The Great Debate: Should You Apply Facial Oil Before or After Moisturizer?

The Great Debate: Should You Apply Facial Oil Before or After Moisturizer?

If you’re a skincare enthusiast, you’ve probably encountered the age-old dilemma: should you apply facial oil before or after your moisturizer? It’s a question that has sparked countless debates and left many of us scratching our heads in confusion. Well, worry no more, because we’ve got the scoop straight from the experts!

To help us navigate this skincare conundrum, we consulted with renowned dermatologists who shared their professional insights. Prepare to have your mind blown and your skincare routine forever transformed!

Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, weighs in on the matter. “Generally speaking, facial oils should be applied after your moisturizer,” she advises. “Oils are occlusive, meaning they form a protective barrier on the skin, sealing in moisture and preventing water loss.”

But wait, there’s more! Dr. Nazarian explains that the order of application is also crucial. “If you apply the oil first, it can create a barrier that prevents the moisturizer from absorbing properly into the skin,” she cautions.

On the other hand, Dr. Tiffany Jow Libby, a board-certified dermatologist from Rhode Island, offers a slightly different perspective. “For those with extremely dry or dehydrated skin, applying a facial oil before your moisturizer can help boost hydration,” she suggests.

Dr. Libby elaborates, “Oils can help prime the skin and create a smooth canvas for the moisturizer to absorb more effectively.” However, she cautions that this approach may not be suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin, as it could potentially clog pores.

So, what’s the verdict? It seems the answer lies in understanding your skin type and specific concerns.

If you have normal to oily skin, follow Dr. Nazarian’s advice and apply your facial oil after your moisturizer. This will help lock in hydration without leaving an uncomfortable greasy residue. For those with dry or dehydrated skin, Dr. Libby’s suggestion of applying the oil first might be the way to go. Just be sure to use the oil sparingly and follow up with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Understanding Facial Oil and Moisturizer:

Understanding Facial Oil and Moisturizer

Before diving into the application order, it’s essential to grasp the roles of facial oil and moisturizer. Facial oils are lipid-based substances that help seal in moisture, nourish the skin, and provide a protective barrier against environmental aggressors. On the other hand, moisturizers typically contain water and humectants to hydrate the skin, along with occlusives to lock in moisture.

Dermatologist Suggestions:

According to dermatologists, the choice between applying facial oil before or after moisturizer depends on various factors, including skin type, climate, and individual preferences. Here are some insights:

For Dry Skin:

Dermatologists often recommend applying facial oil before moisturizing for individuals with dry skin. This helps to replenish lipid levels, fortify the skin’s barrier, and enhance hydration. Opt for heavier oils like argan or marula for intense nourishment.

For Oily or Acne-Prone Skin:

Those with oily or acne-prone skin may benefit from applying facial oil after moisturizer. This method allows the moisturizer to hydrate the skin first, followed by a thin layer of facial oil to seal in moisture without overwhelming the skin or clogging pores. Lighter oils such as jojoba or squalane are suitable choices.

In Humid Climates:

In humid climates, where moisture levels in the air are higher, applying facial oil after moisturizer can prevent excess oiliness and promote a balanced complexion. This approach helps lock in the lightweight hydration provided by the moisturizer while providing additional nourishment and protection.

Layering Technique:

Layering Technique

Some dermatologists advocate for a layering technique, where facial oil and moisturizer are alternated in thin layers. This method allows for optimal absorption of both products, ensuring thorough hydration and barrier reinforcement.

Application Tips

Whichever approach you choose, both dermatologists agree on one crucial step: always apply your facial oil to damp skin. This helps the oil penetrate more effectively and enhances its hydrating properties.

So, there you have it, straight from the experts’ mouths! The next time you find yourself wrestling with the facial oil dilemma, remember to consider your skin type, concerns, and these professional tips. Your glowing, radiant complexion will thank you!


Ultimately, whether you apply facial oil before or after moisturizer boils down to personal preference and skin needs. By considering factors like skin type, climate, and dermatologist recommendations, you can tailor your skincare routine for optimal results. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for your skin, and remember, consistency is key to healthy, radiant skin.


How long should I wait between applying facial oil and moisturizer?

Answer: Allow each product to absorb fully before applying the next layer to ensure maximum effectiveness. Depending on the consistency of the products and your skin’s absorption rate, this may take a few minutes. Patience is key to achieving optimal results in your skincare routine.

Can I use other skincare products with facial oil and moisturizer?

Answer: Yes, you can incorporate other skincare products such as serums, toners, and treatments into your routine alongside facial oil and moisturizer. However, be mindful of potential interactions and avoid using products that contain ingredients known to irritate or sensitize your skin.

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