Friday, September 20, 2013

The Beauty Spotlight Team Top Picks: Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog Selects Her Top 12 Beauty Oils

As I have repeatedly stated, my very favorite category of skincare products is luxury face oils. That facial oils have gained traction in the last few years has not made an appreciable difference in the way that I feel about them since I would be using them whether or not they were in vogue. However, I will say that their sheer abundance in the marketplace has allowed me to indulge in a wider variety, and with greater frequency and convenience than before. 

It hardly needs to be said that all face oil serums are not created equal, and I had to determine my criteria for selecting my very favorites. First, The Beauty Spotlight Team allowed us to choose up to 12 products to feature- so that was my cut off point. Second, I limited my choices to those that were much more natural- that is to say composed largely of natural oils, and not filled with silicones, parabens and other unwanted substances. Third, they needed to be chosen from the oils that I currently have in my rotation to the exclusion of all of the oils that I have used up and no longer have in my stash. And finally, they needed to be oils that I genuinely love and would happily repurchase.

Initially I had considered various categories such as hair, face, body, and multipurpose, but then decided to choose only beautifully crafted luxury face oils that I found to be exquisite. Some were purchased by me while others were press samples, but that was inconsequential in my selection- I chose them based upon their high quality, efficacy, their luxury, and my love of them. I thought about limiting my selection to 10, but I just couldn't eliminate any of these beautiful serums. Therefore, the following list represents oils that are not only in my stash, but also that I love enough to effusively gush over. 
There are face oils for every skin type from the very oiliest to the very driest types, and they address a multitude of skin conditions. There are antioxidant rich anti-aging face oils that rival the efficacy of traditional anti-aging serums, and those that simply deliver deep levels of moisture to dehydrated and stressed skin. There are soothing oils that are formulated to treat acneic skin, eczema, rosacea, and a whole host of other skin conditions. Furthermore, there are other oils that work wonders on skin that has been traumatized by dermatological surgical procedures, dermal peels, and the like, and are celebrated for their ability to decrease inflammation and encourage healing.

According to New York dermatologist Dr. David Colbert, "Oils are naturally more gentle than most anti-aging products because they deliver the active ingredients deep into the skin without irritating the surface, and they create a dewy glow that lasts all day."

Oils tend to penetrate the skin deeper than traditional lotions and creams because they are lipophilic which allows them to pass through the lipid layer of the skin unobstructed, and this delivers moisture deeper and prevents water loss while simultaneously plumping the skin. Since oils offer a better delivery system than traditional creams and lotions, those with active ingredients (vitamins, retinols, anti-inflammatory ingredients, etc.) are delivered more efficiently and without irritating the surface of the skin. Additionally, oils create a protective occlusive barrier, and are said to protect the skin's acid mantle which means that by bolstering the skin's lipid barrier the skin is more protected against external environmental assaults. The essential fatty acids found in face oils replenish moisture levels, deliver deep hydration, and give skin a healthy glow while offering additional protection. 

Nota Bene: My favorite face oils are listed alphabetically, not by preference (which would have been impossible). Additionally, each oil name in pink is a clickable link to my full and comprehensive review. You will also note that in several cases that a single company is featured more than once. This is because they make luxury face oils that are so exquisite that I could not narrow down my selection.
1) Aftelier Jasmine Elixir with Geranium and Ylang YlangMandy Aftel's Face Elixirs are beautiful highly concentrated serums that elicit an immediate visceral reaction, and in the most delightfully intoxicating way. Upon first experiencing Jasmine Face Elixir with Geranium and Ylang Ylang one is immediately struck by the sheer genius in the brilliant and unexpected juxtaposition of the Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Geranium scents that lend themselves to the warm complexity of the scent. While each of the predominating scents modifies and tempers the next, one finds the top notes to be predominantly a commingling of the Jasmine and the Ylang Ylang. However, this amalgam of scents is perfectly balanced without one overpowering the other, and this combination of soothing sm can only be described as the perfect union. This elixir has a profoundly calming effect of the body and soul, and therefore is a perfect before bedtime treat for the senses, the spirit, and the skin. However, if you are finding yourself stressed or anxious at any time of the day-  then I implore you to apply this to your face, and breath it in slowly and continuously until your body responds- and trust me it will. There is nothing quite like the combination of Jasmine and Ylang Ylang to quiet the mind and spirit. If I had to choose a vice for calming my nerves when I am stressed- it would be this Jasmine Face Elixir! Indeed, this beautiful golden elixir awakens a glorious sensory experience in the person using this magical potion. I am so captivated and enraptured by the scent of this beautiful oil, but as of yet I haven't even addressed its effects on the skin- which are astounding. This is a lightweight formula that absorbs easily. It leaves the skin immensely moisturized as well as incredibly soft and supple. It likewise gives the skin an unbelievable healthy glow. This is a gorgeous handcrafted artisanal luxury oil of the very highest quality. 

Ingredients: Jasmine, Geranium, and Ylang Ylang is in a base of the following organic oils: Rice Bran, Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Camellia Grapeseed, Squalene, and Rose Hip Seed Oils. The oils are chosen for their ability to promote cell regeneration and for their beautiful aromas.
2) Aftelier Lavender Face Elixir with Clary Sage and CistusMandy's brilliance is, in part, a function her ability to unite disparate elements into a single beautiful and heavenly elixir. Her unexpected juxtapositions of seemingly incompatible scents reveal her true artistry. Each note, no matter how assertive, is tempered by the properties inherent in the other oils chosen. and her nuanced selections are a function of her alchemical mastery (and this is accomplished at the most cultivated level).

Mandy's permutation of Lavender is unlike anything that you have ever experienced. It is soft and refined, without any pungency, yet it maintains all of the soothing and comforting aromatherapeutic qualities that one expects to find in Lavender. Mandy innately and intuitively understands each of the ingredients that she carefully chooses to unite. Just as Michelangelo was able to release the sculpture imprisoned in raw blocks of Carrara Marble, so too is Mandy able to create artistic marvels by understanding the potential of each of the individual ingredients and then combining them in unexpected ways. She creates otherworldly masterpieces that defy simple description due to their chameleon-like complexity. You may feel that my analogy to Michelangelo is too lofty, but trust me when I tell you that Mandy is to oils what Michelangelo was to Cinquecento painting and sculpture.

Lavender Face Elixir with Clary Sage and Cistus not only soothes the senses and quiets the mind, but it also does a remarkable job caring for the skin. This is a potent anti-aging serum that moisturizes and tones the skin while softening fine lines. Like Mandy's other Face Elixirs, this one also leaves the skin with a beautiful dewy glow and clarity. This is pure magic.

Ingredients: Lavender Absolute, Clary Sage, and Cistus in a base of the following organic oils: Rice Bran, Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Camellia Grapeseed, Squalene, and Rose Hip Seed Oils. The oils are chosen for their ability to promote cell regeneration and for their beautiful aromas.
3) Aftelier Perfumes Rose Face Elixir with Sandalwood and Frankincense: Rose Face Elixir with Sandalwood and Frankincense is a hauntingly beautiful oil based face serum that is absolutely otherworldly in its mysterious mixture of scents. While the top notes reveal the most tantalizing rose that you have ever imagined, it is tempered by a warm depth from the Sandalwood and Frankincense. This is no ordinary rose- it is an intoxicating and titillating scent that reveals an indescribable complexity as it reaches the temperature of the body and melts into the skin. This rose is elegant, sensual, lingering, and utterly addictive. The scent acts as a sweet lullaby urging you to fall into a tranquil slumber when applied at bedtime. Not only does this golden elixir offer a fantastic sensory experience, but it also does wonders for the skin.

Rose Face Elixir with Sandalwood and Frankincense is a deeply nourishing and hydrating oil for the face that makes the skin remarkably soft, supple, hydrated, and radiant. While this beautiful oil boasts the most refined rose scent imaginable- it is also a potent anti-aging serum. In addition to the properties enumerated in the above listed ingredients, it should be noted that Mandy's choice of Rose, Frankincense, and Sandalwood is significant.

Sandalwood is a calming and soothing oil that is very helpful in treating dry and sensitive skin. Frankincense is known for having ant-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory properties that make it the choice of many in skincare products. Rose is an antioxidant rich extract the heals and soothes inflamed irritated skin, and is even said to purify the skin and strengthen capillaries. When combined with the other oils in the Rose Face Elixir with Sandalwood and Frankincense, the result is one mighty anti-aging face serum that does as much for your skin as it does for your senses.

Ingredients: Rose, Sandalwood, and Frankincense in a base of the following organic oils: Rice Bran, Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Camellia Grapeseed, Squalene, and Rose Hip Seed Oils. The oils are chosen for their ability to promote cell regeneration and for their beautiful aromas.
4) Aftelier Wild Orange Face Elixir with Cedarwood and Patchouli: is the most unusual and exotic of Mandy's otherwordly luxury Face Elixirs. Indeed it has the most assertive personality among her four glorious golden face oils. As is the case with all of Mandy's magical creations, the genius is found in her unexpected juxtapositions of scents that together form the most unimaginably unique and inventive works of art. 

Wild Orange Face Elixir with Cedarwood and Patchouli is a hauntingly beautiful luxury face oil, and it is unlike anything that I have ever tried. It has an assertive personality due to Mandy's truly visionary commingling of Wild Sweet Orange, Cedarwood and Aged Patchouli. While one can detect each of these scents in this heady brew they temper one another so effectively that their union creates something far more magical than the individual oils are capable of producing on their own. 

For those who find Patchouli to be too pungent and heady, be advised that this Patchouli is not only tempered by the other scents present, but that it isn't an ordinary Patchouli to begin with. Most of the Patchouli oil that we as consumers are privy to tends to be of inferior quality. However, Mandy spares no expense in finding the highest quality Aged Patchouli available, and of this you can be assured (as your nose will quickly attest).

As with the other Aftelier Face Elixirs, Wild Orange Face Elixir with Cedarwood and Patchouli magically sinks into the skin immediately, and it nourishes and moisturizes with remarkable precision. It is so fortifying for the skin that you really don't need to use any other moisturizers or serums at night, and the proof is in seeing your gorgeously glowing skin the following morning. The aromatherapeutic effect is rich and calming to the senses, and the scent lingers for hours. 

I am continually amazed by the skincare miracles that Mandy performs. It truly takes the creative genius of one of the foremost perfumers in the world to create such otherworldly luxury face oils.They not only exceed every expectation, but they do so unlike anything else that you have experienced, or imagined for that matter. Aftelier Perfumes is peerless in the magical juxtapositions of disparate scents that together create the perfect sensory unions. Mandy's alchemical mastery will astound you- it is unlike anything that I have ever experienced. Wild Orange Face Elixir with Cedarwood and Patchouli is yet another masterpiece on Mandy's celebrated list of achievements.

Ingredients: Wild Sweet Orange, Cedar Wood, and aged Patchouli in a base of the following organic oils: Rice Bran, Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Camellia Grapeseed, Squalene, and Rose Hip Seed Oils. The oils are chosen for their ability to promote cell regeneration and for their beautiful aromas.
5) Aroma M Camellia Face Oil: According to Maria McElroy, "Blending fragrances in a bottle is like mixing colors on a palette. The scent becomes pigment, the body becomes the canvas. The nose responds to scent like the eye to color." The very notion of analogizing the blending of fragrances with the mixing of colors immediately appealed to my sensibilities- particularly given my profession. That Maria approaches the creation of her beautiful perfumes and oils as an artist is clear from the moment that you see, feel and experience them- and her beautiful wearable and usable art delights the senses.

Each lovely oil was very carefully selected for its ability to beautifully nourish, hydrate and luminize the skin. Additionally, many of the individual oils are potent antioxidant rich anti-aging power brokers that will do wonders for the skin- giving it a smooth and youthful appearance replete with a healthy luminous glow.

Aroma M Camellia Face Oil is a delightfully lightweight fast absorbing serum that is at once soothing, healing, nourishing, and utterly delectable. The scent is one in which the Jasmine, Neroli and Geranium are tempered by the Frankincense and Evening Primrose- the result of which is a warm rich sweet scent that pleases the senses.

This amalgam of luscious oils is deeply moisturizing, hydrating, calming and nourishing- leaving the skin beautifully luminous and healthy. Additionally, this amazing serum is fortified with highly potent antioxidant rich anti-aging oils that really mean business. The Camellia oil is not only a profoundly calming and soothing oil, but it also does wonders with respect to plumping fine lines- thereby making it a wonderful and hard-working anti-aging treatment.

As is the case with all of my oil-based serums, I apply Aroma M Camellia Face Oil very sparingly to warmly lightly damp freshly cleaned skin. It sinks in immediately and leaves behind a noteworthy glowing complexion. Used morning and/or night you will note a difference in the health and vitality of your skin. Sometimes I even add a drop to my foundation or tinted moisturizer to heighten my luminosity- the results are always stunning!

Ingredients: Organic Camellia Seed Oil, Organic Carrot Seed Oil, Organic Golden Jojoba Oil, Organic Apricot Kernel Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Vit E, Organic essential oils of Jasmine, Neroli, Geranium, Frankincense.
6) Bare Love Face Luxury Skin Fuel Night-Time Recovery TreatmentI am utterly enchanted by the novelty of the firm oil consistency. This is pure genius! It looks and feels like a gel, but behaves like an oil as it effortlessly melts into the skin. It has the intoxicating and delectable scent of Vanilla Planifolia that is both comforting and pleasant. As with all face oils, I massage this one into freshly cleaned skin that it still warm and damp. This not only assures that it penetrates deeper into the skin, but also is far more economical because this method requires far less product. While one pump is recommended, I find that I need far less for my face, neck and décolleté. 

I am actually astounded by the extent to which this luxury oil deeply hydrates the skin. During my initial trial I decided to use it alone at night. That's right, after washing my face I applied it to wet warm skin, and did so unaccompanied by any other serums or moisturizers. My hoard of serums was ignored during my evening beauty routine in order to see what results Bare Love Face Luxury Skin Fuel Night-Time Recovery Treatment  was capable of producing. Immediately after application my skin is deeply hydrated with a luscious glow. It feels decadent on the skin, and leaves the skin feeling soft and silky. In the morning my skin is radiant, dewy, deeply moisturized, soft, silky, soothed, and clear. My skin looks radiant and even-toned even when I am stressed and tired. Furthermore, the tactile experience of this firm oil makes using it thoroughly enjoyable. It smells and feels so good that you can't help but want to use it. However, the greatest joy is seeing what Bare Love Face Luxury Skin Fuel Night-Time Recovery Treatment does to the skin. 

Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Trihydorxystearin, Olea Europea (olive) Fruit Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Oil, Oriza Sativa (rice) Bran Oil, Olea Europea (olive) Leaf Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (safflower) Euterpe Oleacera Pulp Oil, Orbingya Oleifera Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (orange) Fruit Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Tocopherol. Paraben free.
7) Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum: This beautiful serum is among the best choices for those with combination or oily skin, and it does wonders at keeping excessive oil production at bay. It is a beautiful and potent blend of nourishing oils, and it is very concentrated- two drops is all you need for your entire face and neck-- particularly if your skin is warm and damp during application. It is a slightly thicker oil, but it sinks in very quickly when used as I have described. It can be used both day and night, and it offers wonderful deep hydration. The oils that were chosen for this serum were specifically selected for their properties that regulate sebum production while smoothing and hydrating the skin. One of the things that every face oil obsessed person seeks is the unprecedented deep glow from within that oils impart, and Facial Calibration Serum does not disappoint! The scent is a beautiful and earthy one that might best be described as herbal, but with a very faint and detectable note of rosemary. It is not at all overpowering, but is instead quite intoxicating- though it does fade rather quickly upon application (a definite advantage for those with a sensitivity to scents). This oil was lovingly handcrafted using the finest ingredients that are safe, healthy and effective.

Osmia Organics is one of those companies that really stands out because the products are of extraordinary quality, are healthy to use, and they sacrifice none of the quality associated with luxury products- except the less than healthy ingredients that you probably aren't thrilled to be putting on your skin (which means into your body). The Owner and Founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco, remains unwaveringly committed to making the best quality healthy products that we can use without concern about their safety or efficacy- all the while remaining luxurious and utterly delightful to use. Each of her products offers the user an amazing sensory experience that is sure to enchant, and of this you can be assured.

This is a beautiful serum, and while it is good for all skin types- it is especially delightful for people with combination and oily skin who fear using face oils. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. I am constantly asked to recommend face oils that are great for people with oily skin (who fear face oils)- so to all of you who ask- this is the face oil for you!

Ingredients: caprylic/capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), olive squalane, aleurites molaccana (kukui) oil, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oil*, macadamia integrifolia (macadamia nut) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehips) seed oil*, vitus vinifera (grapeseed) oil*, wildcrafted butyrospermum parkii (shea) oil, schisandra sphenanthera (schisandra fruit) CO2, euterpe oleracea (acai) oil, nigella sativa (black seed) oil*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*, GMO-free vitamin E oil, and a proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils. [*=certified organic ingredient]
8) Osmia Organics Facial Restoration Serum: Despite the fact that my skin is neither dry, damaged, nor mature, and Facial Restoration Serum was formulated to address the needs of these skin types- I had to try it. This may seem irrational, but trust me it was a well-reasoned decision. First, I am unquestionably enchanted and transfixed by high quality face oil serums. Second, I love all of the products that I have tried from Osmia Organics and passionately believe in the line, and the founder Sarah Villafranco. Third, if Sarah makes an oil- I will try it! Fourth, I love using antioxidant rich anti-aging oils, and in fact they are at the very core of my skincare regimen. Finally, I have found that I can use many different types of face oil serums- even those not specifically made for combination skin. My method of use lends itself to greater experimentation with a wider variety of facial oil serums because I use them very sparingly, and warm them up in my hands before massaging them into my warm and damp skin. Moderation and mode of application are the keys to my success.

Facial Restoration Serum is a very luxurious high quality antioxidant anti-aging face oil that is profoundly moisturizing and nourishing. It is gentle, soothing and healing- and will perform miracles on stressed or damaged skin. Sarah, herself a doctor, made this oil gentle enough to be used after dermatologic procedures such as laser treatments or chemical peels. If you use Retin-A, heavy exfoliants, or peels- then this beautiful oil will quickly establish pride of place on your Holy Grail list.

This precious oil, that has the faint smell of lavender, quickly soaks into the skin leaving it soft, smooth, radiant, deeply moisturized and glowing. I tend to use Facial Restoration Serum at night when the skin cell turn over is significantly heightened, and when it can really work at restoring the skin. The following morning my skin looks and feels soft, smooth, hydrated, and with an amazing degree of clarity. I also use it whenever I do an at-home peel or exfoliate my skin. It immediately soothes, heals and neutralizes any red or irritation caused by potent peeling or exfoliating products. It is my go-to oil every time that my skin is at all traumatized, but I love it so much that I often use it whenever I just want to give my skin an extra boost.

If you have dry, traumatized, damaged, chemically treated, or mature skin then this beautiful oil is your panacea. If you are like me, and have a penchant for face oils you will be astounded by the efficacy and quality of this beautiful restorative serum. If your skin is combination to very oily and you fear that Facial Restoration Serum will be too rich for you, then try Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum instead- it was created to balance and regulate sebum production, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite serums as well!

Ingredients: carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, olive squalane, wildcrafted butyrospermum parkii (shea) oil, aleurites molaccana (kukui) oil*, prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehips) seed oil*, lavender-infused olea europaea (olive) oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, GMO-free vitamine E oil, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, punica granatum (pomegranate) seed CO2 extract, amaranthus caudatus (amaranth) seed CO2 extract*, calendula officinalis CO2 extract*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) CO2 extract*, and a proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils. [*=certified organic ingredient]
9) Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil: Not only are the contents of each bottle expertly crafted from the finest quality ingredients, but indeed the bottle itself is a luxurious minimalist modern quasi-deco glass bottle that lends itself to display-- particularly so for the aesthete.

No wild claims are made that this ultra luxe oil will immediately eradicate the ravages of time, or that it is the ultimate fountain of youth culled from a newly discovered region in some far off exotic land, or  that it will immediately make you appear 10 -20 years younger.  However, it will offer you one of the most enjoyable experiences of self-pampering, and it will make your skin look fantastic. My skin looks clear, bright, rested (even when I am not), even-toned, moisturized, utterly hydrated, and deliciously glowing (not greasy, but lit from within and healthy). The Jasmine scent is utterly intoxicating, and it creates a pronounced sense of well-being. Of course if you have an aversion to the smell, or worse yet are allergic to any of the ingredients-- then you will not find this to be golden liquid love as I do. However, if you are like me- then open the door and say hello to luxury face oil nirvana-- this is pure magic.

One of the most remarkable results of using Olio Lusso is the fact that healed two very small dry patches on my face (one on my nose and one on my chin) that no product had even come close to healing. For whatever reason none of the oils, creams or exfoliants ever adequately addressed the issue- let alone did anything to heal the skin. I had actually given up on trying to find a magic potion to fix the problem, and didn't want to use some sort of prescription chemical compound to treat something that didn't warrant such drastic measures. However, one day after using Olio Lusso for a while, I noticed that both spots were no longer dry. In fact, they looked soft, hydrated and glowing. I stopped looking for a magical elixir to heal my woes, and just when I had given up- it found me. I remain in awe of this product, and after this experience I will always have a bottle on hand!

Ingredients: Jasmin Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Prunus Amygalus Dulcis (Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinesis (jojoba) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Calendula Offincinalis Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (orange) Flower Oil, Helianthus Annuus (sunflower) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool.
10) Sponge Ladi Avokanto: Among the key ingredients used by Sponge is olive oil, vitamins D & E,  and organic and wild crafted herbs Ladi Avokanto is a unique oil based serum that is loaded with antioxidants, and this natural serum "enhances collagen production to visibly firm, rejeuvenate and help diminish lines and wrinkles to promote a more youthful appearance with every use." Sponge claims that Ladi Avokanto is the "'must have' product for healthy, radiant skin. Combining the intense firming and restorative benefits of avocado with smoothing vitamin D and antioxidant vitamin E, this product helps to nourish and rejeuvenate skin regardless of age or skin type. The purity of Lado Avokanto promotes immediate and cumulative results, helping your complexion look fresh, energized and more youthful with every use."

Truthfully, the moment I tried Ladi Avokanto- I fell hard for this gorgeous nourishing oil. It is a sumptuous and decadent oil that melts into the skin at lightening speed. I simply warm a small amount in my hands by rubbing them together rather rigorously and then massage it into my face and neck. This is a power-packed anti-oxidant anti-aging serum that is remarkably lightweight and comfortable to use. It is a dark green hue, and it smells very rich and warm. It gives the skin has an irresistible glow, and leaves it soft, smooth, supple and amazingly hydrated. That it sinks in so quickly, especially when I employ my warming method, cuts down on the wait time allowing you to get your makeup on faster so that you can get on with your day. I experienced the same lovely glowing effect during the day time that lasted into the evening. My skin remains hydrated all day, and it keeps my combination skin perfectly balanced to the extent that I do not need blotting papers for my t-zone throughout the day. This is a gorgeous oil!

Ingredients: Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado Oil), Olea Europaea Oil (Olive Oil), Essential Oil Parfume, Lina Lool, Amyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Lilial, Benzyl Salicylate.
11) The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Firming SerumA powerful anti-ageing serum that has been nicknamed ‘the instant face lift’. It reduces wrinkles, mops up free radicals, reverses skin damage, lifts and tones the skin.

While many of the oils that I use offer great nourishment to the skin, I have yet to find one as power-packed with anti-aging antioxidants as The Organic Pharmacy's Antioxidant Face Firming Serum. When it comes to wanting astounding visible results, and a notable difference- this is the only one that I have reached for over the last several months.

First, it must be said that this beautiful oil has the intoxicating scent of Sweet Orange- therefore upon application you are assured of a magnificent and visceral sensory experience. This brilliant concoction boasts a high concentration of the powerful Alpha Lipoic Acid, a known powerful antioxidant, that helps to prevent cell damage by scavenging free-radicals. The high concentration of Rose Hip Oil is rich in transretinoic acid and essential fatty acids, and is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and also helps to reduce scarring over time. Sweet Orange helps prevent capillary fragility, and Carrots are rich in Beta Carotene (part of the Vitamin A family), and are rich antioxidants that protects the skin against free-radicals. Lemon (Citrus Limonum) lifts, tones and exfoliates the skin, and does so in an immediately visible way. This is also to say nothing of the fact that my skin is left soft, supple, and deeply moisturized and hydrated.

This combination of ingredients, along with those that I didn't enumerate, create a powerful cocktail that has visibly changed the texture and clarity of my skin. There is a notable lifting effect in that my expression lines are radically softened, and my skin has an unprecedented radiance and clarity. I would describe this oil as one that stimulates circulation because my skin has the type of radiance that is not superficial, but one instead that causes my skin to have a rosy radiance as though lit from within. The difference is so noticeable, that whenever I use it people comment on how gorgeous, glowing and beautiful my skin is. In fact, I recently had an aesthetician tell me that I had really great skin that was just gorgeous and glowing. I attribute a good deal of this to this magic potion, of course it is not solely responsible for the current condition of my skin- but I am currently under an inordinate amount of stress, and often when stressed my skin goes haywire. Instead, my skin looks and feels wonderful. 

A real game changer for me. I'm still shocked that such an unassuming little golden elixir can render such outstanding and transformative results. 

Ingredients: Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate), Sweet Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis), Limonene, Rose Hip (Rosa Canina) Oil, Carrot (Daucus Carrota), Grapeseed Extract (Vitis Vinifera), Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis), Lemon (Citrus Limonum), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol), Linalool.
12) The Organic Pharmacy Virgin Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed SerumThis is a lovely and potent healing oil. The high concentration of Rose Hip Oil is highly effective in its ability to heal traumatized skin. As noted, it is proven to reduce scars, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation over time. The combination of carefully chosen ingredients proves to be a powerful antioxidant rich anti-aging oil that also reduces inflammation and redness while deeply moisturizing the skin. I have been using it on my face and décolleté, and as a result I noted that my skin was soft and smooth with a healthy glow. What I hadn't noticed, until just two days ago, was that it has begun to reduce the appearance of my sun damage on my upper chest. A few too many episodes of overexposure while reading in the backyard (and forgetting to reapply sunscreen often enough) has begun to manifest itself with some discoloration with a few small sun spots. This oil is really proving its ability to make a difference. I imagine that continued use will result in even more favorable results. The scent is a pleasant combination of the Neroli, Rose Hip Oil and Frankincense, but I do note that the smell quickly fades upon application.  

Ingredients: Rose Hip (Rosa Canina) Oil, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Frankincense (Boswellia Serrata), Neroli (Citrus Aurantum).
What are your favorite beauty oils? Do tell!

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  1. I am so moved Helen - what a complete honor to have all 4 of my Face Elixirs in your top list! I appreciate your profound, eloquent writing so much - your wise and aesthetic commentary on the fragrances and benefits of all these oils is a real treasure for your readers!
    xo Mandy

    1. I am so touched that you feel that way, Mandy! The real treasure is knowing you, and being able to use your gorgeous Face Elixirs every day. As you have noted before, each of your Face Elixirs has an entirely different "personality" each is a rare treasure, and therefore I was incapable of eliminating any of them from the list! I am profoundly humbled by your words, and flattered that you should say such things about me! Have a lovely weekend! <3 Helen

  2. Thank you for sharing your favorite beauty oils. I loved seeing so many naturally nutrient rich oils in the ingredient lists of all of these products. If people were afraid to use oils on their skin before reading this post, I hope now they will want to experience the wonderful benefits of using oils on their skin!

    1. Hi Cathi! You are so very welcome. I am so gratified that you enjoyed the post! I agree-- it thrills me to see so many naturally nutrient rich oils in the ingredient list. I intentionally disqualified all oils that did not fit nicely into that category. With the great popularity of face oils- it seems that many manufacturers are promoting products as "healthy" and "natural" but many of which contain fillers and other chemical compounds. Clearly those did not make my list! I know many people are afraid to try oils, and find the notion to be counter-intuitive, but if they would only give them a chance!!!!! The wonderful benefits are many, and there really is an oil for just about everyone! Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment! Have a lovely weekend! :-)

  3. Probably my favorite post yet! I love face oils as much as you do and I concur with your selection certainly. This post makes me dream of beautiful skin, perfect luxurious textures, and enveloping scents.
    Thanks! I can go to bed dreaming of oils.
    Have a wonderful weekend along with your wild creatures

    1. Hi wefadetogray!! I am so thrilled that you like this post!!!!!! I know that you love face oils as much as I do, and am thrilled that you like my selection! Ahhhhh, your description is so lovely-- and it makes me dream of the same!!!!!!!!!!! You have a lovely weekend as well!!! xoxox

  4. Ok, that does it. I have to immediately order a sample set of the Aftelier oils and decide which I want. I came to using face oils later in life (i'm in my fifties) but I love them. When they're scented beautiully it only makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
    Have you tried Dr. Alkaitis oil? I had a sample set and found it to be very nice for my skin, as well as enjoying it's light herbal scent.

    1. Hi Cynthia! You certainly won't regret trying each of Mandy's Face Elixirs-- they are beautiful and usable works of art. They are so extraordinary and heavenly! I cannot wait to hear what you think of each of them. I'm so glad that you have already discovered the wonders of face oils! I agree with you completely- when they are beautifully scented it really does make for an even more enjoyable experience. I haven't tried the Dr. Alkaitis oils that you speak of. They sound lovely-- I will look into it ASAP-- thank you for the suggestion!!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!!!!

  5. You are the queen of beauty oils, what a great informative post and lots of promising products to try :)

    1. Why thank you, she tilts head to show her jewel encrusted crown-LOL!!! I am smitten with these oils. Of course I also have some new ones that I am trying out as well! Have a lovely weekend, Clare! xoxox

  6. Thank you for your wonderful review of face oils. I love them too, I will have to try Mandy's Face Elixirs, they sound heavenly. I have used and loved Decleor Neroli face oil, so soothing and cures my facial rosacea flare ups, and the new Kate Somerville Dilo Oil, it's truly wonderful for cuticles, face, smoothing eyebrows, split ends, you name it, etc. I once bought Bobbi Brown's Face Oil which was heavenly for about 3 months and quickly turned a bit rancid, I blame the packaging on that, it seriously needs a dropper :-(

    1. You are so very welcome, silvita! I am so thrilled that you enjoyed it! I simply cannot even conjure the words to express just how amazing Mandy's Face Elixirs actually are. They truly have to be tried to be believed! She is a true artist, and each of her Face Elixirs is a masterpiece-- without any bit of exaggeration! I have smelled the Decleor Neroli face oil, and it smells delectable! It is so good to know that it cures your rosacea flare-ups! I am always on the lookout to try soothing face oils-- so I will put this on my list. Believe it or not, I was completely unaware that Kate Somerville came out with a face oil!!! THank you for the wonderful recommendation-- I will definitely have to try it. I have been using Exfolikate for years-- and absolutely love it! I will put this on my must try list!!! I never purchased the Bobbi Brown Oil, but I did sample it a while ago-- I did not use it long enough to form an opinion-- such a shame that yours became rancid after such a short period of time-- I hope that they exchanged it for another one sine it went bad far too quickly. I just began testing out the By Terry Huile de Rose, and it is really quite lovely. Please keep me posted! I would love to hear about any other oils that you try, and would also love to hear your thoughts on Mandy's gorgeous Face Elixirs. You can always order her small trial sizes to see which ones really resonate with you-- they are so distinctly different from one another that it is simply impossible to compare them. I select them based upon mood! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :-)

    2. Thank YOU so much for all your info, I wanted to share my oil obsession too since this post was so timely--I literally walked into Nordstrom to test the Kate Somerville CC cream, which is fab BTW, and the SA showed me the Dilo Oil, one whiff/feel and I was hooked--of course no silicones, all natural oils--and they had a free gift of a choice of face washes--it was a happy day! :-) have a lovely week!! love your blog,am subscribing now....

    3. Hi Silvita <3 Boy are we on the same page with oils! What great timing for you to walk into Nordstrom. I will have to check out the KS CC Cream as well-- thank you for the recommendation! I'm so glad to hear that the Dilo Oil has no silicones etc!! Yay-- I'm so glad you are subscribing! Keep me posted on how you like your new products!!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :-)

  7. Such a beautiful read as well as wonderful recommendations. I dare anyone to read that and not have at one lemming for a facial oil!
    How on earth was I unaware that Mandy did facial oils?! I knew of her fragrance and cooking oils and was totally oblivious to these. She is a genius so I'm not surprised to find them all in your top 12!

    1. Such high praise coming from you, means the world to me Christa! I am so delighted that you enjoyed it!

      Yes, Mandy is unbelievably brilliant-- she is such a talented artist (understatement of the highest order). Her Face Elixirs are otherworldly! There was simply no way to eliminate a single one of her Face Elixirs from this list because each on has such a distinct "personality" that it was simply impossible to exclude any of them. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! <3

  8. You ought to check out They make a 12 oil face oil that is to die for.

  9. You should check out they have a fab 12 oil face oil that is to die for

    1. I want everything from their website!!!!!!!!!! :-)


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