Our Roundup of the Best Cleansing Oils To Try in 2021

Most people don’t really get the point of oil cleansing, let alone it’s role in the trendy Korean technique that is double cleansing

And honestly, I get it. The idea of adding another step into your skincare routine sounds like a bit of a gimmick to prod you to buy yet another product. Isn’t one bloody cleanser enough?

Well, maybe not.

If we’re going down this road, I figured it might be helpful to actually explain the tangible benefits of double cleansing for different skin types. 

Best Cleansing Oils_Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Deep Cleansing OilBest Cleansing Oils_Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Deep Cleansing Oil

So, what is oil cleansing and how does it work?

The oil cleansing method is the first step of a K-Beauty technique called double cleansing, which involves using two different cleansers to wash your skin successfully. 

Oil cleansing is promoted as the first step of this diligent routine because of its incredible ability to break down the makeup, oil, sunscreen and other oil-soluble products on your skin because of the combination of oil and surfactants in cleansing oil formulas. 

While oil cleansers are great at getting rid of the initial buildup left on your skin at the end of the day, it is important to go in with a second water-based cleanser to really clean your skin once the other products have been removed.

Okay, but why are both types of cleansing important? 

If at this point you get why cleaning your skin twice might be important, you may still be wondering why not just clean it with the same cleanser twice?

And look, it’s not the worst idea in the world. 

Oil cleansers are just particularly good at breaking that first layer of stuff down and doing it gently. 

Water based cleansers may contain more effective surfactants, but this can mean that using them twice is a bit stripping and irritating for our delicate skin barriers

Following up an oil based cleanser with a water based cleanser can also help remove any (oily) residue left behind on the skin from the first cleanse.

What are the benefits of oil cleansing?

Who should use oil cleansers, and how often should you oil cleanse?

If you have unbalanced or sensitive skin types and like the benefits listed above - give oil cleansing a shot. 

However, if you have pretty normal skin and you don’t wear any makeup or other heavy skin care products like SPF or primer, it is certainly something you can skip. 

You’re just missing out on the best cleanse of your life... 

Oil cleansing can be done once a day, as part of your evening routine, or whenever you need to break down excessive build up, dirt or makeup. 

Now, here's our list of the best oil cleansers:

With Rice Bran and Vitamin E to nourish and calm inflammation, Dermalogica PreCleanse is a bestselling product that pioneered the idea of a double-cleanse. Essential Fatty Acids replenish the skin’s moisture, while Kukui Nut and Apricot Oils help remove impurities and pollutants from the skin. This unique, iconic formula breaks down makeup and leaves skin feeling superfresh.

Dermalogica PreCleanse is the pre-cleanser that removes grime before you move on to your second cleanse. The lightweight oil keeps skin hydrated, refreshed, and revived. Shake the bottle and shake a generous amount into the hands. Start at the neck and circle upwards over the face. Remove the formula with warm water and a damp cloth. It really is a perfect cleansing oil and the best oil cleanser for double cleansing.

Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin, Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil is a gentle cleansing oil Australia. Helping remove even waterproof makeup, the luxurious formula lathers into a milky emulsion when mixed with water and rinses away for a soft and supple skin finish.

With Vitamin E to fight free radical damage, Safflower Oil to nourish, and Omega-6 to help rebalance the skin, the Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil 140ml cares for skin while it cleans. Perfect for morning and evening use, this oil cleanser leaves the skin looking restored. The optimised ratio of lipids included helps restore the skin and prevent the signs of premature ageing.

Cruelty-free and with no artificial fragrances, Cosmedix Purity Solution Deep Cleansing Oil deeply cleanses the skin without drying it out. Argan, Olive, and Moringa oils keep the skin clear and supple. Melia azadirachta Extract (Neem Extract) removes excess oil, makeup, and sunscreen. If you wear heavily pigmented makeup, this could be the perfect formula for you.

Protecting the skin’s natural barrier, Cosmedix Purity Solution Deep Cleansing Oil is nourishing enough for sensitive skin while cleansing enough for those who have a lot of blackheads and blemishes. To use, apply a liberal amount to the face, neck, and chest area, and massage around the skin. Next, wet hands and massage again to form a milky texture. Rinse away the product, and you’ll see how clean your skin is!

Made to bring out the radiance in your skin, Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil is supergentle while being extra-efficient. Mineral oil-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free, this is a great oil cleanser if you have sensitive skin. But it’s also ideal for both normal and oily skin types! This formula is free of alcohol, so it won’t irritate the skin. With pure, certified-organic ingredients, this is a cult classic that people adore.

This cruelty free cleansing oil is formulated with CO2-extracted Andean Rosehip Oil, prized for its high concentration of Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9, and antioxidants that help defend and repair the skin. To see the effects of Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil, apply 2 to 3 pumps to dry skin and massage away the impurities. Add a few drops of water, and then rinse everything away to reveal beautifully cleansed skin.

Protecting your skin from the drying effects of water, Avène Xeracalm Cleansing Oil is a soap-free formula that cleanses skin gently. With a caring combination of ingredients, this oil is artificial fragrance-free and sulphate-free. The I-Modulia Complex reduces itching caused by dryness. And the Cer-Omega lipids form a film to help protect the skin from aggressors.

Use nourishing Avène Xeracalm Cleansing Oil morning and night to cleanse away any debris on the skin. Hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic, it’s the perfect formula for those who have trouble with irritated skin, redness, and atopic dermatitis.

Made in Australia, Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil is a mild cleansing oil made with an assortment of nut oils. This cleansing oil has a signature aromatic scent and an abundance of antioxidants and vitamin-rich ingredients to leave skin supple and soft. The product is gentle enough to be used daily and is vegan and cruelty-free too.

This is the latest edition to Aesop’s Parsley Seed range. In typical Aesop style, the Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil blends plant-based ingredients with laboratory-made ones to make highly effective products. The Parsley Seed range is perfect for those with sensitive, combination, and dry skin.

Developed with the finest blend of botanicals from South Australia, Jurlique Nourishing Cleansing Oil contains a thoughtful combination of Rosemary, Birch, Calendula, Lemon Balm, Liquorice, and Spilanthes oils and extracts. Adding an antioxidant boost, each ingredient works to nourish the complexion while melting away makeup and excess oil.

For a youthful, more radiant appearance, apply the oil to dry skin and gently massage it around the face. Jurlique Nourishing Cleansing Oil has a lightweight texture, making it perfect for all skin types—especially dry skin. Use 2 to 3 pumps morning and night to reap the botanical benefits.

Surprisingly, water can have a drying effect on the skin. Though you need to wash your face every day, too much water on dehydrated or very dry skin will cause irritation. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Huile Lavante AP+ Cleansing Oil is a nourishing cleansing oil that works to make irritated skin a thing of the past. This is an affordable cleansing oil, suitable for all.

Rich in protective fatty acids, La Roche-Posay Lipikar Huile Lavante AP+ Cleansing Oil doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Acting powerfully but gently, the oil will remove stubborn makeup, sunscreen, and other stubborn products. Use daily to maximise the results. You can even add a capful to the bath to soothe your entire body.

Cremorlab T.E.N. Cremor Eau Thermale Cleansing Balm is a 5-in-1 treatment cleansing balm that exfoliates the skin. This luxurious facial cleanser removes even the most stubborn traces of makeup while calming the mind with aromatherapeutic benefits. Suitable for all skin types including sensitive, the formula is made with Moroccan Lava Clay and Korean Herb Complex to help purify the skin.

With signature T.E.N. Water to condition and nourish the skin, Cremorlab T.E.N. Cremor Eau Thermale Cleansing Balm gently cleanses and polishes. Pores are left looking clearer, and your overall complexion will improve over time. Apply a small amount to the face, massage in, and then remove with warm water.

The Luxurious One
The Luxurious One

This impressive oil-based cleanser nurtures the skin while melting away every trace of makeup - including waterproof. SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil is hydarting, purifying and is the running for best oil cleansing face wash. With a high concentration of Pitera™, your skin is left protected from environmental agressors, while Rose extract works to soothe irritation.

Take a moment to elevate your skincare routine with the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil, which works by lifting away makeup and impurities away from your skin. Apply 3-4 pumps to your face and massage the oil in. Emulsify oil with a bit of warm water and rinse off. Plus, this formula leaves your skin feeling super soft.

To Deeply Penetrate the Skin

Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil dissolves deeply trapped impurities and makeup on contact. Use it to prepare the skin for a truly effective cleanse, then combine the formula with a Cleansing Bar. This will improve the epidermal barrier and maximise the deep-cleansing process. Of course, you might think a double cleanse is excessive. But with so much pollution and grime attracted to your face every day, doubling up is worth considering.

To Deeply Penetrate the Skin

Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil moisturises the skin with a pH level that’s identical to that of your own skin. This maintains the essential fatty acids skin needs to function healthily. Apply a generous amount over your skin and add warm water to cleanse excess oil, trapped impurities, and makeup away.

Erno Laszlo Detoxifying Cleansing Oil is great at balancing and detoxifying the skin. Made with a blend of Charcoal to help unclog pores and refine the skin, the oil sweeps away unwanted impurities. This nourishing Erno Laszlo cleansing oil is perfect at preventing breakouts and helping remove blackheads. Sea Water and Vitamin E combine with Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil for cleansing skin powerfully yet gently.

Free of Parabens, Sulphates, and Phthalates, this Erno Laszlo cleansing oil is sensitive skin-friendly and packed with essential minerals. Massage the gel-like formula over the face and jawline to remove unwanted impurities. Follow Erno Laszlo Detoxifying Cleansing Oil with Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar to deep-cleanse the skin.

A great brightening cleansing oil, Ella Baché Botanical Cleansing Oil reinforces the skin’s natural barrier and helps you say goodbye to imperfections. Versatile and plant-based, this oil lets your skin enjoy a deep cleanse without any harsh, damaging effects.

Made in Australia, Ella Baché Botanical Cleansing Oil features Hemp Oil sourced from Byron Bay and Sweet Almond Oil to help balance out the skin. Evening Primrose will help calm the mind. And Kakadu Plum Seed Oil is a powerful antioxidant that helps defend the skin from free radicals.

With protective Vitamin E and Omegas 3, 6, and 9, Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil is intensely nourishing for the skin. If you’re searching for the best cleansing oil for combination skin, give this one a try. The luxurious oils melt into the skin and leave it feeling hydrated and nourished, never greasy.

Safe enough to use around the delicate eye area, Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil always leaves skin feeling clean and comfortable. Massage into the skin gently and add water to make an effective milky emulsion. Use once or twice a day.

Need the best cleansing oil for oily skin? Cremorlab T.E.N. Cremor Refreshing Cleansing Gel Oil is supremely effective at removing stubborn makeup. Made using T.E.N., which is made up of a rare and mineral-rich thermal water, this cleanser leaves the skin hydrated, revitalised, and more radiant than ever.

The unique formula of Cremorlab T.E.N. Cremor Refreshing Cleansing Gel Oil keeps skin moisturised and doesn’t strip away any natural oils. Suitable for all skin types, and one of the best cleansing oils for oily skin, the formula is gentle enough to use twice a day. Always rinse thoroughly after use, and finish with cold water to refresh.

Hannah Explains Oily Skin & Her Skincare Routine

Want to find out more about oil cleansing and other great ways to keep your skin clear of impurities? Check out some of our guides:

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

This article has been updated on 21/05 to replace discontinued products with our recent product recommendations. Gemma from our Customer Service team has helped to bring you our most recommended products and up-to-date information.

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