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TotalBeauty.com
Don't be intimidated by oils, which now come in a variety of skin-transforming mixtures.
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updated 7/25/2012 2:42:02 PM ET 2012-07-25T18:42:02

I remember when Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil, $62, first launched. I was working at a magazine at the time, and the skin care oil trend was blowing up — all the mainstream brands were clamoring to get one on the market.

The Bobbi Brown version felt lovely. However, there was absolutely zero chance I was going to put it on my face. Oil on my acne-prone skin? That seemed like a terrible idea.

It wasn't until I came across Sundari Essential Oil for Oily Skin, $64, that I dared to try a skin care oil for myself. The formula is extremely light, the instructions call for only two drops (how much damage could that do?), and the website explains that peppermint helps control skin's oil production. Of course I was hesitant the first night I used it, but when I woke up to glowing, more even skin I knew it was the oil — and I haven't looked back since.

Despite the popularity of face oils, I realize that there are still plenty of people who are as intimidated as I was. Here's the key: You have to figure out which face oil is right for your skin, and start slowly with just a drop or two. These seven skin care oils are some of the most popular, and they come highly recommended by experts. Read on to find out which one you should try.

Tea tree oil
Best for: Acne

Even though I was afraid of face oils, I remember using The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, $9, as a blemish spot treatment when I was in high school. It feels and smells more like an astringent than an oil, so it doesn't have the same ick factor that turned me off with the others. And tea tree oil really works: Studies have found that 5 percent tea tree oil is as effective at treating acne as 5 percent benzoyl peroxide. Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann recommends it as a gentle, natural alternative to harsher acne treatments.

Try: Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick, $8

Grapeseed oil
Best for: Oily skin

If you have oily skin — even if you don't have acne — you're probably as averse to oils as I was. In the middle of the afternoon I needed blotting papers or pressed powder — definitely not more oil on my already shiny forehead. But grapeseed oil (like peppermint oil, which I mentioned earlier) can actually help regulate your natural oil production, says holistic skin care expert Cecilia Wong. Plus, it's packed with antioxidants, including skin-brightening vitamin C. Still not convinced? "I often tell people who are interested in skin care oils to start using it on your body, and if you like the results, try it on your face," Wong says.

Try: Caudalie Vinosource Nourishing Concentrate, $44

Argan oil
Best for: Anti-Aging

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When I think about Argan oil, supermodel and skin care guru Josie Maran immediately comes to mind. Her entire line is based around this miracle ingredient — and her perfect complexion is proof of how well the stuff works. The oil contains a high concentration of vitamin E and fatty acids, and it's more stable in sunlight than other antioxidants — so it's perfect to wear during the day. It's also very rare and expensive — so it's a good thing that you only need a tiny amount for it to be effective. "If you see 1 ounce of Argan for $15 that's not right," says Wong. She adds that these cheaper versions may have added ingredients that make them less effective.

Try: Josie Maran Argan Oil, $48

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Black currant oil
Best for: Repair

I asked Wong what she would recommend for a client whose skin had been traumatized in some way — like after a laser treatment, too much time in the sun, or even wind-burned from skiing. Her answer? Black currant oil. It's her favorite reparative treatment because it's rich in fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties. It even works on eczema.

Try: Cecilia Wong Reviving Black Currant Serum, $72

Chamomile oil
Best for: Sensitive skin

The same way you can drink chamomile tea to relax, you can use chamomile oil to calm your skin. It soothes redness and irritation in a matter of seconds. "It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for patients with rosacea," says Baumann.

Just be sure to dab some on your wrist and wear it for a day to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction, she says. And be especially careful with organic versions. Since organic ingredients are treated with fewer chemicals, they're often growing alongside weeds and other allergens, which means organic essential oils are more likely to have traces of those allergens than conventionally farmed varieties. The result? They're more likely to cause allergic reactions on the skin.

Try: Darphin Organic Chamomile Aromatic Care, $70

Rose hip seed oil
Best for: Discoloration

Mally Steves Chakola, the founder of M. Steves Skincare, first realized the healing power of rose hip seed oil after applying it to an 18-year-old scar for two weeks — it faded significantly. So she developed her brand around the ingredient, which contains essential fatty acids, an antioxidant (vitamin C), and a natural retinol (vitamin A). It's ideal for protecting your skin as well as increasing cell turnover. She recommends using it as a boost for your moisturizer — just mix in a few drops before you apply. If you're skeptical about putting oil directly onto your face, this is a great option.

Try: M. Steves RHSO Power-Packed Ultra-Nourishing Boost, $48

Olive oil
Best for: Dry skin

We've all heard stories about women in Italy bathing in the stuff — and I'm sure they have beautiful skin. But using olive oil as a face oil is the scariest of all. I may have become an oil enthusiast, but I've never been able to use this one for anything other than cooking and salad dressing.

However, Baumann loves extra virgin olive oil for patients with very dry skin. (Note the word "very.") She says you can buy it at the grocery store — just be sure to look for the term "first cold press" on the bottle. (These formulas are higher in antioxidants than other varieties.) Not only is it super moisturizing, olive oil is also rich in compounds like polyphenols, squalene, and fatty acids — all of which are nourishing and help fight aging.

Click here to get more great skin care advice.

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Photos: One makeup artist’s daily makeover project

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  1. The Daily Face

    By Rina Raphael

    Putting on one’s daily makeup is hard enough. Now imagine coming up with a new look every day.

    But that’s just what Annamarie Tendler, 26, did on her popular blog. The creative makeup artist, who noticed a lack of simple and approachable beauty blogs, challenged herself to post a few new makeup tutorials a week in March 2011."

    “I wanted to make something that didn't inundate the viewer with information, but rather offered up a simple concept in a simple way,” Tendler told TODAY.com. “As in, here is a look, this is how you do it, this is what you use.”

    The tutorials range from practical (“how to curl your eyelashes) to wild (a Lichtenstein-inspired look for Halloween), and the work can often be exhausting. “I need to be generating so much material and I'm only one person, who also works on other shoots and projects,” said Tendler. “I find that every couple of months I need to take a two week break."

    Surprisingly, Tendler isn’t even a makeup junkie. Her personal regimen is “extremely simple,” consisting of not much more than Josie Maran Argan Oil moisturizer. But after posting dozens of makeup applications, she does have one beauty she recommends to all women: “Wear mascara.”

    Click through some of Annamarie’s favorite looks: (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Apr. 13, 2011

    "I was inspired to do today’s look when looking at Brassai photos of the 20s," Tendler wrote. "Everyone looks so cool and glamorous."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325
    Eyeliner: MAC Blacktrack gel liner

    Eye shadow: NARS in Galapagos, Make Up For Ever in Aqua Cream 15, MAC in Satin Taupe

    Eyebrows: The Body Shop black eye pencil

    Eyelashes: False lashes by Mattesse on top (#1565) and bottom (#49)

    Cheeks: MAC in Harmony

    Lips: NARS Shanghai Express

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. July 14, 2011

    "The best way to wear bright lipstick is with almost no other makeup. I used no liner for this look, only a wash of bamboo-colored shadow (a light brown) over my lids (diffused above the crease) and a ton of mascara."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeshadow: MAC in Bamboo

    Eyebrows: MAC in Fling

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: MAC in Harmony

    Lips: NARS in Schiap

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Aug. 12, 2011

    "Red seems like a weird choice for eyeliner, since most people don’t want to look like sleep-deprived junkies, but it works as a bold liquid liner. Also, by coupling it with bold brows, you will achieve a defined look, instead of it looking like you might have allergies."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eye liner in shade 10 (red)

    Eyebrows: The Body Shop eye pencil in black

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: MAC in Harmony, MAC Highlighter in Pearl

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Aug. 23, 2011

    "This is definitely something I’ll have to experiment with at a dark, nighttime party."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: NARS liquid liner pencil

    Eyeshadow: MAC in Copperplate, NARS pencil in HollywoodLand

    Eyebrows: Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in shade 21 (teal)

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: NARS in Penny Lane

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Oct. 18, 2011

    "I will warn anyone who tries this [Roy Lichtenstein-inspired look] out that pulling this one off if a lot like cleaning your bedroom: it looks worse before it looks good."

    Face: Ben Nye Creme Color in White

    Dots: Ben Nye Creme Color in Red

    Tears: Ben Nye Creme Color in Blue, Cosmic Blue, and White

    Eyeliner: MAC Blacktrack

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Lips: NARS Lipstick in Heat Wave

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Nov. 21, 2011

    "This is a great party look because it’s dark, goes with anything, and you feel festive without being over the top. Yeah, you don’t need to wear green eyeshadow and red lipstick to get the point across that you love Christmas."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

    Eye shadow: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Strut, Make Up For Ever Flash Color in Silver

    Eyebrows: MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Fling

    Eyelashes: Dior Blackout

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Nov. 28, 2011

    "I probably wouldn’t wear my makeup like this out on the street, but it’s definitely a look that can be modified for everyday wear."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Shade 10 (red)

    Eye shadow: NARS Duo in Scorching Sun, MAC Goldenrod, MAC Goldmine

    Eyebrows: MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Fling

    Eyelashes: Dior Blackout

    Lips: NARS Lipstick in Heatwave

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Dec. 19, 2011

    "This is more of a dark look. I started by lining the eyes with Blacktrack, including both the upper and lower inner rims and winging the liner."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Pencil in shade 10L (gold)

    Eye shadow: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in Shade 15, MAC Shadow in Satin Taupe, NARS Duo in Cordura, MAC Highlighter in Pearl

    Eyebrows: MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Fling

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: MAC Blush in Harmony

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Annamarie Tendler
    Above: Slideshow (9) One makeup artist’s daily makeover project
  2. Image: 84th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
    Ethan Miller / Getty Images
    Slideshow (15) The best of bold brows

Video: Bringing back favorite discontinued beauty products

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