Colorado winters bring out the worst in our skin, creating dry, cracked, and peeling sections that often have us running for the moisturizer several times a day. But that might not be the best route to go: Most popular facial lotions contain alcohol and parabens—a certain class of preservatives that helps prevent the growth of bacteria—which can actually dehydrate your epidermis.
The answer, says Kathryn Murray Dickinson, founder of local clean beauty store Aillea, is facial oils. “People have been combining oils for skin benefits for centuries,” Dickinson says. “Moisturizers are of recent history. If you look at the additional ingredients that get them from an oil mixture to a moisturizer, there’s no benefit.” (Those extra elements thin a moisturizer, extend its shelf life, stabilize the substance if it’s shaken or stirred, and other functions that don’t provide much value for your skin.)
But won’t oils make you break out? That’s a myth. We only think that because oils are typically combined with other harsh chemicals—the true cause of clogged pores—in various products. In pure forms, facial oils will usually leave your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed, but you can certainly make intelligent decisions about which one to buy for your skin’s particular quirks. Here are Dickinson’s suggestions, all of which you can pick up at her Larimer Square store or the Aillea outpost in Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
Dehydration: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil, $32
Derived from olives, this simple oil mimics the moisture-holding molecule naturally present in both plants and animals. Best of all, it contains just one ingredient so it’s gentle for even the most sensitive skin.
Acne-Prone: Suki Skincare Balancing Facial Oil, $32.95
This cocktail combines squalane oil with calming, anti-inflammatory oils, like chamomile, for maximum blemish reduction.
Anti-Aging: Maya Chia’s the Super Couple Ultra Luxe Face Oil Serum, $85
Together with rich essential oils such as frankincense and myrrh, superfood chia seeds lighten age spots and reduce wrinkles in this powerful serum.
A Little Bit Of Everything: Kypris Beauty Elixir III – Prismatic Array, $150
This punch-packer combines 10 natural oils and several extracts, including the balancing pumpkin seed oil, to pump your skin with the nutrients it needs.
Learn more about the Indie Lee skincare line—and meet Indie Lee herself—at Aillea’s DIY facial session on February 6. Tickets are $20.
Follow assistant editor Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.