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Experimenting with Cleansing Oils

Cleansing with oil? Yes! Or, Hell no, I am not putting oil on my face!! Which answer describes you?

These two reactions seem to be what you get when you start talking about cleansing oils. I used to be in the latter group but have since done an enthusiastic 180 and have landed hard in the Yes! group. I had just started my experimentation with using a cleansing oil when I talked with Medical Aesthetician, Sonia Escareno, for The SkinCrush Podcast. During our conversation Sonia shared with us that she too had started experimenting cleansing with oil. Needless to say I was excited to talk with her about this new part of my skincare journey!

Cleansing oils have been gaining in popularity along with the concept of double cleansing. The idea of double cleansing has been popularized by the K-beauty, or Korean beauty, movement and the famous 10-step skin care routine. In this routine the double cleanse typically serves as the first two steps. Many of us, especially those that wear long-wear makeup, have probably always done something similar, removing our makeup first and then using a traditional cleanser, so the double cleanse is not necessarily something new. However, the idea of using oil as one of your cleansing steps may be something new to you. And if you're anything like me, kind of a scary thought...

In case you're not familiar with the difference between oil cleansers and traditional cleansers, let me give you some quick background. Traditional cleansers typically use surfactants that work to degrease and emulsify oils, allowing them to be washed away. Cleansing oils work as solvents that dissolve makeup and oils and, after being rinsed away, leave the skin feeling supple instead of tight.

That is the feature that hooked me enough to want to give it a try. I have very dry skin and, because I fly almost weekly, my skin stays dehydrated as well. This has me on the constant lookout for ways to nourish and restore my skin. It was suggested to me to try using the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil so I decided to give it a try.

No joke, y'all, this product has CHANGED. MY. LIFE.

There is so much I love about this cleansing oil. First and foremost, I love the way my skin really does feel soft and hydrated after I use it. Also, the simple act of just using this cleanser feels like a luxurious treat. I use two pumps and gently massage on my dry skin. I usually spend about two minutes working the oil all over my face. I swear I can feel my makeup melting off. And the massage feels wonderful after a long day!

CLEANSING OIL Cleansing oil is part of my nighttime skincare routine. For me, using the cleansing oil at nighttime is all I need to remove my makeup so I don't follow the oil with another cleanser, as Sonia describes she does. I go straight from my oil cleanse to a pass of micellar water as the second step in my double cleanse. There are lots of choices for micellar water but the one I am using right now is La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra. As much as I love my oil cleanser, I only use it at nighttime. In the morning I prefer to use a traditional cleanser and most often choose SkinCeuticals Replenishing Cleanser.


Another way to approach the idea of using oil to cleanse is the way that Sonia describes on the podcast. Sonia uses actual coconut oil, something she buys at the grocery store, as her first step in cleansing. To use, Sonia warms a small amount of the coconut oil on her fingertips then gently massages the oil all over her skin. After approximately two minutes, she rinses the oil away with water. For this method Sonia follows the coconut oil with a second cleanser and her choice is SkinCeuticals Simply Clean.

In Sonia’s experience the coconut oil does a great job of removing all of her makeup while leaving her skin feeling hydrated. Following with the traditional cleanser ensures that she has removed all of her makeup, dirt, oil, etc., and her skin is not left feeling oily. This could be good method if you want to experiment with oil but also have traditional cleansers that you like using. You can try the coconut oil first and then follow up with the cleanser of your choice.

In our experimentation Sonia and I have approached using cleansing oil differently but we’ve both been really happy with the experience and results!


As much as I love my cleansing oil, this method is not necessarily for everyone. While oils can work well for all skin types, even oily or blemish-prone skin, they tend to be better liked and tolerated by those with more dry skin. During our interview Sonia commented that she was experimenting with oil in the winter and would likely take a break from the method during the summer months.

I have heard some people share that using the coconut oil can cause breakouts. If you're acne-prone, I’d approach the introduction of oil with an experimental mindset knowing that it might not be right for you. Or, like Sonia, it may be something to try only seasonally.

Even if you’re not ready to change up your cleansing routine, it’s always interesting to hear more about what people are trying!


As you all know, I am an educator for SkinCeuticals, a L'Oreal USA brand. I have the privilege of getting to know the SkinCeuticals portfolio of products very well so they tend to makeup the majority of what I personally use. Please know that the specific products I mention are only examples based on my personal experience. There are so many fantastic products out there and you can apply our discussion to whatever works best for you! The information you hear as part of SkinCrush is meant to simply be a guide and companion for you on your own skincare journey. SkinCeuticals and L'Oreal are not involved with SkinCrush in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and those of my guests.


I’d love to answer any questions you have or hear about your own experience with cleansing oils! SkinCrush is meant to be a community so please join in the conversation! Reach out to me here on the blog or connect with me on social media. The SkinCrush Podcast and The SkinCrush Channel are more ways to connect with us and hear more from my expert guests! If you have an idea for a future blog, podcast, or video, please let me know!

Until next time, SkinCrushers, take care of your skin and take care of each other!

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