Non-Greasy Carrier Oils For Skin: 10 Oils To Fall In Love With

non greasy carrier oils for skin

No matter how amazing a carrier oil is, it can be difficult to keep using it if it leaves your face looking and feeling like an oily mess. So, I’ve put together this list of non-greasy carrier oils for skin that you can use to find the right oil for your needs.

For each oil listed, you will find a brief summary of its benefits and fatty acid composition – specifically the amount of linoleic acid and oleic acid.

Why focus only on these two fatty acids? Here are the main reasons:

  • High linoleic acid content tends to result in an oil that is lightweight, fluid, fast-absorbing and therefore, non-greasy (aka a dry oil).
  • High oleic acid content tends to result in an oil that is heavier, slower-to-absorb and subsequently, greasy. But there are exceptions as you’ll see throughout the article.
  • Linoleic acid is the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in the epidermis and it plays a critical role in maintaining proper skin barrier function. So, if you happen to have inflammatory skin conditions – which often involve a compromised skin barrier – a high linoleic oil could be a great addition to your skincare routine.

Also, it’s important to know that some carrier oils don’t have much linoleic or oleic, yet they’re still non-greasy and beneficial for the skin. 

So, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s have a look at some dry oils that are great 

for the skin.

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.

10 NON-GREASY CARRIER OILS FOR FACE AND BODY

Grapeseed oil– 66 – 75.3% linoleic acid and about 15% oleic acid.
– Absorbs very quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly oily skin.
Apricot kernel oil– 70% oleic acid and 22% linoleic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly oily and combination skin.
Safflower oil– 76% linoleic acid and 13% oleic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types.
Prickly pear oil– 61% linoleic acid and 25% oleic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types.
Camellia seed oil– 80% oleic acid and 10% linoleic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly dry, inflamed and sensitive.
Meadowfoam oil– 60% eicosenoic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly dry and sensitive skin.
Fractionated coconut oil– Rich in capric acid and caprylic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly dry skin.
Rosehip oil– 54% linoleic acid and 19% linolenic acid.
– Absorbs quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly dry and mature skin.
Hazelnut oil– 82.35 – 83.14% oleic acid and 7.75 – 9.1% linoleic acid.
– Absorbs very quickly.
– For all skin types, particularly sensitive and oily.
Jojoba oil– 73% eicosenoic acid, 14% erucic acid and 8% oleic acid.
– Quick to medium absorption.
– For all skin types, particularly dry, acne-prone and sensitive.

1. Grapeseed Oil – Best Lightweight Oil

non greasy carrier oils for face and body - grapeseed

Grapeseed is the least greasy and fast-absorbing carrier oil for the skin. It is a very fluid, lightweight oil that penetrates the skin very quickly, leaving the skin with a smooth, matte finish. 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (source):

  • 66 – 75.3% linoleic acid and about 15% oleic acid.
  • Absorbs very quickly.
  • Contains a wide variety of antioxidants, such as carotenoids, flavonoids and trans-resveratrol.
  • Rich in vitamin E, which has strong antioxidant and emollient properties that benefits the skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-aging properties, thanks to the presence of 200 compounds that are said to have biological activity.
  • Strengthens the skin barrier (thanks to its high linoleic acid content).
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly oily skin.

Not sure which grapeseed oil to use? Here’s my favorite one from Now.

2. Apricot Kernel Oil

Pressed from the seed of the apricot fruit, apricot kernel oil has a fluid consistency and a mild nutty aroma. It’s weight is similar to our natural sebum, making it easy to penetrate the skin.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (source):

  • 70% oleic acid and 22% linoleic acid. 
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Promotes wound healing.
  • Supports healthy skin barrier function.
  • Natural source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes cell regeneration and it’s a gentler alternative to lab-made retinoids (such as retinol).
  • Rich in vitamin E.
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly oily and combination skin.

Want to add apricot kernel oil to your skincare routine? Grab this one.

3. Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is a fluid oil with an almost undetectable odor that comes in two different forms: regular and high oleic (often used in cooking). Technically speaking you could use either one of them on your skin, depending on your particular needs. The characteristics below pertain to the regular grade only.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (1, 2)

  • 76% linoleic acid and 13% oleic acid.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant-rich.
  • Contains antioxidants that prevent collagen breakdown and protect the skin from damage caused by UVB rays. 
  • Contains the compound acacetin that inhibits melanogenesis, a natural process that, if out of balance, contributes to hyperpigmentation.
  • May help to improve wrinkles.
  • Could be beneficial for acne thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and non-comedogenic properties.
  • Suitable for all skin types.

To add safflower oil to your skincare routine, start with this one from Life-Flo.

4. Prickly Pear Oil

Even though prickly pear has a viscous consistency it’s well absorbed and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (3, 4)

  • About 61% linoleic acid and 25% oleic acid.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Rich in vitamin E, amino acids (essential for collagen production) and vitamin K.
  • High antioxidant and antimicrobial activity which could be helpful for preventing free radical damage as well as acne.
  • Suitable for all skin types.

Get started with this prickly pear oil from Leven Rose.

5. Camellia Seed Oil

non greasy carrier oils for face and body - camellia seed

Also known as tea oil or tea seed oil, camellia seed oil is pressed from the seeds of the tea plant (camellia sinensis). It is lightweight and silky, with 80% oleic which makes it penetrate skin really well: 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (source)

  • 80% oleic acid and 10% linoleic acid.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Natural source of vitamins E (antioxidant and emollient) and A (promotes skin regeneration).
  • Has astringent properties.
  • Used in products designed for inflammatory conditions like eczema and acne, as well as in products designated for dry and sensitive skin.
  • Suitable for all skin types.

Curious what camellia seed oil can do for your skin? Here’s one to get started with.

6. Meadowfoam Oil

Meadowfoam oil stands apart from most oils on this list because it is high in eicosenoic acid, an omega-9 acid that is said to balance sebum production. Although it has a thick and rich consistency, it absorbs well and leaves a silky smooth feel.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (5, 6)

  • High amount of eicosenoic acid – about 60%.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Rich in vitamin E which gives it high emollient properties.
  • Research suggests that it may protect the skin from sun damage.
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly dry and sensitive skin.

To get started, check out this meadowfoam oil from Plant Therapy (one of my favorite companies for oils!).

7. Fractionated Coconut Oil

Unlike pure coconut oil – which is solid, tends to leave a greasy feel and may clog pores – fractionated coconut oil is fluid, lightweight and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. In addition, fractionated coconut oil is odorless, a nice bonus if you’re not a fan of the natural coconut aroma.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (source)

  • Rich in fatty acids such as capric acid and caprylic acid.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Less likely to clog pores (compared to regular coconut oil) thanks to the absence of long chain fatty acids.
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly dry skin.

To add fractionated oil to your routine, grab this one from Plant Therapy.

8. Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is a fast-absorbing, medium-weight oil with a pretty strong aroma (slightly fish-like, in my opinion). Although it can be used on its own, it’s often used in a blend with other oils at a concentration of about 10%.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (7, 8, 9)

  • 54.05% linoleic acid and 19.37% linolenic acid.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Natural source of beta-sitosterol, a natural anti-inflammatory that may also improve eczema.
  • Rich in vitamin A, which supports collagen production and encourages cell renewal.
  • May help with stretch marks and acne.
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly dry and mature skin.

GET A 10% DISCOUNT CODE FOR ROSEHIP OIL HERE.

9. Hazelnut Oil

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (10, 11)

  • About 82.35 – 83.14% oleic acid and 7.75 – 9.1% linoleic acid.
  • Absorbs very quickly.
  • High amount of antioxidants such as tannins and catechins.
  • Minimizes pores and regulates oil production.
  • Plumps up the skin, therefore reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly sensitive and oily.

Get started with this hazelnut oil from Life-Flo.

10. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is actually a wax in liquid form. Since it’s a wax and not an oil, it is rich in wax esters, with smaller amounts of fatty acids

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS (12, 13)

  • 73.4% eicosenoic acid (also found in meadowfoam oil) , 14.7% erucic acid and 8.3% oleic acid.
  • Quick to medium absorption rate (a little slower than others on this list, but once absorbed, it doesn’t leave a residue).
  • Natural source of vitamins A, D and E.
  • Contains fatty acids such as oleic and erucic acid.
  • Has humectant properties that allows it to attract moisture to the skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and rich in antioxidants.
  • Supports wound healing.
  • Helps to slow down the signs of aging.
  • Repairs the skin barrier.
  • Suitable for all skin types, particularly dry, acne-prone and sensitive.

Ready to try jojoba for yourself? Get this one from Cliganic.

QUICK TIPS FOR USING NON-GREASY CARRIERS OILS ON THE SKIN

  • Use just a few drops, about 2 to 5.
  • Apply to freshly cleaned, slightly damp skin. When applied to damp skin, the oils will actually spread more easily and result in a more dewy appearance (without the greasiness of course!).
  • Consider alternating oils. This means you can use a light oil like grapeseed during the day (makeup goes over this more easily) and a heavier oil like rosehip in the evening.
  • Experiment with making your own face oil or serum. For example, I like to combine grapeseed with jojoba and/or rosehip. I use more grapeseed and less of the other two. The resulting blend is more lightweight since it contains mostly grapeseed. 
  • Some oils have a cosmetic grade and a culinary grade, which differ slightly in their fatty acid content. Depending on your skin, you may be able to use either type. Or you may find that you’re better off with just one type.

FAQs ABOUT NON-OILY CARRIER OILS

What is the best carrier oil to mix with essential oils?

The best carrier oil to use with essential oils is a fluid and lightweight oil like grapeseed oil. Because it is easily absorbed, grapeseed oil also helps to enhance the penetration of the essential oils. Other oils that can also be used with essential oils include almond, fractionated coconut oil and jojoba oil.

CONCLUSION

Although there are many dry oils to choose from, it’s important to remember that different people have different responses to the same oil. So, just because an oil is generally considered “fast-absorbing” or “non-oily,” that doesn’t mean it will be the same for you.

My hope is that this article has given some you some simple, helpful tips that you can use as you explore the wonderful and beautifying world of carrier oils!


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