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11 best face oils to soothe, soften and nourish skin

From fragrance-free to scented, we’ve found lavish and lightweight buys for every budget

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Thursday 11 January 2024 12:16 GMT
Some of these products were included in our skincare routine for more than six months
Some of these products were included in our skincare routine for more than six months (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

Face oils offer a multitude of skincare benefits, from soothing easily irritated skin to adding nourishing ingredients and promoting hydration. Designed for use with moisturisers, serums and other skincare, there are plenty of picks to choose from.

Oils offer a protective barrier – they help skin retain moisture by sealing it in. If you’re prone to dry skin or need a hydrating boost, adding an oil into your routine will help other moisturising skincare layers work more efficiently. Preventing the loss of natural moisture too, oils are suitable for skin prone to irritation, sensitivity, acne, dryness and redness.

Depending on your skin type and any concerns, ingredients to look out for include brightening vitamin C, healing rosehip, plumping peptides and soothing vitamin E. If you do suffer from sensitivity, fragrance-free formulas may be best.

At which point in the skincare process oil should be added depends on personal preference. According to skin experts, it’s best as the final step, for successfully sealing hydration into the skin’s surface. As ever, it’s still vital to pop an SPF on top, though.

Should your skin be oily, sensitive, combination or dry, oils can also rebalance sebum levels. However, not every face oil will serve up the same results, so, we’ve been sampling a selection, to find the best.

How we tested

We trialled the face oils in this round-up over several weeks – though we used some of the products in our daily skincare routine for six months or more. To make the final list, the oils needed to be smoothing and nourishing while promoting hydration. Read on for our full tried and tested list of best face oils, to suit all budgets.

The best face oils for 2024 are:

  • Best face oil overall – By Sarah London hero facial oil: £34,
  • Best budget face oil – The Ordinary 100% organic cold-pressed rose hip seed oil: £9.70,
  • Best face oil for dry skin – Clarins blue orchid treatment oil, dehydrated skin: £40,
  • Best soothing face oil – StriVectin multi-action super-B barrier strengthening oil: £38.55,
  • Best evening face oil – Liz Earle superskin concentrate oil for night: £48,

By Sarah London hero facial oil

  • Best: Face oil overall
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Restores and rejuvenates a dry or sensitive complexion
  • Why we love it
    • Organic ingredients
    • Lavish feeling
    • Great for make-up-free days

An organic buy, this product is free from both essential oils and fragrances, which is especially useful if your skin is prone to irritation. There are only six plant oil ingredients, and these include sweet almond, pumpkin seed, argan and vitamin E.

When releasing product from the glass bottle’s pipette, we were struck by how lavishly soothing the thick formula felt, especially given its relatively affordable price.

We used about three drops and the oil soaked in well, while still leaving obvious dewy softness. We noted it was skin-plumping and minimised any dullness or redness on make-up-free days.

This oil strikes the perfect balance between being calming, soothing and promoting hydration, while providing a comforting moment of self-care.

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The Ordinary 100% organic cold-pressed rose hip seed oil, 30ml

  • Best: Budget face oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Hydrates skin, brightens and balances uneven skin tone, supports skin elasticity
  • Why we love it
    • Adds glossiness
    • Great value

This organic oil has a thick consistency, which is best applied once a day. We alternated between day and evening doses, depending on how our skin was feeling. It worked well at night, when skin is at its thirstiest, but we also liked the daily boost of nourishment under make-up.

The oil smoothed over skin and felt gently comforting on irritation, too. Great for those who like the glass-skin look, there was a lingering glossiness, too.

We saw a noticeable improvement to our redness and inflammation, which was even more impressive, given the bargain price.

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Clarins blue orchid treatment oil, dehydrated skin

  • Best: Face oil for dry skin
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Tones, revitalises and restores radiance to moisture-depleted skin
  • Why we love it
    • Lovely botanical scent
    • A little goes a long way
    • Noticeable glow, even under make-up

This face oil has a light botanical scent, and its plant-extract ingredients include rosewood, patchouli and blue orchid. We have dry skin and found a tiny amount of oil went a long way to soothe and add visible moisture.

Presented in a glass bottle with pipette applicator, the oil consistency is thick and felt enveloping. The product absorbed quickly and easily, without any greasiness.

We saw noticeably glowing skin, which still looked and felt softened and toned after a long day. Plus, our make-up seemed to have extra dewiness – to the point we noticed a difference on days we went without this oil. It’s fast become our go-to.

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StriVectin multi-action super-B barrier strengthening oil

Strivectin multi-action super-B barrier strengthening oil, 30ml.png
  • Best: Soothing face oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Reinforces the skin’s natural barrier and corrects dryness
  • Why we love it
    • Fast-absorbing
    • Calms enflamed or dry skin

Featuring a slightly sweet scent that isn’t at all imposing, this oil include probiotics and vitamin B3 among its key components. Using the bottle’s pipette, we popped a few drops onto our skin and noticed how fast the product absorbed, while leaving a slightly sheeny veil. The result was a smooth, balanced complexion.

We saw a couple of red, dry patches of skin significantly calmed and could feel improved softness in our face, too. Because it’s quite lightweight, we also liked mixing this with our moisturiser or foundation, for a faster morning routine.

  1. £38 from
Prices may vary
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Liz Earle superskin concentrate oil for night

Liz Earle.jpg
  • Best: Evening face oil
  • Size: 28ml
  • Benefits: Helps to soften and rebalance skin
  • Why we love it
    • Easy to spread
    • Great as an overnight treatment
  • Take note
    • On the runny side

A face oil specifically designed for use at night, this skin-soothing blend contains ingredients such as rosehip-seed oil, argan oil, chamomile, neroli and vitamin E.

We immediately noticed the rich, botanical scent, which made using the lightweight oil feel luxurious. It’s a bit on the runny side, which made application easy, as a small amount spread across our face and neck before absorbing quickly.

We used the oil before bed, so it became a pre-sleep ritual for unwinding, too. The next morning, we noted hydrated, softened skin. This oil is as appealing for the skincare benefits as it is for its relaxing aroma.

  1. £48 from
Prices may vary
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Lumity skin nutrients facial oil

  • Best: Multi-tasking face oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Moisturises and reinforces the skin’s natural barrier
  • Why we love it
    • Spa-like experience
    • Versatile

This oil has a dreamy spa-like scent, thanks to its essential oil blend, while key ingredients cover marula oil, sunflower seed oil, tea-seed oil and evening primrose oil.

The golden-coloured liquid is lightweight, so, we found it added a refreshing feel to skin while adding an intense moisture boost. This is a comforting skincare layer, which we found calming on sensitive skin.

We took the versatile oil away overnight to use on hair, nails and even as a highlighter over make-up, too.

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Ole Henriksen strength hydrabarrier nourishing face oil

Ole Hendriksen.jpg
  • Best: Skin-softening face oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Boosts hydration and strengthens moisture barrier
  • Why we love it
    • Subtle berry scent
    • Velvet-soft finish

This face oil contains vegan-friendly peptides, vitamin E, elderberry oil, lingonberry oil and cloudberry oil.

The midweight oil felt glossy when applied to our skin, and the velvety-soft finish was a joy to slather on. We noted a mildly sweet but not overpowering scent, which comes from the berry ingredients.

The oil soaked in efficiently and the surface hydration on our face lingered throughout the day, adding a glow whether or not we wore make-up. We liked popping a few drops in our moisturiser for an extra nourishing fix, too.

  1. £45 from
Prices may vary
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Sacred elemental glow face oil

  • Best: Face oil for dewiness
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Balances out skin tone, fades scars and minimises breakouts, while locking in moisture
  • Why we love it
    • Amazing smell
    • Helps to create an even base

The first thing we noticed about this golden-coloured oil is the intoxicating scent, which comes courtesy of ingredients such as cedarwood, ylang ylang, turmeric and mandarin. Additional components cover olive squalane, hemp-seed oil, rosehip oil and grapeseed oil.

Although refreshingly lightweight, we found the formula to feel richly nourishing on our skin. Just a drop or two covered our whole face with ease, and we also saw a noticeable glow. This dewiness added a slight shine initially, however, it really helped with smoothing over any dry skin patches and providing an even base.

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Perricone MD chia oil

Perricone MD chia oil.png
  • Best: Luxury face oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Nourishing, softens the appearance of fine lines and creases
  • Why we love it
    • Gentle on sensitive skin
    • Helps plump out fine lines

This luxe-looking face oil bottle contains a chia seed oil formula with sweet almond oil, lipids and vitamin F. We found the oil to be gentle on sensitive skin and enjoyed how easily it absorbed, without any greasiness.

After pressing this product into our skin, we could see a subtle glow, without shine or slippiness. The supple finish also helped a few fine lines look plumped out, thanks to the moisture barrier boost.

Ideal for use both in the morning and before bed, we could detect a sweet, creamy scent during application. We also liked that the bottle has a pipette top and separate cap.

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Dermatology M anti-acne face oil

Dermatology M anti-acne face oil.jpg
  • Best: Face oil for acne-prone skin
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Soothes, brightens and smooths skin, helps rebalance skin sebum
  • Why we love it
    • Matte-finish
    • Great for acne-prone skin

A face oil that doesn’t leave a glossy or greasy residue, we found this one offered a demi-matte finish. Perfect if you’re prone to acne and need to steer clear of anything that could block your pores, this anti-comedogenic formula contains sunflower oils, prickly pear seed, rosehip and vitamin E.

It also includes bakuchiol, which is often referred to as a natural retinol alternative. Because of this ingredient, we felt a slight tingle on application, but we also saw tone balancing and brightening due its inclusion, and our skin was smooth and silky soft afterwards.

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Kora Organics noni glow face oil

Kora noni glow face oil.jpg
  • Best: Vegan-friendly face oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Benefits: Skin is left smoother, softer and with a natural-looking, radiant glow
  • Why we love it
    • Vegan-friendly
    • Hydrated effect

This vegan-friendly face oil features a plant-derived ingredients list, including noni extract, rosehip oil, pomegranate and sea buckthorn oil.

We found the oil left a visible glow and radiance, and we saw a sheeny layer lingering on skin. This meant we noticed a glossy-looking finish, while also feeling that our skin was soothed and hydrated.

The scent is fresh and light, making application even more appealing. Ideal for daily use, a tiny amount went a long way.

  1. £62 from
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Face oils

By Sarah London’s hero facial oil is our best buy overall, due to it being soothing, calming and skin-softening. Meanwhile, Liz Earle’s superskin concentrate oil for night offers a relaxing evening option for helping to promote hydration. Finally, Lumity’s skin nutrients facial oil is a comforting skincare layer suitable for use on hair and nails too.

Want to reduce wrinkles? We’ve rounded up the best anti-ageing day creams

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