Oils in skincare have become immensely popular as of lately, and people are slowly letting go of the horrible idea that it’s bad for your skin.
It is no secret at all (I will scream it from the top of the CN Tower!) that I’m completely, and totally in love with oils when it comes to skincare/hair care. I use it to shave, as a makeup remover, in my hair, as a moisturizer – it is so versatile! This is the only thing in my skincare routine that I have ever stayed loyal to.
The theory behind Oil Cleansing is that like dissolves like – oil breaks down oil. This is such a controversial idea (or theory) in this here beauty world and anyone who tells you that there is no place for it in skincare – well, they’d just be wrong. Granted, I am no doctor. Or a dermatologist (not that they do much anyways – at least mine don’t). However, that’s besides the point. Most people are so set on the idea of oil-free because that’s what they’ve been told their entire life – I was one of those people for a long time. Thankfully, I no longer believe that oils ARE NOT beneficial to oily skin or any skin. I’m proof of that.
The reality of it is that most cleansers are actually fairly harsh on your skin, and some even contain harsh soaps and even detergents. They’re very drying and most will completely strip your skin of all the natural oils that keep your skin balanced, moisturized and youthful. Continued use can make your skin very dry, and it will overcompensate and produce more oil. Using an oil as a cleanser, gently removes all makeup, excess sebum, and will soften clogged pores.
Please keep in mind that all oils are very YMMV (your mileage my vary). Like any other product in the world, what works for one person may not work for you. There is no product in this world that is one size fits all. This should not discourage you from discovering the BEAUTY of beauty oils. Using oils means a lot of trial and error, and you may break out, but I truly believe it’s a matter of finding what oils work for your skin. I strongly recommend that you patch test any oil, prior to using it in order to avoid reactions. I use oil as a makeup remover, and if I’m feeling rather dry – I opt to not use a cleanser after to keep the moisture. This does not make me extra oily.
Benefits of Cleansing with Oil
- Effectively removes stubborn makeup (sunscreen, foundation, waterproof eyeliner/mascara) without harsh tugging.
- Cleanses skin without stripping healthy, natural oils.
- Will dissolve the excess sebum in pores, and unclog skin for those who are acne prone.
- Provides excellent moisture to those with dry skin.
What’s the Difference Between Cleansing with Oil and Oil Cleansers?
Cleansing with oil means to use a straight carrier oil on damp skin and wiping it off with lukewarm water.
Cleansing with an oil cleanser is very similar, in the sense that you are still cleansing with oil – the difference being it’s on dry skin and the oil rinses way.
What Oil Should I Use for Oil Cleansing?
I won’t get into the science of it all (because, literally – I can’t) but Linoleic Acid and Oleic Acid are unsaturated fatty acids that are found in almost all oils. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid and can be obtained through foods. Linoleic is an omega-6 fatty acid, which is necessary for the human body yet cannot be created by the human body. Oils rich in oleic acids tend to be heavier and richer, which can cause someone who is acne prone to break out. Oils rich in linoleic acid, tend to have astringent properties to them. I’ve created the table below to show popular skincare oils and their percentages of Oleic and Linoleic Acid.
Higher in Oleic Acid
|Oil||Oleic Acid||Linoleic Acid|
|Sweet Almond Oil||70%||21%|
|Macadamia Seed Oil||53.8%||1.8%|
|Sunflower Seed Oil||72%||5%|
Higher in Linoleic Aicd
|Oil||Linoleic Acid||Oleic Acid|
|Evening Primrose Oil||72%||8.4%|
|Rose Hip Seed Oil||44.1%||13.9%|
|Wheat Germ Oil||58.4%||12.1%|
|Passion Fruit Oil||77%||10-20%|
|Oil||Oleic Acid||Linoleic Acid|
|Pumpkin Seed Oil||36.3%||47.2%|
|Sesame Seed Oil||39.21%||45.69%|
If you are prone to acne – the best oils you can choose for your skin type are those that are higher in linoleic acid because they will be a tad lighter for your skin and less likely to break you out. I have seen so many people recommend coconut oil for pretty much almost everything – as if it’s the cure all for acne and all skin conditions. It’s not. It is one of the most clogging oils and if you’re acne prone, I would try to avoid using it. Like I said earlier though, oils ARE very YMMV and what may work for one person, may not work for you and vice versa.
How to Cleanse With Oil
Cleansing with oil is, most often, using a straight carrier oil – or a mixture of 1 or more – massaging the oil into damp skin for at least 1 minute – I’ve done less, I have lazy moments – and removing with a warm damp cloth. I like to use a soft microfiber cloth to remove the oil because it softly exfoliates. You can, if you’d like, use a gentle cleanser after to remove the residue left behind if you’re unsure.
How to Use an Oil Cleanser
Oil cleanser is very similar, in a sense that you are still cleansing with oil – with a change to the method. Oil Cleansers will contain an emulsifier which causes the oil to mix with water, instead of separating. For this method, you massage the oil into dry skin, and add water so that the oil forms a milky cleanser and rinses off clean. The trick to oil cleansers, is to massage for a minute or so, add a little bit of water, massage, continue to add water – don’t massage and then just rinse it off. That won’t be nearly as effective.
There are tons of high end brands that carry oil cleansers. MAC has the Cleanse Off Oil, Boscia’s Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil, Shu Uemura, Philosophy – there are tons of different options out there for Oil Cleansers.
There’s a lot of cheaper drug store options as well, in case you don’t want to spend upwards of $35 on an oil. Garnier has the Nourishing Cleansing Oil, Neutrogena has one available as does Burts Bees.
Oil as a Moisturizer
I have been using oil for years in tons of my routines. I use mineral oil to shave, I use argan oil, macadamia oil, and jojoba oil for my hair. I’ve been using oil to remove my stubborn foundation and sunscreen. I also use it as a moisturizer as well. A few drops in my moisturizer at night definitely adds an extra boost of moisture. Sometimes I used the Tarte Maracuja Oil, or a drop of Rosehip oil.
Popular Oils and Cheaper Alternatives
The use of oil in skincare has certainly sky-rocketed over the last few years – considering most people spent their whole lives believing oil was the enemy. If you’ve gone to a Sephora in the last year or so, you’ll notice that a lot of major brands now have an oil cleanser or a face oil in their product lines. These face oils also come with major brand prices and any beauty blogger or makeup addict knows it gets very pricey. Even though face oils do last for long periods of time, and a little goes a long way, a big price tag on a product you get so little of…kind of sucks. Just like clothes though, you’re paying for the brand name on that cute little bottle you just bought. Some brands may give you the value of the product, by adding anti-oxidants and other beneficial ingredients – others won’t.
Tarte Maracuja Oil
I have this product and I do use it – it came with a Tarte value set that I purchased a while back. It comes in a cute little dark purple dropper bottle (mine broke by the way, boo). It’s sold at Sephora in 2 sizes – the larger is about $53.00 CND. The ingredients: Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Tocopherol. Simply put, Maracuja Oil by Tarte is Passion Fruit Seed Oil and Vitamin E.
A great resource that I buy my oils from is Garden of Wisdom. You can get Passion Fruit Seed Oil – a 4 oz bottle for $17. That’s a little over 3 ounces MORE than you get with Tarte. Experiment a little with adding some Vitamin E and it can absolutely be a cheaper alternative.
Josie Maran Argan Oil
I have never tried this product – it’s too heavy of an oil for my skin. I do know that her product is 100% pure argan oil which you can buy from Garden of Wisdom or any natural/vitamin shop for around $7.
If you’re ever looking for cheaper alternatives, I definitely recommend googling the ingredients and finding out what oil is actually in a product.
I think oils can be beneficial in skincare for almost anyone if you take the time to trial and error. Finding the right oil is the hardest part. Keep in mind, they are YMMV and you may break out so I suggest spot testing prior to using any oil and see if you have any kind of reaction. A great resource for those new to oils is Garden of Wisdom. They offer tons of information on oils, recommendations on which oils are better for different skin types and conditions and they have oil sample packs – so if you want to try more than one the option is available to you.
There are also TONS of drug store options for oil cleansers as well.
Garnier Clean+ Nourishing Oil Cleanser
MYTH: Baby oil and Mineral oil are NOT the same thing, and they are not interchangeable. While Baby oil CONTAINS Mineral oil, it also contains fragrance. Mineral oil is straight Mineral oil.
Disclosure: I do not follow the “Oil Cleansing Method” and I don’t recommend it. This method requires the use of very hot water and/or steam to open your pores. This “method” could cause broken capillaries or damage to your skin.