Lotion vs. Oil: Why You Should Make The Change

This post comes from our contributor FP Naomi.

Many of you will remember my visit with Dominique Caron of Caru Skincare Co. After a short while of grilling her about her own life, she turned the conversation on me and asked what moisturizer I typically used. “I actually don’t use face moisturizer,” I told her, “I have acne prone skin, and it tends to clog my pores.” That is when she put a bottle of jojoba oil in my hand and sent me on my way.

Now I’ve been putting this stuff on my face for almost two months, and I absolutely love it. It’s lightweight, gives my complexion an even matte finish, and at the same time, feels ultra-nourishing as I lightly massage it around my eyes, cheekbones, across my forehead, and finally my chin. You would think that the oil would cause my sensitive skin to break out and clog my pores, but no — it doesn’t.

The experience caused my awareness to perk up, and I started to notice other girls talking about face oil. In the locker room, over dinner, online – I couldn’t escape the topic. Even Brigette’s been using it right under my nose without me noticing! (As you’ll remember from her post here). It seemed everywhere I looked, moisturizing your face with oil had suddenly become all the rage.

lotion vs. oil

The Benefits of Oil:

  1. Oils lock in moisture and help protect the skin against environmental effects.
  2. Oils deliver a potent dose of nutrients
  3. Because your face is well moisturized, it will stop the overproduction of its own oil, and you’ll avoid that shiny t-zone look.
  4. Oils can be all natural, need no preservatives, and have a shelf life of about two years.
  5. Most natural oils are easily absorbed & won’t clog pores.
  6. Oils are typically ultra-healing, and great for repairing skin.

Tip: Don’t purchase oils extracted with heat or harsh chemicals as these will cause the oils to break down, and diminish their quality. Look for labels that say cold-pressed or CO2 extracted. Also, stay away from anything with words like “parfum” or “fragrance.” These are generally chemical additives, and not what you want to put on your face. At the same time, many of today’s oils are mixed with herbs and flowers for added benefits and scents. So long as they are natural, you’re good. Look for “certified organic.”

Fun Fact: You may (like me) think that moisturizing with oil is a new phenomenon. The truth is that the regimen goes all the way back to ancient times when Egyptians, Romans, and Indians alike would use oil regularly for skincare and beauty. The fad never really went out of style in Europe, and is just now gaining resurgence in North America.

lotion vs. oil

The Downfall of Lotion: There has been a recent migration in mankind’s way of thinking towards a desire for holistic products. We all of a sudden care what we put on our skin, and what enters our bodies. Lotion is usually made from a combination of oil & water, and the presence of water causes bacteria to form and makes the oil go rancid. To prevent this, all lotions must contain a preservative of some kind to keep them from going bad. That preservative is almost never natural, and – if avoidable – something you rather not put on your face.

lotion vs. oil

Now, if you’re new to moisturizing with oil, here is a little break down of what oils you’re likely to come across. Please note, many lines will combine oils.

Jojoba Oil: The makeup of Jojoba oil almost mirrors that of our skin’s natural sebum (protective barrier). It thus helps to control the over production of sebum, won’t clog pores, and helps protect the skin. Vitamin-wise, it’s rich in vitamin E, and is a great source of antioxidants. Try: Caru Skincare Organic Jojoba Oil Facial Moisturizer

Almond Oil: Almond oil is great for deep moisturizing and to soothe dry or irritated skin. It’s rich in vitamins A, B, and E. Try: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare

Argan Oil: This one is popular in the anti-aging world. Argan oil helps with wrinkles, soothes conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and dry skin. It is rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. Try: Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light

Seaberry: Seaberry makes a great protective layer. It’s packed with omega fatty acids that create a barrier while moisturizing and nourishing. Try: Seaberry Moisturizing Facial Oil

Rose Hip Oil: Unlike the others already mentioned, rose hip is rich in vitamin C which makes it great for skin repair. It helps with red marks or scarring, but is best when mixed with one of the oils already mentioned. Try: Melvita Rose Hip Oil

Happy moisturizing everyone!

Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot!

More beauty tips from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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9 years ago

Oil is WONDERFUL for moisturizing oily skin, but actually will cause dry skin to become even dryer. For dry skin types, you actually need water to hydrate your skin – a cream made from water and oil will lock and seal water into your skin, whereas oil alone will actually PULL water away from your skin.

You can make your own cream without the use of any preservatives whatsoever (the one I make lasts well over a year), and as long as you use distilled water (or better yet, rose water) there will be no bacteria growth. Check out Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe for face cream – it’s a great starting point: https://vimeo.com/78193933

9 years ago

I recently started using Jojoba oil for various things and I can’t believe I never used it before.
It is so fantastic!

And thanks Meghan for the link to the face cream diy!

9 years ago

If you go to a well-stocked Indian grocerry they will have large bottles of oils traditionally used for skincare in Ayurveda- sesame and almond as well as others- and it’ll be WAY cheaper than a tiny bottle at a health food or cosmetic store. If you get sesame, you can use it for oil pulls too!

9 years ago

I only use oil! The company I work makes an all natural skin oil called Beautiful *Your name here*. It’s the ONLY thing I use and my skin has never, ever looked better. It’s comprised of all natural oils and leaves you glowing. No, I do not get a commission on this, so please know I am giving my real opinion. This stuff is great.


9 years ago

Fantastic information! I definitely want to try this again. I have been making my own lotion for awhile now, and it’s true, it does go bad quite fast, and, because of that, some ends up being wasted before I can use it. I think I’ll try the Jojoba oil this time. I’ve tried the Argan Oil before, and it didn’t work well for me.


9 years ago

I started using jojoba oil from trader joes and its heavenly! Also great as an eye makeup remover too :) Xx, Tiffany { http://www.sunshinedaydreamphotography.com }

9 years ago

I like argan oil and coconut oil. I tried using olive oil after a friend recommended it, but it was too rich for my skin and clogged my pores. Someone sent me a bottle of argan oil and my step mum recommended coconut oil since they’re both “dry” oils. I keep a little container of coconut oil on my vanity now and love it- and not just because I smell all coconutty and tropical!

9 years ago

I have oily skin and acne prone. I started using coconut oil and my skin has been really dry… What do I do?

9 years ago

I’ve been using jojoba oil as my face moisturizer forever, and all my girlfriends thought I was crazy for putting oil on my face! Every face moisturizer they use has “oil-free” right on the bottle, so it was like I was committing some kind of beauty sin. But little do they know it’s so amazing! I use it as an awesome eye makeup remover and all over body moisture!

9 years ago
9 years ago

Oil doesn’t make dry skin drier if you apply it directly after washing your face, while your face is still damp. I have extremely dry skin and I use avocado oil. My skin loves it, and applying it to a damp face seems to lock in the moisture.

9 years ago

I’ve been using grapeseed oil for years now, and it’s the best thing i’ve ever done for my skin.

9 years ago

Jojoba oil has a comedogenic rating of 2. (semi-pore clogging) for all you acne prone/clogged pores people out there.

9 years ago

This was a good read, with some very useful tips! I’ve used cold pressed coconut oil for my hair, and occasionally my face, so the idea of using oil instead of a cream isn’t all that new to me, but I really enjoyed the introduction of different oils to use, their benefits and specific products of them. Great!


9 years ago

Coconut Oil is my favorite for my super dry hands!


9 years ago

Love this post; I have acne-prone skin too and I’m going out right now to pick up and try some argon oil!


9 years ago

What a great post, something to definitely try. I would love to attempt a DIY with this as well.

9 years ago

I love oil but you have to change your pillowcase constantly. I also question how safe it is to apply just before you go out into the sun.

Good article thanks for sharing

9 years ago

Love this blog! Thanks for the advice! http://www.honeydustblog.com

9 years ago

Jojoba oil broke my skin out, but my skin pretty much hates anything. Rose hip oil was good for a while.

9 years ago

Jojoba is one of the best things I have ever used for my face skin. I just fell in love with it! Thank you, FP!

9 years ago

I’ve been use Argan oil which is nice but just a tad bit to heavy. I think I’m going to give this one a try. Does anyone know a good SPF to put on top of it that won’t clog pores?

9 years ago

Coconut oil works really well as a face, hair, body, and overall moisturizer as well!
Coconut oil has some really great health benefits that more people need to know about!

Looking for some USDA certified organic coconut oil or other coconut oil products? Check out http://www.organicfiji.com for some of the best :)