Face oils have finally started to get the recognition they deserve. From argan to marula to moringa, natural African plant oils are packed to the brim with skincare benefits, for every skin type. Neroli oil, in particular, is popular for its ability to anti-age, hydrate and even heal damaged skin, as well as having antibacterial and antiseptic properties that make it the ideal beauty oil for oily, acne-prone skin.

What Is Neroli Oil?
Neroli oil has been used as far back as the 17th century, when Italian aristocrats discovered its skin rejuvenating abilities. The precious oil is produced from the fragrant blossoms of the bitter orange tree, explain Julia Noik, co-founder of African Botanics, which sources neroli for its products from biodynamic co-ops in South Africa. “The blossoms are gathered by hand just as they begin to bloom,” Noik said. “It takes about 1,000 pounds of orange blossoms to make 1 pound of Neroli oil.” The fresh flowers are put through low-pressure water-steam distillation to extract the pale yellow oil.

What It Can Do For Your Skin:
This fruity-floral-scented oil is loaded with skin benefits: “It improves skin’s flexibility, combats acne, and is best known for its soothing and skin regenerating effect on even the most environmentally stressed complexions,” Noik explained. It’s also safe to use on the most sensitive skin, and one of the few citrus oils that is not phototoxic — meaning it can damage the skin when exposed to light. “It’s also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C,” Noik added, which is what makes it so useful in eliminating free radicals and protecting skin against environmental stressors and inflammation. It also supports collagen production, smoothes skin, and helps nix dullness and impart a healthy glow.

“The cytophylactic effects of Neroli help maintain the health of skin cells and promote the growth of new ones.,” says Noik. “This keeps the skin’s elasticity, allowing it to remain supple while reducing unsightly lines and wrinkles.” By boosting skin cell renewal and growth, neroli also has some interesting anti-scarring properties, making it a good option for fading all types of scars, from acne scars, to wounds, to stretch marks.

The Face Oil for Acne-Prone Skin:
Although neroli has rejuvenating and regenerating benefits for every skin type, its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties make it ideal for oily and blemished skin. Plus, it’ll help maintain moisture levels and balance oily skin, a gift that all face oils can give. “It tones and tightens the skin, balances sebum and assists in reducing inflamed acne,” said Noik. “Any skin condition caused by or related to stress will respond well to Neroli as it has a wonderful calming and healing quality for both the skin and overall well-being.” It can also be useful for treating bacterial skin conditions and rashes.

How to Use It:
Just like any other face oil, apply neroli oil into your hand and gently smooth or press onto clean, slightly damp skin. You can also add it to your foundation or moisturizer to give it an extra-moisturizing boost, or to your conditioner or hair mask to intensity hydrating effects, Noik suggests.

It’s also used in some perfumes and fragrances, and carries some aromatherapy benefits: studies have shown neroli oil can increase serotonin production in the brain, which can boost your mood and promote relaxation.

Courtesy ESPA, Tata Harper, African Botanics, DECLÉOR
Neroli oil

Ready to give it a try? Here are some of our favorite neroli oil products:

African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil, $85
Tata Harper Aromatic Stress Treatment, $80
DECLÉOR Aromessence Neroli, $68
ESPA Replenishing Face Treatment Oil, $95