Insider's Guide to Spas
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Choosing & Using Beauty Oils

Shelley Lotz

The versatility and gorgeous results make skincare oils a top choice for most beauty experts and makeup artists. Plant oils nourish the face, body, hair, scalp, and can multitask better than other products. Oils glide on easily and feel luxurious—imagine your skin hydrated with a supple and smooth texture. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be treating your skin daily to the benefits of good, clean face and body oils.

This welcome beauty trend is growing, as more brands are introducing a beauty oil product, including cleansing oils. I know those of you with oily skin may freak out when the word “oil” is mentioned (are you even still reading this?), but oils formulated for your skin type can treat and balance your skin.

Plant oils have skin-friendly ingredients like antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids. Oils are used for everything: cleansing, moisturizing, massage, bath, lips, and hair. As with our food choices, organic is preferred. Organic, cold-pressed, unrefined oils not only retain their bioactive properties, but they are simply more potent.

Plant oils nourish the face, body, hair, scalp, and can multitask better than other products.

Luxury spa brand Kerstin Florian recently introduced a USDA Certified Organic face and body oil collection inspired by nature and wellness principles. I love the beautiful and sustainable glass bottles that are easy to use. I’ve incorporated a few of my favorites into the tips below. With quality organic ingredients, you are getting concentrated ingredients that are effective, not watered-down synthetics.

Choosing Oils for Your Skin Type

If you have dry skin, chances are you love slathering on oil as much as I do. Dry skin needs protection and heavier oils like olive, avocado, or coconut are beneficial, especially for the body. Skin conditions such as acne or sensitivity can be treated with essential oils and blends. Oils are healing and soothing with anti-inflammatory properties.

Lighter oils lower in saturated fat, such as grape seed, hemp, or apricot kernel, will work well for those of you with oily or combination skin. Look for non-comedogenic oils that do not clog the follicles, aka pores. A few drops are plenty on the face. Use oils at night, if they feel too greasy for you during the daytime.

I have a background in esthetics and education, and I can tell you that many people with oily skin still get nervous if you put oil on their face without explaining the science behind the method. One thing we teach in esthetics is “like dissolves like,” which means oil dissolves oil. For example, jojoba oil, the closest oil to skin’s natural oil, sends a message to glands to balance and slow oil production. Tea tree and peppermint can benefit oily skin, but can be irritating, so using oils correctly is important.

Many beauty oils contain a base oil, a concentrated nourishing oil, and a few drops of essential oils. Argan, rosehip, carrot, and marula are nourishing with antioxidants, vitamins, and healing properties. Essential oils are strong and some should not be applied alone because they can cause reactions and sun sensitivity, especially citrus oils. Go for calming and healing blends on the face: lavender, rose, and chamomile (anti-inflammatory). Other popular essential oils are rosemary, sandalwood, and neroli.

Application Tips 

Oils are occlusive lipids and emollients, which means that they coat/seal the skin. Oils don’t hydrate dehydrated skin (lacking water) like humectants do. Apply moisturizing humectants and serums first, then oils. Otherwise these hydrating ingredients can’t penetrate through oil. For example, masks need to penetrate into the skin. Change up your products seasonally and for your climate (more oil with winter dryness and less in steamy climates).

For the Daytime

• Apply a few drops of oil under makeup or sunscreen on the face for a dewy look. People with any skin type can feel confident using Kerstin Florian’s Clarifying Lavender Facial Oil. Fragrance- and preservative-free, it’s 98 percent organic and formulated with sea buckthorn oil, meadowfoam oil, and jojoba oil, in addition to lavender, which calms and balances the skin.

• A few drops of oil in the hair will leave it healthy, shiny, and smooth.

• Apply oil all over your body (excess oil is not recommended if you are wearing fabrics that would stain or absorb the oil). Skin looks gorgeous with a sheen of oil for summer!

• Don’t forget sunscreen—some oil may have protective properties, but remember oil can accelerate a skin fry.

• You can also use a few drops of oil to refresh makeup: Pat all over and rub lightly to revive the glow.

• If your nose is dry from allergies, a dab under the nose will help you look and feel better.

• Test the amount of oil to use and how it mixes with your makeup so you don’t ruin your look! Avoid mixing with powders, which are applied over liquids last.

For the Evening

This is the time to really enjoy the benefits of oils. Cleansing oils remove makeup easily, and oils applied to the face or body have time to absorb over night. A fragrant bath with essential oils leave skin silky smooth and the mind relaxed. Hair oils can be left in overnight and rinsed in the morning.

Unplug and practice your own wellness ritual with candles and music:

Take a bath with your favorite oil and add salts to detoxify. Kerstin Florian’s Ginger Bath & Body Oil has a sunflower-seed base with ginger, coriander, and plai (a unique ginger from Thailand) essential oils formulated to energize your senses while nourishing the skin and warming the muscles. Ginger is becoming more popular in products, as it is anti-inflammatory and soothes muscle pain. Coriander also revitalizes muscles and relieves fatigue.

• Apply your favorite at-home face mask and chill while focusing on positive affirmations or what you are grateful for.

• Make time to slowly and methodically massage a body oil into the skin before bed.

• Create your own nighttime ritual with your favorite oil. Simply add three or so drops to your palms, rub together, and deeply inhale the aroma, then exhale slowly.

• You can apply body oils to damp skin, mixed with a lotion, or use in baths to revitalize the body. Good-quality body oils are silky and light, so the oil does not feel greasy.

Incorporating beauty oils into your lifestyle will help you sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed with silky skin.








Shelley Lotz

Shelley Lotz

Shelley Lotz has over 25 years of experience in the spa industry as an esthetician, educator, and entrepreneur. She is a major contributing author of "Milady's Standard Esthetics Fundamentals," a textbook for estheticians, and wrote "Green Spas and Salons: How to Make Your Business Truly Sustainable" (