The best cleansing oils because yes, you *should* be using one
You deserve better than that tight ‘squeaky’ clean feeling
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / August 08 2019
There’s a good chance you’ve misjudged cleansing oils. We don’t blame you. You’re probably loyal to your cream cleanser because it’s super pampering on your dry skin. Or maybe you’re all about a gel cleanser because it mops up your oil and leaves your skin feeling fresh. You may neither see the need for a cleansing oil or the benefits for your skin type. But cleansing oils have a lot to offer.
What is a cleansing oil?
Cleansing oils are oil-based cleansers that, unlike traditional cleansers that rely solely on surfactants to emulsify dirt and oils so they can be washed away from the skin’s surface, it’s the oil in a cleansing oil that does most of the work (oils cling to oils so they’re kinda born to do the job), along with surfactants as back-ups. This means a double-whammy of cleansing goodness, with the nourishing properties of the oil to counteract the drying effect that surfactants can have on some skin types. Oil cleansers are especially great for cleaning oil-based makeup from the skin.
Despite being an oil, a good cleansing oil won’t leave your skin feeling oily or coated in a greasy residue. Rather, your skin should feel clean but nourished.
What skin type is a cleansing oil best for?
Actually, all skin types will benefit from an oil cleanser. Yep, even oily skin, because oil attracts oil. Oil cleansers are gentle on skin so they’re great for sensitive skin, and the nourishing nature of oils makes it a winner for dry skin, too. And you just know your winter skin is going to thank you for making the switch.
How to use an oil cleanser
Oil cleansers do their best work on dry skin (although some oil cleansers can be applied onto wet skin). With dry hands and a dry face, massage your cleansing oil over your skin. Then, use lukewarm water to emulsify the formula to effortlessly rinse away the residue (and all that dirt and oil with it) and say hello to that glowing complexion looking back at you in the mirror! Cleansing oils are the perfect first step in a double cleansing routine. Follow with another cleansing formula (like a cream or gel) for an even more thorough cleanse.
#8 / Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil
If you’re only a one-cleanse-a-day kinda girl, and that cleanse is always at night to wash the day’s grime off your skin, do yourself a favour and use this facial cleanser. Best for dry skin and skin that’s prone to redness, besides its excellent ability to clean skin of oil, dirt and makeup, the formula is enriched with evening primrose oil and lavender essential oil, which balance and soothe skin *and* will make you feel Zen and ready for bed as soon as you catch a whiff of these relaxing notes.
#7 / Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil
This Korean beauty cleanser combines an oil base with micellar technology to give your skin a really thorough (yet gentle) clean - if you wear long-lasting and a lot of makeup, this facial cleanser is for you. It’s the perfect first step in a double cleanse. The micelles also work to boost hydration in the skin, while centella asiatica and madecassoside help calm redness and irritation.
#6 / Trilogy Rosehip Transformation Cleansing Oil
Boasting only five-star reviews on our site, this pure plant oil cleanser is formulated with nourishing grape seed, sweet almond and rosehip oils and has an oil-to-milk texture that emulsifies with water. One reviewer said, “I haven't had the best luck with cleansing oils but this is fantastic and my official go-to cleansing product!”, while another claimed, “I've used a few cleansing oils in my time, and this one from Trilogy is my new favourite!” We like this cleanser for dry skin and for combination skin.
#5 / Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Oil Hydrating
An affordable option for oily skin and dry skin types alike, this formula is pampering and hardworking in one. It’s made with 100 per cent natural grape seed oil, as well as vitamins A and E, so your skin isn’t just left feeling clean, it’s also instantly hydrated. It’s also dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Priceline reviewers raved about its ability to remove makeup (even heavy makeup) with ease, with one review saying, “Honestly the best way to take your makeup off”.
#4 / CHANEL L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil
A luxurious cleansing oil, you get what you pay for with this formula. It feels silky on skin as you massage it in, then it transforms into a soft lather once it comes into contact with water. “This is by far one of the most effortless and effective products I have ever used. It melts away all makeup, sunscreen, and grime and soothes my fair skin,” said a reviewer on CHANEL’s website. Blue micro-algae in the formula works to protect the complexion from pollution throughout the day, while marine salicornia extract strengthens and hydrates skin. Your complexion will feel soft, clean and nourished after every use.
#3 / Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Oil
This drugstore cleansing oil is loved around the world and now we can finally get our hands on it here in Australia. Suitable for normal skin, the oil formula emulsifies with water into a creamy consistency and is very lightweight and non-greasy. One reviewer on Neutrogena Australia’s website said, “This is the best cleansing oil I have ever used!”. Also good to know: It’s non-comedogenic, has a soft apple scent, and is clinically proven to remove 100 per cent of waterproof mascara!
#2 / DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
This Japanese cleansing oil has a cult following worldwide. For starters, it has over 2200 customer reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, as well as over 1700 five-star reviews on DHC’s website. No wonder it’s often referred to as liquid gold! Used on a dry face, the botanical formula binds with makeup (including waterproof mascara), sunscreen, dirt, and oil, and rinses away without leaving behind a greasy residue - and it won’t clog pores. The oil is enriched with organic olive oil, rosemary leaf oil and vitamin E to support the skin’s moisture barrier and protect against free radicals, all while treating it to a whole lot of nourishment.
#1 / Dermalogica PreCleanse
Anyone who tries this cleansing oil tends to fall pretty hard. We currently have 19 reviews for this product on our site and ALL of them have given it five stars. Designed to be the first step of the double cleanse method, this deep cleansing oil focuses on getting rid of all traces of makeup (waterproof formulas included), along with oil-based debris, sunscreen and environmental pollutants. We love it for acne-prone skin and blackheads because it whisks away excess sebum without clogging pores or stripping your skin of all its natural oils. With praise like “it’s the only product I trust to take off all the makeup (including waterproof) off my face. Nothing compares!”, “This is a fabulous cleansing oil and definitely my all-time favourite makeup remover”, “I don't know how I survived without it!” and “this is probably the one product I use in my routine that I will keep using FOREVER”, this cleansing oil has earned its spot at the top of our list.
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.