Beauty

How and when to use an oil cleanser

Say hello to a whole new way of cleansing.

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If you’ve noticed a few more options in the cleanser aisle lately, it may have something to do with the rise of the cleansing oil. Oil has long been used for washing (Romans cleansed with oil in bath houses centuries ago), as it’s great at removing dirt, oil and makeup. But somewhere along the way “oil” in the context of face washes became a dirty word, especially for those with greasy or acne-prone skin. While they don’t foam up like other cleansers, or leave you with the same squeaky-clean feeling post-cleanse, cleansing oils break down oil and impurities just as well and are great for all skin types, says Régine Berthelot, Caudalie’s lead esthetician. “What we need to remember is oil removes oil,” she says. “Cleansing oils regularize our sebaceous glands; they do not strip the skin from their natural oils and they leave the skin feeling smooth.” Most oil cleansers are applied onto a dry face and massaged into the skin to remove makeup [ed note: this step feels amazing]. Then, water is added and the oil emulsifies, becoming milky in texture before being rinsed off completely.

So why are so many hitting shelves now? It may have something to do with the trend of double cleansing — common in multi-step Asian beauty routines — which involves cleansing with oil first to remove makeup, then following up with a more traditional cleanser to penetrate deeply and remove impurities. But it’s not necessary to use an oil cleanser in conjunction with another type of wash, says Berthelot; an oil cleanser can be your one-stop cleansing product. She recommends avoiding products made with heavier oils like baby, mineral and coconut, which may clog pores, and instead to look for oil cleansers made up of finer ones like grapeseed, castor and sweet almond that will melt in the skin. Check out some of our favourites below.

Related:
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How to get great skin at every age