What Is Cleansing Oil And Who Should Use It 

 Last Update April 24, 2024

By Jenny Zhang

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In the constantly evolving skincare world, a new player is stealing the spotlight and transforming cleansing routines everywhere. Say goodbye to harsh cleansers and hello to a gentle, luxurious experience that pampers your skin while effectively removing impurities. We're talking about none other than the skincare secret that's been garnering rave reviews from beauty enthusiasts worldwide: cleansing oil.

In this blog post, we will explain cleansing oil, who can benefit from it, and why you should add it to your skin care routine.

What Is Cleansing Oil

Cleansing oil is a skincare marvel transforming how we cleanse our faces. In contrast to traditional cleansers that may strip the skin of its natural oils, cleansing oil operates on the principle of dissolution. When applied to the face, it contains nourishing oils that effortlessly dissolve and remove makeup, dirt, dead skin cells, and excess oil. As you gently massage it, the oil cleanses bonds with impurities, making it easy to rinse away without harsh scrubbing. Some plant oil cleansers can have anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects.

Types Of Cleansing Oils

Woman using cleansing oil

Mineral Oil: Derived from petroleum, mineral oil is a lightweight and colorless oil renowned for its exceptional ability to dissolve makeup and impurities. It is well-suited for various skin types, including sensitive skin, given its non-comedogenic nature, which means it does not clog pores or trigger breakouts. Mineral oil is particularly gentle and common for those seeking an essential cleansing oil.

Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil stands out as a distinctive oil closely mirroring the skin's natural sebum. This quality renders it an exceptional option for nearly all skin types, aiding in the regulation of oil production. Its gentle nature makes it particularly advantageous for individuals with sensitive skin, as it is unlikely to irritate.

Olive Oil: Abundant in antioxidants, olive oil possesses moisturizing properties. It's suitable for normal to dry skin types, providing hydration while effectively removing makeup and impurities. However, individuals with very oily skin may find it a bit heavy.

Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil, a lightweight option abundant in antioxidants, is well-suited for all skin types, including those with oily or blemish-prone skin. It effectively cleanses the skin without clogging pores, making it a popular choice in cleansing oils.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is effective at removing makeup and impurities, but it can be comedogenic for some people, potentially causing breakouts. It is most suitable for individuals with dry or normal skin types that are not prone to acne.

Argan Oil: Argan oil, a nourishing oil abundant in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, is well-suited for normal to dry skin types, providing hydration and antioxidant benefits. It's often chosen for its ability to leave the skin feeling soft and smooth.

Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial properties and is often added to cleansing oils for those with acne-prone or oily skin. It can help address breakouts and provide a thorough cleanse.

Castor Oil: Castor oil is thicker and may be too heavy for most skin types if used on its own. However, it's sometimes included in cleansing oil formulations for its cleansing and purifying properties. It can be suitable for dry skin when combined with lighter oils.

Hemp Seed Oil: Hemp seed oil is lightweight and non-comedogenic, suitable for all skin types. It contributes to balancing oil production and delivers hydration without causing pore blockages.

Rice Bran Oil: Rice bran oil, abundant in antioxidants, can brighten the skin while offering moisturization. It is suitable for a variety of skin types, including sensitive skin.

Avocado Oil: Avocado oil, a nourishing option, is most beneficial for individuals with dry or mature skin types. It's rich in vitamins and can provide deep hydration and rejuvenation.

How Does the Oil Cleansing Method Work?

Oils work their magic in skin cleansing through a principle known as "like dissolves like." When applied to the skin, cleansing oils, typically formulated with nourishing oils, effectively dissolve makeup, sunscreen, excess sebum, and impurities. These oils have a molecular structure compatible with the natural oils (sebum) and various hydrophobic substances on the skin's surface.

As you massage the cleansing oil onto your face, it bonds with these substances, breaking them into smaller, more manageable particles. When rinsed off with water, the oil, now carrying away the dissolved impurities, leaves your skin clean, refreshed, and devoid of any oily residue. This method cleanses and nourishes, creating a gentle yet potent approach to achieving a clean and radiant complexion.

What Are The Benefits Of Cleansing Oil

Woman applying coconut oil on her face

Here are some benefits of using cleansing oil:

Effective Makeup Removal

Cleansing oil is highly effective at removing makeup, including foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow, and even stubborn waterproof products. Unlike some makeup removers that require excessive rubbing or multiple passes, cleansing oil can efficiently dissolve makeup, making it easier to wipe away without tugging or irritating the skin.

Deep Cleansing

One of the primary advantages of using a cleansing oil is its ability to perform a deep cleanse. The oil-based formula is adept at breaking down and lifting away impurities that can accumulate on the skin's surface, such as excess sebum, dirt, pollution particles, and sunscreen residue. The profound cleansing action aids in preventing clogged pores and mitigates the risk of acne breakouts.


Many cleansing oils contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or natural plant oils (e.g., jojoba oil and argan oil) that can help maintain the skin's natural moisture balance. While effectively cleansing, a high-quality cleansing oil has the added benefit of leaving your skin feeling soft, supple, and hydrated. This makes it particularly suitable for individuals with dry skin.

Gentleness On Skin

Despite their oil-based nature, cleansing oils are usually designed to be gentle on the skin. They avoid excessively stripping away the skin's natural oils, preventing dryness and irritation. Instead, they dissolve and remove impurities while preserving your skin's moisture barrier.

Double Cleanse

Many skincare enthusiasts and professionals advocate for the double cleansing method, which involves using a cleansing oil as the first step, followed by a water-based cleanser. This two-step process removes all traces of makeup, oil, and impurities without overdrying the skin. It proves to be an effective method for attaining a clean canvas before proceeding with the remainder of your skincare routine.

Skin Nourishment

Some oil cleansers are enriched with beneficial ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins (like vitamin E), and botanical extracts (like green tea extract or chamomile) that provide additional skincare benefits. Over time, these ingredients can contribute to nourishing and enhancing the overall health and appearance of your skin.

Makeup Brush And Sponge Cleaning

In addition to cleansing the face, an oil cleanser can be a versatile product for cleaning makeup brushes and sponges. The oil's ability to break down makeup residues and bacteria makes it a useful tool for maintaining the hygiene of your makeup tools.

Relaxation And Massage

Applying cleansing oil to your face and gently massaging it in can be a relaxing and soothing experience. Facial massages can help improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation, contributing to overall well-being.

Prevents Over-Washing

Cleansing oil can also help prevent the common mistake of overwashing or overcleaning your skin. Harsh or frequent cleansing can disrupt the human skin microbiome and its natural moisture balance and lead to dryness, sensitivity, and even an overproduction of sebum in response to the loss of natural oils.

Who Should Use Cleansing Oil

Cleansing oil is a versatile skincare product suitable for various individuals. Makeup enthusiasts and sunscreen users find it invaluable for effective makeup and SPF removal. Those with dry or sensitive skin benefit from its hydrating properties, while normal and combination skin types maintain balance. Even those with oily or blemish-prone skin can benefit, as cleansing oil can potentially regulate sebum production and prevent the formation of clogged pores. Mature skin can enjoy nourishing ingredients for anti-aging benefits. A deep cleanse is appreciated by those desiring to remove impurities thoroughly. 

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.