What Is A Cleansing Oil And Who Is It For?

What Is A Cleansing Oil And Who Is It For?

It’s funny to think that way back before 2014, cleansing oil was mainly a product found during facials in a spa. For a lot of us now we couldn’t imagine our skincare routine without them. If you aren’t familiar with cleansing oils have no fear, you’ve come to the right place as we are going to explain what they are, what the benefits are and how you should be using them.

What is cleansing oil?

Cleansing oils were first formulated to be used alone or as part of a double cleanse either in the morning or evening. They help to remove makeup, dirt, debris and excess oil from the skin. Though they are an oil you will find they rinse off easily with water and don’t leave behind any residue, this is because the clever formulation allows cleansing oil to clear the skin and remove any “bad” oil, also called sebum that can clog pores and lead to spots. Compared to other cleansers, such as micellar waters, gels and creams which sometimes contain surfactants that can dry out the skin, you will find cleansing oils are packed with hydrating ingredients and can leave the skin feeling supple, super soft and moisturised.

How to use a cleansing oil

Cleansing oils can alter slightly depending on the brand, but this is the best way to use a majority of cleansing oils:

  • Take a small amount of the cleansing oil in the palms of your hands
  • Rub your hands together to warm up the product
  • Apply the cleansing oil all over a wet face
  • Gently massage the product into the skin and into any hard to reach areas, such as around your nose
  • Be sure to be gentle around your eyes and use your fingers to gently remove any mascara from your lashes
  • Splash the skin with some more water and work the product off the skin by massaging in circular motions
  • Rinse off the oil thoroughly with either your hands and water or a flannel
  • You can then follow the cleansing oil with a face wash or other cleanser to perform a double cleanse
  • Pat the skin dry with a soft, clean towel

Some oils do vary in how you should remove them so it is always best to check the instructions before using them.

How does cleansing oil work?

When cleansing oil is applied and massage onto the skin the oils in the cleanser are able to break down the bonds that hold dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria and other surface impurities all of which are then rinsed away ready for the next step in your routine.

Cleansing oils do not sink into the pores and so you don’ t have the worry of clogging your pores, instead, your skin is left clean and soft. You may find that other cleansing products that have oil-free formulas will sometimes be too harsh for the skin, stripping it of all oil making it feel tight and uncomfortable. You may also find that by removing oil completely will result in the skin over-producing sebum making your skin appear shiny and greasy with the possibility of having a breakout of blemishes. Cleansing oils will keep your skin’s natural pH remain balanced and the skin’s protective barrier to be fully functioning resulting in a healthy balanced complexion.  

What are the benefits of cleansing oil? 

There are many benefits to using cleansing oil:

  1. Cleansing oils are great to use on their own and as part as a double cleanse to keep the skin clean.
  2. Cleansing oils can dissolve away the bonds that hold dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria and debris to the skin’s surface
  3. Cleansing oils are easy to remove with water and do not clog the pores
  4. Cleansing oils do not strip the skin making it feel tight and uncomfortable
  5. Cleansing oils leave your skin feeling soft, supple and smooth
  6. Cleansing oils are packed with hydrating and nourishing ingredients that will keep the skin’s protective barrier functioning properly
  7. Cleansing oils are a great way of gently removing makeup from your skin and eye area
  8. Cleansing oils are suitable for all skin types to use

Which skin type is cleansing oil best for?

All skin types are able to use cleansing oils, due to their easy rinse-off formula and not leaving behind any residue on the skin. Deciding whether to use a cleansing oil or not really boils down to personal preference.


For an oily skin type you may be hesitant to use an oil on your skin, but as previously mentioned the oils in the cleanser are able to work on the skin without causing any disruption to the natural production of sebum and will, in fact, keep the skin clear of any excess oil that can lead to blackheads, spots and pimples. It is advisable to double-check the ingredients list as cleansing oils can contain a varied amount of essential oils, such as almond, grape and olive, these can be slightly problematic for a blemish-prone skin and so opting for cleansing oils that contain antioxidants, such as green tea and vitamin C will help you maintain a clear complexion. As for dry skin types you will thoroughly enjoy every aspect of using a cleansing oil, with formulas enriched in vitamin E and highly nourishing ingredients will help remove makeup easily whilst locking in moisture to the skin keeping your face glowing and happy.


A few pointers to remember is finding a product that is designed to be used on the skin for cleansing. Products such as baby oil and coconut oil are wonderful at moisturising parched skin (especially on the body and applied fresh out the shower on damp skin!) using these oils to remove surface impurities and makeup can lead to a lot of skin problems if used on the face.

Another thing to consider when using a cleansing oil is the amount of makeup you wear on a daily basis. If you use full coverage and mattifying foundations you will find using cleansing oil can cut through the product, but is unable to remove it all, it is best to double cleanse to ensure your skin is clear from all traces of makeup. If you are wondering what we mean by double cleansing all this involves is to use cleansing oil to remove any makeup, dirt and debris, you then follow with a face wash to clean the skin of any remaining traces of makeup and impurities. There is a dedicated blog post on our website that will help you find the best face wash for your skin type.


We hope that this clears up a few questions you may have about what cleansing oils are and how to use them to get the best results with some very happy, healthy skin.


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