I'm a Beauty Editor With Oily Skin, and Even I Love These Cleansing Oils

As someone who’s had oily, acne-prone skin for my entire adult life, I spent a huge number of years (no exaggeration) avoiding oily skincare products like the plague. Glow-boosting oils? No, thank you. Oil-infused cleansing balms? I’ll give it a miss. And my most hotly avoided product of them all? Cleansing oils. If you’re also a member of the oily skin brigade, then I know that you’ll understand where I’m coming from. When you spend all of your time trying to minimise oil production to prevent clogged pores and your makeup routine involves painstakingly applying powder to all the areas that you’re currently shining like a beacon from, then the thought of voluntarily applying more oil to your face feels counterproductive.

However, a few years back, a rather lovely facialist recommended a cleansing oil to me during a treatment, explaining to me that not only can using oils help to regulate your skin’s own oil production but that a cleansing oil will actually attract the excess oil on your skin’s surface so that you can easily wash it away. I gave her advice a go, and genuinely, I’ve never looked back. Cleansing oils and oil-rich balms are now a regular part of my skincare routine, and my skin loves them. Yes, I’ll always have skin that’s naturally on the oilier side and prone to spots, but adding a cleansing oil to my routine definitely hasn’t exacerbated the situation. 


(Image credit: @caitlinmiyako)

There are some things to note, though. Firstly, not all skin experts are in agreement about the benefits of cleansing oils, and this is down to the ingredients. Comedogenic oils like coconut and wheat germ can actually clog your pores, so these are best avoided entirely when you’re seeking out a new cleansing oil to try. Instead, look for botanical oils like apricot kernel, jojoba or hazelnut, which are noncomedogenic and more lightweight. The other issue? Because these cleansers are heavy-duty, they can leave oily deposits on the surface of your skin, which, again, could clog pores or prevent your other products from working effectively. To combat this, I only ever use a cleansing oil as my first cleanse of an evening, I always use a warm flannel or muslin cloth to buff it away, and I follow it with a second cleanse using a more foaming or gel-based formulation.


(Image credit: @aysha.sow)

However, once you’ve got your head around that advice, there’s no denying that the glow you get from using a cleansing oil is unparalleled. And if your skin is on the dry side, then you’ll really reap the benefits. Ahead, 12 of the very best cleansing oils that I use and always recommend and that do the job well for all skin types.

1. Disciple Skincare Night Shift Cleanser

2. Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil

3. Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser

4. Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Deep Cleansing Oil

5. Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

6. Curél Makeup Cleansing Oil

7. Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil

8. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

9. Pai Skincare Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil 

10. Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil

11. Nuxe Bio Organic Cleansing Oil

12. Votary Super Seed Cleansing Oil

Mica Ricketts