Complete Guide to Using an Oil Cleanser for Healthier Looking Skin

A step by step guide on how to start cleansing with oil for healthy glowing skin.

Oil cleansers are undoubtedly the most effective way to gently cleanse skin and remove makeup, sunscreen, perspiration, excess oil and even pollution from the surface of your skin. Suitable for all skin types and highly recommended for sensitive, reactive, dry and even acne prone skin.

The first time you try an oil cleanser it can feel weird, especially if you’re addicted to that squeaky clean skin feeling. Squeaky clean is best for your dishes and kitchen bench, not your skin. Squeaky clean = stripped skin and damaged skin barrier.

Oil cleansing respects your skins protective barrier and skin microbiome

Cleansing with oil will probably mean changing your face wash routine up a bit. You’ll need to do a bit more hands on work, rather than relying on a harsh product to remove your makeup or sunscreen at the end of the day.  It’s a bit like organic gardening for your skin. Or the skincare version of the Slow Food Movement. But the benefits are well worth it.

Read on to discover how to cleanse your skin properly when using an oil cleanser. You’ll also learn how to choose the best oil cleanser and which ingredients you should avoid.  There’s also an easy DIY recipe for making your own oil cleanser right at the end.  Enjoy.

Sarah Luck

Nutritionist & Naturopath @NubeeanNoosa

Benefits of using an oil cleanser

It’s well worth learning how to use an oil cleanser properly. The benefits of oil cleansing to your skin include:

  1. Gentle to skin
    Oil cleansing effectively but gently removes dirt, makeup, excess oil, sunscreen etc without stripping away your skins natural oils and protective barrier.
  2. Moisturising
    Oil cleansing helps to keep skin hydrated and able to better maintain its own natural moisture balance.
  3. Reduce inflammation
    Oil cleansing is especially beneficial if you have sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis or eczema as it can help to soothe and reduce inflammation. Inflammation also prematurely ages your skin.
  4. Balanced oil production
    Oil cleansers can help to regulate your skin’s oil production, resulting in healthier looking and clearer skin. Foaming cleansers and other cleansing methods that strip oil from your skin can result in your stressed out skin producing even more oil as a protective response.
  5. Better skin texture
    Regular oil cleansing results in a more even and smoother skin texture.
Step by step guide on how to use an oil cleanser for healthier looking skin.

Step by step guide on how to clean your skin with an oil cleanser

Oil cleansers are best applied to dry skin and done before you get in the shower. 

  1. Apply the oil cleanser to your finger tips and distribute evenly over your face, neck and decolletage (your upper chest area).
  2. Massage your skin well using your finger tips. Focus on problem areas like around the nose, chin and between eyebrows.  Massaging the oil cleanser into your skin helps to increase blood circulation, lymphatic flow and loosens dead skin, dirt, excess oil, makeup, sunscreen and pollution from your skin. 
  3. The next step gently steams your skin – when you oil cleanse, you get to enjoy your own spa experience every time you wash your face (no wonder your complexion will soon be glowing!)
  4. Steaming your skin is really very easy to do.  You just need a clean face cloth which you run under very warm water. Wring the excess water out and spread the face cloth over your face. Now just spend a few seconds breathing deeply and feeling your body and the muscles in your face relax. Repeat so that you steam your throat and decolletage. Repeat each area 2-3 times and then on the final steam, use the face cloth to wipe down your face. Again, focus on the problem areas. If you’re prone to hormonal acne, be sure to wipe under your jaw all the way back to your ears. This step gently exfoliates and wipes away dead skin and excess oil.
  5. If you wear makeup or zinc based sunscreens you should perform a double cleanse by repeating all the steps above.

Oil cleanser for eye make up remover

You’ll need 2 cotton pads, or resuable cotton/bamboo cloth pads.

  1. Wet them with warm water and squeeze out any excess.
  2. Open them up and apply a few drops of oil cleanser to the middle of each.
  3. Place them over your eyes and leave for 30-60 seconds – gently pressing them onto your eye area with your finger tips.  This acts like a warm compress to your eyes. The warmth relaxes the muscles around your eyes and gently increases blood circulation to bring fresh nutrients and remove cellular waste and toxins.
  4. Gently wipe off your eye makeup being careful not to pull on the skin around your eye. 
  5. Repeat 2-3 times until all eye makeup is gone.

Oil cleansers will gently but effectively remove all eye makeup. They will also lift and remove water proof mascara. Cleansing with oil also helps to condition and strengthen your eyelashes and eyebrows at the same time.  Look for oil cleansers with Black Castor Oil and Jojoba which help to support healthy lashes and brows. Calendula oil is good if you’re prone to eczema around the eyes.

A step by step guide on how to use an oil cleanser.  How to choose the best oil cleanser

Oil cleansers don’t have to be complicated, in fact, less is best for your skin when it comes to the ingredients list of healthy skincare. Look for oil cleansers that have as few ingredients as possible.

The best oils for oil cleansing are squalane, fractionated coconut oil and Jojoba oil. Extra virgin olive can also be used.

These oils are reccomended as they are all very stable – which means they don’t go rancid or oxidise easily. Heat, light and oxygen can oxidise oils. Oxidised oils are high in free radicals which inflame and age skin.  Oils rich in essential fatty acids oxidise quickly and are best avoided if you want a product with a long shelf life that is best for your skin.

Other therapeutic oils like Rosehip, Blackseed (Nigella or Black Cumin Seed), Centella, Argan, Calendula and Black Castor Oil can be added to oil cleansers to treat specific skin issues if and when needed.  Essential oils can also be added but watch out for essential oils that make your skin more sensitive to the sun like Bergamot, Citrus (lemon, lime, orange, mandarin and cedarwood.  Most cold pressed Citrus oils ARE photosensitising (make your skin burn faster in the sun), whereas steam distilled Citrus oils are generally safe.

Oil cleanser ingredients to avoid

If you have sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis or eczema, check the ingredients of your oil cleanser to ensure that it contains no fragrances or other ingredients such as sulphates and silicones that can irritate your skin. Also ensure that your oil cleanser does not contain surfactants or emulsifiers which are used to make it easier to remove the cleanser but contribute to damaging your skin’s protective barrier.  Oil cleansers should not require any preservatives, including phenoxyethanol.

Make your own DIY oil cleanser recipe

The best oils for different skin types to use for oil cleansing your skin.

You’ll need 100-200ml of your favourite oil or oil blend. Ideally store it in a dark coloured glass bottle. Recycle an old skincare container if you can.

Choose from the following oils

  • Organic Jojoba oil – light and moisturising to eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows
  • Squalane – a clear very fine oil with no smell. This is a great oil to use in an oil cleanser if you have acne, very dry skin or inflamed skin (eczema, rosacea, perioral dermatitis).
  • Fractioned Coconut Oil – Light and clear with no smell. Moisturising but non greasy.

Add 3-6 drops of one of the following essential oils

  • Roman chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Kunzea
  • Neroli
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh
  • Carrot seed
  • Tea tree
  • Jasmine
  • Rose

Mix all the ingredients together and your oil cleanser is ready to use. That’s it. Super easy and so much better for your skin.

Are you ready to try cleansing with oil?!

I hope after reading about the benefits of using an oil cleanser that you’ll feel inspired and motivated to make the switch. Your skin will be so much healthier looking and feeling once you stop using soap or harsh cleansers. Cleansing properly will also prevent a buildup of dead skin which can leave you prone to breakouts and make your complexion look dull and dry. Oil cleansing combined with warm face compresses to remove the cleanser is also a wonderfully relaxing way to start and end your day.


You might be interested in the following Oil Cleansers (we think they’re the best oil cleansers in Australia!)

Pure Olive Squalane oil

  • Nothing but 100% pure squalane derived naturally from olives. Use as a moisturiser and cleanser, or, as DIY ingredient in your own homemade skincare.

Organic Jojoba oil

  • Organic, unrefined Jojoba oil can be used as an oil cleanser for face and is safe to use around the eyes. 

BlackSeed & Kunzea Oil Cleanser

  • A "medicated" oil cleanser containing Ayurvedic organic BlackSeed oil (Nigella/Black Cumin Seed and Australian Kunzea from Tasmania. Recommended for all types of acne including hormonal and fungal. Also reccomended for inflamed, red and irritated skin conditions like rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.  Can be used as a leave on oil treatment moisturiser and also applied to scalp.

Centella Serum

  • A beautiful multitasking serum made from infusing wildcrafted Centella (Gotu Kola) into organic Jojoba oil for several months. Centella is famous in Korean Skincare for its ability to calm red and irritated skin, support skin healing, reduce scar formation and promote healthy collagen production.  Makes a great oil cleanser for use around the eye area and will remove waterproof mascara. Reccomended for sensitive skin.



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