Oils for the face: can I only care for my skin with oils?

Oils for the face polarize - some consider them to be magical beauty products for daily skin care, while others warn of their drying properties. In this article, we'll start from scratch: when does oil alone make sense, what are its benefits compared to creams, and what's the role of lipids in the whole story? Plus: You will learn how to use facial oils correctly and which oil is best for your skin type.

Öle fürs Gesicht | Five Skincare

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Pure oil care vs. cream: What are the advantages of oils for the face?

Pure oil care has two very important advantages over creams.

  1. Few ingredients and no fillers, because it contains: pure oil. And if you use natural vegetable oils instead of mineral oil, your skin will also benefit from a whole range of antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fatty acids.
  2. Free from emulsifiers and preservatives. These are only necessary if a formulation contains water. A pure oil can safely do without it.

That sounds good, after all we're all into minimalist skincare, right? The answer to that depends entirely on who you ask. Certain facial oils have a reputation for disrupting the barrier function and drying out the skin. This includes olive oil1. To understand what makes good oils for the face care, let's take a step back and dedicate us the structure of our skin.

Lipids, moisture and the skin's protective barrier - what you should know!

Our upper skin (the epidermis) consists of several superimposed layers, of which the horny layer (stratum corneum) as the outermost layer closes the skin to the outside. As the direct boundary to the environment, the stratum corneum fulfills an important barrier function, the importance of which we will now take a closer look at.

  • Protective barrier: The stratum corneum contains horny fats (also called epidermal lipids), which hold the cells of the horny layer together. They play a key role in our skin health. First, they bind moisture, second, they form a protective barrier against external influences.
  • Bricks & Mortar: Think of this interplay as a wall made of bricks (the cells of the stratum corneum) and mortar (the epidermal lipids). If there are too few lipids, the wall becomes permeable: moisture can escape more easily and the skin reacts more sensitively to environmental influences. The result: dryness and feelings of tension.
  • Hydrolipid film & NMFs: Our skin also has another line of defense: the so-called hydrolipid film. It covers the outermost layer of skin and acts as an additional barrier against harmful substances and invaders. It contains free fatty acids from the sebaceous glands, lactic acid and other secretions from sweat, as well as NMFs – the skin's natural moisturizing factors.

Oils for the skin: why the fatty acid spectrum matters!

Unlike vitamin C, for example, which is a single substance, vegetable oils consist of a whole range of individual components. It is this cocktail that determines the suitability of a particular oil for skin care. Would you like some examples?

Sea Buckthorn Pulp Oil:

is considered one of the most precious plant substances in the world2. It contains high levels of the rare palmitoleic acid, which is part of our skin's own lipids. Also known as omega-7, this fatty acid boosts skin regeneration, supports wound healing and reduces the appearance of scars and pigment spots.

And it gets even better: palmitic acid also ensures soft, supple skin and prevents excessive water loss through the skin's surface2.Other beauty boosters contained in sea buckthorn pulp oil are vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids (the antioxidant gives the oil its bright orange color) and phospholipids (important for cell renewal)3. We use the skin booster in the FIVE facial oil for dry skin.

Black cumin oil:

is characterized by its high content of linoleic acid. Like palmitoleic acid, it occurs naturally in our skin - linoleic acid is the most abundant unsaturated fatty acid in our epidermal lipids4. As a component of ceramides (a special form of lipids) and the skin's natural moisturizing factors (the NMFs), linoleic acid supports the functions of the skin's protective barrier and is important for a radiant complexion. Therefore, the potent oil is the ideal supplement for the FIVE facial oil for impure skin.

Oils in facial care can still do that!

Oils for the face, when optimally formulated and used correctly, ensure that the skin is better able to retain moisture by preventing excessive transepidermal water loss. But watch out: Oils don't provide moisture themselves, they only help the skin to bind moisture. By the way, I will devote myself to this aspect in detail in a second article.

So much here: If you apply oil to the still slightly damp skin, this moisture is locked in, so to speak. The oil film thus protects against moisture loss by sealing the skin's surface. A principle that many cultures used thousands of years ago - skin care with oils is considered one of the oldest forms of body care.

☝️ Fact is: Used correctly, oils for the face are phenomenal Beauty boosters with very individual care properties, of which dry to impure skin can benefit. In the FIVE facial oil for dry skin we use, among other things, sea buckthorn pulp oil, which has a regenerating effect and has antioxidant properties. The FIVE facial oil for impure skin contains precious black cumin oil and essential grapefruit oil, which score with their antibacterial effect.

When are facial oils useful as sole skin care products?

Oils for the face are sufficient as sole skin care if your skin has sufficient emulsifiers from home production. Do you see a big question mark appearing in front of your inner eye? Don't worry: we'll break it down together now.

In a balanced healthy skin, fatty acids, cholesterol and diglycerides fulfill the function of the skin's own emulsifiers. This means: They ensure that the water from sweat combines with lipids on the skin's surface to form a mixture. The resulting emulsion spreads seamlessly over the skin, binds the skin's own moisture and protects against excessive water loss.

Caring that contains emulsifiers is then not necessary - a high-quality facial oil applied to moist skin is sufficient. The horny layer absorbs moisture and can keep it in the skin thanks to the sealing properties of the oil.

Thirsty skin: In which cases pure oil care is not enough!

If your skin does not have enough of its own emulsifiers, care with oil alone cannot completely cover. And even for dehydrated skin, oils for the face as solo care are not enough.

The older we get, the more our skin needs not only moisturizing lipids, but above all moisture. The skin then needs care that supplies it with moisture and helps to bind it on and in the skin. Applying oils to damp skin is no longer sufficient in this case.

My tip: Mix a drop of your facial oil with the FIVE facial serum, which provides your skin with lasting moisture in the form of gently scented rose water and keeps it in the skin with moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

How to use facial oils properly!

We recapitulate: As a rule of thumb, facial oil should always be applied to slightly damp skin. The perfect time to do this is after the shower or after your daily facial cleansing ritual. In this way, the oil can optimally lock in the existing moisture in the skin - and you can look forward to a well-moisturized, silky-soft complexion.

There is one exception: For oil cleaning, e.g. with the FIVE make-up remover with mild jojoba oil, facial oil can be used on dry skin.

From the age of around 25 (when the skin's ability to store moisture slowly decreases) and if you have dry skin, it is best to pamper your skin with a combination of facial serum and facial oil. In this way, you support your skin's ability to store water with sustainable moisture boosters such as hyaluronic acid and at the same time nourish it with valuable lipids.

Which oil for which skin type?

Allrounder jojoba oil: With good reason it is in the FIVE face oil for impure skin as well as in the FIVE face oil for dry skin included.

Its soothing, anti-inflammatory and calming effect makes it a all-rounder for all skin types. Jojoba oil is, strictly speaking, a liquid wax and is therefore similar to human skin sebum, which is also partly composed of wax esters5. Jojoba oil contains essential fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E.

These skin types benefit particularly from jojoba oil:

  • dry and mature skin: The low viscosity (= good flowability) and high molecular weight of jojoba oil are responsible for its softening and skin-friendly properties on dry skin. The contained antioxidant vitamin E protects against premature skin aging caused by oxidative stress.
  • slack, sallow skin: jojoba oil stimulates the skin's own collagen production and ensures elasticity and resilience
  • impure and oily skin: Its similarity to human skin sebum makes jojoba oil a particularly well-suited care oil against acne and impurities. It has a clarifying effect by dissolving and removing excess sebum in the pores.

Black cumin oil for blemished skin: The oil from the seeds of Nigella sativa is an insider tip against acne and blemishes . Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties caused a significant reduction in papules and pustules in acne patients6 in a scientific study. We use it in FIVE facial oil for impure skin.

Sea buckthorn pulp oil as a potent slow-aging oil: The oil from the pulp of sea buckthorn berries in FIVE face oil for dry skin included. With good reason: It is quite unique because it contains particularly large amounts of the omega-7 fatty acid palmitolein7. And it has a lot to offer our skin.

This is what sea buckthorn oil can do for your skin:

  • even, brightened complexion. Palmitoleic acid can reduce the appearance of pigment spots6. It inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the formation of melanin (this is the pigment in our skin and hair)8.
  • Pure complexion: Palmitoleic acid also has an antimicrobial effect, supports wound healing and thus ensures well-protected, flawless skin.

Squalane as the ultimate soft focus: Squalane is a natural component of our skin fat, which we extract from olives for FIVE Skincare. We use it in both FIVE facial oils, because this silky-soft oil flatters every skin type.

Squalane can do this9:

  • ensures a smooth feeling on the skin
  • is highly compatible because it also occurs naturally in the skin
  • absorbs deeply and helps the skin to retain moisture

Conclusion: Use facial oils in combination with serum to unfold their full potential!

Even if care with oil alone has many advantages at first glance - from around 25 years of age it makes sense to use oil care with hydrating and moisture-binding ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid and glycerin to supplement. If you combine facial oil and facial serum in one care step, you'll have one in no time all-round healthy complexion.

You can do without synthetic preservatives, fillers and emulsifiers with FIVE: The FIVE facial serum and the FIVE facial oils contain exactly 5 carefully selected and optimally coordinated ingredients that support your skin's health in the long term.

Would you like to pamper your skin with pure, precious ingredients? Discover the nourishing FIVE facial oils and the hydrating FIVE facial serum now in the shop!

All the best to you,

P.S.: In Part 2 of the «Oils for the Face» series, I will deal in detail with the question of whether oils moisturize the skin and what their occlusive effect is all about. Stay tuned!


  1. Lin, Tzu-Kai et al. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils." International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19.1 70. 27 Dec 2017, doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
  2. Zielińska, Aleksandra, and Izabela Nowak. "Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil." Lipids in health and disease vol. 16.1 95. 19 May 2017, doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0469-7
  3. Koskovac M, Cupara S, Kipic M, Barjaktarevic A, Milovanovic O, Kojicic K, Markovic M. Sea Buckthorn Oil—A Valuable Source for Cosmeceuticals. cosmetics 2017; 4(4):40. https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics4040040
  4. Angelo, Giana. Ph.D “Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health.” Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Feb 2012, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/essential-fatty-acids
  5. Vaughn, Alexandra R et al. "Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science." American journal of clinical dermatology vol. 19.1 (2018): 103-117. doi:10.1007/s40257-017-0301-1
  6. Salih HM Aljabre et al. Dermatological effects of Nigella sativa, Journal of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 92-98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdds.2015.04.002.
  7. Solà Marsiñach, Marta, and Aleix Pellejero Cuenca. "The impact of sea buckthorn oil fatty acids on human health." Lipids in health and disease vol. 18.1 145. 22 Jun 2019, doi:10.1186/s12944-019-1065-9
  8. Yoon, Weon-Jong et al. "Effect of palmitoleic acid on melanogenic protein expression in murine b16 melanoma." Journal of oleoscience vol. 59.6 (2010): 315-9. doi:10.5650/jos.59.315
  9. Huang Z-R, Lin Y-K, Fang J-Y. Biological and Pharmacological Activities of Squalene and Related Compounds: Potential Uses in Cosmetic Dermatology. Molecules. 2009; 14(1):540-554. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules14010540

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