Oil Cleansers: Use Them on Your Face, Not Your Pan!

When I first heard of oil cleansers, my first thought was: “Why would I put more oil on my face? I’m oily enough as it is!” If your initial reaction was like mine, then fear not: Oil cleansers are designed for your skin and not your stovetop pan!

Oil-based cleansers are the first step in the 10-step Korean skincare routine and they’re very important in making sure that your skin is clean.

            Let’s take a trip back to high school chemistry class (sorry!). Molecules that are nonpolar and neutral, like oils, are attracted to other nonpolar/neutral molecules. This means that the oil-based cleanser will “bind” with other oily substances on your skin, be they water-resistant makeup, sun protectant, pollution, or sebum. When you rinse the cleanser off, the other oily substances will follow it down the drain, too. I always use an oil cleanser, even if I didn’t put on makeup!

            Oil cleansers tackle surface-level oils; it won’t strip your skin of its natural oils since they don’t sink into your pores. If your everyday cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight and dry, it’s stripping your skin of its natural oils; this makes your pores overproduce oil to compensate for the sudden dryness. This leads to an oilier face, which few people want. Oil cleansers are a great way to avoid this, and there are many oil cleansers for every skin type – even oily skin!

            Here’s how I like to apply my cleanser: Before using any skincare products (besides a makeup wipe), apply your oil cleanser directly on your dry face. Rub it in and let it sit for about fifteen seconds so that it can properly adhere to the oily substances on your skin. Afterward, rinse it off with warm water. Don’t apply an oil cleanser on a wet face since oil and water don’t mix – it won’t be able to bind as well to the sun protectant or waterproof makeup!

Oil cleansers are just the first step in the 10-step Korean skincare routine; the next step, water-based or foaming cleansers, will help remove any unwanted water-based substances like sweat. Washing your face twice, also known as “double-cleansing,” is always better than once because it makes sure that your skin is scrupulously clean! It also primes your skin so that it will better absorb your toner, essence, and other skincare products.