The Dirt on Oil Based Cleansers


Oil based cleansers have grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years thanks to the two-step double cleansing facial routine (balm and oil cleansing) introduced to us by the Korean Skincare market. Oil is an essential ingredient in any cleanser as it has a similar chemical property to skin oil which allows the cleanser to interact and absorb the oils found in makeup but how much oil do you really need in your cleanser.

When it comes to the formulation of skincare products 100% concentration of any ingredient is not ideal.

The optimal formulation is to mix oils with other ingredients to get a combined benefit in your facial cleanser. You typically want no more than 0.03% to 0.15% of essential oils in your cleansing product, as a little goes a long way.

Oils Can Clog Your Pores

There are two main reasons essential oils can clog your pores. The first is that you may have a skin allergy or sensitivity to a specific essential oil. Over-using certain oils without fully understanding their properties and chemical makeup can upset your skin barrier and lead to acne and inflammation. Secondly, not all oils are good for your skin or ideal for topical application. Studies have shown that natural oils with high levels of linoleic acid (Jojoba and Sunflower oil) aka omega-6 fatty acid, are excellent at repairing the natural skin barrier whereas oils with high amounts of oleic acid (Olive oil) that are applied directly to the skin can be detrimental to skin barrier repair.

Oils Are an Unstable Ingredient

To maintain the efficacy of an essential oil, it must be properly preserved against oxidation. The latest trend is to place oil cleansers in dropper packaging however oil droppers are exposed to the elements and applying the dropper to your skin and then back in the bottle adds to contamination. You also need to be sure of the quality and lifetime of the oil, if the oil is rancid, diluted, or poor quality it can lead to potential breakouts. Let’s look at the best cleansers for your skin type.

Dry or Sensitive Skin

When you’ve got dry or sensitive skin there is nothing worse than removing your makeup at the end of the day and finding your face red and irritated. Enter cleansing milks, these gentle milky formulas give your skin a good cleanse whilst hydrating and softening. No angry red patches here.

Combination Skin

Foaming cleansers are lightweight and usually come out of the tube as a cream or gel before bursting into a rich, foamy lather when combined with water. Foaming cleansers are very good at removing excess oil but can also provide gentle exfoliation if it contains the right ingredients, making it an excellent choice for those with combination skin.

Oily Skin

Gel cleansers are designed for deep cleansing and are ideal for all skin types particularly oily and acne prone skin. They are especially good for unclogging pores while removing excess oil and acne-causing bacteria from the surface of your face. The Ellus & Krue Hydro Gel Cleanser is designed for daily use and gently removes makeup and other impurities from the surface of your face to reveal softer, smoother skin. Steer clear of cleansers containing Vitamin E and Coconut Oil as they can lead to breakouts for acne prone and oily skin as they are more pore clogging than other oils.

Oils work best when combined with other ingredients, they’re great working in tandem. One of the best oils to look for in the ingredient list of your cleanser is Sunflower Oil. This non fragrant plant oil is one the best additions to cleansers as it helps break up makeup on the skin in a gentle way instead of stripping the skin. It contains a very high percentage of linoleic acid (62%) and other essential fatty acids which makes it a great skin hydrator.

You can find Sunflower oil in our Hydro Gel CleanserDetoxifying Exfoliant and Intensive Night Repair.

Hydro Gel Cleanser & Detoxifying Exfoliant 

Learn more about the different types of essential oils in our blog 

The Oils You NEED (and the ones you don't) In Your Skincare and how to identify your skin type in the What is My Skin Type

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