Everything You Need to Know About Oils

Oils are everywhere, but how are you supposed to know which ones you need? There’s an oil for dry skin, sure, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s an oil for dandruff, one for fading dark spots, and even one for pimples. And while using oils in the quest for beauty is ancient practice, they’re having a moment in the spotlight right now. You’ve probably noticed almost every celebrity we interview has one in her routine: Ginnifer Goodwin washes her face with coconut oil, Kourtney Kardashian uses that same oil as a scalp treatment for stronger hair, while her sister Kourtney slathers avocado oil on her face. Even Sophia Loren adds olive oil to her bathwater for suppler skin.

You can buy pure oils at your local health food store—look out for words like extra virgin and unrefined—or you’ll find them listed among the ingredients of a surprising number of products. To help guide you, we’ve assembled a handy guide detailing what oils do and how best to use them.