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Facial Oil? Really? How Can Oil Cleansing Clear Up Your Skin?

Facial Cleasne

First off, I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to skincare. I prefer to use a simple, effective routine in contrast to one that is complicated and time-consuming. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to experiment every now and then, though. I love trying out new products, especially when they have a natural approach.

With all the buzz around the facial oil cleanses, I decided to test it out. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. 

So, my main questions were. How does it work? What does it actually do? 

Table of Contents

What is Oil Cleansing?

The oil cleanse is a gentle way to clean your skin without disrupting its moisture levels. This cleansing method is a natural way to remove excess sebum, clear clogged pores and remove makeup residue and other impurities, like dirt and grime. But many also use it to balance the skin’s pH level and manage acne or other skin concerns. By its very nature, facial oil cleansing can leave the skin feeling rejuvenated and looking visibly healthier!

Oil Cleansing by Skin Type

Each cleansing oil is unique in its composition. Generally, you can choose your cleansing oil based on a number of characteristics, including your skin type, the function of the oil, its availability, and the price point. Knowing your skin will help you choose the right cleansing oil.

Read more on selecting your face oil by skin type below. 

Normal skin

Normal skin is the most common skin type, neither too oily nor too dry and tends to have a healthy-looking glow. It retains its natural moisture, produces just the right amount of sebum and protects the skin from external environmental threats. If you don’t break out, your skin doesn’t feel too oily, or too dry, but is neither sensitive, great! Your skin is perfectly average. 

Cleansing oils for normal skin

Nourishing oils that work best for normal skin are light with well-balanced fatty acids. Apricot, jojoba, and marula oils make a good choice for normal skin. 

How They Work

Marula, jojoba, and apricot oils are light oils that readily absorb into the skin, leaving it feeling hydrated and soft. They work by creating a light protective film on the skin that helps the skin retain its moisture and protect it from external factors. The oils also function as cleansers, as they gently unclog the pores and remove any dirt and impurities.

Acne-prone skin

If you’re blessed with acne-prone skin, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Acne is prevalent among people aged 12-30 and can be triggered by many factors. Gender, increased testosterone levels, smoking, cosmetic products, and even some medications can cause breakouts. 

Cleansing oils for acne-prone skin

Every skin type is unique and will react differently to products. Cleansing oil that’s perfect for acne-prone skin needs to be non-drying, as drying acne-prone skin can exacerbate the problem. Furthermore, when dealing with acne, you want to use products that fight bacteria and remove excess oils.

How they work

Cleansing oils such as jojoba oil have antibacterial properties and gently remove sebum from the face without stripping your moisture. They help heal the skin from within by removing dirt, makeup and impurities while still protecting it from external aggressors and leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Another oil worth mentioning is argan oil. Rich in omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E, argan oil can control sebum production, moisturise skin and provide anti-ageing benefits.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is prone to inflammation and reacts to factors, such as synthetic material fragrances, harsh chemicals, essential oils and even environmental pollution. If your skin is sensitive, you require soothing oils to calm, protect and nourish the skin while protecting it to prevent further damage.

Cleansing oils for sensitive skin

Mild light oils work best for sensitive skin. They hydrate, soothe and nourish the skin without causing irritation or allergic reactions. Suitable oil for sensitive skin includes evening primrose and rice bran oil.

How They Work

Abundant in GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid), evening primrose oil can help improve the skin’s health and appearance by allowing it to retain moisture, improve the barrier function, and reduce the signs of ageing. 

Rice bran oil is high in linoleic fatty acids, squalene and y-Oryzanol, an antioxidant with an anti-inflammatory effect. Deeply moisturising and easily absorbed, rice bran oil can help the skin protect and repair its natural barrier, even out skin tone and smooth the skin. Rice bran oil is so gentle that it is suitable even for baby skincare products.

Oily skin

Oily skin is a condition caused by the overproduction of sebum. The sebaceous glands pump out excess oil, clogging pores and causing acne breakouts. If your skin is oily, your skin needs cleansing oils to help calm over-active glands and replenish the skin.

Cleansing oils for oily skin

Oils like camellia, hazelnut or castor oil are good choices for people with oily skin as they’re light, absorb quickly and won’t leave an oily residue on the face after use. They help to control oil production, prevent pore blockages and excess sebum secretion while removing any dirt or impurities from the skin,  

How They Work

Camellia oil is a mild oil with a high content of oleic fatty acids and is made from the seeds of the Japanese shrub of the camellia family. Despite being high in Omega 9, camellia oil is rich in tannins, making it astringent with calming effect on overactive sebaceous glands. 

Castor oil is excellent for oily skin. Rich in ricinoleic fatty acids, castor oil is thick and highly viscous. Yet, it absorbs readily, leaving behind a protective coat. It is a soothing and lubricating emollient that draws moisture to the skin, leaving it well hydrated. 

Dry skin

Harsh weather conditions, dry air in the offices, low water intake, and ageing are just some reasons your skin may feel dry and aged. If your hands are cracked, flaky and chapped, your skin could do with some nourishment. Opt for products with a higher percentage of oleic acid. Your skin will thank you for it!

Cleansing oils for dry skin

There are many oils with balanced oleic acid content that is considered suitable for dry skin. Some of these include almond, avocado and macadamia oil. Abundant in oleic acid, these oils can help replenish the moisture levels and smooth and repair the skin, leaving it soft and supple.

How they work

Avocado oil is made from the fresh flesh of the avocado fruit. Rich in oleic, linoleic and palmitoleic fatty acid, it is highly moisturising, nourishing and protective. Unrefined, it has a silky texture and is absorbed easily into the skin. This oil is beneficial for dry, damaged skin, helping to calm inflammation, regenerate tissues and restore its elasticity. 

Abundant in oleic and palmitoleic fatty acids and antioxidants, macadamia oil is a nourishing oil with protective properties. It can help the skin retain its moisture, regenerate skin layers, and protect the skin from the signs of premature ageing caused by environmental damage. 

Combination skin

You just can’t win, can you? You know the drill: on Mondays and Tuesdays, you’re oily as hell, but by Fridays, things have dried up, and your skin is flaky. So how do you know which cleansing oil to use? With combination skin, there’s an in-between stage for everything! 

Cleansing oils for combination skin

Some suitable oil for combination skin includes jojoba, almond and hemp seed oils. 

How They Work

Light textured oils like jojoba or almond are perfect for combination skin. They’re not too heavy or too light on the skin yet are emollient enough to provide plenty of moisture without clogging pores. They take just a few seconds to warm up in the hands and leave no oily residue behind. 

Hemp seed oil is a light oil easily used on combination skin types. It is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It is a well-balanced natural oil that can help to soothe, moisturise and heal dry skin. You might like to blend it with other oils such as argan, rosehip or other nourishing oils from the fatty acid profile. 

How To Oil Cleanse

Oil is nature’s best beauty product. Using it to clean your face delivers a fresh, dewy appearance without stripping your skin’s natural oils, which can lead to dryness and flakiness. 

Before you apply oil to your face, test it by dabbing a small amount on the back of your hand and making sure it feels light and non-greasy. 

Step 1: Pour a small amount of oil, about a teaspoon or so, into your palms and warm it up before applying it to dry skin. 

Step 2: Using your fingertips, massage the oil gently into the skin in a circular motion for about a minute or so. The massaging lifts up any dirt or impurities on your skin.

Step 3: Use a damp, wet face cloth to wipe off any excess residue. Be gentle not to scrub your face as this can cause micro-tears in the skin. 

Step 4: Finish with a light moisturiser to lock in the hydration or a few more drops of oil.

Take away

I’m not one to believe unsubstantiated claims, but the oil-cleansing craze has had me convinced. I need only look in the mirror when I wake up with my skin feeling and looking better than it has in years. It has made my skin look so good that I’ve been even going out without makeup. Imagine that! But just because oil-cleaning works for me, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Do the research. It’s crucial you choose an oil that works for your skin.


How often should you oil cleanse?

Personally, I would recommend using facial oil cleanse once a day, twice if your skin is dehydrated. For the best results, use facial oils at the end of the day to remove impurities. Some oils act as skin penetrating enhancers, allowing them to clean the skin deep down to where it needs it most. When you have finished cleansing, your skin should be soft and hydrated but not aggravated, overly greasy, or parched. 

Can you use both carrier oils and essential oils together in your oil cleansing regimen?

When it comes to the body, carrier oils can be used independently, mixed with other carrier oils or essential oils. However, I would be very cautious when it comes to using essential oils in a facial regimen. Although essential oils offer countless benefits, they are also very potent. Applying them to the face can cause irritation, itching, allergic reactions and sometimes even a burning sensation.

When can I expect to notice the results?

It typically takes a week or two before you spot the positive effects of oil cleansing. Still, suppose you notice an immediate reaction to an oil such as inflammation; in that case, it’s best to stop using it. It could be due to allergies or sensitivities. Some initial breakouts or a change in your skin as the skin’s microbiome adjusts to the new level of hydration or cleanliness are normal, but your skin shouldn’t appear inflamed. 

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