If you have oily or acne-prone skin, the concept of slathering on any oil-based products like cleansing oils probably doesn’t make much sense. But we promise there’s some logic here. Thanks to a little concept called double-cleansing, the habit of starting your routine with a remove-it-all oil has gone from a niche Korean skin-care step to full-on mainstream practice. And yes, it’s something that anyone, regardless of skin type, can get into.
“Since oil dissolves oil, they are ideally suited to be used as cleansers,” Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Allure. “Cleansing oils usually contain an oil base, along with a traditional skin-cleansing ingredient called a surfactant, which helps bind to dirt on the skin and remove it without disrupting the skin barrier.” Just make sure you work them onto dry skin, so it breaks down waterproof makeup, sunscreen, and dirt, before rinsing off with lukewarm water or gently wiping it away with a soft muslin cloth.
While cleansing oils don’t stay on your face for too long, it doesn’t hurt that most are infused with moisturizing ingredients, like jojoba seed oil, apricot kernel oil, and Centella asiatica extract, which actively nourish skin while giving it a deep clean. Below, check out 17 of the best cleansing oils, as recommended by board-certified dermatologists and Allure editors alike.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28
- Best Dermatologist-Recommended: Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, $32
- Best Budget: Mario Badescu Cleansing Oil, $16
- Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Ultra Light Face Cleansing Oil, $13
- Best Splurge: Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, $50
- Best Moisturizing Ingredients: Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil, $17
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser, $34
Ready to feel more confident when reading your beauty products’ ingredient labels? Enter, the Allure Ingredient Index. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the most in-demand (and under-the-radar) ingredients in your favorite skin-care products.
All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.