Oil you need to know: The lowdown on the best oils for skin and hair

People are usually divided into two categories: those who like using beauty oils, and those who avoid them like a plague. Until recently, I firmly belonged with the second group. We live in a tropical country after all, and when oil combines with sweat, the result is a slick, sticky and icky mess! What changed my mind about using oils is finding the right kind that works for me. Just like searching for the perfect foundation, there are many different types of oils to choose from depending on what you need. If you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, we're listing down the most common types, and our recos for each!

Firstly, you should know that oils are broken down into three categories: base oils, treatment oils, and essential oils.

Base or carrier oils come from nuts or seeds. They're usually good for moisturizing and helping the skin heal. They get their name from their ability to be mixed with other oils, especially essential oils that can't be applied to the skin on their own because they're too potent. Though they usually serve as the foundation of all oil-based concoctions, you can also use them without mixing them with other oils.

Tip: You'll know that a base oil is 100% pure if it doesn't have a fragrance. The only oil in this category which has a faint scent is olive oil.

Argan: This oil is called liquid gold because it has topnotch moisturizing qualities. It's rich in vitamin E and fatty acids that help make skin hydrated. Try: Snoe Oil for All Argan Oil

Avocado: This oil is packed with anti-oxidants that are great for prolonging your skin's youth. It's also rich in omega fatty acids that work well in moisturizing your skin. Try: Bobbi Brown Extra Hand Cream

Coconut: Dubbed the Wonder Oil, this can be used for most anything and can aid in a lot of skin problems. Not only is it good at moisturizing your skin, it has anti-bacterial properties, too. And it can even whiten your teethTry: The Souq Naturals Really Good Hair Oil

Grapeseed: This oil is best for people who are burdened by acne. It has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties – everything you'd want to get rid of your pesky face problem. Try: Burt's Bees Honey and Grapeseed Hand Cream

Castor: It's often added to many medicines for various illnesses, like miconazole, which is used for treating fungus. But this thick oil is great for cosmetic purposes, too. It's extremely hydrating, which makes it perfect for dry hair and skin. Try: Benefit Fake Up Crease-Control Hydrating Primer

Jojoba: You see this in a lot of moisturizing products because it's great at that. But keeping your skin and hair hydrated isn't the only thing it can do. You can use it for acne, too. Try: Purederm Shiny and Hydrating Hair Mask with Jojoba Oil

Olive: Not only is this oil good for cooking without the guilt, it also does wonders for the skin! It's packed with moisturizing, anti-aging, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. Try: Burt's Bees Res-Q Ointment

As the name suggests, treatment oils can be used to remedy certain problems such as swelling or irritation. 

Rosehip: This oil can usually be found in a lot of of skin-brightening products, and for good reason. It has vitamin C and lycopene that help diminish blemishes. It also has properties that improve the skin's elasticity, so it's perfect for stretch marks and cellulite! Try: Body Shop Oils of Life

Tea Tree: Many skincare products that are aimed at battling acne have tea tree oil. That's because this oil has natural bacteria-killing properties. So, you can use it on any bacteria-related skin problem, like dandruff and nail fungus. It can also help in getting rid of lice! And it works well on insect bites. Try: The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Line


Essential oils are so-called because they contain not only the beneficial properties of the plant from which they are derived but also its “essence” or its characteristic fragrance. These are also used for perfumes and other scented cosmetics.

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil is often found in products that relieve us when we have a cold, cough or the flu because of its mentholated fragrance. But did you know that it works wonders on the skin, too? It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that make it great for treating wounds. Its distinct smell also helps repel insects. Try: Zenutrients All Is Well Salve

Jasmine: Did you know that you can use jasmine oil to help make your blemishes fade? Yes, you can. It has skin-brightening properties, as well as minerals that promote skin elasticity. It's perfect for dark spots and stretch marks, and has a sensual floral aroma to boot. Try: Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Body Lotion

Lavender: We're all familiar with how calming lavender is. But it's more than just an oil to help you achieve good sleep. It can also help you get rid of a headache and it promotes hair growth, too. When applied to skin, it has antibacterial and detoxifying benefits. Try: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

We hope this helps you find the right oil for you! Now, tell us: what oil are you looking to try? Are you an oil lover? Share your faves with us!

Sources: University of Minnesota, Pop Sugar, Savory Lotus, Live Strong