Cleansing oils are the avocado toast of the natural beauty world: Yes, they may sound a little weird initially, but once you’ve discovered their many charms, you can’t imagine living without them. (They’re gentle, super-effective, and that radiant glow they impart is like no other—there’s a reason we dedicated our logo to them this month.)
But for the uninitiated, we get that treating your face in such a counterintuitive way can be kind of scary. Can you really rid your skin of its daily grime with… more oil? Is oil still going to give you that deep-down, squeaky-clean feeling that you kinda crave?
The good news: If you’re armed with the right technique, it’ll be a whole lot easier to step away from the foaming face wash or $8 doesn’t-do-anything-for-your-skin stuff.
Consider this your indoctrination into the face oil fan club—or a way to brush up on your skills if you’re already a member.
Here’s the easy, foolproof way to wash your face with an oil cleanser:
Step 1: Start with one pump of a great oil cleanser (like In Fiore Lustra Illuminating Floral Essence, $125, Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover, $42, or Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, $68). Massage from chin to forehead in tiny circular motions for a few minutes. The action of the massage creates heat in the skin, which encourages the pores to open.
Step 2: Soak a little facial towel (they recommend muslin, but any type will do) in warm water and then press into your face. The heat from the towel will soften your skin, open your pores, and aid in removal of your skin’s dirt and oils.
Step 3: Once your face is nice and oily, use your warm, damp towel to wipe the oil away. (You’ll be surprised how much gunk comes off on your towel.)
Step 4: To remove lipstick and eye makeup, including mascara, put a couple of drops of oil on damp cotton rounds and swipe over lips and eye area.
Step 5: Your skin should be clean, soft, and dewy. Some love to go for a “double cleanse”—simply wash with your favorite natural cleanser, using the same circular motions, for another couple of minutes.
Now that you’ve mastered oil cleansing, it’s time to experiment with oils as moisturizers, acne fighters, and night treatments. Here’s how to choose the right one for your skin type.