Mineral vs Plant Oil

In case you didn’t know, there are two types of oils used in most skincare and makeup: Mineral and Plant Oil. These two oils are part of almost every beauty product formulation and serve as a basis as well as nourishing ingredient for the skin. However, these two oils are different in obtaining methods and benefits. Which is better for you? Let’s find out!


Mineral Oil

Go to the supermarket or beauty store and you’ll find mineral oil listed as one of the ingredients in most beauty products, from moisturizers to deodorants. Mineral oil is a heavy-hitter and an absolute favorite in the beauty industry because of its long shelf life and versatility. But what exactly is it?

Well, mineral oil is a derivative of petroleum. Just like fuel, this ingredient is extracted from crude oil. In its raw form, mineral oil has little smell or color. When used in beauty products, especially moisturizers, mineral oil forms an occlusive film on our skin that can create a smooth and supple look. Aside from this film, mineral oil does not provide genuine added value to skin nutrition. Mineral oil merely forms an occlusive film and will not be absorbed through the pores. However, this moisture-retaining ingredient provides a physical barrier to water loss, providing hydration and can even increase the efficacy of other active ingredients when layered on top of other skincare products. Keep in mind that mineral oil is best for people with dry or dehydrated skin.

Speaking of skin type, is it okay to use beauty products formulated with mineral oil if your skin is oily or acne-prone? Turns out, the highly refined and purified mineral oil found in most cosmetics and skincare products are noncomedogenic, which means that it won’t clog your pores. The oil itself is an inert compound (no smell or color), so the likelihood of it causing a skin reaction is low.


Plant Oil

Ever wonder why beauty products with plant oils are slightly more expensive than their mineral oil counterparts? Well, it’s because plant-based oils are naturally extracted, hence the shorter shelf-life, and they also have clear advantages. Extracted from various types of grains, seeds, or fruits, plant oils are made of smaller molecules, so they absorb easily and integrate well into the skin’s lipid or protective barrier, preventing moisture from evaporating from the skin. Moreover, plant-based oils are not inert. Instead, they contribute a whole range of active ingredients to a beauty product. Plant oils contain a plethora of nutrients such as vitamins or antioxidants that can be beneficial for your skin’s health. Sustaining our lipid barrier with nutrients from plant oils will protect your skin from outside elements and help you get that healthy and moisturized glow.

If your skin is dehydrated or dry, you can still seek help from plant oils. Certain plant oils such as kokum or chocolate butter are also occlusive in nature, meaning that they will create an occlusive film on your skin to trap moisture in whilst nourishing your skin with their nutrients.