydration and all the beneficial ingredients of the products you’ve already applied. Without it, any water-based products may evaporate from the surface of the skin, which is not the most effective way to use your expensive skincare products.

What are the Benefits of Using a Facial Oil?

According to dermatologist Dr. Diane C. Madfes, MD, FAAD, facial oils are great products for barrier repair. “The top layer of the skin is made up of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids, and facial oils can help replenish that,” Dr. Madfes explains. “We lose those oils with normal aging, environmental dryness, sometimes overuse of products, and just normal life stress.”

Facial oils provide crucial support to the delicate skin barrier, which is the primary indicator of how healthy and even your skin looks across all skin types. The signs of a damaged skin barrier include dryness, redness, sensitivity, and blemishes.

To restore and strengthen the skin barrier, Dr. Madfes suggests sealing your skincare with facial oil at night before going to bed as the last step in your skincare routine. “Wait 20 minutes before going to sleep,” Dr. Madfes tells SELF. “You don’t want to get your pillow dirty or oil in your hair.”

What to Look for When Choosing Facial Oils

It’s true that not all face oils are the same, but there is a face oil for every skin type. Even people with oily skin can benefit from the barrier-repairing properties of a face oil if they use one that’s more lightweight, like jojoba oil, rosehip oil, and grape-seed oil. The consistency of jojoba oil is thought to mimic the natural oils in human skin, which can help regulate sebum production. Dr. Madfes also recommends facial oils with rosehip oil, which contains antioxidants that help improve skin texture and even skin tone. Grape-seed oil is high in moisturizing vitamin E and linoleic acid, also known as omega-6 fatty acid, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that calms blemishes and retains moisture.

Remember: always apply oil last in your skincare routine, as it seals in moisture from hydrating serums and moisturizers that go before it. The only time this rule doesn’t apply is when SPF is involved. Dr. Madfes recommend using facial oil at night, but if you do use an oil in the morning, make sure to follow with sunscreen.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best face oils for just about everyone—from sensitive skin to acne-prone skin types—that will seal in your skincare while giving your skin a healthy-looking glow. If you want to protect and strengthen your skin barrier, read on for our picks for the most luxurious and expert-approved facial oils.