Using an oil to wash your face may sound counterintuitive. But perhaps the simplest way to understand why you need to add a cleansing oil to your regime is that ‘like dissolves like’.
‘Oils are lipophilic so they have an attraction to other oils,’ says Gail Boye, SVP Global Product Development at bareMinerals. ‘This synergy works to gently cleanse the skin, by lifting and removing excess dirt, make-up and debris.’
Plus, you actively nourish while giving a deep clean.
Cleansing oils are more hydrating than face washes because they contain fewer (if any, depending on the product) foaming agents or detergents.
Instead, they are packed with soothing oils and humectants that respect the lipidic (fatty) layer of your skin so it never feels tight or uncomfortable.
And who doesn’t love the spa-worthy feeling of using an oil at the end of the day?
How To Use A Cleansing Oil
Use it as part of the double cleanse that is a trademark of Korean skincare.
First you want to dissolve surface dirt.
Apply a warm, damp washcloth to your face for about 20 seconds. Then really massage the cleansing oil into your skin to purge pores of pollution, foundation and other unspeakable nasties. Not even the best mascara or the best foundation will stand a chance.
After that, emulsify with a little water and use the clean back of the flannel to wipe the oil off.
The second cleanse can either be with a cleansing oil, milk or gel to rid the skin of grime lurking under your make-up.
Before you get to the application, though, you need to select the right cleansing oil for your skin type.
Best Cleansing Oil For Dry Skin
Scan the label – those with heavier oils such as sunflower are great for dry skin. You find it alongside nourishing borage and a heavenly lavender and tangerine scent in this best-seller from bareMinerals.
Best Cleansing Oil For Normal/Combination Skin
Those who describe their skin type as normal will fare well with a no frills version like this one, which uses olive fruit oil as a base.
Best Cleansing Oil For Sensitive Skin
Those with sensitive skin should look for calming ingredients like calendula.‘Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser is a really gentle formula, which will ensure your skin is left soft and refreshed, without causing irritation,’ says Consultant Dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible Dr Anjali Mahto.
However, if your skin is prone to acne, Mahto advises caution.
‘I don’t like to use anything oily on acne-prone skin,’ she says. (Hence why the best foundation for oily skin tends to come in a powder formula.) ‘These types of products can be comedogenic, so I’d avoid it if you’re prone to breakouts and blackheads.’
Keep scrolling for more options…
Anti-inflammatory rosehip fruit extract and a cocktail of nourishing oils – olive, sunflower and caster - deftly whisk away debris without stripping skin of its natural oils.
No fancy scents or packaging here – just everything you need to buff away make-up while olive and vitamin E ramp up skin’s moisture levels.
Ok, at first glance this ‘oil’ is more like a balm. But when you massage it onto dry skin, it swiftly transforms into an oil rich in safflower seed oil that’s easy to move around the face without tugging or rubbing. It’s the perfect travel-friendly option if you still want the benefits of oil cleansing but don’t want to carry liquids.
What's not to love about this cleansing oil? It smells like a bona fide spa and it easily dissolves impurities, make-up, SPF, the works, all without overloading the skin. Another bonus: it comes with a textured cleansing cloth to wipe the whole thing off when you're done.
The Body Shop has some of the best cleansers on the high street, with this Camomile Cleansing oil a firm favourite. Efficient and bang for your buck, the comforting smell of chamomile aids relaxation at the end of a long day.
Blended with over 90% natural oils and rich in skin-softening omegas, consider this a shortcut to a glowing complexion before you've even applied moisturiser.
A cult classic that you'll often find in a make-up artist’s kit. Infused with a blend of botanical oils - kukui nut, white water lily and goji berry extract, to name a few - it deep cleans and is even kind enough to use on eye make-up without leaving you with blurred vision afterwards.