Once, I was terrified of skincare oils…
At the onset of my abnormally pimply teenage years, I frantically raided the skincare aisles of drugstores and pricey beauty stores in an effort to find that magic skin-clearing potion. I scoured the ingredient list of each product before purchasing it, but not to check for toxic ingredients like petrochemicals, fragrance and parabens (yes, my shopping habits have since drastically changed!). Instead, I cared only that the product stated Oil Free. After all, I reasoned, my skin is too greasy already, why should I put more oil on it?
Little did I know that my diligent avoidance of oil actually impaired my skins ability to heal. The right combinations of of oils targeted for different skincare needs provide powerful properties to normalize oil production, reduce the signs of aging, and refine the skins texture. When blended according to skin type, natural oils do not cause oily skin or clog pores. Only when we use synthetic oils (like mineral oil) or some heavy (comedogenic) oils do we run into these problems.
Using plant oils as a carrier and blending them with therapeutic essential oils creates moisturizers and targeted treatments that delivers the most potent form of nutrients directly to the skin. Without fillers like water and preservatives, the oils are quickly absorbed and go to work balancing the skin.
This post is warmly sponsored by Enessa, a natural skincare line adored by celebrities including Courteney Cox, Carmen Electra and Cher! I connected with Michelle Ornstein, Enessa’s founder, after raving about her Clove Acne Control in my post 7 Secrets to Cure Acne without Chemicals. She provided me with some samples of Enessa products that I had not yet tried and I fell in love with each one. It has been my privilege writing this post under the guidance of Michelle, she is extraordinarily knowledgeable about holistic skincare and her products transformed my skin.
1. Moringa OilLatin name: Moringa Oleifera
Before my introduction to Enessa products, I had never heard of moringa oil. Although it is a newcomer to America, it was used by ancient Hindus and Egyptians as early as 2000 B.C. Moringa oil contains an extraordinarily high content of antioxidants, which protect the skin from sun damage and aging. Both the fatty acid profile and antioxidant content can diminish the appearance of wrinkles, lighten skin tone, and deeply moisturize the skin.
Enessa’s moringa elixirs feature this balancing oil. My post-acne marks fade much quicker when I regularly use my Moringa Balance Elixir due to these skin-refining properties in the oil. I love how easily the elixir absorbs – it leaves a satiny finish with no oily residue. You can adjust the moisturizing properties of this elixir – use it on slightly damp skin for a lighter feel and apply on dry skin for richer moisture. While I have the Balance elixir, designed to balance oily skin, the other elixirs address the hydration needs of normal/dry skin and the replenishment needs of mature skin.
2. Monoi OilLatin name: Cocos Nucifera and Gardenia Tahitensis
This “sacred oil of the Polynesians” traces its roots back to the native Maori tribe, the indigenous Polynesians in New Zealand. James Cook, the early European explorer, noted that monoi oil was used by the Maori people for medicinal purposes, beauty routines, and religious rituals. To create this precious oil, the blooms of the Tahitian Monoi plant are soaked in the oil carefully extracted from young coconuts. The terpenic alcohols and esters from the Monoi plant impart soothing and purifying properties while the virgin coconut oil offers superb moisturizing capabilities. Monoi oil works beautifully for all skin types and, because it absorbs so well into the skin, it delivers these reparative properties without any greasy residue.
The process to create the oil requires expertise, pristine ingredients and a tedious approach. As a result, many Monoi oils on the market today are cheap imitations without the powerful skincare properties of the authentic oil. To ensure superior quality, Enessa sources their Monoi Oil straight from the growers and producers in Polynesia. Currently, certified organic Monoi oil is not available so Enessa’s Monoi oil is from pesticide-free coconuts and Monoi plants.
The ultra-restorative Monoi Soothing Cleanser is Enessa’s best-selling cleanser because it cleanses while replenishing sensitive, irritated or dry skin. Unlike most gel cleansers, this makes an idea match for dry and mature skin because it doesn’t strip the skin from all oils. Instead, it protects the skin against dehydration. The Argan Moisture Gel, a powerhouse anti-aging treatment, also features Monoi Oil.
3. Tamanu Oil (Foraha Oil)Latin name: Calophyllum inophyllum
Extremely soothing, Tamanu oil offers relief from skin irritations including sunburn, rashes, eczema, and inflammation. Some of the compounds in this potent oil are proven to help restore and regenerate skin tissue. It also boasts antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, making it a wonderful treatment for breakouts.
Enessa sources organic Tamanu oil from Madagascar, which is well known for its superior quality. You’ll find it in all of Enessa’s moisturizers, including the Seaweed Nourishing Gels and Iris Leaf Cell Repair. It is a star ingredient in the Rose Tamanu Elixir, for targeted treatment of eye and lip wrinkles.
4. Meadowfoam Seed OilLatin name: Limnanthes alba
Meadowfoam Seed Oil provides moisture to the skin while diminishing fine lines and other signs of aging. It absorbs quickly and fully, without a greasy feeling. It works synergistically with the other facial oils discussed to prolong the shelf life and help the blended oils absorb into the skin. All of the facial elixirs contain this powerful oil. I use the Moringa Balancing Elixir each morning and I thoroughly adore it.
Enessa’s passion for quality means that they only use cold-pressed virgin Meadowfoam seed oil instead of the more widely available refined version of the oil. The unrefined, carefully pressed oil retains all of the naturally-occurring vitamins, antioxidants, and wonderful fragrance.
5. Golden JojobaLatin name: Simmondsia Chinesis
Golden jojoba (ho-ho-ba) feels and looks like an oil, but is technically a liquid wax ester made from expeller-pressed jojoba seeds. Since its composition is the closest thing in nature to our own sebum, it creates a quickly absorbing, lightweight moisturizer for all skin types and can penetrate deeply into the skin. If you struggle with oily skin, a jojoba blend is the way to go because it will dissolve excess sebum and allow the pores to breathe.
Since golden jojoba suits all skin types and boasts the multi-tasking properties of balancing and moisturizing, all of Enessa’s cleansers, moisturizers, and facial nourishments use this ingredient and it also provides a base for the acne treatments including the Clove Acne Control (for cystic acne) and the Rescue Blemish Control (for surface acne and bug bites).
6. Argan OilLatin name: Argania spinosa
Like moringa oil, argan oil is a new ingredient in Western skincare but it traces its roots back to traditional cultures in Morocco. I can tell you from experience that argan oil absorbs beautifully into the skin, leaving a satin finish without an oily residue.
The qualities of argan oil make it an excellent anti-aging treatment. For example, the molecular proteins give a tightening effect on the skin. Research shows that regular application of argan oil restores the skins water-lipid layer (which moisturizes the skin) and increases the oxygenation and nutrient levels of skin cells.
Enessa’s Argan Gold Elixir, a super silky and anti-aging moisturizer, features organic Argan oil blended carefully with Rose Hip oil, Golden Jojoba, and essential oils.
7. Black Cumin Seed OilLatin name: Nigella sativa
I had never heard of Black Cumin Seed oil until I tried Enessa’s Seaweed Nourishing Gel – Cypress, which features this potent ingredient. Due to its antioxidant level and fatty acid profile, it is a highly anti-inflammatory topical treatment for inflamed skin issues like eczema, dermatitis, and acne. After applying the Nourishing Gel for the first night, I woke up in the morning and instantly noticed the reduced redness in my skin tone. I partly credit the Black Cumin Seed Oil for this highly welcomed skin improvement!
8. Rosehip OilLatin name: Rosa rubiginosa
Enessa sources certified organic Chilean Rosehip Oil and includes it in all of their moisturizers. It offers superb hydrating properties, instantly reviving skin with a deeply penetrating level of moisture. For those whose skin faces environmental stressors, such as dry air and wind, rosehip oil can restore the ideal balance of moisture to the stressed skin. It also provides anti-aging properties and has been shown to improve skin elasticity, boost skin cell regeneration, and reduce scarring.
Balance and purity: the key to using these oils
There are two key factors when using these oils for skincare. First, the oils must be in proper ratios. For example, using straight Golden Jojoba as a moisturizer is very gentle and won’t do any harm, but it doesn’t contain the powerful anti-aging properties of Moringa oil. On the other hand, using straight clove essential oil will burn the skin.
It required painstaking research and expertise to create the targeted blends of these oils by Enessa. Each product uses a synergistic blend of oils including a wide variety of additional essential oils.
Second, the quality and purity of the oils dictates the efficacy of the skincare. The harsh extraction and poor storage methods used by some manufacturers significantly reduces the beneficial compounds in the oils, reducing the efficacy and accelerating the rancidity of the oils. The use of harsh pesticides and insecticides on the plants means traces of these chemicals may be present once the oil is extracted.
Enessa sources only the most pristine and organic oils to use in their products. Additionally, all of their oils are unrefined to maintain the vitamins, nutrients and healing properties. The violet glass bottles, besides looking beautiful, also serve an essential purpose: to prevent any light from oxidizing the oils inside, prolonging their efficacy and shelf life.
How to use these oils in your skincare routine
Although Enessa offers a wide range of products to cater to all skin types. Each product uses a blend of pristine carrier oils and essential oils, as well as targeted plant-based ingredients for specific skin concerns.
- Cleansers I never recommend foaming/sudsing cleansers because these usually strip the skin, leading to overproduction of oil to compensate. All available herecreate a mild lather which gently removes impurities without stripping the skin.
- Toning – After cleansing, I use an Enessa hydrosol to moisturize the skin, allowing following treatments to penetrate the skin faster and to seal in moisture.
- Moisturizing – To balance my oily skin and prevent breakouts, I use the Seaweed Nourishing Gel (in the Cypress variation). The seaweed nourishing gels contain the same essential oils as the elixirs, but they are light and absorb very quickly. On the other hand, you can control the moisture level with the elixirs. Apply an elixir on damp skin for a lighter moisturizer and use it on dry skin for a heavier moisturizer.
- Eye care – The PlantCell Eye Cream and Rose Tamanu Elixir, available here, offer targeted anti-aging ingredients for the eye area. These are formulated to promote skin regeneration to diminish fine lines. I love the PlantCell Eye Cream because it absorbs completely, so I can apply makeup over it. Some people prefer to use the PlantCell Eye Cream during the day, prior to makeup application. (It makes my under eye concealer go on smoother and last longer). The Rose Tamanu Elixir is an ideal nighttime treatment for wrinkle repair.
- Acne treatment – I have a very special place in my heart for Enessa’s anti-acne products, which have saved my skin from numerous breakouts. The first product that instantly hooked me on Enessa products was the Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant, which specifically targets cystic acne. I’ve been using this oil blend for two years and always have a back-up bottle. It is the only thing I’ve found that drastically reduces the inflammation and redness of cysts overnight. For acne that is above the surface (whiteheads), I use the Rescue Blemish Control. One drop applied a few times per day quickly removes a blemish. It also works for bug bites!
- Masks and exfoliation – Enessa’s most popular product, the Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant, offers very gentle exfoliation and leaves my skin silky soft. I use it as a weekly exfoliant and also as a spot treatment. I dab it on a blemish and leave it on for up to 10 minutes, before rinsing it off. When used as a spot treatment, the antibacterial qualities of the Dead sea salts and pink himalayan salts help clear the blemish. Enessa also offers available here for specific skin concerns. Since these masks are all 100% powders, you get the full healing properties of each ingredient without preservatives or fillers. You can customize them yourself by mixing the powder with herbal teas or adding 1/4 tsp. of honey for additional moisturizing effect.
Do you use oil in your skincare routine? Are you familiar with any of these skincare oils?