When I was younger, the concept of using oil as a face cleanser never made sense. How could putting oil on your face make it clean? Isn’t oil the stuff that’s known to clog your pores and made you break out? Thankfully I don’t think this is a common misconception anymore, and I think oil cleansing is much more normalized these days! But when I was struggling with breakouts for years, the thought of cleansing my skin with oil wasn’t really appealing.
It took until I was in my mid twenties for someone to explain to me that my skin was actually dry, which was one of the reasons I was breaking out constantly. And then once I was in my mid-thirties (I’m 37 now), I started getting much more focused on keeping my skin hydrated to prevent signs of aging. One of the best products for hydrating and cleansing is a cleansing oil and it’s the perfect thing to add to your skincare routine.
Cleansing oils can simultaneously cleanse and hydrate the skin while removing oil-based makeup without stripping your skin of any of its natural oils. Adding a cleansing oil to your skincare routine is a great way to help your skin stay healthy and youthful while still making sure to get it really clean. It also works well to remove eye makeup, including waterproof mascara.
In this post, I’m sharing the best way to use cleansing oils to get the most out of them, as well as my favorites for different skin types.
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Cleansing oil may be a little confusing to use at first, since it’s used differently than traditional foaming facial cleansers. Here’s how to use it.
Start with dry skin, no need to slash it with water just yet. Add about a nickel or quarter size amount of cleansing oil to the palm of your hand and begin warming it up by rubbing it into your palms.
Massage the cleansing oil into your face gently. Once you’ve transferred the oil onto your face, add a small amount of tepid or warm water (not too hot, not cold) to your hands and rub them onto your face.
You’ll notice it start to lather just slightly, but not foam. It may turn to a milky color. Massage the cleanser for about 30 more seconds or so, and use a wet makeup cloth to remove the excess oil from your face. The cloth is key for removing makeup, especially eye makeup, so don’t just rinse.
After removing the cleanser with a cloth, rinse your face one more time with a splash of tepid water and pat your skin to dry.
Now let’s talk about the best cleansing oils for each skin type. Keep in mind that since you are adding oil to your skin, you want to make sure the cleansing oil you use is made for your skin type. If you have acne prone skin, you may not want to try a cleansing oil for mature skin, since it’ll likely be too heavy for your skin and may cause breakouts.
The Countertime Cleansing Oil by Beautycounter is my #1 pick. I have very dry skin and I’m nearing 40, so I’m always looking for the best products to prevent signs of aging. This is the cleanser I use every night. In the mornings, I use the Lumi Spa in the shower with the Countermatch gentle foaming face wash to get rid of dead skin cells. I especially like using it the morning after the Overnight Resurfacing Peel.
This cleansing oil has a retinatural complex (bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose), vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The bakuchiol acts like a retinol (but a gentler option) which prevents fine lines and wrinkles. It smells heavenly too. My skin feel SO clean without feeling stripped AT ALL.
If you have oily skin, try this Sulwhasoo cleansing oil. It’s created with oily skin in mind, so it won’t feel too heavy. If you’re new to oil cleansers, you’ll be surprised at how clean your face feels after using them. This cleansing oil also removes makeup. It contains no parabens, sulfates SLS or SLES, or phthalates and it has amazing reviews.
Another great option for oily skin is the DAMDAM cleansing oil. It’s created with large pores in mind, so it’s a great option if you’re concerned about adding an oil to your skincare routine. You’ll love how this melts away makeup and leaves your skin hydrated and clean!
Naturally, it seems counterintuitive to add oil to acne prone skin, especially since we’ve heard how oil causes acne for so long. But good oils actually help reduce breakouts by balancing out your skin. With too much oil, you’ll be prone to breakouts, but the same goes for too little oil. Your skin works overtime to try to create a balance when it’s too dry or too oily, which can result in breakouts. (This is what I struggled with for years until I switched to the cleansing balm linked below.)
While not a true cleansing oil, this Cleansing Balm is what I used for years. It’s a solid that turns into an oil once applied to skin. It was a game-changer for my skin, keeping it balanced and improving breakouts. I switched to the Beautycounter Cleansing Oil once they released it since I prefer it for removing eye makeup, but both are great. (Read my review + more details on the balm here.)
Another good option for acne prone skin is by Dermalogica. This cleansing oil was created with acne prone skin in mind. Try this oil as a pre-cleanser if you’re still struggling to feel like an oil based cleanser does enough for you. I also recommend using a gentle makeup cloth to remove the cleanser, which will help remove impurities and all the leftover makeup as well.
For sensitive skin, try the Tata Harper Oil Cleanser or Biossance.
The Tata Harper cleanser is great for sensitive skin because it’s a clean beauty brand (similar to Beautycounter). No synthetics, outsourcing, or shortcuts. It’s 100% natural with no toxins, fillers, artificials, synthetics, or GMOs. It’s smooth and gentle, and it’s a great way to clean the skin, especially if you’re sensitive to most cleansers.
Biossance is an antioxidant cleansing oil, meaning it boosts radiance. In fact, Biossance is another clean beauty brand. This cleansing oil contains sugarcane-derived squalane oil which makes your skin feel super refreshed, moisturized and leaves it feeling soft. You’ll also like the price tag on this one!
I hope this post helps you feel more educated on how to use a cleansing oil and all the benefits it can bring to cleansing your skin.
Do you use a cleansing oil that I haven’t included? Let me know in the comments to I can try it!
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