This ongoing review roundup for the best cleansing oils is taking me some time to pull together. I first discovered cleansing oils products when I started using Dermalogica’s pioneering product. If you haven’t started using precleanse oils, read this on why it’s so important…
Using up a complete container of product before moving on takes me time, but it’s sustainable to use it all up before moving on to something new. It also gives me a chance to test out each product under varying circumstances – skin variations, little makeup to a full face of, and even as I switch out other products in my routine. But this is certainly a fun project for me – a hyper focused sustainable product review!
I used that Dermalogica precleanse exclusively for a few years, but then I started getting interested in other brands as well to see if they were as good. I’ve had some mixed results and still have a long way to go. I’ll be updating this post as I try different brands, but here are my cleansing oil reviews thus far as well as a few others on my mind.
Best Cleansing Oils
PROS: As I mentioned above, this Dermalogica precleanse was the first “cleansing oil” I tried. And before I get into any specifics, let me start by saying that it’s still the best and my favorite. Unlike other cleansing oils, this product really isn’t oily. It’s soft and slippery (that feels like the best word here), but it isn’t oily.
The texture is also thinner than most so it glides more easily. You’ll see in some of my reviews below that thicker products work well but they require more pressure and movement – something that the sensitive skin on our faces don’t really need.
The scent of this precleanse is also delicate and the product is cruelty-free, vegan, and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. And, well, how much more can I say about why I love this product!!
CONS: As someone who’s concerned about sustainability, I don’t love the plastic container it comes in. The bottle is recyclable, however (be sure to wash it out and dry first!). And if you’re into super clean beauty, sadly Dermalogica isn’t as strict has other brands, but they are missing most of the big offenders and I’m comfortable using it.
One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil
PROS: This One Love Organics oil is part of the line of clean beauty products by One Love Organics. The oil works well at getting makeup off and doesn’t leave a heavy oily feel (though it is a bit oily).
The company is ecocert certified, which means they’re working to source ingredients and make products sustainably!
The product comes in a beautiful glass bottle (that you can reuse – watch this video to see how to get it ready to reuse)!
CONS: My cons for this products are partly subjective and I don’t have any grand objections. The scent is definitely on the fruity side, reminding me of summer. I used this product in the middle of winter and somehow it never felt quite right.
The consistency of this oil is a bit thicker, which as I shared above, requires more pressure to move it around your face and effectively wipe away your eye makeup.
Fractionated Coconut Oil
A while ago I got a recommendation to use coconut oil as a makeup remover. It sounded inexpensive and I knew my refill store sold fractionated coconut oil (i.e. it stays in liquid form), so I gave it a whirl.
PROS: The fractionated coconut oil does work to get makeup off. I like that I can easily buy it in bulk; it’s certainly clean; and there’s really no scent to it.
CONS: It’s fairly thick as it’s a pure oil. My skin and hands also feel really oily until I get some soap on the situation. The smell is too plain. I know that sounds crazy, but if you’ve delved into the clean beauty products, you know what I mean by that.
I also broke out quite a bit while using this. It was only in two areas, but there were a number of blemishes. I even took a break from it and with just one use back, the breakouts started to return.
In the end, it works, but there’s nothing else good to say about it and I’ve read that regular virgin coconut oil can cause breakouts, so I won’t be trying that route either.
ANNMARIE Restorative Cleansing Oil
PROS: As a big fan of the AnnMarie facial oil (read my AnnMarie herbal fal oil review) and, obviously, a lover of cleansing oils, I couldn’t wait to try their new Restorative Cleansing Oil. As with all their products, it’s deemed safe by MadeSafe and comes in a glass bottle – great for reuse or recycling. The oil is thicker than most others that I’ve tried, but it goes on smoothly, seems to moisturize my skin, and certainly takes off my makeup without much work! It also smells really pleasant.
CONS: The first few times I used the Annmarie cleansing oil, I only put 2 or 3 pumps in my hand and felt like I was pushing it all over my face with intensity just to spread it everywhere. Now I know to put 6-8 pumps in my hand to avoid that unnecessary pressure on my skin.
While the product works well, I feel like I have to clean off the oil after I’m done using it. Even after I apply my cleanser, I usually still have some lingering oil on my hands. For the price, I don’t love that I have to use so much product and then have to use so much soap to ‘clean’ my hands after use.
AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Cleansing Oil
PROS: I got this AMOREPACIFIC treatment cleansing oil as a sample in a Nordstrom order a while back. The luxury line from South Korea touts its use of green tea in their products. The cleansing oil took off my makeup just fine and it’s free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.
CONS: There are a lot of great reviews for this product online, including its use for sensitive skin. I was so overwhelmed by the strong scent, however, I could barely get through the few times I used it. When I’m cleaning my face, I don’t want things that are potently scented and this was.
True Botanicals cleansing oil
True Botanicals works with MadeSafe and so it’s sustainable and clean. I’ve had friends rave about their products, so I’ was itching to try it.
The interesting thing is that you use it differently than the other cleansing oils. For others, you apply the oil to dry skin and then add water, then cleanser. For this cleansing oil, you apply to a dry face and then just apply the cleanser straight to your face. I do briefly wet my hand with the soap, but it’s not much.
The oil has a slightly citrus scent. Since I don’t like citrus, I was worried, but it isn’t really too strong.
PROS: Overall, this cleansing oil is the closest to the Dermalogica precleanse in terms of efficacy. It’s SUPER clean and sustainable – in a glass bottle and all! While it does have more of an oil consistency, it feels clean and glides on easily. I would certainly get it again!
CONS: I don’t love the citrus scent, but as I mentioned, it isn’t too strong. The only minor complaint is that on days when I’m wearing a heavier eyeliner, I do feel that I have to rub a bit more on my eyes to get it off. I’m not wearing eyeliner too much, so this wasn’t something I noticed until I was about 80% through the bottle. So obviously it’s fine for any normal application!
Other Cleansing Oils to Try…
I have a bottle of the Kari Gran Cleansing Oil to try next! It’s a clean beauty brand and compared to many of the others I’ve tried, much less expensive for how much you get in a bottle!
The Countertime Lipid Defense Oil by Beauty Counter is also of interest. It’s supposed to be lightweight and effective while being clean and better for the the planet!