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Here's How Oil Cleansing Actually Works

Yes, even on oily skin.

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Fun fact: It can work on oily skin.

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I know, I know: What kind of sorcery is this that you can put oil on your face to make it less *oily*? That's because some oils have drying and anti-inflammatory properties. “Tea tree and peppermint oils have an astringent property that is great for oilier skin,” Dr. Shah said. And if you do go for essential oils, do a patch test and make sure to super dilute them with other oils like castor oil.

Got acne-prone skin? It might help you out there, too.

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“People with oily or acne-prone skin tend to overcleanse and dry out their skin, which can cause the skin to overcompensate for the dryness by producing more oil,” Shah said. “If oil cleansing is done right, it can clean and moisturize the skin without causing irritation, which can be a side effect of harsh cleansers.”


To oil cleanse, you need a soft wash cloth and oil.

How to do it: Place a hot, damp washcloth on the face for 20 seconds. Remove the washcloth, massage your oil of choice into the skin, let the oil sit for 30 seconds, and use a hot washcloth to gently wipe the oil away. The heat from the washcloth will help to open up your pores and break down makeup.

According to Dr. David E. Bank, director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, try the following oil combinations depending on your skin:

* For normal to dry skin, try argan or shea oil.

* For oily skin, mix a tiny bit of tea tree or peppermint oil with a little castor oil.

* Also, note that you're going to have to experiment with proportions to find the perfect blend for your skin.

You can also use oil as a makeup remover.

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“Coconut oil can be a great makeup remover because it has anti-bacterial properties,” Bank says. Though it can be fairly pore-blocking when it comes to the rest of your face. Read about how to oil cleanse with coconut oil here and talk to your dermatologist if you have specific questions about oil cleansing for your skin type.

And remember: If you have sensitive skin, apply the oil to a test area.

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Try the side of your face right in front of your ear for a test patch. If something does go awry, the area is less noticeable than the center of your cheek or your forehead.