Why You Should Put Oil on Your Face (and in Your Hair, too!)

photo of coconut oil

Last week, I brought you this Q&A with Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt, co-authors of the fabulous new book, No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics.

Between the you-will-not-believe-it factoids in their book and what we learned in Annie Leonard's Story of Cosmetics video, I'm feeling newly motivated to clean up my beauty routine. So I circled back to Siobhan and Alexandra for their best advice on clearing up my skin and de-frizzing my hair au naturel... and it turns out, all you need is a little (plant-based not elbow) grease.


PG: Of all the quirky, unconventional beauty techniques you've tried, what was the most surprising?

Alexandra: Putting oils on our faces! We've both had our share of skin issues so the idea of slathering in oil was as counterintuitive as it gets. Now, don't even try to take our argan or coconut oils away from us—it's an important part of our daily routines.

PG: Um, really, oil? Because I am absolutely freaked out about putting that on my already breakout-prone skin and grease-prone hair. Won't it clog my pores? Why do you want me to do that?

Siobhan: I'm also breakout prone and greasy-hair prone so hear me out: Our skin and scalp have natural protective barriers made up of, among other things, oil. When we strip all that away, our skin freaks out. It's super scary at first because we are hard-wired (or at least trained by the television) to think oil causes breakouts, but that's simply not the case.

PG: OK, so what are the best kinds of oils to use on my face and hair?

Siobhan: The oils with the most compelling research to us were argan oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Argan is the one I use daily. It's a Moroccan beauty secret that women have been using for centuries. It's high in antioxidants, soothes my skin and has reduced my breakouts. I'm going to be optimistic and say that's because of the oil.

PG: Any specific brands you like?

Siobhan: For argan oil, I use Kahina Giving Beauty. She uses a really high concentration of the active ingredients in all her products.

Alexandra: I love coconut oil so I'm dying to try RMS Beauty's new raw organic one. Evan Healy does a really nice rosehip treatment oil that I love.

PG: So do I have to buy a fancy schmancy product, or can I go a DIY route?

Siobhan: Absolutely! You can get products containing these oils, but that takes all the fun out of it. Our preference is pure, organic, unadulterated oil, slathered on our faces, bodies and scalps. Hit the health food store and buy coconut or extra virgin olive oil. Use a small amount, and you'll get the glow of well-hydrated, gently taken care of skin without the shine or stickiness you get from certain lotions. Nothing feels more luxurious to me now.

Alexandra: Oils are also amazing at taking off makeup, so it's totally an all in one.