Three basic oils

by Katrina Fajardo

Katrina is a Knowledge + Insights manager for a potato manufacturer (aka, #friesallday). When she isn't doing groundbreaking research on delicious fry toppings, she is teaching yoga or cycle at The Dailey Method, purposefully body-rolling during any Beyonce or Drake jam, and enjoyng the finer, nerdy things in life, like Doctor Who (she still can't figure out if the 10th or 11th doctor is her fave). She starts her MBA program this summer, so tag her in must-have grad school stationery on Instagram.


My skin was never a point of pride for me for most of my early life. Having eczema, weird tan lines that seemed to last for years (and yes, I did and do use sunscreen), and the worst – acne, had me mad for any and all remedies to have better skin. I will say, looking back, that I focused heavily on my acne. To an excessive extent.

My acne began in middle school and the early 2000’s was not great for pre-teen facial skin health. All I can remember is how god damned dry I forced my face to be, thinking any moisture or oil would send me into another breakout. Remember Noxzema face pads? I do. They burned my face but that was the sign that they worked. Proactive? Luckily I wasn’t suckered into their auto-renewal debacle, but I used their products with a hope that my flaky skin meant that I was like a snake and my next layer was acne-free. My dry, but acne-prone, complexion followed me into college, where the cold Chicago winters made the dryness obsession even worse.

The madness for an acne-free life through moisture-less means finally ended after college. Better hydration habits and better medications (see birth control for positive effects on hormonal acne) gave my face the boost in needed. But, this is the part of the story where I realized oil was my friend. I finally stopped worrying and embraced facial oils. I discuss three types of oils that can get the bourgeoning face oil enthusiast a head-start.

My gateway facial oil was a fancy bottle of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (1 oz, $46 Nordstrom.com). I first tried it in my early 20s as a sample and the effects from using it for just a few days were enough for me to walk into the Kiehl’s on Michigan Ave. and buy a full sized bottle. This oil is used at night and I instantly noticed that it was starting to repair my dry skin –without that sting from some drugstore face lotions. Once it was part of my nighttime strategy, my face felt hydrated and even my foundation was “grabbing” to my skin easier, making for better Facebook profile pictures (this was like, 2011 – Snapchat was but a pervy dream).

If you’re thinking, lady – I am not about to pay $50 for one ounce of fancy oil… well then why are you reading this post? But, you’ve already invested time and reading into this, so let me talk to you about coconut oil. Messiest but most effective eye and lip stain remover I have used. Not to mention, if it remains on your lips it doesn’t taste like a bad chemical reaction. Do not break the bank for this product! Just stand in obscenely long line at Trader Joe’s where a 16 oz. jar of their Organic Coconut Oil sells for around $6.

Finally – everyone needs a good cleansing oil. I read about these as Korean skin care started to make waves in American beauty aisles. I was in LA a few years ago and found myself in a Nature Republic and picked up the Forest Garden Olive Oil version. I now use cleansing oils regularly. Lather the cleansing oil on a dry face and this will gently breakdown eye makeup, clear your pores, and leaves your skin truly smooth and clean. While Nature Republic was my first love of cleansing oils, I’ve found this product at Asian supermarkets, Ulta, and even on clearance at Target (I stocked up).

TL;DR – oil is your friend. Embrace it, use it, and stock up on it if you see it on clearance at a mass retailer.