Best facial oils for all skin types, including dry, sensitive and oily

a collage of the best facial oils to buy online

The best facial oils can work for all skin types. Even those with naturally oily or spot-prone complexions can take advantage of the hydrating properties of an oil - you just need to shop smart.

Drinking enough water might be the most commonly touted benefit of facial oils, but to dismiss them as merely a super-charged moisturiser is to underestimate them. “Each oil will have differing skin benefits such as antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory,” explains aesthetician Abigail James. That’s why it’s important to pick the best facial oil to suit both your skin type and needs.

But, how do facial oils work? "Facial oils are emollients and occlusives," says Aesthetic Surgeon Dr Munir Somji. "The emollient softens and smooths the stratum corneum (the outer layer of your skin), whilst the occlusive forms a protective seal on the epidermis to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin's barrier."

In short, they add moisture to the skin and help to keep it there. By adding this extra layer of hydration, skin is less likely to become dry, cracked or generally uncomfortable. Read on for our expert-approved guide to all things facial oils, plus our tried-and-tested top picks to shop now.

The best facial oils for your skin type:

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1. No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil

Best oil for dry skin

No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil

Credit: Boots

One of the more reasonably priced facial oils on the market. This more than delivers when it comes to nourishing uncomfortably dry skin. Our beauty writer Emma North gave it a try, as did her mum, and they were both impressed. "There’s no tackiness or greasiness, and it soaks into skin beautifully, for maximum radiance with minimal residue. Ideal for layering beneath your normal moisturiser during cold spells or whenever your skin is in need of some extra TLC. The scent makes it a sensory experience and a joy to use, but if you’re sensitive to fragrance, it might be too overpowering."

2. Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil

Best oil for spot prone skin

Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil

Credit: Sunday Riley

The jury is still out on whether spot-prone skin types can benefit from an oil, but we do know that formulation is key. This one takes a two-pronged approach, teaming oils (milk thistle seed, black cumin and pomegranate seed to name a few) with powerhouse exfoliator salicylic acid. It's main focus is not to intensely hydrate skin, but banish blackheads and prevent breakouts, which is why it feels more like a treatment serum than a typically ‘wet’ oil. "It worked wonders on my sprinkling of hormonal spots, especially across my chin, but did leave my skin a little dry," says Deputy Beauty Editor, Jess Beech. Our advice is to go slow, and use sparingly alongside a good moisturiser to avoid dehydrating the skin.

3. Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

Best for combination skin

Drunk Elephant virgin marula facial oil

Credit: Drunk Elephant

It doesn’t get more simple or straightforward than clean beauty brand Drunk Elephant and their award-winning facial oil. It contains just one ingredient - 100% virgin, unrefined marula oil - which is cold-pressed and packed full of antioxidants, omegas and other skin nutrients. These work to smooth and soothe ageing and inflamed skin, whilst protecting against air pollution and other environmental stressors. Though it may be a little on the pricey side, it boasts a 4.37 star rating on Cult Beauty. And fans have hailed it as a stand-out amongst oils. “I've tried sooooo many different oils, from cheap to luxury brands and I always come back to this,” wrote one reviewer. “I have combination to dry skin which can be sensitive. It absorbs beautifully, leaves no residue/oiliness and leaves my skin looking fresh and hydrated in the morning.”

4. Votary Super Seed Facial Oil

Best oil for sensitive skin

best facial oils: Votary Super Seed Facial Oil

If you’re after an oil that feels akin to an afternoon spent in a posh spa, this is it. Not only does it smell amazing, but the chic green bottle is the kind you’d happily display front-and-centre of your bathroom cabinet. Our Fashion Director Paula Moore put it to the test. "A combination of cold weather, central heating and chemotherapy had left my already dry and sensitive skin feeling like sandpaper. Just two drops (less than half of the recommended 4-5) applied every day and my skin was soft and glowing." The whole Votary range is safe to use during chemotherapy, giving you extra peace of mind at a stressful time.

5. Trilogy Hemphip Balancing Oil

Best oil for oily skin

best facial oils: Trilogy Hemphip Balancing Oil

Credit: Trilogy

If you love the idea of a facial oil, but the reality tends to be congested, greasy skin, then give this a go. Senior Beauty Editor Fiona McKim is one such sceptic, but was pleasantly surprised. "The texture is quite ‘dry’ as oils go, and it smells more citrusy and clean rather than deliciously spa-like. Unlike the majority of oils, it sinks in really fast. And leaves skin soft and dewy, without feeling or looking overly oiled up. This makes it a good product for layering beneath make-up. A quick glance at the ingredients list and you’ll notice salicylic acid, which is a clever addition to counteract cloggy pores. It does, however, dry skin out a little, so I’d recommend all but the very oiliest skin’s reserve this as a treatment for 2-3 times a week."

6. Clarins Blue Orchid Treatment Oil

Best oil for dehydrated skin

best facial oils: Clarins Blue Orchid Treatment Oil

Credit: Clarins

Give thirsty skin a much needed dose of hydration. This is the perfect oil for times when your moisturiser alone isn’t quite meeting the mark. As you’d expect from Clarins, it is heavily fragranced, thanks to a combination of plant extracts and essential oils, which gives it a real wellbeing feel. Our Lifestyle Director, Jayne Marsden, who has a long history of allergies and irritation to skincare, found it soothing and calming, with dry patches softened. "Putting the oil in my palms to warm up before applying, it felt rich and I knew it would be comforting on my face. I applied with press-and-release movements, as directed on the leaflet inside the box and could feel my skin drinking it up." Not only will these motions help with absorption, but they'll help create a relaxing night time ritual too.

7. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Best oil for fine lines