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All About Oil Cleansing


Oil cleansing to some might sound terrible, especially to those with oily or combination skin. Why put more oil on top of an oily surface? Many (including myself) tend to think that using oils will lead to breakouts. I have tried a few facial oils in the past and I did end up breaking out, but that might have been due to the other irritating ingredients found in those products (Sunday Riley, I am looking at you!)


However, many skinfluencers are starting to uncover the incredible benefits of oil cleansing with the soothing, healing ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years. Many women have turned to oil cleansing as a way to gently remove makeup, soothe sensitive skin, and tame unrelenting breakouts. Using oils instead of traditional soap or detergent cleansers can also help protect the natural lipid layer of the skin and the good bacteria that live there.


How Does Oil Help Your Skin? The basic idea behind slathering your face in oils in the name of cleaning is that “like dissolves like.” In other words, putting clean, nourishing oils on your skin is intended to:

  • lift excess sebum, the oily substance produced by glands on your skin

  • clean out clogged pores like blackheads and whiteheads

  • remove dead skin, pollutants, and makeup

How to Cleanse Your Face with Oil? There are two ways to oil cleanse. One involves removing the applied oil with warm water or a wet washcloth. The other, popularized by K-beauty, follows oil removal with a gentle cleanser to remove any residue. Before you try either, test the cleansing oil on a small patch of your skin for a couple of days to see how your skin reacts.

Basic oil cleanse

  1. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil in the palm of your hand. For dry skin, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of castor oil. For acne-prone or oily skin, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba and a 1/2 teaspoon of castor oil.

  2. Apply the oil to your dry face. Use your fingertips to gently massage the oil into the skin for a minute or two to remove impurities like makeup and dead skin cells, and let it penetrate the skin.

  3. Use a damp, warm washcloth to gently wipe away the oil. Be careful not to press too hard or scrub at your skin, as this can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. A smooth, soft washcloth is best. You can also rinse with warm water if you want some of the oil to stay on your skin. Your face should be hydrated when you’re done, but not greasy or overly irritated from wiping it down.

  4. Pat dry with a towel and apply moisturizer if you feel you need it.

K-beauty double cleanse If you’re prone to acne or oily skin, you may want to follow this method. You’ll still get the cleaning and hydrating benefits of the oil cleanse, but you won’t have to worry about any oil being left behind to clog your pores.

  1. Follow the first three steps above for a basic oil cleanse.

  2. Wash with a mild face wash that won’t strip your skin of its new hydration

  3. Pat dry with a towel and apply moisturizer if you feel you need it.

How Often?

You should oil cleanse no more than once a day, but you can also do it infrequently as a special treatment. It’s best to do this at night so your skin is well-hydrated for bed.


Choosing the Right Oil:

Choosing the right oil is essential for your skin. Coconut oil has become the all-end-all of kitchen and skin products, but while it can have anti fungal and antibacterial properties, it can also be drying and is very high on the comedogenic scale. This means it is one of the oils that clog pores to the highest level, which means that if you are prone to breakouts, this oil will definitely make things worse. Vegetable oils, canola oils, shortening, and corn oil are definite no-gos. Aim for organic, cold-pressed and unrefined oils, as these contain the nutrients and antioxidants you want your skin to benefit from.

The best oils for acne-prone skin will be:

  • Argan oil

  • Primrose or rosehip oil

  • Grape seed oil

  • Safflower oil

  • Sunflower oil

  • Sesame oil

  • Pumpkin seed oil

  • Sweet almond oil (my preference)

  • Hemp seed oil

  • Sunflower oil

For sensitive or excessively dry skin, your best options would be:

  • Avocado oil

  • Shea butter

  • Olive oil

  • Apricot kernel oil

  • Jojoba oil

Make sure to check the comedogenic rate first: ideally, you want to aim for the lowest level. This may take some trial and error!


Happy oiling!! xoxo


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