What is oil cleaning? [Benefits, How-To + Brands]

Looking to incorporate oil cleansing into your skincare routine? Learn more about oil cleansing, how to do it, and why oil cleansing is actually good for your skin!

At this point we’ve heard it all when it comes to skin care!

“Don’t use oil-based products on your skin.”

“Wait, use oils on your skin.”

are you confused yet I do not blame you. Today I wanted to talk about oil cleansing and why you should actually oil cleanse your face despite the popular belief that we shouldn’t oil our face!

I switched to the oil cleansing method years ago (especially when wearing makeup) and haven’t looked back. So let’s take a deep dive into oil cleansing, how it works, what oils are used, and how often to do an oil cleanse.

Why clean oil?

Let’s start by addressing traditional facial cleansers. Many conventional facial soap cleansers completely strip the skin, leaving it dry and possibly irritated. Your skin thinks there isn’t enough oil (due to your extreme facial cleansing!) and produces it more Oil. This cycle leads to an overproduction of oil after washing and potentially breakouts and acne.

With the oil cleanse, you gently remove excess oil from your skin, cleanse pores and remove make-up all in one – without damaging the skin. The end result is balanced skin that is hydrated and healthy! They also help to balance your skin’s natural oils.

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

When you use the right oil for your skin type (more on that below!), oil cleansing will actually unclog pores, not clog them! Some oils can cause irritation or an allergic reaction, so be sure to spot test oils on your face before fully immersing yourself.

If you use a store-bought oil blend to cleanse your face, look for non-comedogenic oils if you are acne-prone. If you’re struggling with cystic acne, consult your esthetician or dermatologist for specific recommendations.

The best oils for cleaning

You can create your own oil cleanser using a single oil or a blend of oils. Be sure to buy high-quality, organic, and cold-pressed oils whenever possible. Here are the different types of oils I recommend:

  • olive oil – Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • castor oil – antibacterial but can also be drying so best for oily skin.
  • jojoba oil – ideal for acne-prone skin
  • avocado oil – super moisturizing
  • safflower seed oil – Prevents dry, scaly skin. Great for eczema.
  • sunflower oil – Super anti-inflammatory
  • apricot kernel oil – ideal for dry, sensitive skin
  • grapeseed oil – one of my favorites! It’s a lightweight oil that’s great for sensitive, acne-prone skin.

*a note on coconut oil: I only recommend coconut oil if it’s just for makeup removal and you’re going to use a second oil-free cleanser afterwards. Coconut oil is comedogenic, which for many means it can clog pores, so I don’t recommend using it as a primary cleansing method.

My favorite oil cleansing blends

After testing homemade oil cleansers and struggling with skin issues for years, I personally don’t recommend creating your own blend unless you have normal skin that doesn’t really respond to new products! These are my favorite store-bought oil cleansers to incorporate into your skincare routine.

Marie Veronique Replenishing Oil Cleanser – My all time go-to 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’s the best out there and a great cleanser for those who are skeptical about oil cleansing!

True Botanicals Calm Ginger Curcuma Cleansing Balm – Probably my favorite product from this line. I love a good cleansing balm and this one is truly amazing. It smells amazing and removes all my makeup in one go. I use it every night and have repurchased several times.

Cocokind Facial Oil Cleanser – Not my favorite but definitely budget friendly! I had a bottle of this on hand which I’ve used up and definitely don’t mind. I still need to double clean (similar to the trilogy cleansing balm) but a good affordable option they sell at Walmart!

Lovinah Power Vitamin C Cleansing Balm – HOLY COW this product is good! What I love about this product is that you don’t necessarily have to clean twice or even use a washcloth! The formula just melts everything from your skin. Kind of obsessed with this…

How to clean oil

It’s going to be good here. Let me introduce you to the most luxurious part of my skincare routine: the oil cleanse. Take 1-2 teaspoons of oil (one pump if you’re using the MV Oil Cleanser!) in your palm and then Massage gently into dry skin.

I love massaging upwards in circular movements and treating myself to a little lymphatic massage. Massaging it in will help warm it up and break down any impurities, dirt or makeup on the skin. This is my time to unwind after the day and just take a few moments to take deep breaths and relax. Don’t rush it!

When you are done massaging and cleansing, Take a warm, damp washcloth and gently wipe away 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 wiping with the washcloth! After using the warm washcloth, you can proceed with the rest of your skincare routine. If you feel like your skin could use more hydration, it’s 100% okay to moisturize after the oil cleanse!

how often do you oil

You can Clean oil every night if you like, or save it for a more thorough weekly cleaning. I find that I usually reach for my oil cleanser when I’m wearing makeup because it removes everything without the extra step of makeup remover. But you can certainly do this every day. I would recommend you only do it in the evening though, because you really don’t have to remove much from your face in the morning.

So tell me – do you clean with oil? What is your favorite oil or product?

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