Clean Beauty self-care Wellness

What is Oil Cleansing?

July 7, 2020

At this point, we’ve heard it all when it comes to skincare! “Don’t use oil-based products on your skin.” “Wait DO use oils on your skin.” Are you confused yet? I don’t blame you. Today I wanted to talk about oil cleansing and why despite the commonly held belief that we shouldn’t put oil on our face you should actually be cleansing your face with oil! I switched to oil cleansing years ago (especially when I’m wearing makeup) and haven’t looked back. So let’s take a deep dive into oil cleansing, how it works, which oils to use and how often to oil cleanse.

Why oil cleanse?

Let’s start by addressing traditional face cleansers. A lot completely strip the skin leaving it dried out and potentially irritated. Your skin thinks there isn’t enough oil (because of your extreme face washing!) and it produces more oil. This cycle leads to overproducing oil after washing. When you oil cleanse, you are gently lifting the excess oil from your skin, clearing out pores and removing makeup all in one… without stripping the skin. The end result is balanced skin that is hydrated and healthy!

Doesn’t oil clog pores? Will it break my skin out?

When you use the right oil for your skin (more on this below!) oil cleansing will actually clear out clogged pores rather than clogging them! Some oils can cause irritation or an allergic reaction so be sure to spot test oils on your face before diving in completely. If you’re using a store-bought mix of oils to cleanse your face, look for noncomedogenic if you’re prone to acne. If you struggle with cystic acne, check with your esthetician or dermatologist for specific recommendations.

The Best Oils for Cleansing

You can create your own oil cleanser with a singular oil or a blend of oils.

  • olive oil – rich in vitamins and minerals
  • castor oil – antibacterial but can also be drying
  • jojoba oil – great for acne prone skin
  • avocado oil – super hydrating
  • safflower seed oil – helps prevent dry, flaking skin. Great for eczema.
  • sunflower seed oil – anti-inflammatory
  • apricot kernel oil – great for dry, sensitive skin

*a note about coconut oil: I only recommend coconut oil if it’s purely for removing makeup and you’re following up with a second non-oil cleanser. Coconut oil is comedogenic which means for many it can clog pores so I don’t suggest using it as your primary cleansing method.

My Favorite Oil Cleanser Blends

After testing out DIY oil cleansers and struggling with skin issues for years, I actually don’t recommend creating your own blend unless you have normal skin that doesn’t really react to new products!

Marie Veronique Replenishing Oil Cleanser – My all time recommended oil cleanser is the Marie Veronique Replenishing Oil Cleanser. It has a blend of safflower seed oil, sunflower seed oil, apricot kernel oil, vitamin E and lavender essential oil. I truly believe it is the best on the market and a great cleanser for those skeptical of oil cleansing!

Trilogy Cleansing Balm – the absolute best at removing makeup and dirt build-up. I do find I still need to do a double cleanse (cleansing with a non-oil cleanser) afterwards but some people prefer not to. This is my go-to hack for the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm which is effectively the same thing and 3x the price!

Cocokind Facial Oil Cleanser – Not my most favorite but definitely budget-friendly! I had a bottle of this on hand that I’ve been using up and definitely don’t mind it. I still need to double cleanse (similar to the trilogy cleansing balm) but a good, affordable option that they sell at Target!

Lovinah Power Cleansing Balm – HOLY COW this product is good! It’s probably my most recent discovery in skincare and has quickly become a favorite. What I love about this one is that you don’t necessarily need to double cleanse or even use a wash cloth! The formula just melts everything off your skin. Kind of obsessed with this one…

How to Oil Cleanse

Here’s where it gets good. Let me introduce you to the most luxurious part of my skincare routine: oil cleansing. Take 1-2 teaspoons of oil (one pump if you’re using the MV oil cleanser!) in the palm of your hand and then gently massage into your dry skin. I love to massage upwards, in circular motions and give myself a little lymphatic massage. Massaging it in helps to warm it up and break down any impurities or makeup left on the skin. This is my time to unwind after the day and just take a few moments to deep breathe and relax. Don’t rush this!

When you’re done massaging and cleansing, take a warm washcloth and gently wipe off any excess oil. Your skin should feel clean and rejuvenated when you’re done – not overly greasy from the oil and not irritated from excessive washcloth wiping! After using the warm washcloth you can finish up with the rest of your skincare routine. If you feel like your skin could use more moisture, it’s 100% okay to moisturize after oil cleansing!

How often do you oil cleanse?

You can oil cleanse nightly if you want or save it for more of a deep weekly clean. I find that I usually reach for my oil cleanser when I’m wearing makeup because it removes everything without the added step of makeup remover. But you can certainly do this everyday. I would recommend you only do it at night though because you really don’t need to remove much from your face in the morning.

So tell me – do you oil cleanse? What’s your favorite oil or product?

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  • Reply
    October 28, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    I just bought the MV Oil cleanser and it has large chunks floating around and stuck to the insides of the bottle. Is that typical?

    • Reply
      Davida Lederle
      October 28, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      I find you have to shake it super well!! If that doesn’t fix it then I’d reach out to MV or wherever you bought it from. They’re usually pretty helpful since occasionally with small batches you can get a dud.

  • Reply
    Nicole Dahl
    October 24, 2020 at 9:41 am

    I just bought the MV oil cleanser and like it so far! What should I cleanse with in the mornings to get a clean slate for makeup?

  • Reply
    walter d.
    July 17, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    I’ve used the Trilogy Cleansing Balm, I like it, maybe a bit heavy, but it definitely works!

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