Skip To Content

    Here's How Oil Cleansing Actually Works

    Yes, even on oily skin.

    Sooooooo...WTF is ~oil cleansing~?

    Alison Caporimo / Thinkstock

    Oil cleansing is the process of using oil (instead of soap or a cleanser) to dissolve and remove dirt on the skin.

    How it works: Oil filled with antioxidants and vitamins dissolve the pore-clogging oil produced by your face.

    Lifestock / Via

    “Cleansing oils are based on the premise that like dissolves like,” dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah of Smart Skin Dermatology told BuzzFeed.

    Fun fact: It can work on oily skin.

    Ninamalyna / Getty Images

    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.

    Reddit user: toloveawallflower / Via

    “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.

    Gpointstudio / Getty Images

    “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.

    Creativaimages / Getty Images

    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.

    To learn more about oil cleansing, go here.