Does Oil Cleansing Actually Work?

Beauty TipsHealth & Beauty

Does Oil Cleansing Actually Work?

In short, yes. Oil cleansing can be a great alternative to traditional cleansing, which tends to be harsh on the skin. On days your skin is feeling particularly dirty, it’s also a great first step of a double cleanse.

Oil cleansing is based on the premise that “oil dissolves oil”, making it effective at removing oil-soluble impurities from the skin and dissolving excess sebum, or oil produced by the skin.

Some prefer to use pure oils like grapeseed and sunflower oil, while others opt for cleansing oils or balms. Cleansing oils are great because they’re formulated especially for cleansing and contain emulsifiers that allow all the dirt and oil to be rinsed off with water.


Dry Skin

Although suitable for all skin types, oil cleansing is especially beneficial for dry skin, which lacks oil. Traditional cleansers typically include ingredients that strip the skin of its natural oils, further exacerbating issues of dryness. Oil cleansing works to restore the skin’s moisture barrier while gently cleansing the skin.


Oil cleansing targets two acne-causing factors: a damaged moisture barrier and clogged pores. A damaged moisture barrier causes the skin to produce excess oil as compensation, thereby clogging the pores and causing even more breakouts. As mentioned previously, oil cleansing restores the skin’s moisture barrier. It also dissolves impurities trapped inside pores, which reduces the incidence of breakouts.

Makeup Removal

Since makeup is typically oil-based, oils are effective at removing even the most stubborn kinds of makeup (think anything waterproof). They also work well against waterproof sunscreens.

How to Oil Cleanse

When using a pure oil, massage it all over dry skin for a few minutes, allowing it to break up impurities. Then wipe it off with a warm, damp washcloth. If needed, follow up with a second hydrating cleanser.

Lightweight oils, like hemp seed and sunflower oil, are great for acne-prone skin. Richer oils, like avocado oil, are more suitable for dry skin types.

When using a cleansing oil, massage it all over dry skin for a few minutes, then add a little water to allow the product to emulsify and cleanse. Rinse with warm water or wipe off with a damp washcloth. Popular options include Heimish Cleansing Balm and DHC Deep Oil Cleanser.

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