Review | Bio-Oil

Here’s Bio-Oil, a product that has received a fair bit of attention for both good and bad reasons.

Made in South Africa, this hypoallergenic face and body oil contains Vitamins A and E, as well as a blend of calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile oils.

It is also formulated with PureCellin oil, a synthetic version of the preen gland oil that ducks secrete to occlude their feathers whilst in the water. It supposedly promotes spreadability and delivery, improving the penetrative power of the ingredients.

Fast-absorbing and non-greasy, Bio-Oil makes extensive promises, claiming to address skincare concerns related to scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone and ageing and dehydrated skin. It apparently can be used as an after-sun treatment product and as a bath oil too.

I’ve used it for a while and it hasn’t done a lot for me, beyond offering basic moisturisation. The brand assured me that the oil would help my facial eczema and though it didn’t worsen my condition, it did not combat it as effectively as Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil which I love. Nevertheless, the texture of Bio-Oil is lighter than that of the latter and true to its word, absorbs easily into the skin.


Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (Calendula Oil)
Lavandula Angustifolia Oil (Lavender Oil)
Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil (Rosemary Oil)
Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil (Chamomile Oil)


Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

Oil Base

Paraffinum Liquidum
Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate
Isopropyl Myristate
Glycine Soja Oil
Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil

Fragrance (Rose)

Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone
Amyl Cinnamal
Benzyl Salicylate
Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde


Orange: CI 26100 (Red 17)
Pink: CI 26100 (Red 17) and CI 60725 (Violet 2)

Above is the list of Bio-Oil ingredients.

According to the brand, the oil is suitable for sensitive skin and in my numerous instances of using it, it has not broken me out. It does contain the fatty acid isopropyl myristate which is comedogenic and can irritate the skin, so use this with caution if you’re acne-prone. In addition, the first ingredient is mineral oil; it’s best to steer clear if you’re leery of this substance. Beauty Huile has an interesting piece concerning this ingredient and Bio-Oil.

To be honest, with these potentially negative ingredients, the brand’s long list of purported skincare benefits startled me. The phrase ‘too good to be true’ probably sums up my feelings. ;)

That said, I actually like it a lot as a cuticle oil. Its light texture makes my fingers and nails feel moisturised yet comfortably non-greasy, allowing me to work with my hands without worrying about slippery digits. It is good for fresh manicures too, preventing smudges and nicks.

Though it is supposedly rose-scented, all I detect is a slightly sweet woody fragrance that might not appeal to some. It is quite faint and seems to fade over time.

The packaging is simple: A warm rose-tinted plastic bottle with a small opening that minimises wastage. It’s very light and feels cheap…and indeed, this product is affordable enough – in Singapore, a 60 ml bottle retails at S$15.50.

This review was based on a press sample. I won’t purchase it as a facial oil but I might buy it as a cuticle oil, given how effectively it works as one for me.

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