Oil up! Choose A Vegetable Oil To Suit Your Needs

The winter has been exceptionally cold here in Helsinki. Exceptionally cold weather also means exceptionally dry skin. Personally I always get really dry hands and lips, and especially my cuticles and the area around my nails dry up horribly.
The best way to keep the skin soft is in my opinion vegetable oils of all kinds. It is an easy, effective and definitely natural way of treating both skin and hair.

Start digging!

there are a lot of nice oils that you can use as a simple home remedy for dry skinThe best way to get started is really to browse through the kitchen cupboards at home. More or less any vegetable oil will work great for the skin. Depending on where in the world you live, you will find a variety of oils in the shops. For instance here in Finland there are quite a few really nice oils like

avocado oil – fatty and nutritious, for dry and dull skin

olive oil – good allround, semi-fatty oil for all skin types

rapeseed oil – semi-fatty oil that is quickly absorbed, for dry and sensitive skin

sesame seed oil – semi-dry, quite quickly absorbed, for all skin types

sunflower seed oil – dry oil that is quickly absorbed, for all skin types

You can read up on other oils for instance here – I’m sorry it’s in Swedish, but this is really the best site I’ve found for this kind of stuff. Make Google Translate your friend!
Cold pressed (extra virgin), ecological oils are of course to be preferred, since they contain higher amounts of vitamins and other yummy skin candy. A while back I bought a bottle of cold pressed ecological rapeseed oil, which is basically the most common oil in Finland, and I was surprised to notice that rapeseed oil actually should have smell, taste and color!

Basically, the oils can be separated into dry oils and fatty oils. Fatty oils take longer to absorb, but work great on really dry skin (feet, hands, lips, elbows…). Dry oils also moisten a lot, but are absorbed more quickly and so are great to use on face and body. The best thing to do is to mix one or more fatty oils with some dry oils to get a good mix for your own skin.

So how does this work, really?

I myself have two different oils that I use daily (or, well, whenever I can be bothered) on face and hands. One lighter, drier oil mixture for mornings, when Iā€™m in more of a rush to get out, and one fattier oil for nights. If the face still looks greasy when going out the oil can easily be wiped off with some paper tissue, or even better, blotting paper (cigarette rolling paper works great for this!).

For the rest of the body, my best tip is to apply the oil before taking a shower. In that way the oil protects the skin somewhat from the hard water, which can dry out the skin a bit. Also the heat opens up the pores, which allows the oil to be absorbed better. Also straight after a shower, preferably when the skin is still damp, is good. I have found that the best way to apply the oil is to put the oil in a spray or pump bottle, pouring straight from the bottle can turn out a bit messy.

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  1. Annika

    Oh, that picture….! I’m also very into oil, it is supricing how fast it absorbs although it is 100% fat. At least my almond oil, olive oil and shea butter. Shea butter is my favorite so far but that does takes a bit longer to absorb. I also notised that you accually can put a lot of oil in your face without it looking/feeling greasy at all. I’ve used sheabutter in the face the whole winter, it’s been good against the cold.

    Have you tried coconut oil or butter? I haven’t used it regularly but tried it some day and it is very dry! It would probably be good for a lighter moisturizer for days or in the summer. It was absorbed straight away and left a very nice feeling to the skin, very powdery and not shiny at all! The skin accually felt dry, but in a nice moisturized way:)

    Have you used your ecological rapeseed oil? Does it leave the kind of strong smell it has or is it odourless when it dries? That would be nice to use because I suppose that is the only domestic vegetable fat you get here. Apart from fancy-shmancy super expensive stuff like sea buckthorn oil… The price was horrific! (can’t remember it though) But I guess there is- some- difference in the production..

    Nice blog:) I will start following! This stuff is so interesting and fun.


  2. hilda

    Hi Annika! I’m glad you like the blog so far šŸ™‚ Spread the word!

    Yeah, it’s amazing how all skin types can benefit from vegetable oils and even skin that’s already fat (like mine) doesn’t necessarily become fatter from the oils, it just balances the skin and makes the skin’s oil production balance out nicely.

    I haven’t used coconut oil that much on the skin either, but I have the same feeling as you, it feels very nice and relatively dry. It’s funny because on Shenet they call it a very dry oil that takes long to absorb. What kind of coconut oil do you use? Mine is from an asian grocery store. I don’t know if this is the same kind as the one that you can buy from the normal store (the ones that come wrapped in silvercolored paper) or if they differ.
    Mostly I use coconut oil for my hair, for which it is lovely – also nice to fry in :).

    I have used the rapeseed oil and I quite like it! (only some recent problems). I really like it as a body oil and I have used it just as it is and in mixes. I’m not that fond of the smell though, but it’s a matter of taste(smell?) Lasse quite likes it for example. But on my skin the smell disappears quite quickly anyways.
    And yeah, it would be the best oil for us to use here in Finland. Although ecological and cold pressed, it wasn’t even that expensive, and there are at least a few “brands” to chose from.

  3. Annika

    The coconut oil thing seems to be a bit tricky. I use a coldpressed ecological one that is semi hard in room temperature and melts fast on the skin. They say that it is miles from the store’s wrapped hard chunk of fat, and I agree. Mine has a distinct coconut smell and taste and is semi soft. The one you get in the store is supposed to be cleaned from taste and smell and hardned to 100%. Naturally there is (if I remember correctly) about 3-5% unsaturated fat in coconut oil. They also say that the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil are very different from the saturated fatty acids that animal fat consists of. Who knows? The people liking coconut oil on the net is mostly not that conserned about facts so I find it quite diffucult to form an opinion of my own.

    Is your coconut oil liquid? Then the fatty acids need to be in different proportions than the hard one. Right? You should study chemistry to understand this… Now it is only relying on others to know what they talk about, AND that they tell the truth.

    Anyway, take care:)

    1. hilda

      I have never so far gotten my head around the coconut oil/fat thing. I try asking people but nobody has given me an answer. My mum is always on about how the silver packs of coconut oil is the worst thing you can imagine to eat, while the unrefined coldpressed one is the best. I don’t really see how the difference can be that huge, but maybe it is. When an oil is raffined it loses a lot of it’s nutritional values, and also that’s when transfats are created. But I should think that since coconut oil is pretty endurable (it’s one of the better oils to fry in because it can go up to high temps before the transfats are released) it wouldn’t be the worst kind to refine….?

      The coconut oil I have from the asian shops is usually hard, but it goes liquid quite easily. The one I have now is in a jar but before that I had coconut oil in a glass bottle and so I had to have it in a hot water bath for a while before being able to use it. It says “100% pure coconut oil” in the ingredient lists, which sounds good enough, but it doesn’t really tell me anything. It doesn’t smell anything nor really taste much. But I know that for example also have two different kinds of coocnut oil, one with smell and one without, because a lot of people don’t like the smell and taste.
      On Shenet they say that coconut oil is just another name for coconut fat.

      But I get really frustrated when, no matter how much I read, I can never figure out the proper difference. Please tell me if you figure something out!!

  4. Elizabeth Marsh

    Hi Hilda, you can get fractionated liquid coconut oil which is much better for using on the skin – its often used in massage oils. If you’re in to oils I really recommend Kolbjorn Borseth’s truly fabulous book on using vegetable oils for beauty. I also recently tried out making a hair oil which I’m really happy with. Best wishes, Elizabeth

    1. hilda

      That’s very interesting, I didn’t know that fractionated oils where better for skin care! I thought that when it comes to cooking, fractionated oils are not quite as good as normal oils, because they contain more saturated fats? I’m not sure if this is true or not. Would this then mean that saturated fats in general are better for the skin than unsaturated…?

      Also very interesting about the herbal hair oils, I was especially excited about the vinegar rinses. I have never used herbal oils for my hair, though every now and again I use basic olive oil or avocado oil. Apparently coconut oil is supposed to be very good as well, but I’ve never tried.

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