Monday, January 4, 2021


Press Sample & Purchased (Affiliate Links)

It is hard to believe that 2020 came to an end, and given the inherent stress associated with just about everything that happened in 2020, I think that it is safe to say that 2021 is quite welcome! One of the joys I had was testing out some new, or new-to-me, face oils. I narrowed it down to the Top 5 in 2020, and without question have determined that the number 1 beauty oil of 2020 is Aftelier Perfumes Vetiver & Frankincense Face Elixir. I included two affordable picks that were just too good not to include, and two face oils from Votary that are astonishing in their efficacy.

I perpetually extol the virtues of Mandy Aftel's handmade Face Elixirs, and with each new addition to her perfectly articulated and curated collection she showcases the extent to which a boundless creative imagination and unmitigated brilliance can do what no one else can do. Aftelier Perfumes Vetiver & Frankincense Face Elixir ($70.00 for 10ml and $7.00 for 1 ml from Aftelier Perfumes) is the most unexpected, sophisticated, refined and intoxicatingly beautiful permutation of Vetiver and Frankincense that could only have been imagined by Mandy. Her erudition is felt in the way in which her alchemical mastery pairs unexpected aromatic juxtapositions, and this new elixir perfectly underscores this point.
Mandy's brilliance is, in part, a function of this very ability to unite disparate elements into a singular unified heavenly elixir that is unprecedented in the vast sea of face oils. 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 intimate knowledge and intuitive ability to navigate thousands upon thousands of aromatic possibilities, and to then capture those most perfectly suited to her vision. She does not follow trends, and her standards exceed the expectations set by everyone else making face oils.
Aftelier Perfumes Vetiver & Frankincense Face Elixir is an otherworldly ultra-luxe face oil that is mystical, sublime, deep, warm, creamy, soothing, woodsy and ethereal. It has no sharp edges, it lacks pungency and it immediately calms and soothes the spirit while deeply nourishing and hydrating the skin.

As I have previously noted about Mandy's Face Elixirs, she "inherently, and rather magically, understands each of the ingredients that she carefully chooses to unite. The end result is the likes of which you have neither imagined, nor experienced.... It is, in a word, extraordinary." She has described this process to me as one in which each of her Face Elixirs include a lot of the named essences and then she adds, "a few facets of aroma to them."

I have also suggested that, "Mandy is 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."

Aftelier Perfumes Vetiver & Frankincense Face Elixir is lightweight and ultra-fast absorbing, and it melts into the skin leaving it nourished, deeply hydrated, remarkably soft, smooth, supple and luminous. Furthermore, this beautiful calming aroma facilitates a restful and peaceful slumber, and therefore is a perfect nighttime companion– though I must confess that I use it in the daytime as well.

According to Aftelier Perfumes,

Vetiver and Frankincense Face Elixir features unusually soothing vetiver CO2 that I buy directly from the grower in India. This rare extraction of vetiver is filled with clean, earthy and precious wood notes. The frankincense CO2 is warm, resinous, bright and slightly citrus. The vetiver and frankincense blend seamlessly to create a delightful aroma that is uplifting and relaxing. Drifting off to sleep, inhaling this gorgeous aroma, makes you feel as if all is right in the world. 

Our lightweight face elixir is immediately absorbed softening and conditioning your skin. Use on your clean face before bed, and drift off to sleep in a light veil of fragrance that promotes relaxation. When you wake up, your skin will feel wonderfully nourished and revitalized. 

Mandy creates them from a blend of the following five oils:

- Broccoli seed oil, with its silken texture, is rich in vitamins and minerals known to protect and tone the skin.
- Peach kernel oil, rich with vitamins, A, B and E, is emollient, moisturizing, nourishing, and protective.
- Squalane, from sugar cane, helps hydrate and protect the skin.
- Meadowfoam seed oil, unusually high in gadoleic acid, is anti-aging, detoxifying and rejuvenating.
- Rose hip oil is known to have a nourishing and regenerative effect on the skin. 
Votary Super Seed Facial Oil (I received mine in the Boxwalla February 2020 Beauty Box. $110.00 for 1.7 oz. from Votary, Space NK, Net-A-PorterLiberty London, Cult Beauty, Sephora AustraliaSSENSE and Harrods): This gorgeous fragrance-free eco-luxe facial oil, which is deeply nourishing, hydrating and calming, is made from a lovely blend of 22 seed oils that are omega-rich. It calms and pampers even the most irritable and sensitive skin, and it is a perfect choice for people with dry and red skin, hormonal skin (from pregnancy and menopause) and dry and dehydrated winter skin. It is vegan, fragrance-free and cruelty-free– therefore you can really feel good about using this lovely facial oil. 

It is lightweight, fast absorbing and it has a lovely velvety texture. Furthermore, it helps to soften the appearance of fine lines and gives skin a lovely luminous glow. Among the oils are: camellia seed, grape seed, meadowfoam seed, pumpkin seed, cranberry, raspberry, chia, pomegranate, cherry, carrot seed– to name but a few.

According to Votary,

Super Seed Facial Oil is made from 22 different seed oils for skin that is sensitive, in hormonal flux or unsettled. Packed with natural, plant-powered goodness, it naturally addresses sensitive skin issues to give you healthy, glowing skin.

Different life stages bring changing skin issues such as dryness, redness and loss of elasticity. Pregnancy and the menopause can unsettle skin. Stress and lack of sleep can also have an impact. When skin loses its comfort and glow, Super Seed Facial Oil can help coax it back to radiant, dewy health.

Directions: Put four to five drops onto your palms. Hold your palms to your face and take a moment to inhale the natural fragrance and let it settle your mind. Now smooth the oil onto your face and neckline using gentle upward motions. Use your fingertips to gently pat the oil into the area around your eyes. Be gentle with your skin – don’t pull or stretch – so that it retains its elasticity. Allow a moment for absorption, and now your skin is perfectly prepped for make-up or for SPF.
Select Ingredients: Pumpkin seed oil is abundant in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, making it intensely hydrating for skin. Hemp seed oil works to increase the skin’s elasticity and to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Meadowfoam seed oil is deeply moisturizing and helps to balance oil production.

Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Curcubita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Oil, Limanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Nigella Sativa (Black Seed) Oil, Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Fragaria Ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Oil, Papaver Somniferum (Poppy) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Corymbosum (Blueberry) Seed Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Oil, Tocopherol Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Prunus Cerasus (Cherry) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Melon) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil. FRAGRANCE-FREE, ANTI-IRRITATION, CALMING, AND DEEPLY NOURISHING.
Solanum Lycopersicum (Lycopene) Fruit Extract.
Votary Intense Night Oil Rosehip and Retinoid (I received mine in the Boxwalla August 2020 Beauty Box. $150.00 for 1.7 oz. from Votary, Space NK, Net-A-Porter, Liberty London, Sephora AustraliaCult Beauty and Harrods): This is a natural retinol-based nighttime face oil that encourages the turnover of skin cells, and this all the more effective since the body naturally regenerates skin cells faster at night. This Vitamin A derived retinol oil is lightweight, fast absorbing, and it has the lovely light aroma informed by the Rosehip Seed Oil. This oil gently exfoliates dead skin cells, softens the appearance of fine lines, helps fade hyperpigmentation, and deeply moisturizes the skin. Skin is left soft, smooth, supple and luminous. This product is vegan and cruelty-free.

According to Votary,

Votary Intense Night Oil combines rosehip and retinoid to smooth texture, even-out tone and give you younger, plumper-looking skin.

As skin ages, we experience dehydration, a loss of elasticity and an increase in fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation .

Intense Night Oil both encourages the skin’s natural turnover of cells and reduces the breakdown of collagen, meaning you wake with firmer, smoother skin.

Intense Night Oil is packed full of nature’s most powerful ingredients. Delicately fragranced with rose oil, it also contains nourishing  avocado oil, tomato seed oil and rosehip oil. Extract of acmella flower is proven to improve dermal structure and results in firmer-feeling skin, while Australian sandalwood extract is a natural source of ximenyic acid to reduce redness and fine lines. These luxurious natural ingredients work with the rosehip and retinoid to nurture, nourish and restore the skin.

*Votary does not recommend this for use during pregnancy. They also recommend you use an SPF during the day when using a retinol product.

Directions: Put four to five drops of Intense Night Oil onto your palms. Hold your palms to your face and take a moment to inhale the natural fragrance and let it settle your mind. Now smooth Intense Night Oil onto your face and neckline using gentle upward motions. Use your fingertips to gently pat the oil into the area around your eyes. Be gentle with your skin – don’t pull or stretch – so that it retains its elasticity. Allow a moment for absorption, and now your skin is perfectly prepped for sleep.

Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Fusanus Spicatus Kernel Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethyl Isosorbide , Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Spilanthes Acmella (Paracress) Extract, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Linalool+, Citral+, Citronellol+, Geraniol+, Eugenol+
+ Found naturally in essential oils 
Go-To Face Hero Facial Oil ($34.00 for 1 oz. from Go-To and Revolve): Formulated for all types of skin, this face oil is lightweight, fast absorbing and lusciously moisturizing. It has a rich and velvety texture that melts into the skin– leaving it silky smooth, luminous and lightly plumped. Not only does it brighten dull skin, but after sustained use it lightens dark spots. The antioxidant-rich formula helps to protect skin against free-radical damage, and the anti-inflammatory ingredients help to calm and soothe irritable skin. For this reason, I find it particularly effective when my skin is a bit sensitive, or when I use a peel or exfoliant (which I have done a lot of since March). It has a delectable warm aroma that is informed by the beautiful variety of oils used, but also from the Orange Blossom & Rose Gardenia natural fragrances.
Solutions for:
- Skin Types: Normal, Combination, Oily, Dry and Sensitive
- Dullness and uneven texture
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin tone

According to Go-To,

A lightweight face oil that deeply hydrates, soothes, revitalizes, and completely protects the skin.

Featuring 10 potent botanical oils, Face Hero boasts essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties. It leaves zero residue and penetrates quickly to hydrate, revive, brighten, and protect skin against fine lines, dark spots, dryness, and the aging effects of inflammation.

Face Hero is lightweight enough for sensitive, compromised, or oily skins, (because even oily skin needs nourishment) and nourishing enough for very dry, dehydrated, or mature skin. It works incredibly well on red or inflamed skin. It is vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without gluten, PEGs, GMOs, mineral oils, petrolatum, and synthetic colors.

Directions: Gently massage four to five drops of Face Hero all over the face, neck, and décolletage, after cleansing, and before face cream. If you use serums, apply those first. Also great mixed in to your face cream.

- Paraben-free; sulfate-free; PEG-free; GMO-free; mineral oil–free; petrolatum-free; synthetic color–free; silicone-free
- Dermatologist tested
- Not tested on animals
- Made in New Zealand

Select Ingredients and Their Attributes:

Buriti Oil: A hydrating and moisturizing oil extracted from the fruit of the moriche palm; has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness, roughness, and irritation.
Almond Oil: A gentle, nourishing oil suitable for all skin types (especially dry and sensitive); rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and amino acids, it helps to soften and nourish the skin.
Jojoba Oil: Supports the elasticity and vitality of the skin.
Macadamia Oil: A highly nourishing oil high in oleic acid (potent moisturizing qualities); it absorbs easily into the skin to moisturize and protect dry, damaged and mature skin.

Ingredients: Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Oil, Brazil Nut Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Buriti Oil, Arnica Oil, Rosehip Oil, Calendula Oil, Kiwi Fruit Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Totarol, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Natural Fragrance (Orange Blossom & Rose Gardenia).
If you are a quality skincare fanatic, then you have probably been hearing a lot of buzz about Squalane-based products lately. Among the features for which it is hailed a must-have ingredient in your skincare: its lightweight and non-greasy texture, its ability to lock moisture into the skin, its serious anti-inflammatory properties, and the fact that it is good for a wide variety of skin types. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce redness, irritation and swelling– therefore making it an ideal ingredient for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin and skin that is susceptible to dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. Therefore, I wanted to introduce you to the very affordable INDIE LEE Squalane Facial Oil, and at $34.00 for 1 oz. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a wonderfully effective facial oil.
INDIE LEE Squalane Facial Oil ($34.00 for 1 oz. from INDIE LEESephoraThe Detox MarketNordstromDermstoreFollainBeautylishNet-A-Porter, Ulta, Credo BeautyBluemercury and Cult Beauty): is a very lightweight and fast absorbing oil that immediately sinks into the skin without leaving behind any sort of oily residue. It is formulated for normal, dry, combination and oily skin types, and it helps to relieve dryness, dullness and uneven texture. Unlike many facial oils, this is made from a single ingredient: 100% squalane that is olive-derived. It has no fragrance, and it has a lovely silky-smooth texture. It immediately improves hydration, helps to balance excessive oil production, plumps fine lines and soothes irritated skin. It is a wonderful choice to calm and heal post-peel and exfoliated skin, and it leaves it soft, smooth, supple and luminous.

Directions: Apply to freshly cleansed skin, morning and evening. For external use only.

Solutions For: 1) Dry dehydrated skin 2) Uneven texture and tone 3) Excellent for face, hands, neck and décolleté 4) Ideal for all skin types

According to INDIE LEE, 

A noncomedogenic, lightweight face oil made of 100 percent pure, olive-derived squalane. Improve the appearance of texture, tone, and elasticity with this readily absorbed squalane oil. Light and moisturizing, it simultaneously helps with oil control and hydration for a soft, nurtured complexion. Non-pore clogging, this oil leaves the complexion soft, nourished and never greasy.

This product is Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and printed on FSC certified paper.

Ingredients: 100% Pure Olive-Derived Squalane Oil. Squalane Oil helps provide hydration, balance excess oil, soothe, and promote a plump, firm appearance.
Overall Assessment: You simply cannot go wrong in trying any of these ultra-luxe face oils, and I recommend all of them without the slightest bit of reservation.

Purchased & Press Sample. All views expressed are categorically my own (Affiliate Links). Copyright © 2021 All Rights Reserved.


  1. Beautifully written post on your favorite skincare category, face oils! You have certainly tempted me in your description of the Aftelier Frankincense & Vetiver Face oil. One day, I will put together an order of a variety of items from Aftelier and try the 1 ml sample.

    1. Thank you so much, Allison! That means so much to me coming from you! I think that you will be incredibly thrilled by this oil, and you certainly cannot go wrong purchasing any of Mandy's extraordinary handcrafted artisanal gems!

  2. The two affordable oils are certainly ones to consider if I use up my current stash.

    1. They are amazing, and you would never know that they didn't have luxury price tags by using them, they are THAT good!

  3. I love Votary! I'm using their Super Seed Serum and it's fantastic!

    1. Hi Velvetwhip! I love Votary too, their products are absolutely AMAZING! The Super Seed Serum is absolutely remarkable!

  4. Oh my gosh I don't have any of them!

    1. All five are definitely worth trying, they really are incredible, Cindy!


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