How Do I Oil Cleanse?

Curious about oil cleansing? In this article we'll answer all of your oil cleansing questions to help you and your skin benefit from this well-loved skin care practice! Oil cleansing is an ancient practice and has long been regarded as a form of effective and gentle cleansing in the skin care world. We're super excited to introduce you to it, we'll know you'll just love it!


Oil Cleansing History

Most cultures have a long lineage and connection to using local harvested oils for beauty and skin needs. Oil cleansing has long been regarded as a form of effective and gentle cleansing in the skin care world. However, for as long as oil cleansing has been around in the beauty industry, it is still a new concept for many. 

The use of oil for skin care has a long recorded history that goes back to Ancient Rome where oil was used in bath houses. During Egyptian times, Cleopatra popularized the use of plant-based oils for skin care. It was during the 14th century when Japanese and Korean women would remove their white-painted faces with an oil cleanser. 

The traditional bar soap making process of saponification, which is a process we use to create our complexion soaps, wasn’t discovered until 1775. In fact, the kind of bar soaps we’re much more familiar with in our modern day weren’t industrially produced until the 19th century. Liquid cleansing soaps became popularized in the 1990s. 

Oil cleansing has made a comeback over the years as the skincare industry started to diversify with options in the clean beauty space. Oil cleansing is one of the many ways people have been able to simplify their skincare routine as well. 

Benefits of Oil Cleansing 

Oil cleansing has long been considered to be an ideal step for the health of skin long-term. Being both gentle and effective, this multi-tasking step can really help people achieve their skin goals without the fuss of sharp ingredients and multiple steps. Here are a few of the top benefits to oil cleansing:

  • Effective makeup remover: Oil cleansing is a method of cleaning the skin that uses an oil that may or may not emulsify in order to dissolve makeup and debris from the skin. Some makeup removers can be a bit harsher on the skin as they often contain drying ingredients like alcohol which can often lead to irritation of the skin and eye area. A little bit of oil cleanser can help dissolve makeup while providing hydrating benefits to the eye area. 
  • Balancing to skin’s oil: You know that squeaky tight sensation you may be used to with conventional cleansers, it can be uncomfortable and that’s because most cleansing agents don’t preserve our natural oils so we have to replenish hydration with more products. Oil cleansing does not strip the skin of beneficial oils that promote a healthier skin barrier and microbiome. Instead, the gentle wash off process helps skin feel hydrated.
  • Made for all skin types; Is an Oil Cleanser good for you? The short answer is yes, an oil cleanser is ideal for just about every skin type and skin condition. Why? Because oil likes oil. This means if your skin is overproducing oil and it’s causing breakouts or congestion, the right blend of cleansing oils will balance your overall sebum, your skin’s natural oil production. And if you have too little sebum production, an oil cleanser can be really nourishing and replenishing to your skin’s barrier. 

The formulation for the Vetiver Illuminating oil cleanser was created with all different skin conditions in mind such as acne-prone, mature skin, sensitized conditions, and dry skin. The quality of ingredients is key to helping someone successfully use an oil cleanser for a variety of skin conditions.  Read more about our ingredients here


Interested in trying out oil cleansing for yourself? You can start by following these simple steps and follow along to our video tutorial: 

  1. PREP: Tie back any loose hairs away from your face and wash your hands. Have a clean, dry washcloth available for the removal process. 
  1. TAKE A PAUSE: Apply 2-3 pumps (a little less than the size of a quarter) of your oil cleanser of choice and lightly massage in your palms. 

PRO TIP: If you are using the Vetiver Illuminating Oil Cleanser, take the time to enjoy this tranquility in a bottle. Bring your palms to your face, close your eyes, and take a deep breath to inhale the grounding properties of the Vetiver essential oil. A grounding oil that is steam distilled from organically grown vetiver. 

  1. CLEANSE: Apply the oil on dry skin covering your face, neck, and any areas with makeup.
  1. MASSAGE: Take the time to help the oil blend into your skin with a gentle and thorough massage. Follow along with our facial massage tutorial here.

EXTRA STEP - EMULSIFY: In order to turn the oil cleanser into a *cleansing milk, add water to your hands and repeat the massage motions on the skin. If you feel like the product has soaked into the skin, add more water to help with emulsification. Note that not all oil cleansers emulsify but the Vetiver Illuminating Oil Cleanser does, which is why this step is based on the oil cleanser you are using. 

  1. REMOVAL: Run your Apoterra cleansing cloth or a clean washcloth under water to help with product removal. The temperature should range from cool to lukewarm depending on the skin condition. Avoid anything that could be too hot for the skin. Gently compress the cloth on the skin to  remove the cleanser, makeup and other signs of the day from the skin. 
  1. FINISH SKINCARE ROUTINE: Follow up with a secondary cleanse with your Apoterra complexion soap of choice or the rest of your skincare routine. Not every person needs a second cleanse, so focus on what your skin needs are to complete your skincare. 

*Cleansing milk is a term used to describe the texture of the product and is not an actual milk product. 



Oil Cleansing Tips and FAQs

Should my oil cleanser emulsify? The Apoterra Vetiver Illuminating Oil Cleanser does emulsify, so make sure to add water after massaging the cleanser into skin to reach a milky consistency. Not all oil cleansers will, so it depends on the formulation. 

Can oil cleansing be enough of a cleanse? This entirely depends on your skin. Many people utilize a secondary cleanse if they are removing a lot of product from their face such as makeup and sunscreen. We recommend our double cleanse kit for these cases and to learn more click here

Is oil cleansing best for the morning, evening, or both? Because of how well oil cleansing removes makeup, most users of this method find that they opt to oil cleanse in the evening. However, oil cleansing is a gentle enough cleansing practice that it can be used for any routine in which you need to cleanse your skin. 

Are all oil cleansers the same? Oil cleansers can vary depending on the ingredients used. Some may emulsify like our Vetiver Illuminating Cleansing Oil does while others do not at all. Some are single ingredients like jojoba oil and others are formulated with multiple ingredients. To make sure that the oil cleanser is suitable for your skin, we recommend checking in with the product manufacturer.  Our Vetiver oil cleanser is suitable for most skin, including skin prone to acne, blackheads, irritation, dryness and dullness.

Oil cleansers make my eyes foggy, how can I avoid this? This is a common issue for those using an oil cleanser to remove their eye makeup. A way to help avoid this is by applying less of the oil on first and only adding in more as needed. More oil will not necessarily be more effective.  If you would like to experience a deeper cleanse, we recommend trying the double cleanse method. The same advice goes for anyone who feels too much residue on the skin after removal. 

Will an oil cleanser work for me? To recap, here are three key factors to determine if an oil cleanser will work for your skin or not:

  • The quality of ingredients. Look for a cleanser that has fresh, high quality ingredients, that is formulated for your skin concerns, and make sure to follow the steps correctly.
  • Your skin's compatibility. Are the ingredients in the formulations suitable for your skin?
  • Learning proper techniques. Be sure to follow the appropriate usage steps and technique. 

If you’d like to give oil cleansing a try but aren’t sure if it's right for you, or if you haven’t had success with oil cleansing in the past, feel free to reach out to our friendly team of professionals for support!

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