Oil Is Your Friend. No, Really.
I had oily skin in my teens and twenties. I was even on Accutane in college to stem my skin’s over-abundant sebum flow and clear up my chronic acne. So, for me, for years, oil was the enemy.
Thus, in my mid-twenties, when I was the beauty editor at Cosmo Girl, and I met Sonya Dakar, a Beverly Hills-based esthetician (celeb clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore), I thought she was nuts when she gave me an oil from her skincare line to treat my slick skin. (Today, that oil is called Sonya Dakar Organic Omega Booster; $52; sonyadakarskinclinic.com.)
The first day I applied it sparingly, terrified I would develop cystic acne by afternoon. I didn't. Instead, my skin glowed (in a good way) and stopped producing extra grease for the duration of the day. Day two, same story. Suddenly my skin was behaving like a normal complexion, rather than an adolescent oil slick.
Sonya explained the phenomenon like this: When you apply a conservative amount of noncomedogenic oil to the skin, you trick your face into thinking it’s already produced enough oil for the day, so it slows down its own (in my case, excessive) sebum production.
This epiphany started a love affair with face oils that exists to this day. I’ve added cleansing oils to my regimen because of the gentle but effective way they instantly dissolve makeup; two I like are DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($28; dermstore.com) and Dermalogica PreCleanse ($40; dermalogica.com). I still adore Sonya’s face oil, but am also a fan of Rodin Olio Lusso Jasmine Neroli Face Oil ($170; nordstrom.com) and Renew Pure Radiance Oil ($110; truebotanicals.com). I use oil under makeup in the winter when my skin feels dry, before I apply Retin-A (three times a week) to act as a buffer and minimize irritation, and, occasionally, on a hot, humid day, I'll add a drop to my sunscreen to trick my complexion into scaling back its own sebum flow.