If you have oily skin hear me out, you should be using an oil based cleanser to clean your face in the morning and evening.
Science is science and one central law of science is ‘Like dissolves Like’. Its a major concept in organic chemistry. If you’ve ever mixed Vinegar and Oil you’ll know they don’t mix. The vinegar pools in the oil or oil pools in the vinegar. Regardless of how much you mix you’re not going to get them to mix unless you put in something that mixes it like an egg. In fact this is how we get mayonnaise. Egg yolks contain what is called an emulsifier to helps oil and water mix. Egg + Vinegar + Oil + a lot of agitation = mayo.
In fact, egg yolks work so well as a emulsifier they used to be used as a shampoo. Including by the Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) of Austria.
Oil based face cleansers contain these emulsifiers as part of the formula. One of the first posts I made described how oil based cleansers work. Now we’re going to get a little more specific and I’m going to argue why oily skin needs an oil cleanser.
When you work your oil cleanser of choice (balm or liquid) into you face and neck at first it should be an oil. Your excess facial oils (sebum) get suspended in that oil based cleanser. Remember like dissolves like (oil dissolves oil). Then repeat but with damp hands. You should see the cleanser form a milky color. This is the facial cleanser + face oil suspension floating in the water as incredibly small droplets. When you rinse with water (warm works better but anything coming from a tap will work) all that oil goes down the drain.
If you want to double cleanse with a gentle water cleanser go for it.
Favorite Oil Cleansers for Oily Skin
Not all oil cleansers are created equal. This list goes from the strongest oil based cleanser to the most gentle. Those with very oily skin will see better results with a cleaner from the top of the list. Even the strongest oil cleanser is not as harsh as most water cleansers. Prices are on the far right, those with multiple prices are for the different sizes. Most of these are vegan for those looking for a vegan option.
- Clinique – take the day away balm $36
- Banila Co. – Clean It Zero 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm $19
- Erborian – Centella Cleansing Balm $45
- Farmacy Beauty – Green Clean $6/$24/$36/$66
- Elemis – Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm $40/$66
- Erborian – Centella Cleansing Oil $39
- Clarins – Total Cleansing Oil $36
- Peach & Lily – Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser $32
- The Ordinary – Squalane Cleanser $7.90
- Dermalogica – The PreCleanse $47
- Kiehl’s – Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil $32
- Tatcha – The Camellia Cleansing Oil $50
This list is designed for cleansing abilities, not makeup removal. The best makeup remover on this list is Clinique Take the Day Away Balm but it doesn’t remove everything. The balm is stronger than the Take The Day Away oil cleanser. Once you get to Clarin’s and down, they have a harder time removing full coverage foundations but are great for light foundations or powder-based foundations. Dermalogica and Kiehl’s were really okay as cleansers but needed a double cleanse partner at night. Tatcha is really best used as a cleanser and not a makeup remover. I’ll admit my Tatcha is my morning cleansing, not my night cleanser.
Clearly I really love oil cleansers. I have all these currently except the Erborian balm because I left it in a hotel recently and need to buy another.
Let me know in the comments below what oil cleanser you’re using and where you think it falls on this list.