The beauty in oils

Remember when your Mum insisted upon eating your vegetables every night at dinner as a non-negotiable? Well, actually for me, it was my father – a chef (how lucky was I?) – who enforced the rule of swallowing every last morsel of vegetable on my plate, and to be honest, I will be eternally grateful. Whilst I certainly wasn’t a great fan of his stubborn hard-love at the time, it really did set me up for wonderful heath that never seems to fade.

If I were to make a very profound skincare statement, it would be that oils are the vegetables of a robust and reliable skincare routine. Yes, cleansers set the skin up for success (ala water in our diets), and serums boost the skin in all sorts of ways (similar to the benefits of ingesting nuts and seeds), but the real heros are facial oils. Simple to use, densely packed with nutrients, and if you ever go without for more than a day or two, the change in skin is obvious – and not in a good way, let me assure you. After all, there is good reason the ancient Egyptians reportedly used oils as their primary cosmetic product from as early as 4,500 BC!

For those not yet acquainted with oils, if the thought of putting oil on your face sends you running for the hills for fear of deep-seated, cranky pimples, I want to encourage you to read on as one of the wonderful qualities of oils is that a well formulated oil blend can help balance sebum production.

Unfortunately some main-stream, synthetic ‘oils’ have destroyed the trust of consumers, primarily because so many have been artificially processed and are full of irritants that can dry the skin, or create other issues such as acne or rosacea. What’s important to understand though, is that plant oils are as different from artificial oils as night is to day.

Although your skin already makes oil, aka skin sebum, as we age our bodies produce less, linked to oestrogen levels dropping within our bodies. Sebum/oil plays a vital role in protecting the outermost layer of your skin to seal in hydration and keep out the effects of the environment including allergens and irritants that might exist in the world around you.

For those who remember high school science, oils are hydrophobic, meaning they repel water, and that in turn helps lock in the water when it comes to your skin, where hydration is a critical function of water balance within the skin. If you think of your skin as the bricks and mortar of a house - the oils being the mortar and the skin cells the bricks - both materials are essential for a strong wall.

Quick tip here: I’m often asked when to include oil in the skincare routine and the answer is to apply oil after using any water-based products, where it creates an occlusive barrier over the skin.

Perhaps one of the main factors that sets oil apart from other skincare products is the tiny size of fatty acid molecules which allow some oils to penetrate the skin barrier to reach the lower layers of the epidermis (where products such as moisturisers simply can't). In fact scientists have found that some carrier oils can even filter down through the top 2-3 cellular layers which allows oils to deliver nutrients at deeper levels of the skin to really assist skin repair. Some of the most penetrable oils are jojoba, almond and avocado oil.

The research-supported facts regarding how plant oils can benefit the skin are truly fascinating, where the right blend of carrier oils and essential oils can make a remarkable difference to the quality of the skin. Think of skin oils as a skin super-food, or a booster to supplement your skincare routine. No they're not a one-stop solution that delivers magic, but gee they really are crammed with incomparable benefits!

Here are just a few benefits (of which there are plenty more) that plant oils can help masterfully deliver, they:

  1. Lock in hydration to keep the skin healthy
  2. Reduce the appearance of wrinkles because they are a super-rich source of antioxidants and emollients
  3. Reduce skin dryness - different from dehydration which you can read about in this blog post
  4. Protect your skin by penetrating more deeply than other products, helping to fortify and strengthen your natural skin barrier
  5. Provide the PERFECT primer for makeup by plumping the skin and creating a perfect canvas
  6. Reduce the appearance of pores by drawing grime from within to help minimise any oxidised sebum build-up
  7. Calm the skin via their anti-inflammatory properties
  8. Banish breakouts, especially when formulated with oils that mimic skin sebum such as jojoba oil and essential oils that target bacteria and help heal the skin
  9. Keep the skin feeling soft.

Noting we all have different skin, when designing the Indira range, we developed three skin oils for the most common skin types - being congested, dehydrated and pigmented/damaged skin. Here’s a short explanation of each of our facial oils:

1. Light Soothing Oil: designed to help heal the skin without blocking pores. Incorporating a blend of non-comodegenic oils to minimise breakouts, carefully selected essential oils chosen for their soothing, antioxidant and regenerating properties, this oil is a secret weapon in your fight against acne. Super-lightweight and fast absorbing, this oil sinks in beautifully to calm even the most sensitive of skin types. And the smell is utterly exquisite with a base of Neroli and Lavender.

2. Medium Rejuvenating Oil: brimming with essential fatty acids to restore dull, tired skin, this highly restorative oil contains purifying & skin-softening botanicals to help smooth and rejuvenate, to dramatically improve skin texture. A carefully chosen blend of powerful oils work in synergy to plump fine lines, even skin tone and bring skin back to optimal health. A true beauty elixir, this decadent oil is an absolute must for healthy, radiant skin.

3. Rich Repair Oil: this nourishing oil restores and repairs the skin so that it glows with health. Each ingredient has been carefully selected to deliver superior levels of essential fatty acids and powerful antioxidants to help reduce signs of aging.With a unique blend of native essentials oils to transport you to the Australian bush, and a combination of precious organic oils to help strengthen compromised skin and stimulate cell production, this silky oil rejuvenates even the most tired of skin, leaving it feeling nourished, noticeably soft and renewed.

One final note: oil is most certainly one of those products where the saying a little goes a long way rings true, so be mindful to use only a few drops with each application.

Discover your best skin naturally with a facial oil.


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