There was a time when we’d never dream of rubbing oil all over our faces. Beauty brands once prioritized getting rid of any oil at all costs, even encouraging us to dry out our faces sometimes, and we bought into it. But not anymore.
Nowadays, skincare lines are suddenly singing cleansing oils praises. Although, some “in the know” brands have always known what was up when it came to the power of cleansing oils. If you’ve spent enough time online, you’ve likely seen oil, greasy, and often strange (but sometimes brilliant) beauty hacks on TikTok, like “slugging” or “the moisture sandwich.” Countries famed for being ahead of the skincare game (we’re looking at you, Korea) have been faithful to the oil-cleansing method for decades upon decades.
If you need to catch up with this beauty trend before you invest in one of the best oils around, here’s what to know about oil cleansers.
What to Know About Cleansing Oils
Oil and oil attract one another. On the skin’s surface, oil cleansers draw out and dissolve dirt, residue, and pore-clogging oil found in makeup and sunscreen. With the right oil, the skin-boosting benefits can prove lasting.
Per WebMD, “Oil cleansing works because the oil you use to cleanse bonds to the oils and dirt on your skin. The oil also acts as a barrier to protect your skin and keeps it soft and moisturized. Traditional facial cleansers can strip the skin of all bacteria, good and bad.”
Unlike traditional facial cleansers, effective oil cleansers lift impurities from the pores and leave only the good stuff behind. The best options are also deeply hydrating, but more on those in a second.
If you’re wondering if cleansing oils are beneficial for all skin types, the answer is generally yes. Beauty experts say these unique cleansers are particularly good for those with sensitive or blemish-prone skin. Just make sure you’re using the right ratios and opt for an oil cleanser designed specifically for your skincare needs and concerns.
When it comes to super clean and healthy skin, great oil cleansers do their job gently while improving the skin’s complexion and elasticity. Countless beauty brands are jumping on this tried and true trend, giving us plenty to choose from. Still, some oil cleansers reign supreme.
As of 2022, beauty experts are saying we should all be using cleansing oil by now. So if you haven’t started yet, there’s no time like the present to start, and we’re here to simplify your search. Check out the best oil cleansers on the market right now, ranked by beauty experts, endlessly satisfied customer reviews, and my own oily research.
TATCHA Pure One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser
Tatcha is famed for wonder products starring the hadasei-3. Clean, cruelty-free, and incredibly gentle, The Camellia Cleansing Oil is no exception, and it comes with one more exceptional ingredient.
Thanks to its oleic acid, it doesn’t get much better for your skin than Japanese camellia oil. Incredibly hydrating for even the most parched of complexions, it will gently take off your makeup and keep working its magic from there.
Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil
Thus far, everything I’ve tried from this plant-positive brand has delivered on every promise. Infused with natural plant oils and never too greasy, oil cleansing fans can’t get enough of Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil. It’s especially great for those with sensitive skin. However, my forever favorite is the Vinoclean Cleansing Almond Milk. In some ways, nothing I’ve tried since has compared.
Formulated with cornflower, sweet almond oil, and classically Caudalie polyphenols, Caudalie’s Almond Milk instantly soothes while it cleanses and gives skin a mega dose of hydrating antioxidants.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
For about three decades, this OG cleansing oil has been one of the most beloved on the planet. DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil is often dubbed “the original Japanese 1-step oil cleanser.” Luckily, it’s one of the originals that’s available in the states.
Formulated with vitamin E, organic olive oil, and rosemary oil, this one is hydrating, delightful for the senses, and able to lift even the gunkiest gunk from your pores.
Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil
In 2022, Byrdie crowned this cleansing oil their best overall, and they’re certainly not the only ones. Anything I’ve tried by Shiseido has proven itself worth every penny. With that said, the Perfect Cleansing Oil is by far one of their most swoon-worthy products, hands down.
Behold the power of grapeseed oil. Its natural antioxidants hydrate and soothe. This natural oil is also anti-microbial. Friendly for all skin types, Shiesedo’s lightweight daily cleanser melt away even the most stubborn makeup with ease. It’s powerful yet gentle, leaving skin baby soft and never tight.
Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser
Laneige’s Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser comes highly recommended by in-the-know dermatologists worldwide. Reviewers have said this creamy cleanser gently removes every last bit of makeup. Not to mention, I’ve yet to try a Laneige product that wasn’t amazing at locking in moisture.
Made with antioxidant-rich white leaf tea extract, this one’s said to be soothing to even the most sensitive skin. And it keeps moisture locked in for the long haul with meadowfoam seed and jojoba oils.
Beautycounter Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil
Beautycounter’s Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil packs a deeply hydrating punch of Vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
This luxurious and lightweight cleansing oil also contains bakuchiol, a nature-derived retinol alternative that’s ideal for oily and/or combination skin. Mixed with water, it emulsifies into a milky cleanser that deeply cleans the skin and leaves behind zero residue.
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil
Sulwhasoo’s Gentle Cleansing Oil is an Allure Best of Beauty Award winner, and it’s not hard to see why. Just look at the skin-nourishing ingredients.
Formulated with coix lacryma-jobi seed, tangerine peel extract, and apricot kernel oil, this extremely gentle wash works like a magnet for any pore-clogging gunk. And it will always leave your skin feeling silky soft.
Tata Harper Nourishing Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser
In the skincare game, Tata Harper remains a force to be reckoned with and a constant celebrity darling. This top-shelf Nourishing Oil Cleanser boasts a fragrantly soothing mix of rose and geranium, and its ingredients are as clean as they come. This 100% natural formula includes 62% organic ingredients, most of which are antioxidant-rich skin-savers. It’ll set you back around $88 bucks, but some things are worth splurging over.
Tata Harper calls this makeup-removing potion “a multi-vitamin cleansing oil that breaks down buildup and dissolves makeup without stripping the skin for a soft, supple feeling” that’s best for uneven skin.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil
If you’re looking to use a cleansing oil in the P.M. only, this makeup removal master might be worth looking into for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it’s gentle enough that you can use it around your eyes. Many of its top-dollar competitors have yet to pull that off.
Due to the lavender essential oil, there’s an element of aromatherapy as well. So while you’re cleansing your skin before bed, you’ll be breathing in fragrances that are known for helping us feel more calm and relaxed.
Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil
If you’re looking for a great drugstore buy, Neutrogena’s got you covered. Currently, there’s still not a lot to choose from when it comes to drugstore cleansing oils. Along with DHC’s OG oil, Neutrogena’s Ultra Light Cleansing Oil will likely remain on ‘best cleansing oil lists’ for years to come.
“This formula, which is made with a blend of fine oils to remove impurities, is also non-comedogenic and dermatologically tested. Apply it on dry skin for a true cleansing oil experience,” per Byrdie.
One Love Organics Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil
If you love clean and effective products with skin-replenishing ingredients, you’ll adore One Love Botanical B Enzyme Cleaning Oil. Packed with antioxidants, this natural wonder combines pumpkin seed, papaya seed, and sunflower seed oils.
This formulation is also great for the skin’s moisture barrier and PH balance, and it’s designed with those who suffer from perpetually dry, dehydrated skin in mind.
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil
Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil consistently gets high marks for its gentle yet powerful nature. This timelessly classic choice dissolves every last trace of makeup and grime, leaving no residue behind.
Glycerin-infused and great for all skin types, it easily glides off with water and remains a Clinique favorite with staying power.
Mara Chia + Moringa Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil
We continue to hear nothing but good things about Mara’s Chia + Moringa Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil. It’s the next on my list to try.
This crowd-pleasing, multitasking cleanser is formulated with skin-soothing and boosting ingredients like jojoba oil, squalane, and aloe extract. It’s packed with fatty acids, vitamins, and gentle exfoliating enzymes like papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, and grapefruit. All of which are known for leaving a lasting glow.
DamDam Tokyo Silk Rice Cleansing Oil
DamDam Tokyo’s Silk Rice Cleansing Oil is loved by beauty gurus and dermatologists alike. This sunflower seed oil and rice bran oil power duo soothes and restores the skin barrier, contributing to immediate and lasting hydration.
From my own experience, DamDam’s makeup remover/oil cleanser leaves the skin refreshingly clean and ultra-soft. When I’m feeling lazy, it works well as a one-step wash. But be careful because, while this is a gentle formulation, this one hurts more than most if you get it in your eyes.