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How to Apply Facial Oil Without the Greasy Feel

For many years, oils have been demonized and given many bad negative effects on the skin and for the body. Oils have been blamed for causing pimples, clogged pores and other skin blemishes. They also contain fat that some people still think that fat makes people fat. Therefore a lot of people are afraid to use oil in their skincare routine. People also think that applying oil on the face will make face feels greasy and gives undesirable shiny oily look. People prefer creams as they are not greasy.

How to use facial oil without the greasy feel

Now, if you take a closer look at the ingredient list of your natural facial cream/ moisturizer, you will find that the first ingredient is most likely water.  

This is the ingredient list of a facial cream that I used to love several years ago:

Aqua (water), glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetyl alcohol, glycol distearate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, stearic acid, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), dimethicone, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, camellia sinensis leaf extract*, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract*, allantoin, bisabolol, calcium ascorbate, panthenol, polysorbate 60, potassium hydroxide, sodium hyaluronate, sorbitol, thioctic acid, tocopheryl acetate, alcohol*, benzyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, gluconolactone, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, alpha-isomethyl ionone, benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, benzyl salicylate, butylphenyl methylpropional, cinnamyl alcohol, citral, coumarin, eugenol, hexyl cinnamal, limonene, linalool, fragrance (parfum)

*Certified Organic Ingredient

If you go further, you will find oils in the list too. So, in the creams, there are oils, but why creams are not greasy?

The key is in the water and oils proportion. Creams can be made with up to 70% water, 15% oils and the rest are preservatives, emulsifiers and plant extracts. A facial cream with more water content will feel lighter on skin.

With up to 70% water, that should make the manufacturing cost low. That is why the prices for creams and lotions that you see in retail stores are cheap too. An ounce of facial oil should be more expensive than an ounce of facial cream as facial oil does not contain water thus more concentrated. This also means that a drop of cream is not the same as a drop of oil. The easy way to describe is 7 drops of cream are approximately equal to 2 drops of oils plus 5 drops of water.

So to avoid greasy feel, we need to apply facial oil with water (if you want it more economical) or hydrosols (if you want more benefits for your skin). Hydrosols can be confused with floral waters as some countries prefer to call hydrosol as floral water. I will explain further in another article but for now let's call it the same thing. Mixing oil with water/ hydrosol and massage into skin will create the “cream like” effects on skin. This kind of application is more flexible and can be adjusted to your unique skin.

This is why we don't need to create creams/ lotions. We also keep oils and hydrosols separate so we don't need to use preservatives or other synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners that can act as skin sensitizer. We have pure hydrosol toners and hydrosol toners with Apple Cider Vinegar. They are all alcohol free.

Holiskin approach for minimalist skincare

If you have oily skin, start with 1-2 drops of facial oil, immediately spray hydrosol toner and massage into facial skin and neck until fully absorbed. You can add more hydrosol and reduce oil to achieve the feel and look that you want. The more hydrosol you use, it will feel lighter.

If you have dry skin or your skin is dry during winter time, start with 3-4 drops of facial oil. Follow the same steps as with oily skin.

When you use facial oil in a roll-on bottle, be sure to roll it when skin is dry. So it is better to apply before you use hydrosol toner. What's the reason behind this? Hydrosol or any toner contains water and when you apply the roll on applicator to damp skin, you might introduce water into the roll on and encourage the growth of bacteria, fungus and mold in the roll on bottle.

You can apply facial oil after the hydrosol toner had dried up but some people experienced that the oil just stayed on the skin. If that happens then you can spray hydrosol toner again and massage the excess oil and toner together into skin. Mixing hydrosol toner and facial oil can reduce the strong scent of facial oil.

It is important to use toner without alcohol. Alcohol can strip the beneficial oil that you just applied and if used for a long time, alcohol can damage the skin lipid barrier thus resulting in drier sensitive skin and more skin issues at later age.

So applying facial oil needs a bit of practice especially for first timer. But after you get the right proportion of oil and hydrosol and the right order of application, you will love it as it will not feel greasy at all.


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