Oil Cleansing 101

Oil cleansing can sound frightening and especially for people already struggling with oily skin. Done properly, oil cleansing can normally be used on any skin type with success and once you try it you may be hooked!

What is oil cleansing and how does it work?

Unlike we’ve previously been told, oil can be a miracle for many when starting your skincare routine. Since oil absorbs oil best; using an oil cleanser first can help break down any dirt, oil, and makeup on the face. The oil lifts dirt making it easy to remove without vigorous scrubbing, which can lead to irritation and premature ageing in the skin. With the right oil, you can achieve this without clogging your pores and instead enjoy a deep cleanse with silky smooth results.

What are the pros and cons of oil cleansing?

Oil cleansers tend to be more gentle on the skin as they don’t strip the acid mantle as some traditional cleansers do. This allows you to cleanse without disrupting your natural lipid barrier. Unfortunately many have felt the disturbance a stripping cleanser has given, leaving you dry and irritated. Oil cleansers can give an extra moisturizing component while cleansing, leaving your skin more supple.

On the con side, the wrong oil can go terribly wrong for someone struggling with an ongoing skin concern already. For example, a comedogenic oil that can lead to pustules, milia, and clogged pores can be a nightmare for someone dealing with acne. This is why doing the proper research before grabbing the first oil in your kitchen is key.

Which is the best oil to use for each skin type?

Where most people go wrong in this trend is not choosing the right oil for their skin type. That’s why this step is so important! Below are some suggestions of oils that can be used on each skin type and why!


Olive oil has been used in beauty since the ancient years and has been given a thumbs up by many dermatologists (as well as Cleopatra). Olive oil is filled with antioxidants which helps prevent skin cancer by fighting free-radicals. This oil is also very hydrating making this a great choice for dry skin. This oil also contains vitamins A, D, and E- vitamin e specifically helps double your oil production. This component is extremely helpful for someone battling dry skin.

Sunflower Seed oil is another great choice for someone with dry skin. This oil naturally is rich in linoleic fatty acid which helps make the skin barrier stronger. It effectively helps absorb moisture into the skin while protecting the skin from irritants. Sunflower seed oil also has success in soothing skin conditions like dermatitis but is not a proven cure.


Jojoba oil has been on the rise in popularity as more and more people are realizing the amazing benefits packed within this ingredient. Jojoba oil is filled with lots of nutrients such as vitamins A, E, and D. These are all extremely anti-ageing ingredients. Vitamin A is more commonly known as “Retinol”, which boosts circulation and promotes skin cell renewal. Vitamin E itself helps boost your natural oil production which is commonly slowed down as we age. This factor also is claimed to help soothe eczema- since you are unable to properly build your lipid barrier with eczema, jojoba oil can help the condition.

Shea butter is one of the top moisturizing oils. This ingredient is absorbed generously by our skin, unlike some oils. This leads to plump results which helps with fine lines and wrinkles. On top of its anti-ageing properties, it can also help fade age spots while neutralizing free radicals.


Grapeseed oil is a very gentle option for someone trying this cleansing technique. It is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and is filled with antioxidants. All these things help calm the skin while boosting circulation. This is a non-comedogenic oil that is filled with vitamin E. Vitamin E offers natural protection for harsh environmental factors while enhancing natural healing effects.


Hemp oil naturally balances your oil production which helps regulate your sebum production. This oil does not clog your pores which is crucial to someone with oily skin that has large pores to start. Hemp oil also naturally decreases skin inflammation which is what can cause breakout for many people battling with oily skin.

Safflower oil is also a non-comedogenic oil, making this a great cleansing option. This is a lighter oil that has a less greasy consistency. It’s high levels of Linoleic acid help balance oil production which is an added bonus for oily skin. Lastly, this oil is rich in Stearic acid which has a cleansing aspect in itself that eliminates sweat and dirt from the pores.

How to oil cleanse

Once you’ve decided what oil is best for your skin type, start with a small amount in your hands. With upwards movements rub the oil into your skin finishing with the eye area last. You can massage up to a minute to allow the oil to absorb and lift all oils and dirt properly. Next, with a warm towel gently remove the oil off your face. Some people have found success with only using the oil cleanser but others recommend using a traditional cleanser after. This is to remove any leftover oil residue. A second cleanse is always recommended regardless so don’t forget to give your face one more wash with lukewarm temperature water. You can now continue on to the next steps of your facial routine!

Tip; tone skin after you cleanse to restore skin's pH balance

How often should you oil cleanse?

If you choose to add this technique to your skincare routine, this is commonly used at night. During the day we collect so much dirt and oils on our faces and not to mention makeup- an oil cleanser best absorbs these toxins. Someone with dry skin can have success using this morning and night but as for someone with oily skin, it is recommended to ease into oil cleansing instead of giving your skin a shock.

With all this being said, make the decision for yourself! Try out the recommended oil for your skin type and enjoy a deep cleanse that leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated!