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What Is Cleansing Oil?

Here at Kiehl’s, we believe every healthy skincare routine starts with clean skin. No matter your skin type, washing your face at night to remove the oil, dirt, and impurities that accumulate throughout the day is essential. It’s even more critical if you wear makeup (as we all know, wearing makeup to bed is a big skincare no-no). But sometimes, you don’t want to go through a whole 10-step routine just to remove your makeup before you crawl into bed after a long day. That’s where cleansing oil comes in.

Cleansing oils are a type of multi-purpose face wash that simultaneously cleanse the skin, hydrate the complexion, and remove makeup. And if you’re not using one in your nighttime skincare routine yet, you should be. Ahead, we’ll break down what cleansing oil is and why we love it. Plus, learn how to incorporate an oil cleanser into your skincare routine for healthier, hydrated skin.

What Is Cleansing Oil?

Cleansing oils, as the name suggests, are oil-based face washes. They’re usually formulated with several different kinds of lightweight oils, and they emulsify, or lather, when combined with water. This allows oil cleansers to effectively clean the skin without stripping it or weighing it down. Some formulas, including our best-selling Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil, can even remove stubborn, waterproof makeup.

This top-rated oil face cleanser contains a blend of luxurious botanical oils, including olive-derived squalane, lavender essential oil, and evening primrose essential oil. The indulgent cleansing oil effectively removes dirt, excess oil, and makeup without drying the skin, leaving the complexion feeling soft and supple. It’s lightweight and safe for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin, and the non-comedogenic formula won’t cause clogged pores or breakouts.

How Do You Use Cleansing Oil?

How you use cleansing oil will depend on your skin type and what you want to accomplish. For example, if you have dry skin, you can just use your oil cleanser to wash your face, and then continue with the rest of your skincare routine. Those with oily skin, on the other hand, may prefer to follow a double-cleansing method. This involves washing your face first with a cleansing oil to remove makeup, and then again with a traditional cleanser to remove any remaining sebum, dirt, or impurities. Read on for our step-by-step guide to using an oil cleanser.

Step 1: Wash Your Face With Your Cleansing Oil

Oil cleansers are unique in that they’re typically applied to dry skin instead of a damp face. This allows the oil to adhere to dirt, makeup, and oil, which washes away once it’s combined with water.

After applying your cleansing oil to dry skin, massage it over your complexion (including the eye area if you’re wearing makeup). Then, add water to emulsify the formula and create a lather. Wash your face like you normally would, and rinse off with lukewarm water. Since its primary purpose is to remove dirt and makeup, we recommend oil cleansing at night—in the morning, you can use your regular face wash.

Step 2 (Optional): Double-Cleanse With a Foaming Face Wash

This is the double-cleansing step we mentioned earlier. If you want to rewash your face after oil cleansing, we recommend reaching for a foaming formula, like Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash. This best-selling facial cleanser contains calendula extract and glycerin to gently remove dirt and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. It’s formulated for all skin types, and can be used day and night for a refreshed, revitalized complexion.

If you’d prefer to use a creamier cleanser in your double-cleansing routine, try Ultra Facial Cleanser. This iconic face wash is pH-balanced for the skin and stars olive-derived squalane and avocado oil. It gently cleanses while helping to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance. One of many reasons it’s a perennial Kiehl’s customer favorite is its ultra-gentle and safe for all skin types.

Step 3: Replenish The Skin With a Lightweight Face Oil

After cleansing your skin and patting it dry, we recommend replenishing your complexion with a lightweight face oil, like Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This indulgent facial oil is formulated with soothing lavender essential oil, olive-derived squalane, and evening primrose oil to help restore skin’s moisture overnight for a more radiant, youthful-looking complexion by morning. In just one night, it helps minimize the appearance of fine lines, refines skin’s texture, and boosts radiance. Best of all, it’s safe for all skin types, so everyone can reap these benefits.

You may be wary of using facial oil if you have oily or acne-prone skin, but this indulgent version is non-comedogenic. In fact, the squalane in this formula is chemically similar to the oils in your skin’s natural moisture barrier.I This allows it to effectively hydrate the skin without weighing it down. Squalane doesn’t have an oily feel, and its antibacterial properties make it especially useful for helping to treat complexion concerns like acne.II In other words: It is completely safe for use on oily, acne-prone skin.

To use this facial oil, apply two to three drops to clean, dry hands, and use your fingertips to gently press the formula into the skin. Allow it to absorb into the skin before following up with your chosen moisturizer.

Step 4: Refresh the Look of Your Eye Area With a Hydrating Treatment

We always recommend using an eye cream, but it’s especially crucial after removing makeup to restore moisture to the delicate eye area.

Before laying your head down for the night, treat your eye area to a hydrating, restorative treatment, such as Midnight Recovery Eye. This nighttime eye cream stars butcher’s broom extract to help diminish the appearance of dark circles and puffiness while reinvigorating the eye area. It smoothes and restores skin while you sleep so you’ll wake up with fresher, younger-looking eyes by morning.

To apply it, use your ring finger to lightly dab the formula onto the under-eye area and along the orbital bone. Your ring finger is your weakest finger, so it has the gentlest touch and is least likely to pull or tug on the delicate skin.

Next: How To Use An Exfoliating Cleanser

I.Huang, Zih-Rou et al. “Biological and pharmacological activities of squalene and related compounds: potential uses in cosmetic dermatology.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 14,1 540-54. 23 Jan. 2009, doi:10.3390/molecules14010540
II.II.Sethi, Anisha et al. “Moisturizers: The Slippery Road.” Indian journal of dermatology vol. 61,3 (2016): 279-87. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.182427

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