Can you smear cooking oil on your face and body?

I was not kidding when I said I shop at the supermarket for my beauty needs. Like recently, I was itching to buy some interesting cooking oils I spotted at Finest; on the shelves were avocado oil, macademia oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil and rice bran oil. I’ve only used extra virgin olive oil at home but these other oils would make good skin oils. But the question is, can I use these food grade oils on my skin? I know some of you have the same question and I’ll attempt to answer this today.

Difference maybe subtle
Based on information I’ve read, the difference between food grade and cosmetic grade oil is very subtle and sometimes, the only difference is the production process. A vegetable oil that is intended for food processing will become a cosmetic grade material if used in a non-food processing facility because food processors must comply with food handling permits, as well as inspections by the local health department. I understand that some oils used in skin care products are refined a little further to remove the characteristic odor. Take argan oil for example:

There are two main types of argan oil – cosmetic and culinary. Cosmetic oil is made from the unroasted argan kernels; culinary argan oil is made from the roasted argan kernels. Roasting the kernels changes the scent of the oil and gives culinary argan oil a nutty scent and flavor. Apart from the scent, there isn’t much difference between the two types of argan oil, although it’s better to use the cosmetic argan oil for your skin (it can also be used on hair and nails too).

It appears that at the production of the cosmetic argan oil, the seeds are unroasted and the oil is hence, more concentrated. So you can say that cosmetic grade is better for our skin in this case. However, it may not be the case for other types of oils as I’ve learnt that in certain cases, the worst fruit is used to make oil for cosmetics.

Cooking and cosmetic application
But I believe that those culinary oil that are are marked as organic, cold or expeller pressed can be used on our skin as well. For example, it is said that “in addition to being a noteworthy cooking oil, cold pressed camellia oil is a nutritive cosmeceutical oil that is said to be the ancient beauty secret of the geishas. (source)

Cosmetic grade cannot be used for cooking
And obviously, while the difference between the two grades of oils maybe subtle, you can never use cosmetic grade oils for cooking. The reason is some cosmetic oils are stabilized with chemicals which could be harmful to consume. Even if they are 100% pure, I would not recommend as they are not produced according to requirements for food safety.

My experience
Personally, I’ve used pure extra virgin olive oil meant for cooking on my skin. Other than that, I’ve not tried using other types of cooking oil. I am still contemplating if I should get some of the interesting culinary oils for my body because they are obviously, cheaper than cosmetic grade oils. I think the question is more like – do I want to? Well, I am willing to use such culinary oils on my body but am less willing to try them on my face.

What is your experience?
What about you? Do you think it’s safe to use cooking oil on our skin? What’s your take and experience on that?


  1. Mstar says:

    Has anyone tried sesame oil for massage on sore muscles? I ve heard it works wonders and yogis in India have been using forever. Specifically I wanted to know of cooking sesame oil is fine to use as massage oil on body? Any experience or thoughts?


  2. Casey says:

    I bought a bottle of Olivado Extra Virgin Avocado Oil to use on my arms and legs. I chose this brand over the others because it is cold pressed. Harris Teeter had another brand I considered as well because it is GMO free and organic, but it is elixir pressed. I hope the avocado oil helps hydrate and moisturize my skin.

  3. Customer says:

    I’ve recently gone into a chain massage place called Kare Foot Spa & Bodywork when I left I realized they had to have used cooking oil on me as I had that definite smell as well as my clothing and that sticky gross feeling. I should have called and complained but I realized they may have done it because it was cheaper I shouldn’t have given over a 20% tip since they wanted to use such an oil on me. Otherwise the massage was good so I left it go but I may not go back there again… my first massage was good there and they didn’t use cooking oil. If I do go back again out of convenience of walk ins and reasonable prices I will definitely tell them about my bad experience last time and that I do not want the massage if they only have cooking oils to use (this was not olive oil I know the smell difference between olive oil and vegetable/canola oil). I didn’t get a chance to launder my clothes but if that smell doesn’t come out or the clothes are ruined they definitely will be hearing from me!

  4. Donna Specht says:

    I absolutely love organic coconut oil on my skin, both as a face cleanser and a body moisturizer. I combine it with some essential oil to cleanse my face at night. It leaves my face feeling so soft, you don’t even really need to apply another moisturizer unless you choose. It is excellent for the skin. My 2 daughters who are in their early 20’s use it as a face cleanser too. They are acne-prone but are not experiencing any breakouts. It’s so easy to make…just liquify the oil by either heating it or placing it in the sun or a warm area (by heat vent). Then mix in your essential oils of choice. I also notice my fine lines being much less noticeable.

  5. Neelam says:

    I have used cold pressed sesame food grade oil for my skin .It works fine

  6. Elindra says:

    I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil on my face and skin. Mine is a single variety oil from a small family run farm in Italy.

    A little goes a long way and it gives this beautiful glow without me feeling like a grease ball even in our hot,humid Singapore weather.

    Oh ya, I do mix in my favourite essential oil too so it smells really good!

  7. Kathy says:

    I use all cooking grade organic oils for all of my concoctions of epsom salts, body cream and massage oil. I have used cold pressed organic olive oil, grapeseed oil, and organic coconut oil with nothing but great results. I found that the balance & ratio of drops to carrier oil eliminates any odd carrier oil smell.. I may try grapefruit oil, I heard it helps eliminate cellulite!

  8. yoj says:

    i’m using loriva grapeseed oil right now and it is intended for cooking. I hope it will works fine on my skin.

  9. Gina says:

    Cooking sesame oil is toasted and has a toasted odor

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