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  • Writer's pictureTerri Vinson

Australia’s leading skin expert gives the lowdown on active oils VS filler oils

Beauty and skincare marketing is saturated with new ingredients that claim to take your skin to a new level. Whether it be for anti-ageing, hydration, or reducing inflammation - the list and hype is exhaustive.

Get the low down on OILS

So, how can you tell which ingredients are beneficial from those that over promise and under deliver?

With face oils being the latest ‘it’ product, we spoke to Australia’s leading skin scientist and cosmetic chemist, Terri Vinson, about the difference between evidence-based precious oils and ‘filler oils’.

Here’s what you need to know…

So, what are filler oils?

Filler oils are inexpensive oils that do not offer considerable key evidence-based benefits to the skin. Common examples of these oils include apricot, almond safflower, and sunflower oils.

They generally aren’t harmful to the skin, however, they are cheap, ineffective and are just there to ‘bulk up’ the product.

What is the shelf life of filler oils?

The shelf life of filler oils vary. I consider a low shelf life to be less than one year, as this is when they will begin to oxidise easily and become rancid, which can cause skin irritations like whiteheads, blackheads, and blemishes.

As an example, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and evening primrose oil have a shelf life of less than twelve months before they begin to turn rancid. You may notice a heavy, sour smell, which signals total rancidity in a product; this oxidation process will have been underway for months before you even perceive the scent.

You wouldn’t keep olive or avocado oil in your pantry for two years, so why would you put them on your skin!

What are the benefits of evidence-based precious oils?

The benefits of precious oils depend on the oil itself and the studies that have been performed on each of them. Precious ‘active’ oils, all have their unique benefits for the skin.

For example, prickly pear seed oil contains active lipids high in Vitamin F and linoleic acid, which promotes better barrier function and helps control overgrowth of acne related bacteria. Argan oil is capable of neutralising damaging free radicals and promote healing, and bakuchiol, one of my favourite active oils, is a clinically proven alternative to vitamin A. More about that below.

At Synergie Skin, I choose to formulate with evidence-based ingredients, including our precious oils that are backed by science! LumiBalance is our latest multi-active facial oil containing eight evidence-based active oils to restore, protect and regenerate all skin types.

LumiBalance Oil by Synergie Skin
LumiBalance Oil by Synergie Skin

We’ve been hearing the term ‘bakuchiol’ everywhere recently. Is it really the new Vitamin A?

This active ingredient really has been making waves in the beauty industry, and rightly so. Bakuchiol is considered nature’s gentler alternative to vitamin A, with clinically proven retinoid-like benefits.

It’s important to note that bakuchiol (a botanical oil) and retinoids (such as retinol), share no chemical resemblance to one another, however, it does produce comparable skin benefits. Like vitamin A, it stimulates the production of collagen, prevents the breakdown of collagen and elastin within the skin, addresses hyperpigmentation, and promotes the production of healthy new skin cells. Bakuchiol also has the added benefit of being a potent antioxidant and is also safe for use during and post-pregnancy.


Terri Vinson is dedicated to helping people feel empowered, informed, and confident when it comes to their skincare choices.

Terri is the founder & formulator of Australian based global skincare company, Synergie Skin.

Terri also holds a Bachelor of Science (Immunology & Microbiology), a post-graduate Diploma of Formulating Chemistry, a Diploma of Education (Biology & Senior Science), is a member of the ASCC (Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists), and author of ‘Skinformation: A Clean Science Guide to Beautiful Skin’.

To find out more about Synergie Skin, head to


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