Although cleansing oils may seem like the new kid on the block, cleansing the skin using oil has been around for literal ages. In fact, stories of people oil cleansing go back as far as the 14th Century.
In Rome, men and women are said to have cleansed themselves with oil first and then washed in hot water. Quite the shower routine, right? And in parts of Asia, women would use oil to break down the white foundation-like base that they wore (think of geishas here). The base had a consistency like paint, so this was a necessary step. They then followed that up with a foaming cleanser to get all the oil off their skin.
Thousands of years later, this trend is making a comeback thanks to the internet, and it couldn’t be at a better time. Makeup products are being made to be even more long-lasting than ever from foundations that won’t budge, to waterproof eye makeup and 12-hour-wear matte lipsticks. These can be hard to take off with just soap and water, so cue the cleansing oils.
In this post, we’ll be telling you all about what a cleansing oil is, how to use a cleansing oil to remove your makeup, how cleansing oils can benefit your skin, how to choose the right one for your skin type and so much more. Let’s jump right in!
So First, What Even Is a Cleansing Oil and How Do Cleansing Oils Work to Cleanse the Skin?
A cleansing oil is a single oil or blend of oils that is used to break down and cleanse the skin from products, dirt, and dead skin. Some cleansing oils stop there and there are some that even have surfactants in them so that you can use your cleansing oil to take off your makeup without leaving an oily film on your face.
The oil cleansing method works because it can tackle water-resistant products such as waterproof mascaras, oil-based foundations and water-resistant sunscreens and often does a much better job at it than just using soap. Think of it this way: the oil attracts the oil in the products, they think they’re soulmates, and then they pretty much decide to run away together...
What Are the Benefits of Using a Cleansing Oil?
Cleansing oils are effective at removing oil-based and water-resistant products.
In fact, many people who try using a cleansing oil often feel that it gives them a deeper cleanse than a makeup wipe or even micellar water.
Cleansing oils are a gentler alternative to removing blackheads.
Unlike pore strips and extractions which can be quite irritating to the skin, a massage with a cleansing oil on the affected areas is a gentle way to get rid of and keep off blackheads.
Cleansing oils can reduce trans epidermal moisture loss AKA they can help your skin stay moisturized for longer.
The skin naturally has a protective layer of sebum, and harsh cleansers can strip the skin of this layer, leaving it struggling to stay moisturized even after the application of other products. Cleansing oils help to counteract this because they often contain gentle surfactants or cleansing ingredients and the oil in them forms a physical barrier that helps keep moisture within the skin.
Cleansing oils may help control sebum production in oily skin.
Now, this one is counterintuitive, but let us explain. The theory on why this works is that whenever your sebum levels start to drop, your skin panics and tries to replenish that lost oil by producing even more sebum. At this point, most people would then start using an even harsher cleanser to strip the oil, but this causes the skin to work even harder at producing sebum until soon, your skin is very oily. So, oil cleansing is pretty much reverse psychology for the skin.
The oil cleanser leaves a bit of oil on the skin even after it's washed off. This causes your skin to think “Hey, there’s already some oil on the skin, so I guess I don’t have to make that much after all.” And the more you keep doing this, the more your skin realizes it can get away with producing even less sebum, which means you wake up one day and realize you’re not quite as oily as you used to be.
Cleansing oils leave the skin feeling soft and supple.
The glycerides in the plant oils are great for softening the skin and deeply hydrating the skin. Over time, you may also notice that using a cleansing oil may help smoothen your skin texture. We can’t talk about this part enough. Girrrrl! Get into these!
Who Should Use a Cleansing Oil?
It’s the year 2022 and there’s literally a formulation out there to suit every skin type. Some cleansing oils are formulated to emulsify when they get into contact with water, so they generally wash off easily without leaving an oily residue on the skin. And even if you need a more thorough cleanse, you can always use a cleanser to wash off any oil that’s left behind.
The trick here is to choose the right type of cleansing oil for your specific skin type. So, we’re going to break down which cleansers are best for each skin type:
- Oily skin: if you have oily skin, you’ll benefit more from a cleansing oil that’s on the thinner side of things. This will keep you from winding up looking greasy.
- Dry skin: If you have got dry skin, then you’ll want to do the opposite of what someone with oily skin should do. You’ll want to purchase a cleansing oil that’s on the thicker side. This will do a better job of replenishing the oily layer of your skin and helping you maintain moisture in your skin for longer.
- Acne-prone and blemish-prone skin: opt for a cleansing oil, on the lighter side, that can be rinsed off.
- Normal skin: Lucky you! You can choose any cleansing oil you want.
Now, those are great if you’re looking for a cleansing oil that has some surfactants in it, but there are also cleansing oils that have no surfactants and just comprise of an oil blend. We like to refer to this type of cleansing oils as all-oil cleansing oils.
Some people prefer an all-oil cleansing oil for lots of different reasons. A common reason some stick to an all-oil cleansing oil is because they prefer products with as little unnatural ingredients as possible. These cleansers can still work for everybody, but you will need to tweak the routine a bit to make them work for your specific skin type. We’ll get into more detail when we discuss the dos and don’ts of using cleansing oils.
How To Use Cleansing Oil to Remove Makeup and Sunscreen?
Luckily, it’s easy to use cleansing oils to remove makeup. Here’s how to use them:
- When applying the cleansing oil to your skin, start with clean, dry hands and apply the cleanser to your face when your face is dry.
- Dispense a couple of drops of the cleansing oil on to clean hands and apply that to your face. Let that break down your makeup for a few seconds and proceed to the next step.
- Rub the cleansing oil into the skin, paying special attention to any areas that may have particularly stubborn products such as the eye area. You want to rub until the makeup looks cloudy and seems to blend right into the next product. If you have an all-oil cleansing oil, skip to step 5.
- If you have a cleansing oil that has an emulsifier in it, wet your hands and rub your skin to emulsify the product. Then, finish by rinsing with warm water until all the makeup is removed.
- For all-oil cleansing oils, use a cotton pad or cloth to wipe off the makeup, then rinse your face preferably with warm water.
- Right after, wash your face again using a cleanser of your choice. Double cleansing like this will make sure that you’ve got no residue left on your skin and keep you from getting a nasty breakout. Plus, technically, this is the second step in the Korean skincare routine.
P.S: A great way to wind down at the end of a long day is to take a few minutes rubbing the cleansing oil into your skin. The massage goes a long way in reducing puffiness all over the face.
Dos And Don’ts of Using Cleansing Oils
Do: Double cleanse if you opt for an all-oil cleansing oil. Remember how the women in Asia first washed their face with an oil and followed by a cleanser? That’s double cleansing. And it is great to keep the oil from clogging your pores which causes irritation and may lead to breakouts.
Do: Store your cleansing oil properly away from sunlight. Cleansing oils contain a large amount of oils, and oils go rancid. So, care must be taken to make sure that your oil is stored properly so that you don’t cause it to go rancid before its best before date or expiry date.
Don’t: Jump right in and start using the cleanser all over your face. When you’re starting out, test out the cleanser on a small patch a couple of times a week. If you don’t suffer any reaction, then move to using it on your whole face 2-3 times a week to give your face time to adjust. If your skin tolerates it well, you can move to using the oil cleanser more frequently.
Don’t: Choose a cleansing oil that uses comedogenic oils. Comedogenic oils are oils whose molecules are large enough to clog pores, leading to irritation and blackheads and possibly even breakouts. A lot of animal oils are comedogenic and even some plant oils such as coconut oil can be an issue for some. So, stick to non-comedogenic oils such as sunflower or argan oil to be safe.
Do: Check out the Prettykind Ultra Nourishing Makeup Cleansing Oil. Our oil is specially formulated with a blend of non-comedogenic, plant oils to effectively take off makeup, sunscreen and other water-resistant products, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple at the end of the day. The oils in our Ultra Nourishing Makeup Cleansing Oil are sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil and Vitamin E. Our products are cruelty free, paraben free, sulphate free and petroleum-free.
That’s it for today! Do you have any questions about cleansing oils that you’d love some answers to? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll be sure to get to you.
Until next time, don’t forget you’re a pretty kind!