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Cleansing Oil: The Gentlest Way to Remove Makeup and Dirt

Cleansing Oil: The Gentlest Way to Remove Makeup and Dirt
SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert7 months ago
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From the types of products you use to the beauty philosophy you follow, it’s safe to say that no two skincare routines are exactly alike. But whether you’re a three-step-regimen kind of girl or someone who indulges your skin with the ultimate pampering daily, there’s one beauty secret that you should never do without: oil cleansers.

While most of us typically think of soaps or face washes to handle the all-too-important task of face cleansing, they may not be as helpful in removing makeup and excess oil and preserving your skin’s natural moisture. That’s where facial cleansing oil comes in.

If you’re wondering if using oil to wash away dirt and other oil-based debris is really a good idea, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out more about what makes facial cleansing oil the perfect addition to your skincare routine and how to use it for your skin type.

Table of Contents:

What is a cleansing oil?

Cleansing oils are oil-based face cleansing products that are typically formulated with a mixture of lightweight plant oils that help break down and melt away makeup, surface debris and other impurities. Unlike traditional cleansers—many of which contain ingredients that could dry out your skin—facial cleansing oils allow you to remove dirt and residue without harsh scrubbing or stripping moisture off your skin.

What makes cleansing oils so effective is the fact that oil attracts oil, which means it can adhere to oil-based impurities on your skin—such as product residue and excess sebum—and gently deep-clean your pores without over stripping and disrupting your skin’s natural protective barrier. In fact, the best-formulated cleansing oils will not only rid your skin of dirt and grime but also leave it with an added layer of moisture and protection.

How to use cleansing oil in your skincare routine

Cleansing oils work hard to give your skin the gentlest and most complete cleanse, making it perfect to use on its own or as part of a double-cleansing routine. When combined with water, oil cleansers emulsify or lather, allowing for a more thorough rinse by combing your skin for any leftover dirt and product.

If you’re thinking of adding an oil cleanser to your daily routine, it’s best to start by knowing your skin type. Oily skin can benefit from double-cleansing and using an oil cleanser as a pre-cleanse to deep-clean your pores before finishing things off with a gentle face wash to pick up any residue.

If you have dry skin, on the other hand, you’ll want to keep things simple and use an oil cleanser alone to avoid drying out and over-washing your skin. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use an oil cleanser in your skincare routine.

Step 1: Apply cleansing oil to a dry face with dry hands

Skip dampening your face before applying your oil cleanser. Unlike traditional face washes, oil cleansers are best applied to a dry surface to allow the oils to bind better with the impurities and residue on your skin’s surface.

Dispense a few drops of your cleansing oil onto dry hands and massage evenly over your face in upward, circular motions. For hard-to-remove makeup, such as waterproof eyeliners and mascaras, use a cotton pad soaked in the oil and hold it over the specific area to help dissolve the makeup.

Step 2: Rinse with lukewarm water

After massaging and once all visible makeup is gone, splash some lukewarm water on your face and gently work the formula into a milky lather. This light emulsion will make it easier for your cleansing oil to wash away all those impurities. Make sure your water is the right temperature—too hot and it could leave your skin feeling dry and too cold will lead the oils to solidify and leave residue on your skin.

Step 3 (Optional): Follow with a foaming face wash to double-cleanse

As its name suggests, double cleansing is a two-step cleansing method: First, with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based or traditional face wash. An Asian beauty staple, double cleansing is a surefire way to remove pore-clogging and stubborn impurities that can remain on your skin and lead to acne and other skin irritations.

To do a double cleanse, use your favorite face cleanser or a gentle foaming face wash as you normally would after you’ve rinsed off your cleansing oil. Then, use a clean towel to gently pat your skin dry.

Step 4: Finish the rest of your skincare regimen.

As crucial a step as cleansing is, it’s only the beginning. To maintain your skin’s healthy glow, it’s important that you stick to your daily routine and be consistent in applying your skin’s must-haves.

What are the benefits of using cleansing oil?

Aside from keeping your skin dirt- and shine-free, cleansing oils also deliver the following skin-loving benefits:

  • Cleanse the skin without stripping its natural oils, which can lead to dryness and breakouts: Your skin needs oil to moisturize, heal and protect. However, when harsh ingredients in conventional cleansers strip these natural oils, your skin overcompensates by producing more oil. And when oil mixes with bacteria and grime, this can result in clogged and inflamed pores.
  • Remove makeup and sunscreen without leaving residue: Cleansing oils bind to oil-based impurities on your skin, breaking down and dissolving product residue and grime for a more thorough and deep cleaning.
  • Gentle on the skin: Traditional face washes often contain surfactants that can be harsh on your skin and cause irritation. On the other hand, the best cleansing oils are formulated with natural oils that soothe and protect as they clean.
  • Help improve skin texture and radiance: Your usual face cleanser may leave your skin feeling squeaky clean, but you may have also noticed how it makes your skin feel dry. Facial cleansing oils contain ingredients that work with your skin’s natural oils to help give you silky soft, smooth and glowing skin.

How to choose the right cleansing oil for your skin type

Not all cleansing oils are created equal and picking out which one to add to your daily routine depends on your skin type. Some oils can be comedogenic and tend to block pores, so you’ll want to spend a little time researching the ingredients. Cleansing oils also come in different weights or textures. Some users may prefer lightweight formulas while others opt for heavier oils that can be massaged over the face without drying up.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for a formula that contains hazelnut, sunflower, and other dry oils. These oils are easily absorbed by the skin and are less likely to clog pores or leave greasy residue.

For dry skin types, look for hydrating oil cleansers that are formulated with other moisturizing ingredients, such as ceramides and vitamin E.

Meanwhile, the fewer the ingredients, the better it is for those with sensitive or highly reactive skin. Choose a fuss-free oil with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and green tea. You will also want to steer clear of scented oil cleansers as fragrance is a known skin irritant.

The Bottom Line

Adding a cleansing oil to your daily skincare routine, whether as a standalone product or as part of a double cleanse, is an effective and much gentler way to keep impurities and unwelcome debris off your skin without over stripping or damaging its natural protective barrier.

Cleansing oils can feature a wide range of natural oils, so choosing the right formula and ingredients depends on your skin type and concerns. Different oil cleanser formulations can deliver plenty of added benefits, including moisturizing, strengthening and healing your skin.

Shop all Cleansing Oils at SkinStore to gently remove makeup and dirt.

SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert
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Our team of beauty experts cover everything from skincare to makeup, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the SkinStore blog, and find all your essentials in one place.