Clean & Natural Face Oil
If the skin on your face is sensitive and dry, nourish and repair your skin barrier with fragrance-free clean & natural face oil. I’ve found 11 of the best brands of clean, natural and non-toxic face oil that won’t irritate your skin.
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If the skin on your face is perpetually dry yet irritated, consider using a clean and natural face oil created just for sensitive skin.
The high altitude and low humidity where I live combined with my age create the perfect storm for my perpetually dry skin. I’ve found that applying face oil as the last step in my nightly skin routine helps to keep my skin from feeling like a lizard most of the time. For me, applying face oil is the icing on the cake – it’s the last beauty product I use before bed, applied right after my sensitive skin moisturizer.
I’ve been testing clean face oil brands for a few months now to find a favorite. There are so many high-quality face oils out there that I narrowed it down to 11 of my top picks. Keep in mind that what works for my dry, sensitive skin may not work for you. You can definitely still use face oil if your skin is acne-prone, just check the comedogenic rating and look for one that won’t clog your pores.
Dry Skin Basics
The stratum corneum, or outermost layer of your skin, consists of dead skin cells and oils that help the skin retain water. In turn, your skin stays moisturized. If the stratum corneum breaks down, water can escape and cause dry skin. Things like washing with harsh soap and hot water can strip the natural oils from the top layer of your skin and allow dermal moisture to escape.
Dry skin is also a result of the aging process – our bodies produce less water-trapping molecules (natural moisturizing factors, ceramides and hyaluronic acid) as we get older. Other factors that affect skin oil production are climate, genetics, environment, and your skin care routine.
How Does Face Oil Work
Face oil acts as a sealant to keep moisture in. Since face oils don’t contain water, they won’t hydrate your skin directly – that’s the job of a moisturizer or hydrating serum, which delivers both water and oil. Oils with a large molecular size sit on top of the skin and act as occlusives to lock in moisture.
Oils with smaller molecular size can also act as emollients to soothe, strengthen and repair the skin barrier. Face oil is essentially support for your moisturizer, fortifying the skin barrier and indirectly increasing the amount of hydration in the skin.
If you notice that your face is dryer during the fall and winter, apply face oil as part of your cold weather skin care routine.
What’s The Difference Between A Serum And A Face Oil?
Serums are traditionally water-based. They tend to be lightweight and are able to penetrate the top layers of skin. A serum contains concentrated amounts of active ingredients that address specific skin concerns (2). Apply a serum right after cleansing. If you use a toner, serum is applied right after the toner. Alternatively, face oil does not contain water. It is either applied right after a moisturizer or it can be combined with the moisturizer. Face oils repair and replenish the skin barrier and seal in moisture.
How To Choose A Face Oil
- Choose an oil that won’t clog your pores. Check the comedogenic rating to get an idea of how the face oil will behave and how your skin will react. The rating goes from 0–5 and indicates how likely an oil is to clog your pores, with 5 being the most likely to clog pores.
- Did you know? Some face oils come with extra skin boosting benefits like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- For sensitive skin: Perform a patch test with a high-quality, single ingredient oil before incorporating it into your skincare routine. Look for oils rich in fatty acids to reinforce the skin barrier and anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe.
- My skin type: is sensitive and dry. If a product stings when I apply it, I usually get hives on both cheeks. My skin is particularly sensitive in the winter if it’s exposed to cold and wind. I have really dry skin and rarely break out, so my skin can handle oils with a higher molecular weight, like chia seed oil. All this to say is that what works for my skin type may not work for you. Some sensitive skin types are prone to breakouts, so beware of the comedogenic rating if you get acne along with your sensitive skin.
- TIP: The Detox Market has samples of face oil if you want to try before you buy. Choose 3 samples and pay $7.99 plus shipping. It’s a great way to test for sensitivity to products. I used samples to test some of the pricier oils (like Biophile) on this list.
How To Apply Face Oil
- In the morning: If you apply face oil in the morning, apply face oil right after your moisturizer and before you apply sunscreen.
- In the evening: As the last step in your skincare routine at night, apply face oil right after your moisturizer. If you have a complicated skincare routine with lots of products, this is the proper order for application: wash your face, apply a toner (if you use one), apply eye cream, apply spot treatment for acne, apply treatment serum, apply retinoid, apply hydrating serum, apply moisturizer, then apply face oil.
- Face oil can also be directly added to your moisturizer (add a few drops of face oil to your moisturizer in the palm of your hand).
- Face oil can be massaged directly into your skin while it is damp. This increases the absorption rate of the oil and seals in some of the moisture. Mist your clean skin with 100% Hydrosol water facial mist, followed by your face oil.
Clean Face Oil Top Picks
Henne Organics Serene Face Oil
Cost: $85 for 1 oz
Key Ingredients: Argan, Cranberry, Edelweiss
From the Henne Organics website: Serene is a universal oil that balances, calms and nourishes without any essential oils – perfect for sensitive skin. This fast absorbing and non-comedogenic formula allows easy blending with moisturizer, foundation or sunscreen. The natural everyday choice for calm, healthy looking skin.
Why I love It: Henne Organics Serene Face Oil was created for those with ultra-sensitive skin in mind. It helps to balance, calm and nourish the skin. A blend of moisturizing ingredients including argan and cranberry oils help to soothe while also protecting from environmental stressors.
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
Cost: $34 for 30 ml/1 oz
Key Ingredient: Squalane oil
From the Indie Lee website: Plump it up with this pure, intensive moisturizing oil. Readily absorbed, 100% Olive-derived Squalane leaves the complexion soft, nourished and best of all, never greasy. Your skin’s texture and tone will thank you.
Why I Love It: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil does not make my sensitive skin react, and it feels very nourishing. This oil is non-comedogenic and softens and soothes without a greasy feel. It gets excellent reviews and is moderately priced.
Maya Chia Super Naked Face Oil
Cost: $70 for 1 oz
Key Ingredients: Astaxanthin, Chia, Plum, Squalane
From the Maya Chia website: Ultra-lightweight and fast absorbing, omega-3 fatty acids from chia complement the skin and plum oil is used for its omega-6 and 9 fatty acid concentration. Astaxanthin is used to provide a super antioxidant boost to protect and repair and sustainably sources squalane, a bioidentical emollient, helps to support skin function.
Why I Love It: Maya Chia Super Naked Face Oil is free of essential oils and is well suited for sensitive skin or those sensitive to fragrance. The plum oil imparts a lovely naturally occurring scent – subtle and sweet, never overpowering.
Pai The Light Fantastic Oil
Cost: $74 for 1 oz
Key Ingredients: Kukui oil, plum oil, chamomile and cocoa extracts
From the Pai website: From stress to pollution to intensive treatments, your skin sometimes needs a helping hand. This fast-absorbing face oil helps to de-stress skin while rebuilding the moisture barrier that naturally depletes over time. Good for all skin types, especially reactive or irritated skin.
Why I Love This Oil: Pai The Light Fantastic Oil is a fast absorbing dry oil packed with ceramides to both soften and strengthen your skin. Without being greasy, this lightweight oil works as the skin’s daily defense against burnout.
Laurel Essential Lipids Delicate Barrier
Cost: $76 for 1.7 oz
Key Ingredients: Calendula, Cranberry, Evening Primrose, Jojoba, Pomegranate
From the Laurel website: The Essential Lipids: Delicate Barrier was created for reactive skin and heightened sensitivities. This nourishing product is soothing and supportive to the most sensitive skin types. This focused blend of whole plant lipids comes together to mirror and support your skin’s own natural lipid barrier.
Why I Love It: Laurel Essential Lipids Delicate Barrier can be used as a multi-purpose cleanser, moisturizer, and facial oil. Recommended for those who have a damaged lipid barrier, skin in healing crisis, and for those with autoimmune conditions or in treatment for serious illness.
Pai Back To Life Serum
Cost: $74 for 1 oz
Key Ingredients: Jasmine, Jojoba, Muntries Berry, Pepperberry, Riberry, Sunflower Seed
From the Pai website: A triple whammy of antioxidant-rich berries help support the moisture barrier while a hit of Hyaluronic Acid draws in even more moisture. If your skin is screaming out for hydration, it’ll drink this up.
Why I love It: Pai Back To Life Serum is specifically formulated with jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid serum for sensitive and eczema-prone skin, Back To Life Serum is carefully designed to provide hydration without irritation. With regular use, dry patches are reduced, skin feels less tight and looks more radiant.
Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil
Cost: $72 for 1 oz
Key Ingredient: Plum Oil
From the Le Prunier website: Plum Beauty Oil is an anti-aging, multi-purpose oil that balances, restores and refreshes the skin. It contains a complex blend of superpower plum seed oils packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids that improve the look of irritation, blemishes, and dullness, while moisturizing with no greasy after-feel. It’s also rich in pro-Vitamin A & E to assist with healing and hydration.
Why I Love It: Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil has the most amazing almond scent that immediately makes me feel relaxed and pampered when I use it. It’s made with only 1 high-quality ingredient: organic plum seed oil. I find that I use this oil every other day since plum oil contains very potent antioxidants. This oil can also be used on your hands and body too.
Cliganic Organic Jojoba Oil
Cost: $9.99 for 120 ml/4 oz
Key Ingredient: Jojoba oil
From the Cliganic website: Certified organic jojoba oil by USDA is light-weight, unrefined and fast absorbing, it’s gentle enough to be used on even the most sensitive skin.
Why I Love It: Cliganic Organic Jojoba Oil is organic and is super budget-friendly. Jojoba oil balances oily skin, dry skin conditions, mature skin and wrinkles. This brand also gets great reviews.
Acure Moroccan Argan Oil
Cost: $9.99 for 1 oz.
Key Ingredient: Argan oil
From the Acure website: A true skin super food. Cold pressed and unrefined, this Argan is incredibly rich in vitamin e, essential fatty acids, and proteins. It helps fight lines, improve cell regeneration, and minimize scars plus stretch marks; all while restoring texture, elasticity and tone. It’s also lightweight and easily absorbed. Paraben free, Sulfate free, Mineral oil free, Petrolatum free, Formaldehyde free and Cruelty free.
Why I Love It: Acure Moroccan Argan Oil has a low molecular weight and works to balance the skin – it can be used on both acne-prone and sensitive skin.
Cocokind Organic Chia Face Oil
Cost: $16 for 1 oz
Key Ingredient: Chia seed oil
From the Cocokind website: This replenishing facial oil leaves skin soothed, hydrated, and supple. chia seed oil: antioxidant-packed chia seed oil is the richest botanical source of omega-3s, which help hydrate the skin and support its natural barrier function.
Why I Love It: Cocokind Organic Chia Face Oil is a great budget-friendly pick and it works well on sensitive skin. I love that this oil is organic and doesn’t have a scent.
Organic Bath Co.
Organic Bath Co. Enhance Facial Oil
Cost: $36 for 1 oz
Key Ingredients: Passionfruit, Watermelon Seed, Blackberry, Red Raspberry and Cranberry oils
From the Organic Bath Co. website: Enhance Face Oil is nourishing and leaves skin looking luminous. Passionfruit Oil heals as it helps prevent breakouts. Lightweight, quick-absorbing Watermelon Seed Oil has powerful antioxidants, Blackberry, Red Raspberry and Cranberry Seed Oils protect skin from free radicals, which can age the skin. Pomegranate Seed and Rosehip Oils, rich in fatty acids, encourage healthy skin cell regeneration.
Why I Love It: Organic Bath Co. Enhance Facial Oil absorbs quickly and leaves your skin moisturized and glowing. It’s fragrance-Free and perfect for those with allergies to fragrance, and it’s also perfect for all skin types, including those with dry and sensitive skin.
- Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
- Vaughn AR, Clark AK, Sivamani RK, Shi VY. Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2018 Feb;19(1):103-117. doi: 10.1007/s40257-017-0301-1. PMID: 28707186.