A decade ago, face oils were mainly used to serve one purpose: to add moisture to dry and parched winter skin.
Today’s face oils are still superstars at locking in moisture, but their formulations are also more sophisticated, targeted, and can be used year-round thanks to their quick-absorbing nature. “They also add vital nutrients to the skin; they’re a great vehicle for antioxidants and vitamins,” says Dr. Kiran Mian.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Kiran Mian is a board-certified N.Y.C. dermatologist.
While we’re on the topic of debunking myths about face oils, here’s a friendly reminder that just because they help with moisture doesn’t mean you skip your regular face moisturizer. Moisturizers add hydration to the skin, but oils can be your final step to lock it all in. “Oil doesn’t mix with water, so it helps the water to stay in the skin, and it helps prevent transepidermal weight loss, making them great for staying moisturized,” says Dr. Mian. Just remember to add your oil as the last step of the routine. Since they are super-concentrated, “anything else on top will have a hard time absorbing through it,” says Dr. Mian.
Here’s a breakdown of the best-selling Sunday Riley oils for any issue your skin faces. So whether you want to get brighter, tighter, clearer, or smoother, there’s a face oil for you.
View this post on Instagram
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil
To eliminate dullness or dark spots, look for oils with vitamin C or turmeric.
“Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, so it helps decrease acne breakouts and the hyperpigmentation that usually follows,” says Dr. Mian. “Plus, it’s good for all skin types.” Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil contains brightening powerhouse ingredients like turmeric, evening primrose, and THD ascorbate (a stable and powerful form of vitamin C). This velvety oil glides over skin and absorbs quickly, leaving a natural radiance.
Face oil tip: A little goes a long way. Start with two or three drops and gently massage it into your skin using upward motions — especially careful not to tug at the eye area.
Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil
If you’re prone to acne, you may think you must stay away from oils, but that’s not necessarily true. Often, acne-prone skin can be in a vicious cycle of overdrying and overproducing oil due to harsh treatments. “Oils with a high comedogenic index like coconut oil and date seed oil are more likely to clog pores,” says Dr. Mian. Conversely, ingredients like grapeseed, jojoba, and primrose oil have a lower index and are less likely to cause pores.
An oil formulated with the right ingredients to counter blemishes can help the skin from drying out and flaking. Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil, a stunning emerald oil with a cocktail of tea tree oil, salicylic acid, and chamomile, sinks in quickly without feeling greasy or heavy. In addition, this BHA-infused oil helps prevent whiteheads and blackheads. “It’s a smaller molecule, so it goes into the pore and dissolves debris in the pore, so you’ll be less likely to get breakouts,” says Dr. Mian.
Face oil tip: Thanks to its rapid absorption, U.F.O. is excellent for scalp, back, or chest acne, too.
Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil
If you’ve started to see dehydrated or dull skin, adding an antioxidant oil can help protect skin against its #1 enemy: the sun. As much as we love some sunshine, UVA and UVB rays can damage skin over time (which is why sunscreen should be your main line of defense for keeping skin smooth and glowing). Pairing an antioxidant with SPF is basically like the supporting actress of the romcom — it makes a stronger performance. Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil, a luxe golden blend of broccoli seed oil, carrot seed oil, and blackberry seed oil, helps to brighten skin, protect against free radical damage and promote elasticity. Chock full of omega fatty acids, “they help keep the barrier of the skin strong and hydrated, so moisture stays in,” says Dr. Mian.
Face oil tip: Hair and nails need some moisture and love? Massage a tiny bit of Juno onto your cuticles and on the ends of your hair for instant revitalization.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
When lines or wrinkles are your top concern, retinol is the gold standard for anti-aging. While retinoids are a derm favorite for sloughing away dead skin cells and helping with cell turnover, certain products with retinoids — depending on how they’re delivered — are also notorious for causing irritation, flaking, and redness. “A retinol face oil can be great because the oil will help counteract irritation that is common,” says Dr. Mian.
Those with dry skin could benefit from this. Retinol increases cell turnover, and it can cause the skin to get flakey, but an oil can help mitigate that,” says Mian. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil is a powerful but gentle mix of trans-retinoic acid ester, blue tansy, chamomile, and licorice. This luxuriously silky oil in a gorgeous indigo hue quickly turns invisible as it absorbs into the skin. As a result, skin feels softer, and the overall texture looks smoother without the typical redness and roughness found with most retinoids.
Face oil tip: Retinol is best applied at night (gives “beauty sleep a new meaning!) as it may cause sensitivity when exposed to UV light. Also, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s recommended to consult with your doctor before use.
P.S. Want to ensure you have a face oil on hand for any skin concern that pops up? The Sunday Riley All About Oils Discover Kit has one of each of the oils above in a travel-sized vial to tackle dullness, blemishes, fine lines, dehydration, and whatever else the day has in store for your skin.
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.