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When you need extra hydration, plant oils have an advantage over classic moisturizers and hair treatments. "They are natural like your body's own oils, so they sink right into your hair and skin and leave it soft, smooth and protected," says Ni'Kita Wilson, cosmetic chemist for You Beauty. Check out what these beauty elixirs can do for you.
1. Give Your Complexion an Extra Boost
We realize that the idea of putting oil anywhere near your face sounds scary, but hear us out. "Oil gets a bad rap because it's a no-no for acne-prone skin," says Washington, D.C., dermatologist Tina Alster, M.D. "However, if you've got dry or combination skin, oil adds a protective layer of hydration and you'll need that in the colder months." Look for a lightweight formula with antioxidants and vitamins C and E to apply under sunscreen or as your night treatment.
2. Remove Your Makeup
Oil happens to be awesome for taking off makeup -- even mascara. Water-based cleanser? Not so much. "The oil in your makeup is happy to mingle with another oil, so it comes off your skin and lashes easily and rinses away with water," explains Wilson. And unlike other cleansers, oil doesn't strip your skin after you wash it off.
3. Give Your Body a Spa Treatment
Yes, lotions and creams are quick and convenient and get the job done. But think body oil when you're in the mood for something a little more indulgent. Pick a blend -- jojoba, sunflower and grapeseed are faves -- that doesn't feel too heavy and apply it to slightly damp skin after you shower. Then relax for a few minutes and let it all soak in. "It's concentrated moisture so you don't need a ton of it," says Laura Benge, national spa director of Exhale Mind Body Spas.
4. Deep-Condition Your Hair
Hair oils hydrate dry, damaged or curly hair -- but they're not all created equal. Splurge on pure oils (like jojoba, sweet almond, argan and coconut) that penetrate the hair shaft and leave it soft and healthy. Don't expect mega moisture from oil and silicone blends (dimethicone is usually on the top of the list on the label). "They are fantastic as a temporary fix for calming frizz and adding shine, but the oils probably won't get inside your hair shaft," says stylist Nunzio Saviano of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger in New York City.Liquid Assets
Clockwise from top left: Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil, $14 / Apotheke: M Suds & Luxuries Replenishing Bath & Shower Oil, $13 / Pureology Precious Oil Versatile Caring Oil, $40 / Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, $50 / Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment, $6 / Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil, $26 / Bio Oil, $12
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, October 2012.