Cleansing oil is having a moment. Buzzed about by the beauty industry, consumer interest has skyrocketed – with searches on Google and Pinterest up a whopping 555 per cent. It certainly seems we’re curious about the stuff – curious, but not necessarily convinced. Because, for many, putting oil on our face feels counterintuitive. Won’t it block pores? Cause breakouts? Make us greasy? And how can rubbing oil on your face possibly make it cleaner? Below are five of the most commonly asked questions about cleansing oil answered, so you can go forth and use cleansing oil with confidence.
Will it make oily skin oilier?
Our skin produces oil naturally (sometimes too much), so adding more may seem nonsensical. But, scientifically speaking, oil is lipophilic, meaning it’s attracted to itself – therefore a cleansing oil will, in fact, act like a magnet, attracting the excess sebum on your face. What’s more, oil is also a solvent (a substance that can dissolve similar substances), enabling it to melt away any oiliness – which makes it very effective at removing, rather than adding, oil.
Will it take make-up off properly?
Make-up is largely made up of oils, so, just as cleansing oils cling to sebum, they will also attach themselves to, and lift away, the oils left behind by make-up, dirt, grease and grime. As mascaras are particularly oily, a cleansing oil is an especially good choice for removing them gently where other cleansers can be a struggle. A good one will contain skin-pepping ingredients, like Caudalie’s Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil, which contains skin-repairing and nourishing grapeseed oil, as well as castor and sunflower oil to dissolve make-up. Plus, almond oil leaves skin soft and lashes conditioned, to stop them feeling dry and brittle.
Will it block pores?
Not all oils are the same – some, such as mineral oil, are comedogenic, which means that they are made up of much larger molecules that can block pores. Anything with lots of added fragrance can irritate skin and, in some cases, cause it to react by overproducing oil. Cleansing oils, however, contain emulsifiers that enable them to cling to the oils on your face and rinse away with water, taking the excess oils with them but leaving behind just enough of the nourishing oils to hydrate and balance your skin. Too much sebum causes blocked pores, as it gets trapped and then solidifies in hair follicles, causing a build-up and, eventually, spots. Anything that can effectively and gently remove this, such as a cleansing oil, will help to give clearer skin.
Too much sebum causes spots. Anything that can effectively and gently remove this, such as a cleansing oil, will help to give clearer skin
Won’t it make a mess?
Oily substances have a bad reputation for being leaky, sloppy and a bit of a mess. But they’re no different than a creamy cleanser or balm. One with a pump is always a good idea, as it will distribute exactly the amount you need and won’t drip or spill. Massage a couple of pumps between clean, dry hands to warm it slightly, then massage it on to dry skin. Rinse it away with warm water (you could even use a hot cloth) and it should lift everything away easily, effectively and, crucially, cleanly.
Is it as good as other cleansers?
When it comes to cleansers, your favourite type will mainly be down to which texture you prefer, whether that be balmy, oily or creamy. A few rules of thumb when looking for your new cleanser would be to avoid anything that’s overly stripping (removes too much oil), as this can cause an imbalance in your skin and make it produce even more sebum to compensate. Cleansers that are overly astringent (containing ingredients like tea tree, salicylic acid and alcohol in large quantities) can dry skin out. The best option is a cleanser that is gentle, balances skin and leaves it moisturised, without feeling greasy, which is what a cleansing oil does. The best contain lovely, nourishing ingredients. I’ve been recently trying out Caudalie’s Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil which is a real treat to use. Massaged into skin, it feels luxuriously silky and smells faintly of almonds. Despite being lightweight, it has enough slip to whizz through make-up easily, gently melting it away without the need for tugging. And the almond, grapeseed and sunflower oils mean it leaves skin super soft, quenched and comfortable.
Hexagon plant pot, £32 available at Twentytwentyone