The Best Carrier Oils for Oily Skin

Even greasy skin benefits from the right carrier oil.

Photo: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

When you’re frantically powdering your T-zone every chance you get, the thought of slicking on more oil seems like a bad joke. Yet people with oily skin still need to nourish and moisturize their faces and bodies. If you make your own skin care products, create a blend using carrier oils that heal, rather than grease up, your skin. Carrier oils are perfect mediums to infuse with botanicals or essential oils, and they form the basis for massage and bath oils, skin lotions and face cream.

Canola Oil

Light in texture and scent, canola oil makes a good carrier oil for greasy skin, especially if it’s combined with another, more nourishing oil. Canola oil comes from the seeds of the mustard greens known as rapeseed plants. Look for it in the vegetable oil aisle at your supermarket.

Grapeseed Oil

Probably the most drying of all the commonly used carrier oils, grapeseed oil is light and mild smelling. If your greasy skin absolutely can’t tolerate a small amount of richer vegetable oils, use grapeseed oil as your sole carrier oil. But for most people, even those with oily skin, grapeseed oil is too drying for solo use. You’ll risk a boomerang effect that actually leads to pimples and shiny-nose syndrome. Your oil glands go into overdrive when they get the signal that the skin above is being sucked dry.

Almond Oil

Almond kernels yield a nutrient-rich, drying oil that works well in blends but may be a bit too oil-absorbent when used exclusively as a body oil or in face creams. Combine it with a more neutral base, such as olive or canola oil. Natural beauty author Dina Falconi warns that almond oil extracted by chemicals may be too harsh for your skin. Look for the term “cold-pressed” on the label to ensure your carrier oil was mechanically pressed rather than solvent-extracted.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is anything but the pits! Like almond oil, apricot kernel oil is light and odorless. Yet it is not as vitamin-rich as almond oil; consider partnering it with a slightly richer oil when making your carrier blend. Look for apricot kernel oil at health food stores and from mail-order beauty supply companies.

Olive Oil

Used by itself, olive oil may be too heavy and strong-smelling for your needs – especially if you are trying to counter that greasy skin feeling. But the vitamin-rich, moisturizing liquid is less heavy than peanut, coconut or jojoba oil and makes a good partner for lighter, more drying carrier oils. You’ll find olive oil at your supermarket or at upscale specialty food shops. Save the expensive extra-extra virgin olive oil for salads -- but do look for cold-pressed types. They nourish the skin better and are less likely to go rancid than lower-quality olive oils.

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