I don’t know about you but I could get used to my new lockdown beauty routine. Makeup is just for decoration while skincare has become the main attraction. I wrote about my hydrating skincare routine a couple of months ago and I wanted to cover one of my favourite elements of my routine – cleansing – in more detail. I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to oil cleansing, I share everything you need to know.
I started oil cleansing over a decade ago, long before it became mainstream. A woman I worked with had the most beautiful, glowy skin and I asked what her secret was. She told me about oil cleansing and I was sold. After a lot of trial and error with various products, I’ve perfected my routine.
Why you should oil cleanse
A good cleansing routine is one of the foundations for healthy skin. Even if you’re not wearing makeup, it’s essential to cleanse to remove microbes, dirt, pollutants and dead skin cells. A poor cleansing routine can lead to clogged pores, acne and dull skin. If we want glowy, lit-from-within skin, cleansing is the first step.
Unlike regular cleansers, oil cleansing gently removes surface impurities from your skin without stripping it of it’s healthy, natural oils. Foaming cleansers tend to be too harsh for your skin and can cause dehydration. And do not get me started on makeup wipes, they have no place in your skincare routine.
How does oil cleansing work
Using oil to cleanse your skin may sound counter-intuitive but, here’s the science bit: oil dissolves oil. A cleansing oil works like magic to whisk away makeup, pollutants, dirt and dead skin cells gently. My cleanser works a treat on waterproof mascara, it just melts away within 30 seconds. And miraculously it doesn’t make your skin oily or greasy, my skin always feels hydrated and nourished.
How to oil cleanse
This should be first step in your double cleansing routine. Oil effectively breaks down and removes the impurities on your skin and a gentle cleanser or micellar water works to clean your pores.
Start with dry hands and a dry face. Apply a small amount of your cleanser, about the size of a 10p piece, to your hands. Rub your hands together and gently massage your face with your hands. I concentrate on my cheeks, chin and forehead first and leave my eyes for last as I don’t want to spread makeup residue across my face.
After a couple of minutes, rinse your face with warm water. I like using a microfibre flannel to gently remove all traces of oil and dirt. I follow up with a swipe of micellar water on a cotton pad or a hydrating cleanser. I’ve detailed my full hydrating skincare routine in another blog post.
Fun fact: when I started my oil cleansing journey, I used olive oil. It might sound crazy but it worked well and didn’t clog my pores. Many people recommend coconut oil, which has somehow become a millennial go-to for literally everything. Never use it on your face, it can dehydrate your skin and its comedogenic so it can cause spots.
I prefer balms rather than liquid oils as they’re handier for travelling when you have a limited liquid allowance. The best one I’ve tried is the Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm. It’s formulated with sea buckthorn and camellia oils along with shea butter. It melts makeup, pollutants and impurities almost instantly.
I used Banila’s Clean It Zero Balm, which is a K-beauty favourite. I didn’t get on with it. It wasn’t as effective as the Good Molecules balm and it smelt fragranced which is a red flag in skincare as fragrances can irritate your skin. I liked Versed’s Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm, it’s a great product which isn’t super fragranced. It’s not quite as effective as the Good Molecules Balm but it’s much easier to get hold of in the UK.
There you have it, my ultimate guide to oil cleansing. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.