The best cleansing oil and how to tell if it's right for your skin type

cleansing oil

Using oil to wash your face may sound counterintuitive. But perhaps the simplest way to understand why you need to add the best cleansing oil to your regime is that ‘like dissolves like’. Cleansing oils are in fact some of the best cleansers to include in your arsenal.

'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

bareMinerals Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil, £23, Lookfantastic

cleansing oil

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.

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Best Cleansing Oil For Normal/Combination Skin

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, £19.20, Lookfantastic

cleansing oil

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.

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Best Cleansing Oil For Sensitive Skin

Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, £71, Cult Beauty

cleansing oil

Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, £71, Cult Beauty

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.

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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.’

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Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.