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12 Gentle Cleansing Oils to Get Rid of Makeup—Yes, Even Waterproof Mascara

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Photo by Primipil/Getty Images

Just when you thought you had your skincare routine down to a science, here comes oil cleansing to shake things up in your beauty cabinet. If you’re not experienced with oil cleansing, it might sound counterintuitive, but this tried-and-true beauty secret is beneficial for a myriad of skin solutions.

“Oil cleansing is a great way to thoroughly clean your skin without worrying that you are being too aggressive and disrupting your skin barrier,” says Anne Beal, physician-researcher and founder of clean skincare brand ABSOLUTEJOI. “When part of a double-cleansing routine, oil cleansing is great for all skin types and is an impactful way to gently lift makeup, sunscreen, pollution, and other heavy impurities.”

If you already have oily or acne-prone skin, you might think this type of cleansing isn’t for you, but Dr. Beal recommends trying it. “Oil cleansing is an efficient way to reduce excess sebum,” she explains. “When you use an oil, the principle of ‘like dissolves like’ means your cleansing oil will also dissolve your skin’s natural oil. Taking the time to massage your non-comedogenic cleansing oil into your pores helps unplug them by dissolving the oil. Many people with oily skin use aggressive cleansers that can cause over-stripping. By using an oil cleanser, consumers can get the deep down clean they want without damaging their skin barrier.”

Ready to add oil cleansing to your skincare routine? Discover the best cleansing oils for all skin types below.

About the Expert:

Anne Beal is a physician-researcher, skincare expert, and the founder of clean skincare brand ABSOLUTEJOI.

1. Best Luxury Oil Cleanser:

EPARA SKINCARE Natural Cleansing Oil

EPARA SKINCARE Natural Cleansing Oil

We must admit—this natural cleansing oil is worth the splurge. It features marula oil to help increase skin elasticity and hydration while boasting major claims like reduced hyperpigmentation and sebum production regulation. It also helps prevent skin irritation and improve overall appearance with brightening licorice root extract.

2. Best Oil Cleanser for Makeup Removal:

FENTY BEAUTY Melt Awf Jelly Oil Makeup Melting Cleanser

FENTY BEAUTY Melt Awf Jelly Oil Makeup Melting Cleanser
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

Say goodbye to your longwear and waterproof makeup with this luxe oil cleanser. It’s composed of nine conditioning oils like sunflower, castor, and grapefruit oils, to name a few. The bottle has an easy-to-use pump, and we love the unique jelly texture that transforms into a lightweight oil as you activate it with water.

3. Best Drugstore Oil Cleanser:

NEUTROGENA Ultra Light Cleansing Oil

NEUTROGENA Ultra Light Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of NEUTROGENA

Whether you need to pick up a cleanser ASAP or you just don’t want to break the bank, it’s always great to have a go-to drugstore beauty product you can count on. This oil cleanser from NEUTROGENA is a fan favorite for its lightweight texture and non-greasy finish—no second cleanse necessary.

Pro tip: “Oil cleansing is a great way to add a lymphatic massage into your skincare routine. While massaging in the oil to cleanse, you can also take the time to gently massage the surface of your skin to help move lymph, de-puff, and tone your skin.” –Dr. Anne Beal.

4. Best All Natural Cleansing Oil:

ABSOLUTEJOI Sunflower & Moringa Fresh Cleanse Oil

ABSOLUTEJOI Sunflower & Moringa Fresh Cleanse Oil

This cleansing oil is made without perfumes, artificial fragrances, or dyes, and has ingredients that will make your skin feel amazing instantly and over time. “Sunflower oil is great for skin and contains fatty acids that help promote ceramides for hydrated, juicy skin,” explains Dr. Beal. “At the same time, moringa oil has high levels of antioxidants and is a skin-loving oil for a healthy glow. This cleanser has the right amount of emulsifier to help rinse away the oils, leaving skin clean and not oily.”

5. Best Anti-Aging Oil Cleanser:

TATCHA The Camellia Cleansing Oil

TATCHA The Camellia Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of TATCHA

Don’t underestimate the power of a cleanser to deliver long-term anti-aging results. Formulated with the famed Japanese camellia flower, this hydrating and nourishing cleanser helps draw out oil, makeup, and pollutants. When used as a double cleanser with TATCHA The Rice Polish: Classic, 100 percent of users claimed reduced wrinkles.

6. Best PH-Balanced Cleansing Oil:

ORIGINS Checks and Balances Milky Oil Cleanser + Makeup Melter

ORIGINS Checks and Balances Milky Oil Cleanser + Makeup Melter
Courtesy of ORIGINS

Dissolve impurities and melt away makeup with this lightweight, gentle cleanser. It features a fun bi-phase formula that requires a little shake to activate, and then a little goes a long way to get rid of even the toughest mascara—without the raccoon eyes. Star ingredients include rice oil and almond oil to soften your skin, and this formula is also dermatologist-tested and skin pH-friendly, which means it won’t strip or cause discomfort if used daily.

7. Best Nighttime Cleansing Oil:

KIEHL’S Midnight Botanical Cleansing Oil

KIEHL’S Midnight Botanical Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of KIEHL’S

This indulgent cleansing oil prepares your skin for a night of beauty sleep. It helps you melt the day away with an aromatic blend of squalane, evening primrose oil, and lavender essential oils so that your skin is prepared for nighttime replenishment.

8. Best Cleansing Oil For Sensitive Skin:

MAC Hyper Real Fresh Canvas Cleansing Oil

MAC Hyper Real Fresh Canvas Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of MAC

Enjoy all the benefits of a cleansing oil without fearing it will irritate your sensitive skin or eyes. This one dissolves makeup, maintains skin’s moisture balance, and rinses off quickly without a greasy residue.

9. Best Balm to Cleansing Oil:

ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Cleansing Balm

ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Cleansing Balm
Courtesy of ESTÉE LAUDER

Even the most longwear, transfer-proof makeup is no match for this three-in-one cleansing oil. The buttery balm texture is an IPSY favorite. It transforms into a delicate cleansing oil as you massage it into your skin, and finally rinses away with a milky texture.

10. Best Organic Cleansing Oil:

DHC Cleansing Oil

DHC Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of DHC

This cult-favorite cleansing oil is credited with being one of the original products in the double-cleansing craze. It has a 100 percent organic olive oil base that binds with dirt and effortlessly breaks down impurities, leaving your skin feeling soft and cleansed from the day. It also features vitamin E to hydrate and rosemary leaf oil to refresh.

11. Best Cleansing Oil for Acne:

BURT’S BEES Cleansing Oil

BURT’S BEES Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of BURT’S BEES

Natural coconut and argan oils blend together to create this effective cleansing oil. The gentle formula promotes healthy-looking skin that’s soft and nourished. While the product doesn’t claim to be an acne solution, we can’t help but notice how reviewers rave that it has helped reduce breakouts for a clearer complexion.

12. Best Antioxidant Cleansing Oil:

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of BIOSSANCE

Achieve radiant skin with this antioxidant-rich cleansing oil. It’s infused with eight plant-derived oils and extracts plus sugar-cane-derived squalane for a lightweight texture that dissolves makeup and impurities. Users report that it effectively cleans their skin and promotes a radiant complexion.

Can’t get enough of our skincare tips? Check out the best vegan skincare brands you have to try, then take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated December 19, 2023 12:00 AM