Are You Afraid To Wash Your Face With Oil? You’re Missing Out!


Solve Skin Problems With Cleansing Oil


Oil cleansing sounds like a cardinal sin to a sensible skin care regimen. We’ve all heard the warning that only oil-free products will keep our skin clear and gorgeous.

But researchers are starting to uncover the incredible benefits of oils for skin, and soothing, healing ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years are seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Now, cleansing the face with oil is going mainstream, and many women have turned to oil cleansing as a way to gently remove makeup, soothe sensitive skin, and tame unrelenting breakouts.

Using oils instead of traditional soap or detergent cleansers can also help protect the natural lipid layer of the skin and the good bacteria that live there.



While we still have a lot to learn about the microbiome in our bodies and on our skin, recent research shows that the bacteria that thrives on our skin can help protect against infection like acne.


A facial cleansing oil removes makeup, soothes skin, and calms breakouts while protecting skin’s natural lipid layer and good bacteria.


Can Oil Actually Clean Your Skin?


For many people, “cleansing,” brings to mind foamy lather and rinsing.

Oil cleansing can include both, but for the most part it’s done with pure oils and a washcloth dampened with warm water.

Some women, particularly those who adhere to a K-beauty regimen, will also follow their oil cleanse with a gentle face wash to remove any oil residue.

K-beauty is short for Korean beauty, an umbrella term for Korean skin care products and techniques that have become popular in the United States.


Like Dissolves Like



In other words, putting clean, nourishing oils on your skin is intended to:

  • lift excess sebum, the oily substance produced by glands your skin
  • clean out clogged pores like blackheads and whiteheads
  • remove dead skin, pollutants, and makeup

Makeup removers often include oil because it’s well-suited for lifting oil-free, oil-based, and waterproof formulas off the skin and lashes.


Balance and Hydration


Traditional cleansers can irritate the skin, cause excessive dryness, exacerbate acne, and ultimately result in the skin overproducing oil after washing.

Oil cleansing, on the other hand, can help balance the skin and lock in hydration. Oils used for cleansing may also have healing properties, important nutrients, or other skin-boosting benefits.


Oils cleanse and enhance hydration for balanced skin.


While there is currently little research on oil cleansing, a small 2010 study found that cleansing oil was good for dry, mature skin.

More currently, another small study found that adults and children who used a bath oil every other day for a month had better skin barrier function and fewer symptoms of dry skin than those who used oil-free cleansers.

Now that so many brands have added an oil cleanser to their line, you have the option of buying a premixed version formulated for your skin type or making your own.

Pre-made oil cleansers are easy to find online and in most drugstores and beauty stores.


Make Your Own Cleansing Oil


Two Basic Starter Oils

  • Olive oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants and is important for hydration.
  • Castor oil is antibacterial and acts like an astringent cleaner.


Most DIY recipes recommend starting with a 1:1 ratio of olive and castor oils, then increasing the amount of olive oil for dry skin or castor oil for oily, acne-prone skin.


Sky Organics Castor Oil has fantastic reviews.


Making Adjustments



You can use other oils in the basic recipe above, depending on your skin’s needs.

For instance, you may want to use jojoba oil if you have oily or acne-prone skin (instead of olive oil), since it’s been shown to help reduce acne and balance oil production.

Or, if you have dry skin, you can add avocado oil for extra moisture.




For dry skin – Art Naturals Avocado Oil has excellent reviews.

Great Oils For Oil Cleansing:



Olive Oil – rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  It also moisturizes and fights bacteria.

Castor Oil – one of the most popular carrier oils for oil cleansing. Its thick consistency makes it an effective cleanser and moisturizer.

Sweet Almond Oil – full of vitamin E, vitamin A, monosaturated fatty acids, protein, potassium, and zinc. This oil easily penetrates the skin, allowing the vitamin A to help reduce acne.

Hemp Seed Oil like this one from Renewalize is rated 0 on the comedogenic chart.

Grapeseed Oil – a light oil which is high in linoleic acid. This oil is good for balancing combination skin.

Avocado Oil – rich in fatty acids, and particularly good for dry skin.

Sunflower Oil – especially rich in vitamin E, and particularly good for aging skin.

Apricot Kernel Oil – a light carrier oil and a great moisturizer. Its high linoleic acid content also makes it ideal for acne prone skin.

Argan Oil – the vitamin E in argan oil acts as a major anti-inflammatory for red, reactive skin, and also helps control your skin’s oil production by balancing out your sebum levels, so you may have fewer breakouts and less irritation

Jojoba Oil – great for oily skin. When applied, your skin thinks there is enough natural oil on top of it, and stops overproducing sebum. It’s also an incredibly nourishing oil for any skin type.

Hemp Seed Oilnon-comedogenic, high in linoleic acid, moisturizing and anti aging. All skin types can benefit from hemp seed oil, especially oily and acneic.

Best Pre-Made Facial Cleansing Oils



Now that so many brands have added an oil cleanser to their line, you have the option of buying a premixed version formulated for your skin type or making your own.

Premade oil cleansers are easy to find online and in most drugstores and beauty stores.

If you have acne-prone skin, look for products that say they are noncomedogenic to ensure that they won’t clog your pores.

Regardless of what oils you choose, it’s important to buy high-quality oils and cleansers that don’t have any scents or dyes added. Look for cold-pressed, unrefined virgin oils when possible.

The following are my recommendations: 


Best Foaming Cleansing Oil


Knours Oil to Foam Double Cleansing Oil


If you just can’t give up foaming cleansers, now you can have the best of both worlds.

Knours Oil to Foam Double Cleansing Oil breaks down makeup and impurities and lathers into a rich foam to cleanse deep inside pores.

This high quality facial cleanser includes oils of olive, jojoba, orange, lavender, apricot, chamomile flower, hemp and more.  You’ll also find honey and other humectants.

The reviews for this oil are excellent; users say it removes all traces of makeup and gets their face really clean.


Best Cleansing Oil For Dry Skin


It’s All Good All Natural Cleansing Oil


It’s All Good Cleansing Oil is an excellent choice for skin that’s sensitive or dry. 

It includes skin pampering ingredients including olive, avocado, geranium, and chamomile oils, plus natural vitamin E.

At publication time, this cleanser has a perfect rating from reviewers, and more than one purchaser has described this cleansing oil as “amazing”.


Best Deep Cleansing Oil


DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (Plus Bonus)


DHC Deep Cleansing Oil has a almost a cult following on skincare message boards. 

Fans of this oil love how it goes to work on dissolving makeup, including waterproof mascara and eyeliner!

When you add water, this oil transforms to a milky, vitamin-rich emulsion that rinses clean, leaving your skin feeling soft and nurtured; never dry or greasy.

Its ingredients include olive and rosemary leaf oil, and vitamin E, among others.

Several reviewers even call this deep cleansing oil their “Holy Grail”!


Best Cleansing Oil For Oily Skin


BareMinerals Total Cleansing Oil


BareMinerals Total Cleansing Oil is a favorite among those with oily and acneic skin. 

If you’ve been avoiding oil cleansers because your worried about aggravating acne-prone skin, this is the one to try.  Several reviewers have reported that it helped clear up their skin (even one with adult, cystic acne).  

It’s ingredients include oils from the safflower seed, cucumber seed,  bilberry (european blueberry) seed and sunflower seed.


How to Oil Cleanse Your Face

There are two ways to oil cleanse. One involves removing the applied oil with warm water or a wet washcloth.

The other, popularized by K-beauty, follows oil removal with a gentle cleanser to remove any residue.

Before you try either, test the cleansing oil on a small patch of your skin for a couple of days to see how your skin reacts.


Basic Oil Cleanse


Massage 1-2 teaspoons of oil onto your dry face.


Step 1

Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil in the palm of your hand. For dry skin, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of castor oil. For acne-prone or oily skin, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba and a 1/2 teaspoon of castor oil.


Step 2

Apply the oil to your dry face. Use your fingertips to gently massage the oil into the skin for a minute or two to remove impurities like makeup and dead skin cells and let it penetrate the skin.


Step  3

Use a damp, warm washcloth to gently wipe away the oil. Be careful not to press too hard or scrub at your skin since this can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. A smooth, soft washcloth is best.

For this purpose, I like this set of 6 ultra soft Bamboo Washcloths from Bubu Baby.


Bubu Baby Organic Bamboo Washcloths


These 100% organic, hypoallegenic washcloths are made entirely from bamboo rayon. The set includes a free delicates bag for protecting the cloths in your regular laundry load.

They’re baby soft, but they’re not baby-sized:  these cloths measure a generous 10 x 10 inches, so they’re perfect for adults.

Your face should be hydrated when you’re done, but not greasy or overly irritated from wiping it down.


Step 4

Pat dry with a towel and apply moisturizer if you feel you need it.



If you’re prone to acne or oily skin, you may want to follow this method. You’ll still get the cleaning and hydrating benefits of the oil cleanse, but you won’t have to worry about any oil being left behind to clog your pores.

  • Follow the first three steps above for a basic oil cleanse.
  • Wash with a mild face wash that won’t strip your skin of its new hydration
  • Pat dry with a towel and apply moisturizer if you feel you need it.

For non-stripping follow-up cleansers, I recommend La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser and MyChelle Gentle Cleansing Wash.

Keep in mind that some cleansing oils like Knours Double Cleansing Oil or Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil include surfactants in the formula so that the mixture foams slightly once you add water and rinses off cleanly, so with either of these, you really won’t need a follow-up cleanser.


Video: Oil Cleansing Acne-Prone Skin

In this video Amber Anshah demonstrates oil cleansing on her acne-prone skin with a combination of castor oil and Renewalize hemp oil.



Oil Cleanse Frequency

You should oil cleanse no more than once a day, but you can also do it infrequently as a special treatment. It’s best to do this at night so your skin is well-hydrated for bed.


Oil Cleansing Results

Your skin should feel supple and be free of makeup and other products after you oil cleanse. Depending on your skin type, you may not need to moisturize afterward.

Oil cleansing can cause an allergic reaction, irritation, or clogged pores, which is why it’s important to do a patch test before applying an oil cleanser on your face.

Women with cystic acne should talk to their dermatologist before trying an oil cleanse to prevent aggravating their skin.

Very few studies exist on oil cleansing, but there is anecdotal evidence that it may take a week or two for your skin to adjust. “Purging,” or breakouts that are caused by new products bringing bacteria to the surface of your skin, isn’t normal in oil cleansing.

However, if you’re getting an increase in breakouts, especially after you’ve been oil cleansing for a couple of weeks, you may need to use a gentle face wash after, change the oils you use, or stop oil cleansing altogether.

Hey!  Blogging can be a lonely business … I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips on cleansing oils – drop me a comment below!

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