Welcome to Klog Chat, a series where we ask you to tell us how you do skin care and beauty. This week, we want to know your stance on the face oil before or after moisturizer debate.
Readers often write in to ask us where certain products should fit into their routines. And while most times we know the answers, we occasionally have the same questions ourselves.
One recent example? When to apply a face oil. Does it go before or after moisturizer?
As someone who battles dry skin all winter long, I love a good face oil. I find that they keep my skin from getting dehydrated throughout the day and give my complexion a glowy finish. I have always applied my face oils post-moisturizer. My reasoning is twofold.
First, it takes a while for oil to sink into skin, and I’m not about to push my bedtime back 30 minutes to an hour to wait to apply my moisturizer on top. Second – and here’s the more scientific reason, if you will – I am under the impression that oils are occlusive and should therefore be applied last. Occlusives form a protective seal on top of skin and lock moisture in, so if you apply a moisturizer over a face oil, it won’t be able to effectively penetrate this barrier and thus won’t be very useful. On the flip side, oil can penetrate a water-based moisturizer.
On her blog, celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau confirms my theory: “The real benefit of a facial oil comes from its ability to act as a sealant, or as I like to refer to it, as a top coat, to help all the water-binding products underneath to work most efficiently.”
She continues, “The best and proper way in my professional opinion is to use a skin oil as the very last step in your routine so the largest molecule is on top. Anything with a smaller molecule will never be able to penetrate through a larger molecule.”
However, I recently added a new face oil to my routine and the instructions explicitly advise applying the product before moisturizer. The reason being that in addition to natural oils, the product contains concentrated active ingredients and the product is designed to serve as a serum. Another reason one might want to apply face oil first is if it’s the morning and you use a moisturizer with SPF since oil can dilute sunscreen and make it less effective.
Confused? Join the club.