Hubert Burda Media

Making It Clear: The Truth Behind Facial Oils

How the return of the ancient beauty ritual is solving all skincare concerns.

Credits to photographer: Annie Yuen

Combining sub-tropical climate, spells of oppressive humidity and the year-round pollution from our northern neighbour – Hong Kong sets the scene for skincare nightmares. Potions and elixirs crowd the medicine cabinet – each and every bottle a promise to shield, correct, reverse the damages from the environmental aggressors of our city. Driven by fear and faith, we grow our beauty arsenal in pursuit for perfection (or at least as close as we can get to it).

This often absent step in your sequence is in fact a vital part of your everyday beauty regimen. Enter, facial oils. Commonly misconceived as counter-intuitive, this ancient practice has resurfaced and rapidly began gaining popularity once again. Celebrities and bloggers have jumped on the bandwagon and attested to its magical healing powers and newly transformed skin.

To put to rest the debate between whether or not it will hydrate your skin or clog your pores, we speak to Shrankhla Holecek — CEO and founder of Uma Oils and descendant of the Ayurvedic physicians for Indian royalty dating back centuries.

Shrankhla Holecek | Credits to photographer: Annie Yuen

Why are oils becoming so popular?

Oils are the fastest growing skincare category right now. People are becoming more educated about it and realising the beneficial properties of oils. They have the ability to hydrate, boost collagen production, brighten and erase fine lines. There are formulas that date back 800 years, and it’s been around for so long for a reason.

Does applying oil make your skin oilier?

Contrary to what people think, oils can be very light and balancing. It’s important to understand that not all oils are created equal. If you use coconut oil, your skin will never be able to absorb it because the size of the particles are too big to penetrate through the skin. On the other hand, something like pomegranate oil is tiny on a molecular level and will penetrate the skin very rapidly.

The battle between creams and oils. 

Creams can sometimes sit on the skin and create a waxy texture, whereas oils are able to permeate a lot better. Oils contain certain acids in them too which mimic cells that balance out the composition of elements in our skin.

What to look for in an oil.

You need to first ask what are the needs of your skin.

Dry skin: Something that contains frankincense which helps promote rapid cell turnover. Also vitamin-rich orange oil which naturally alleviates fine lines and age spots.

Combination skin: Jojoba oil has the ability to mimic the texture of natural skin so it fools the skin in creating less oil, but hydrates at the same time.

Oily skin: Grapeseed oil has natural linoleic acid in it so it thins out sebum. It really helps to balance out the skin!

UMA has a five face oils that target different skin concerns. The products really are game changers.

Credits to photographer: Annie Yuen

How should oils be used?

It’s all about layering. Your oil should be applied following your toner and before your SPF. Warm a few drops in your hands and then gently pat in the oil over your face. I personally use different formulas for different parts of my face – our Deeply Clarifying Oil for my T-zone and our Anti-Aging Oil for the rest of my face.

It’s also good to note that through a massage ritual, your skin will better absorb the oil. It relaxes you and it just lasts longer. Through the day, you’ll notice a natural dewy hydration, but never oiliness. Always move up and outwards! Massaging is a lymphatic detox and can help with lifting and tightening.

What sets Uma apart from the rest?

Our natural ingredients. Uma Oils are so popular — Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Molly Simms and Emma Roberts love our products — because it’s all organic. We’re very proud of the fact that we are one of the only skincare companies in the world to actually have full vertical integration in the ability to show complete transparency to our customers. Our products are from farm to bottle! In a world where people are becoming more cautious about what they’re putting into their bodies, it’s the only natural next step that they will ask where their skincare comes from.

My family has been providing essential oils as raw materials to big beauty brands like Estée Lauder and Tom Ford. In India, we are farming on over 500 acres, from everything like jasmine and eucalyptus to frankincense.

Though our brand is only two years old, our formulas have been around for over 800 years –the recipes have been passed down in secrecy from one generation to the next. Our heritage and the fact that we are natural really differentiates us from the other brands out there.


UMA Oils are exclusively available at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.

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