When Should I Apply a Facial Oil? According to Experts

Facial oils are a pretty new addition to the typical skincare routine but now, many people can't believe they ever lived without oils.

If you're new to using a facial oil, you may be confused about when to use it. Should you apply oil before or after moisturiser? Can you use oil both morning and night? Does oil replace serum? All of these questions are easily understood once you've gotten a grip on the skincare layering rule and found the right facial oil for your skin type.

Which Face Oil is Right for my Skin Type?

The Skincare Layering Rule

Every skincare product has a different molecular structure. The order in which you apply toners, creams, and serums depends heavily on the thickness, or viscosity, and other properties of each product.

For example, you wouldn't want to use a toner after a moisturiser. The toner will only break down your cream or lotion, and neither product will end up having much of an effect on your complexion.

Skincare products are best applied from thinnest to thickest, with the final layers providing increased barrier function to your skin. Depending on which products you use, application based on the skincare layering rule should generally follow this order:

  • Toner

  • Essence/Ampule

  • Facial mist

  • Serum

  • Lotion

  • Regular Moisturiser (water-based)

  • Emollient or Barrier Moisturiser

  • Facial Oil

As you can see, facial oils are the last step of your skincare routine. If you used a facial oil before a water-based product such as a moisturiser, the water-based product wouldn't penetrate your skin as effectively or this is the best order to apply skin care products.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil - Applying Oil to Face with Fingers - 700 x 450Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil - Applying Oil to Face with Fingers - 700 x 450

Some of our favourite facial oils for glowing skin:

This best-selling rosehip oil is a favourite amongst Adore Beauty staff and customerrs. Not only does this effective oil help to defend the skin from free radicals, it also works to restore loss of firmness and smoothness. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive. Pai Rosehip Oil is known for its ability to help heal scars and smooth out uneven skin tones. Plus! it is also Cruelty Free & Vegan.

Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Firming Face Oil 50ml
Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Firming Face Oil 50ml

Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Firming Face Oil offers treatment capabilities to protect against environmental aggressors and aid in skin tightening. This potent blend is designed to smooth wrinkles and lines, and even tone and texture. Balance your skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines for a firmer complexion. Infused with Blackcurrant Seed Oil and Buriti Oil to support collagen production.

Nourish skin with this rich, natural facial oil by Kora Organics. The Noni Glow Facial Oil is designed to be used on the face and neck, to smoothe, nourish and brighten skin. Infused with Certified Organic Noni Extract, Rosehip Oil, Pomegranate Oil and Sea Buckthorn Oil this natural elixir is a rich source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids that will leave your skin looking and feeling healthy and radiant.

When to Use Face Oil? Morning, Night, or Both?

Appropriate use of a facial oil depends to some extent on your skin type. That's because skin produces its own oil, or sebum, at different rates throughout the day.

This is important because skin that produces a lot of its own oil will absorb less of an added facial oil. This is especially true if you have oily or combination skin, which naturally makes more sebum throughout the day.

Your skin follows a daily cycle of sebum creation as outlined below:

  • Sebum secretion rate increases throughout the night and morning.

  • Skin is oiliest at midday.

  • Sebum secretion rate declines from midday to evening.

  • Sebum secretion is lowest in the evening, just before your bedtime.

The conclusion is that facial oils are best used daily when they're most easily absorbed: at night.

There is, however, one exception: if you have dry skin, you may benefit from adding a few drops of facial oil to your morning routine to layer under your makeup. Dry skin struggles to make enough sebum, which is why applying a facial oil in the morning and even at noon may improve the overall condition of your skin.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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