Ever since our adolescent days we’ve been fed the notion that oily skin = bad. It clogs your pores, causes breakouts, and gives you shiny skin – all of which we are in a constant battle with to keep at bay. Since face oil has been making a splash in the beauty scene for a couple of seasons now we’ve been a little confused. Is it really that bad? We asked Queenie, owner of Aenon‘s plant-based skin care, to give us the low down on face oils, what they are, and who exactly should be using them.

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Can you tell us some benefits that face oil has over traditional cream-based moisturizers?

I like to think of face oils as natural, undiluted versions of lotions. Typically, all you need are a few drops of face oil, so even though face oils tend to be a bit more expensive than regular lotions, you end up saving money because you use so much less of the product. For people with exceptionally dry or mature skin, they may find that face oils can make their skin look fuller and healthier than regular lotions — that’s because oil​s ​better protect the skin’s lipid barrier, preventing moisture loss.

But wait, we thought oil was bad for our skin. What’s up with that?

Too much or too little oil is indeed bad for the skin — the trick is finding the right balance. Some people are hesitant to try face oils because they have misconceptions about oils clogging pores and causing breakouts. But just like lotions, different oils should be used for different ailments. For instance, hemp seed oil is great for people with oily or acne prone skin — it’s a dry oil with anti-inflammatory properties — but people with dry skin may find it unsuitable. So really, it’s all about finding the right oil for your skin by testing out different products.

Who should be using face oils?

Everyone can benefit from using face oils. However, some people just prefer the texture of lotion and creams — and that’s totally okay! No matter how good a product is, if you don’t like it or use it, it doesn’t do you any good by sitting in your drawer. So my advice is to look at the ingredients and opt for ones that are simple and plant-based. If you have never used face oils before, give it a try before you write it off completely!

Can we use it year-round or only in the winter?

Depending on your skin type, you might have to switch oils with the changing seasons, but oils can definitely be used year-round. Jojoba oil is extremely versatile, can be used with many different skin types and works great year-round.

What are some good/bad ingredients to look out for when shopping for a face oil?

If you have nut allergies, you should CAREFULLY look over the ingredient list before use, as many face oils contain ingredients pressed from nuts. Regardless of whether you have any known allergies, you should always do a patch test if you have sensitive skin. And if you do have allergies and are unsure if a certain product will work for you, you should consult your physician before use.

What are the rules of application and should we forgo using creams and serums in place of oil?

Generally, face oils can replace your daily moisturizer. However, some people may require additional boosts, like serums, extracts and specialty toners, to address their skin concerns. If your skin needs an extra boost, then by all means find the product or combination of products that help you address those concerns. I don’t believe in limiting oneself to only a specific regime or advocating exclusively for face oils instead of creams and lotions. The secret to healthy skin is not just the products you use but also eating a balanced diet. Unless you are blessed with unbelievable genes, if you eat a diet heavy in meat and carbs or processed food, your skin simply won’t have the same luster as someone eating a balanced diet, no matter how expensive your skin care products are.

As for the order of application, typically serums should be used before face oils. And if you’re using face oils during the day, always wait a few minutes to let the oil completely sink in before applying sunscreen. And yes, you MUST wear sunscreen everyday, even on cloudy days or if you’re staying indoors!