Why I’m Obsessed with Cleansing Oils + My Take on 8 of Them

Read ALL about my review process including how I take swatches, photos, and more here.

cleansing oils

Though cleansing the skin with oils is nothing new under the sun, brands making them available to the public seems to be a trend that needed to be explored and I’m so happy I did because now I’m obsessed with them! I’d always been a fan of the oil-based makeup remover (they’re great for dissolving even tough waterproof makeup in seconds) so having something that acts as both that and my cleanser AND can keep my oily skin more balanced is all full of win for me. Over the course of a month or so, I tested eight cleansing oils and came out with a ton of faves and even more intel for those of you curious about cleansers in oil form.

In a nutshell, the theory behind oil cleansing is that the oil molecules in the cleanser “attach” themselves to the oil molecules on your face and then they both “fall off” the face with rinsing. And you want to massage these into dry skin and then rinse off—some may require your regular cleanser after and some work well on their own. If you’re more of a homegrown beauty gal, you can research which oils are most beneficial to your skin type and can find a less expensive alternative. But for me and the other beauty gals who call Sephora their second home, here’s my take on options found on the beauty shelves…

Note: I still use Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser 2-3 times a week when I need a “deep cleanse.”

AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes

AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes

press sample

Official Description

What it is:
A delicate, botanical cleanser for the face and eyes.

What it is formulated to do:
AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes gently and effectively dissolves makeup and impurities, leaving skin soft, hydrated, and radiantly clean. With the addition of water, this formula transforms in to a silky emulsion, safely and easily eliminating makeup and debris.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petro-Chemicals
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This skincare essential is safe to use around the eyes and suits all skin types.

As a brand dedicated to achieving health and beauty with natural botanicals, AMOREPACIFIC does not test ingredients or products on animals. Environmentally aware and socially conscious since its inception, AMOREPACIFIC is dedicated to treating the earth and its inhabitants with respect.

Suggested Usage:
Eyes:
-Pump a small amount onto a moist cotton pad.
-Gently press over eye area for a few seconds.
-Using gentle wiping motions, sweep makeup away.
-Finish with a clean, moist cotton pad.

Face:
-Pump desired amount onto finger tips.
-Massage gently over dry skin.
-Moisten fingertips with water and massage over skin, creating a delicate emulsion.
-Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

My Experience

One of my faves—it has a “thinner” consistency which I liked because it was easier to massage into my skin. It gets everything off and my skin feels supple and balanced after.

Price and where to buy

$50 at Sephora

Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil

Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil

Official Description

What it is:
A gentle, all-natural cleanser with nourishing argan oil.

What it does:
This multitasking cleanser removes makeup and skin impurities while providing deep hydration. Almond, safflower seed, and grape seed oils cleanse the skin’s surface and renew the complexion, leaving it healthy-looking and refreshed. The non-greasy texture leaves skin feeling moisturized, never tight or dry.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

What else you need to know:
This product is ideal for all skin types. An effective natural cleanser, argan oil restores the skin’s natural moisture and pH balance. It is produced from the argan tree in the semideserts of Morocco. Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, this organically grown ingredient is known to prevent skin dehydration, inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and excess production of sebum.

Suggested Usage:
-Rub three to four pumps into dry hands and apply evenly over dry face.
-Wet the face and massage into a rich milk.
-Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel.

My Experience

So many people love this, but I found the texture to be too “thick” and not very easy to massage into the skin. It does turn into a milky substance after it hits water, but it left a bit of residue on my skin. I used a light cleanser after but this one just wasn’t a win for me.

Price and where to buy

$12-32 at Sephora

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil

press sample

Official Description

What it is:
A cleansing oil to immediately dissolve tenacious face makeup, oil, and impurities.

What it is formulated to do:
This powerful oil dissolves all traces of makeup and impurities. Recommended for all skin types, it easily glides on and rinses off cleanly with water, leaving no residue behind.

What else you need to know:
This product has been ophthalmologist tested.

Suggested Usage:
-Apply to dry face with fingertips and gently massage.
-Rinse.

My Experience

Loved the thinner texture and it did a great job of getting all my makeup off without making my skin feel stripped.

Price and where to buy

$27 at Sephora

Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil

Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil

Official Description

What it is:
A gentle cleansing oil for the face and eye area.

What it does:
Suitable for all skin types, this cleansing oil preserves the skin’s natural hydration for outstanding cleansing results. Even though it’s an oil, it leaves no greasy residue. Formulated with Pure Lily Extract, which is present in Dior’s Instant Cleansing Water, it helps inhibit skin inflammation, leaving the skin looking soft and supple.

My Experience

This was another one of my faves. I love the scent and the lighter texture that gets every drop of makeup off and makes my skin feel supple after.

Price and where to buy

$36 at Sephora

philosophy-cleansing-oil

Philosophy Purity Made Simple™ Mineral Oil-Free Facial Cleansing Oil

Official Description

What it is:
A mineral oil-free facial cleansing oil.

What it is formulated to do:
Experience luxury in a cleanser. Purity made simple mineral oil-free facial cleansing oil is designed to comfortably cleanse, nurture skin, and provide superior makeup removal. A deep-cleansing blend of natural oils melt away all traces of makeup, dirt, oil and impurities, while maintaining skin’s natural moisture levels. The formula feels luxurious, emulsifies easily, and rinses completely, leaving skin perfectly clean and soft.

What it is formulated without:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

Suggested Usage:
-Dispense a liberal amount, and gently massage onto a dry face for 30 to 60 seconds using lightly damp hands.
-Gently rub into lashes to remove eye makeup.
-Rinse and pat dry.
-Use as needed, particularly for evening makeup removal.
-Follow with appropriate treatment and moisturizer.

My Experience

I didn’t love this one—the texture was a little “thicker” (I’m convinced I’m a thinner cleansing oil girl) and my skin didn’t feel so supple after using it.

Price and where to buy

$25 at Sephora

SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil

SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil

press sample

Official Description

What it is:
A delicate cleansing oil that melts away water-proof makeup.

What it is formulated to do:
This delicate, purifying, clear cleansing oil cleanses and conditions while instantly stripping the skin of water-proof makeup. It contains wild rose extract and pitera emulsified with water which lifts and locks onto hidden sebum and uncleanness. This formulation allows oil to transform with water to gently lift away makeup and impurities from the skin, leaving it soft and fresh.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Sulfates
– GMOs

Suggested Usage:
-Using three to four pumps, spread over entire face.
-Using a circular motion, work from inside to outside of face.
-Emulsify oil with a bit of warm water and rinse off.

My Experience

Another one of my faves—has a delicate texture, gets every single stitch of makeup off, and my skin feels great after cleansing.

Price and where to buy

$60 at Sephora

Boscia MakeUP BreakUP Cool Cleansing Oil

Boscia MakeUP BreakUP Cool Cleansing Oil

press sample

Official Description

What it is:
A deep-cleansing blend of botanical oils that dissolves makeup and impurities while refreshing congested skin.

What it is formulated to do:
Discover this decidedly different and extremely gentle way to thoroughly purify your complexion. This preservative-free solution effectively breaks up all makeup, dissolves impurities, and washes away all residue.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This product is ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Suggested Usage:
-Dispense one to two pumps onto fingertips and gently massage onto dry skin in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds.
-To further emulsify makeup, add a small amount of warm water and continue to massage on the face to breakdown makeup and impurities.
-Rinse well with warm water and blot dry.
-For maximum cleansing, smoothing, and softening benefits, use with the Konjac Cleansing Sponge.

My Experience

Out of this group, this one is my favorite. It’s the closest to a traditional cleanser out of all the cleansing oils that I’ve tried (it lathers well and like an oil gets all your makeup off including stubborn waterproof makeup).

Price and where to buy

$28 at Sephora

Nude Skincare Perfect Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes

Nude Skincare Perfect Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes

press sample

Official Description

What it is:
An omega-rich oil cleanser for the face and eye that effortlessly cleanses skin and dissolves makeup.

What it is formulated to do:
Packed with omega 3 and 6, this cleanser deeply cleans, eliminating all impurities and even the toughest waterproof makeup, without stripping the skin. It leaves the skin feeling comfortably clean, soft, and supple.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

What else you need to know:
Suitable for vegans, this product contains 100 percent natural plant oils and is gluten-free. The fragrance used is 100 percent natural and allergen-free.

Research results:
In a self evaluation on 30 women, ages 20-69, during 28 consecutive days:
– 100% saw hydrated skin
– 90% saw soft and comfortable skin

Suggested Usage:
-Morning and night, warm two to three pumps between hands and massage onto dry face and around eyes.
-Apply warm water to form a light milk, then rinse clean.
-For all skin types.

My Experience

I thought this one was just okay—it got all my makeup off but the texture was a bit heavy and felt like a bit of residue was left on my skin. I thought it’d be better suited for those with drier skin types.

Price and where to buy

$36 at Sephora

Honorable Mention

press sample

clinique-cleansing-balm

Though it’s not technically a cleansing oil, I LOVE Clinique’s Take the Day off Cleansing Balm ($28.50 at Sephora). It’s a balm that turns into an oil once you massage it into the skin. It gets off every once of makeup and has this Old Hollywood feel to it (you know—almost like a cold cream).

Check out my face oil post here

Are you a cleansing oil fan? Which one is your fave? Tell me in the comments!

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About Danielle

A former finance girl, Danielle is a New York City based freelance writer and fashion and beauty expert. She's a Hofstra University and Fashion Institute of Technology grad with an obsession with fashion and beauty which she loves to tell you all about every weekday on her award-winning blog. Think of her as your style and beauty entourage all wrapped up into one bubbly brown package. Danielle's work and expertise can be found in print and across the web in Cosmopolitan for Latinas, StyleBlazer.com, and more! She's also appeared as an on-air style expert on CBS New York's "The Couch" and WPIX11's Savvy Shopper segment.
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22 Responses to Why I’m Obsessed with Cleansing Oils + My Take on 8 of Them

  1. Orb says:

    Great post. I have tried a few cleansing oil and MAC Cleanse Off Oil does it for me. Great cleans skin without feeling tight and dry.

  2. Candace says:

    I’ve tried to Josie Maran and didn’t care for it too much and went back to my Up&Up makeup remover but now I’m looking at the Clinique and Dior ones.

  3. Rhona says:

    I love the Dior cleansing oil also. So far I love it better than all of my makeup removers. I enjoy it better than Bioderma (the horror!).
    Next on my list is the Clinique cleansing balm. I am loving everything Clinique now so this I am sure will love.

    • Danielle says:

      I don’t even use makeup wipes much these days—just my cleansing oils and they work better to get everything off and cleanse all in one step. The Clinique Cleansing Balm is niiiice :)

  4. I oil cleanse every day and night. I remove my makeup with oil. My skin has never been better

  5. Felicia says:

    Could I use any of these with my Clarisonic?

    • Danielle says:

      I don’t use my Clarisonic with cleansing oils because I prefer to use my hands to massage them in and get my makeup off. I also only use my Clarisonic 2-3 times a week and when I do it’s usually with my Mario Badescu Glycolic Cleanser.

      But I did ask the Clarisonic team if it can be used with cleansing oils so waiting for an official response :)

    • Danielle says:

      Hey again—so here’s what I got back from the brand’s rep:

      “the brand generally recommends using the cleansing oil first to remove surface dirt and makeup, then going back with your Clarisonic and a regular cleanser to deep clean. I think it’s less that you can’t, and more that it’s just the most effective way to use both…”

      hope that helped!

  6. Dee G-p via Facebook says:

    I just started using almond oil on my face after washing and my skin is crazy awesome now. It’s only been three days!

  7. Lauren says:

    I’ve been using DHC’s deep cleansing oil for years. Clinique’s cleansing balm is on my to try list. I’ve never used a real balm cleanser.

  8. PB says:

    Have you tried Bioderma?

  9. Ive been using the Bobbi Brown cleansing oil and I like it a lot

  10. max says:

    Thanks for this Danielle! I had no idea there were so many options – I’ve been using MAC’s cleansing oil fr’ages! I love it but for some reason it pains me to spend so much money on oils…I can’t wait til drugstore brands get on this bandwagon and start making some $8 options.

  11. Erica says:

    Great post. I’ve been using MAC Cleanse Off Oil for years. I love it and just cracked open a new bottle but want to take a few more for a test run. I’ll be trying some of these!

  12. Erica says:

    Timely post Danielle! I’ve used the Mac cleansing oils, plain ‘ole coconut, jojoba and grapeseed oils, etc. Of the brands you mentioned I liked the Amore Pacific and Clinique oils the best. I didn’t care too much for Dior or Josie Moran. I am sampling Boscia and SK- II. I have oily skin but these cleansing oils have improved my skin care regimen beautifully. Thank you for the great recommendations.

  13. This is a great post! I think I may try the Boscia one – good price and seems like you like it.

  14. Abby says:

    I’m glad to know the Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil is your favorite because I’ve been wanting to try it out! It’s definitely toward the top of my wish list!

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