why you should wear plant oils

*This post has been updated*

As my forthcoming Natural Beauty Guide is just around the corner, I thought I ought to give you the low-down on plant oils, and tell you about why you should be using them. After all, plant oils form the cornerstone of my natural beauty program.

To me, using plant oils instead of manufactured creams etc is a no-brainer. A plant oil is a single-ingredient, unrefined and often edible product, straight from nature. There's no prickly ingredient list to sweat over, no complicated manufacturing process, no knotty life cycle... just oil... pressed from a plant. I follow this philosophy (of simplicity, wholesomeness, etc) when it comes to
the food I eat. It Just Makes Sense to do the same for my skin. No?

Ergo, over the past year I’ve fully embraced plant oils. And I use them for almost everything - the two plant oils I own (jojoba and coconut) have replaced my face cream, body moisturiser, facial cleanser, shaving 'cream' and hair conditioner. I've also included coconut oil in my diet, much to the delight of my taste buds.

Why are plant oils so great? 
Mineral oils, which form the basis of conventional beauty products, work by coating the skin to prevent moisture from escaping. They coat the skin like plastic, which means whilst moisture can't get out, neither can toxins. Mineral oils also affect the skin's ability to produce its own natural, protective oil - sebum. This can cause all sorts of problems, like skin imbalances that lead to oily skin conditions, skin irritations and so on. Finally, mineral oils don't contain any beneficial vitamins, minerals (the good ones), or fatty acids. Your skin needs these to stay healthy.

Organic skin creams are better, but many manufacturers go incredibly overboard with ingredients, completely unnecessarily-so. I counted 20 ingredients on the label of an organic face cream once. Overboard! Complex! Tiring! I used to buy these creams. I'd work myself into a frenzy trying to decipher the ingredients...glycerol caprylate, guar gum, glyceryl stearate SE, hydrolyzed beeswax!  They may be natural extracts, but what the hell are they? Where did they come from? How far did they travel?

On a philosophical level, I'm trying to simplify my life. Nice, clean, simple. Plant oils? They're simple. They're the metaphorical equivalent of a calm blue ocean.

On a practical level, plant oils are superior skin conditioners. They are natural emollients, forming a protective barrier on the skin, yet do not clog pores. Their properties are similar to sebum, our skin's natural oil, and so help to balance the skin's natural oil production (good for oily skin issues). They have antibacterial properties and contain antioxidants, which help to reduce signs of ageing. They contain essential fatty acids - which play a vital role in skin cell health - and many other vitamins and minerals that nourish as well as help to protect our skin from the sun.

Can they really moisturise the skin? Plant oils are natural humectants, which  means they attract water from the atmosphere and hold water where it is needed - that is, dry areas of your skin.

This is a terrific article about what makes up a good moisturiser and how plant oils and synthetic moisturisers measure up. And this is another great article discussing the benefits of plant oils. 

The other neat thing? Plant oils are multi-dimensional - use them to condition your hair, and to replace shaving cream. And eat them.

What if I have oily skin?
It seems counter intuitive, but plant oils are actually just the thing to tame oily skin. In fact, using cleansers specifically designed for oily skin, for instance, will often exacerbate the problem because these strip your skin of its natural oils. Every time your skin is stripped of its natural oil, it will over-compensate by producing more oil. Begin vicious cycle resulting in oil-slick-on-face.

Plant oils don't dry out your skin, nor do they clog pores, so they actually help to restore balance in your skin's natural oil production. What's more, oil dissolves oil, so cleansing with plant oils actually helps to break down oily grime that congests your pores.

The thing to keep in mind, if oily skin is your issue, is that skin doesn't adapt and improve overnight. It may take several weeks for your skin to reclaim its balance. To ease your skin into the process, start off by mixing a small amount of plant oil with your regular face cream, then up the ratio until you run out of face cream.

If you want to read more about my beauty philosophy, read this, this and this. For hair care, read this. And be sure to sign up to my e-newsletter to receive your free copy of my up-n'-coming Natural Beauty Guide.

Have you made the switch to natural plant oils and loved it?


  1. Jojoba and coconut all the way - Although I do still use a natural moisturiser under my makeup...the jojoba oil just wasn't right for me in that way. Looking forward to your Beauty Guide!

  2. Argan Oil for the skin and hair.

    Rosehip oil saved me from a potential massive burns scar on my hand. What was once a deep dark patch of skin is now gone after 6 months of applying it morning and night.

    As Becs said, I can't wait for your beauty guide. Your advice is simple, easy to follow and won't send me on a wild goose chase, looking for the latest fad ingredient! Keep it up.

  3. Hi Maria,

    I am not sure whether you want a contrary view point but I thought I would add my 2 cents anyway - I have to declare that I work in the organic skin care industry and obviously that influences my viewpoint. I think moving to a single oil can have benefits but I don't think it is for everyone. For me this choice depends on your skin type, your age, your personality, if you have any skin issues and even perhaps your budget.

    Now while I love Jojoba oil – I use it as a cleanser in winter and it is one of the base oils in the night serum I use – I would not:

    Use it during the day – I prefer to use a moisturising cream as it helps to hold in moisture and is better for mineral makeup application.

    Use it as a night serum – I am much closer to 40 than 30 and quite frankly I want more than Jojoba oil or any single oil can offer. I want a serum that is going to deliver plant and vitamin antioxidants to the deeper cells to really help maintain the health of my skin. Basically I want something that packs a punch AND I want it to be organic and natural.

    Choose a single oil – the natural plant oils available to us now have so many amazing benefits so why stick with one? There are some really impressive serums available that blend base oils with plant antioxidants and essential oils offering a range of benefits and a synergy far beyond any single oil.

    Obviously my reply is about my personal choices not about what others should do but I do think there are other points of view to simplicity.

    1. Hi Ananda, absolutely, all views are welcome! It's definitely a matter of personal preference, and everyone's skin type is different. I know a lot of people of all ages who've made the switch to plant oils and are loving it, but it depends on a lot of factors, no doubt. Thanks for your input, keep the comments coming!


  4. Good post!
    Its a good thing that you have highlighted the benefits of wearing plant oils.
    I am pretty sure that a lot of readers will benefit from this post.



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