Beauty tip: sharing the best way to apply facial oil

Are you a seasoned facial oil user? Or are you new to using facial oils? Whichever group you belong to, do you want to know the best way to use facial oil? If your answer is yes, read on.

I love facial oil and have been using them for many years in different ways. Because of this experience, I’m able to share with you the best way to use them.

First off, let’s start by addressing this question: how do you know if you’re even using your facial oil correctly?

Here are some hints: If your face feels tight and dry after applying your facial oil, you are not using it correctly. If your face oozes oil an hour or so after you’ve applied your face oil, you are also not applying your oil correctly.

Friend, your face is oozing oil not because you’ve used oil on your face. Your face is oozing oil because it has gone into an overdrive mode secreting oil to compensate the dryness.

If this is your experience with facial oil, you are probably skeptical about claims that using facial oil results in radiant and rejuvenated skin. Perhaps you’re thinking that facial oil isn’t suitable for you or are wondering if facial oils are only suitable for specific skin types.

The answer to all that is no. Anyone can use facial oil. Yes, even those with oily skin because the main benefit of facial oils is moisturizing–something needed by all skin types.

So how can you reap optimal benefits from using facial oil? The key is to use it the right way.

The thing with facial oils is: few come with clear instructions on how to use them effectively. Some even suggest that you just apply them after cleansing your face and applying your toner.

But what most of the instructions don’t tell you is that you should keep your face moist before applying your facial oil. That’s the correct way to apply face oil. The reason? Oil locks moisture, and prevents moisture from evaporating. This is why moisturizers are formulated with water and oil.

I was fortunate that the first facial oil I bought came with proper instructions, telling me specifically to apply on damp skin. Since then I’ve always used face oil with water, a hydrating mist, a serum, or even a moisturizer.

If you have been applying oil on your face without any of these I’ve mentioned, you’ll find your skin feeling dry. In fact, you will find it so hard to apply the oil in the first place.

Okay, before I tell you the best way to use facial oil, let me show you the different ways to incorporate facial oil in your skin care routine. These are techniques I’ve already shared but probably long forgotten.

Apply on moist skin
Always apply your facial oil when your skin is slightly damp, either with water or with a facial mist. Note that your skin should not be wet such that the skin cannot hold the oil.

You can mist your face with a spray and then pat your oil on top. But what I like to do is to drop about three drops of facial oil onto my palm, squirt facial mist over the oil, rub the oil and mist with both palms, and pat on my face and smooth over my neck.

Either way, you’ll get a lot more mileage preventing dehydration on your skin. Your facial oil will also last longer.

Apply a water-based lotion or serum before your facial oil
Because water cannot penetrate oil, hence, in the order of product application, you should apply any water-based lotion or serum under your facial oil. This method allows the oil to seal the water-based serum over your skin.

Ideally, your lotion should be one that contains hydrating properties. When you use your facial oil over such a lotion, your skin will stay hydrated much longer.

Apply your facial oil after your moisturizer
You can also use 4-5 drops of oil applied over your moisturizer. This provides a protective barrier to prevent dry air from pulling moisture out from the skin–the same principle with using oil over a hydrating lotion.

Also, when used this way, your moisturizer containing active ingredients will be able to penetrate your skin more effectively.

I know some of you are probably wondering why you want to use oil over a moisturizer. Isn’t that overdosing. Isn’t using oil over water or lotion sufficient?

Well, this application is not to be used daily or to be used by all. It’s a bit like a treatment pack to be used sometimes in the night or more regularly by those with drier skin.

Mix your oil with your products (except sunscreen)
This method of using facial oil is often promoted by skin care gurus and even some formulators of facial oils. The rationale isn’t strange–adding 2 to 3 drops of oil into your serum and moisturizer (not sunscreen though because you’ll disturb the product stability). But for some reason, it’s not something I am comfortable with.

So amongst all these oil application method, there is one that I’ve found to work best with facial oils. Can you guess which one?

Okay, it’s not one method but a combination of two. I’ve found that my skin stays hydrated for much longer when I apply oil over a hydrating serum or lotion.

At the moment, I use Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum as the hydrating lotion. I apply it over my toner after cleansing. I then place a few drops of facial oil on my palm, spritz some facial mist over and then rub the combination with both palms before patting the combination on my face.

If you think about this, this combination makes the best moisturizer too. You are getting the best hydrating properties from the hydrating lotion and mist. At the same time, you’re sealing in the moisture with the facial oil.

So this begs the next question: why not just use a moisturizer?

I’ve answered this before and I’ll answer this again. Applying facial oil direct on the skin yields the most benefits to your skin. You’re getting all the goodness onto your skin without the additives that come with a moisturizer. Even though I use a hydrating lotion, it is fluid and not creamy. So our skin can reap the most benefit from the oil.

I suppose someone is gonna disagree with my method being the best. Well, all I can say is that you don’t have to believe me but I do urge you to give it a try. I mean, no harm trying right? Instead of Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum I use, you can opt for another hydrating serum as long as it is of a thin, lotion like consistency. A thick and hydrating toner like Whamisa’s works too.

So would you give this tip a try? Or are you already applying facial oil using this method? If not, how do you apply your facial oil?


  1. shivani says:

    Lovely article. One question – what about balms (case in point – mahalo balm which is super amazing on the skin)

    In terms of layering where do they come in

    Cleansing – moistuirzer – oil – balm?

  2. fashiontrendsandtips says:

    What a amazing tip thank you for share this information lovely.

  3. Ida says:

    Thanks for the tips. I love facial oils, but I’ve never thought about applying facial oil on moist skin before. I’ll try it next time.

    I’m going to Singapore in a couple of months, and I would love to do some skincare shopping. Are there any Singaporean or perhaps any East Asian natural skincare brands that you think I should keep a lookout for?

  4. Kate says:

    Hi sesame! I’ve always applied face oil after a hydrating mist or serum, and moisturise after the face oil. It has worked beautifully so far. Some times I put a thick layer of oil and massage it a little, blot slightly and leave it overnight as an intensive treatment.

  5. Sesame says:

    Hi Shivani, my experience with balm is quite limited but from what I recall, they work more like a cream moisturizer where you pat on after a toner or lotion.

  6. Sesame says:

    Glad you think so.

  7. Sesame says:

    Hmm…there aren’t that many Singapore made products available in the stores…perhaps you can try The Skin Pharmacy at Wheellock Place in Orchard Road or Nex. It’s a customized skin care pharmacy and they sell quite a number of ingredients. But they are not cheap.

  8. Sesame says:

    Oh wow, I’m glad I’ve found someone who does this too. I’d thought it was excessive but it was a great treat for my skin.

  9. Ida says:

    Okay, thanks!

  10. Ági says:

    One of my favourite topic♡ I’m so glad that you shared your method ? Mine is to go with skincare products according to their consistency. I start with toner/essence/serum/moisturizer/ facial oils. It helps me to keep moisture lot longer in my skin. I have two serums both of them watery (rosewater and hyaluronic acid and one vitamin C) and two facial oil mix (antiaging and one for sundamage/brightening) and I swicthing them each night for the best result:-)
    Altough I have to tell you that my facial oils are working best when after the serums I use sheet mask treatment and then I apply my moisturizer and oils. I found it more hidrated than using only a mist.

  11. Alaysia Butler says:

    Thank you for sharing some good tips. There are many products in the market. I am using Luxury Anti-aging/Hydrating Tinting Facial Oil from”Annimateo’. Which is really working fantastic.

  12. Ketlenen says:

    This oil is very refreshing, loved it!

  13. Pumpkin Seed says:

    Marie Veronique recommends adding facial oil to the sunscreen when it’s too hard to apply

  14. Diana_nyc says:

    My routine is that I apply my oil after my vit c-hyaluronic serum, which is great, because the serum is so watery, it creates a great base for the oil to be absorbed !

  15. Sesame says:

    Ah…using sheet mask before an oil is interesting. I’ve always just left my face alone after using a shheet mask for fear of overapplying stuff.

  16. Sesame says:

    Oh, I don’t even know. I’ve always used an oil first before applying their sunscreen and that has worked well.

  17. Sesame says:

    That sounds like a great hydrating routine. I’m glad I have good company for oil over serum routine!

  18. Ági says:

    It has been never caused me anything trouble. Moreover it helps to lock the moist into my skin. Maybe you should try it once ? I would love to read a post about your experience ?

  19. Sesame says:

    I think so too…I now make my own sheet mask using Aromatica serum so using an oil over is fine. ?

  20. Mai says:

    oh wow thank you for this article! i didnt know that i can spritz mist on my face after a serum and before applying the oil. i thought it will interfere with the effectiveness of the serum hence i have always wonder how do i make my skin moist prior to applying oil. thanks to you i learnt something new ? thank you so much!

  21. Sesame says:

    If you’re worried about disturbing your serum, squirt the mist on your palm together with the oil, and rub both palm to warm up the oil before patting onto your skin.

  22. Morgan says:

    Wow, this post was really helpful and gives a ton of great information! It’s so important to take good care of your skin, and that requires knowing exactly what products to use and how to use them properly. Nice work! Thanks for sharing!

  23. Sesame says:

    You’re welcome. Glad you find the info useful.

  24. Paramis says:

    Hello Sesame, I have a question. Do you massage the oil on the face or you pat your face with it?

  25. Sesame says:

    I pat on–3 droplets on my palm, squirt some mist and then rub both palms together then pat on face.

  26. Chelaine Soo says:

    im starting to use grapeseed oil in am n rosehip oil at pm directly on skin..followed by water based hyaluronic moisturiser but after few hours my skin feels dehydrated n tight n dry. Iactually have combination skin which is sometimes prone to breakouts n majority clogged pores. my tzone is oily while my cheeks n forehead are oily-dehydrated. but when I applied a non water based moisturiser over the oil ie thalgo 24 hrs cream it felt better. where did I went wrong?pls advise n reply to my email directly

  27. Angela says:

    Hi Sesame
    Great post! Thanks for providing so much info on your routine. Iv’e been making my own face oil for a long time now which saves me a lot of money over shop bought. Savvyhomemade has some great info on this with some nice recipes and tutorials.

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