Want To Try Oil Cleansing? 12 Products To Try

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Oil cleansing is certainly a hot topic in the beauty space, riddled with questions like: Uh, won’t my pores become clogged with oil? It’s understandable; many traditional cleansers on the market contain surfactants and foaming agents with the promise of removing excess oil from pores. So why would you willingly massage oil into your skin? 

Well, it turns out oil cleansing can actually balance the skin’s oil production: Oil dissolves oil, so they can actually remove excess sebum, as well as daily dirt and grime. "Oil cleansing really helps dissolve dirt, makeup, sunblock, and blackheads. In fact, I especially like oil cleansers for oily, congested skin," says Britta Plug, holistic esthetician and mbg Collective member, who created this quick video showing how to oil cleanse the right way (hint: you should be using a washcloth!).

Best part? Oils provide a deep cleanse without compromising the skin barrier (like those stripping traditional cleansers referenced above). Your skin produces natural oils, so you’re essentially giving your skin what it already loves, even protecting the natural lipid layer while you’re at it. 

And if you’re somewhat nervous about using an oil from your kitchen (fair!), there are plenty of product options, instead. These nourish the skin no matter if your skin type is dry, oily, acne-prone or super sensitive. Here they are below: 

One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

A solid first step in any evening skin routine: This cleansing oil can melt the makeup and sebum off your skin in one go (remember: makeup is usually oil-based, so it doesn’t easily slide off with water). Plus, the papaya enzymes keep your complexion looking bright. 

Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover, One Love Organics ($42)

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How to find the right oil cleanser for your skin type

Let's say you've read through the list, and you're still having trouble deciding what one's for you: After all, it's not a one-cleansing-oil-fits-all situation. There are basic guidelines that can help you find a cleansing oil product that supports your specific skin type:

  • All skin types can benefit from added antioxidants. "Antioxidants scavenge dangerous free radicals, which would otherwise damage cells, contribute to inflammation, and accelerate aging," says Dr. Adams. One antioxidant ingredient she loves to see in cleansing oils: green tea, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and acne-fighting properties. Most skin types can also benefit from hydrating, not-too-heavy oils such as avocado, olive, sunflower, sesame, jojoba, argan, and hemp seed.
  • People with very dry or eczema-prone skin may benefit from a richer cleansing oil with argan oil and coconut oil. Though not appropriate for oily skin, coconut oil is an effective moisturizer and "decreases staphylococcal colonization on the skin, a bacteria that contributes to skin infections and eczema," explains Lauren E. Adams, M.D., a dermatologist with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates who's board-certified in lifestyle medicine. "Argan oil is rich in antioxidant vitamin E and fatty acids needed to maintain the skin barrier." Pass on oils that predominantly contain castor oil, though, which can be drying.
  • People with oily and congested skin should steer clear of cleansing oils listing heavier oils such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter high up on the ingredient list, as they can be pore-clogging, says Plug. (Cleansing oils labeled "non-comedogenic" shouldn't clog pores.) One oil you should look for: sunflower seed oil, which acts like a magnet to draw out congestion and dissolve blackheads.
  • People with active acne, rosacea, or very sensitive skin should avoid strong fragrances, even from natural essential oils, as these can be irritating, says Plug. For these skin types, you don't want to do the traditional warm washcloth removal method either since that may cause further irritation. Instead, choose a cleansing oil that emulsifies (one that gets a little bit creamy, but not foamy, when you work it), apply it with your fingers, and rinse with warm water. 

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