5 Best Oil-Based Cleansers: Revolutionize Your Skincare Routine

A few years ago, I discovered oil-based cleansers and was intrigued enough to give them a try. My journey began from a place of frustration, as conventional cleansers often left my skin prone to breakouts and dryness. 

Oil-based cleansers are a game-changer in natural skincare, offering deep cleansing without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Ideal for both oily and dry skin types, these cleansers dissolve makeup, impurities, and excess sebum effortlessly, leaving the skin soft, hydrated, and radiant.

What Are Oil-Based Cleansers?

Oil-based cleansers work by utilizing the chemistry principle of "like dissolves like." These cleansers contain lipophilic (oil-loving) components that attract and dissolve other oils, including the sebum (natural oil) produced by the skin, as well as oils in makeup and sunscreen. When massaged into the skin, oil-based cleansers bind to surface impurities and excess sebum, allowing them to be easily rinsed away without disrupting the skin's natural lipid barrier. This process effectively cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils, helping to maintain hydration, soothe the skin, and prevent dryness. Unlike water-based cleansers that rely on surfactants to remove dirt, which can sometimes strip the skin and lead to dryness, oil cleansers provide a gentle yet thorough cleaning method, making them suitable for many skin types, particularly dry and sensitive skin​.

Cleansing Oils by Skin Type

1. For Normal Skin

For normal skin, which is well-balanced and neither too oily nor too dry, oil-based cleansers can maintain the natural equilibrium of the skin. Individuals with normal skin should look for cleansers that are lightweight and non-comedogenic to prevent pore clogging. Ingredients like squalane oil can be beneficial as they mimic the skin's natural oils, providing gentle hydration and maintaining the skin's natural barrier without altering its balance.

2. For Dry Skin

Dry skin can greatly benefit from oil-based cleansers as they provide additional moisture and prevent the over-stripping of natural oils. Look for products containing oils like argan or almond oil, which are rich in fatty acids and vitamins, helping to nourish and repair the skin's barrier. Avoid cleansers with high alcohol content or astringents as they can further dry out the skin.

3. For Oily Skin

Those with oily skin might think to avoid oil-based cleansers, but they can actually help regulate sebum production. Opt for cleansers with oils like jojoba or grapeseed, which can help balance oil levels without causing breakouts. It's important to choose non-comedogenic formulas to avoid clogging pores and exacerbating oiliness.

4. For Combination Skin

Combination skin, characterized by both oily and dry areas, can benefit from oil-based cleansers that balance the skin’s moisture. Ingredients like sunflower oil, which is light and non-comedogenic, can help moisturize dry areas without making oily zones greasier. Those with combination skin should avoid heavy oils that could increase oiliness in the T-zone.

5. For Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin requires gentle oil-based cleansers free from fragrances, alcohols, and essential oils that can irritate. Ingredients like chamomile or calendula oil offer soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to calm and reduce redness without causing irritation. It's crucial to patch-test new products to ensure they don't trigger sensitivity.

6. For Mature Skin

Mature skin benefits from oil-based cleansers that offer hydration and support the skin’s elasticity. Ingredients like rosehip oil, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, can help reduce signs of aging by promoting regeneration and improving moisture retention. Avoid cleansers with harsh exfoliants or high alcohol content, as they can be drying and emphasize fine lines and wrinkles.

For each skin type, the key is to find an oil-based cleanser with the right balance of ingredients that addresses specific skin concerns while maintaining the skin's natural health and vibrancy.

Best Oil-Based Cleansers:

Selecting the best oil-based cleanser depends on your skin type, concerns, and desired ingredients. High-quality options often contain nourishing ingredients like jojoba, rosehip, or tea tree oil, which offer additional benefits like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Comparison: Oil-Based Cleansers vs. Normal Cleansers:

Feature Oil-Based Cleanser Water-Based Cleanser
Hydration Enhances skin’s moisture Can strip away natural oils
Cleansing Power Dissolves oil-soluble impurities Effective on water-soluble debris
Ideal For Dry, oily, and combination skin Normal to oily skin
After-Feel Leaves skin soft and supple May leave skin feeling tight

Which Oil-Based Cleanser is Best?

In this round-up, I've compiled the 9 best oil cleansers renowned for their efficacy and the transparency of their natural ingredients. These top-rated gems stand out in the beauty realm, promising not only to cleanse but also to nourish and revitalize your skin. Each product in this carefully selected list represents the pinnacle of skincare innovation, combining potent, natural ingredients with proven results. Let's dive into the world of luxurious textures, effective cleansing, and skin-loving formulas to discover your next favorite oil cleanser.

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Round-Up of 5 Best Oil-Based Cleansers:

F78 Arbequina Cleansing Oil

The Arbequina Cleansing Oil by Olive Tree People highlights the brand's commitment to natural, high-quality skincare solutions. This oil harnesses the power of Arbequina olive oil, known for its hydrating and antioxidant properties, to deliver a deep, gentle cleanse. Olive Tree People prides itself on using sustainable, organic ingredients that nourish the skin while respecting the environment. 

Key Features:

  • Deeply cleanses while maintaining moisture balance
  • Effectively removes makeup, including waterproof formulas
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Effortlessly dissolves makeup and impurities
  • Leaves skin feeling soft, hydrated, and refreshed
  • Improves skin texture and clarity with regular use

Ingredients Analysis:

  • Arbequina olive oil: Hydrating and antioxidant-rich
  • Contains vitamins E and K, and polyphenols for skin protection
  • Free from harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and parabens
  • Gentle on sensitive skin


  • Easy application with pump dispenser
  • Massage a few pumps onto dry skin, emulsify with water, then rinse
  • Lightweight formula rinses off easily without oily residue


  • High-quality, natural ingredients: Arbequina olive oil provides deep hydration and antioxidants, improving skin texture and clarity.
  • Effective performance: Effortlessly removes makeup, including waterproof formulas, and leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed.


  • Price: The premium ingredients and formulation come at a higher cost compared to some other cleansing oils.
  • Scent: While pleasant for many, the light scent may not appeal to those who prefer fragrance-free products.

Shop F78 Arbequina Cleansing Oil by Olive Tree People

Activist Skincare Botanical Cleansing Oil

Activist Skincare's Botanical Cleansing Oil promises a spa-like experience with every use. Its refreshing liquid formula is designed for all skin types, aiming to dissolve makeup and impurities while preserving the skin’s natural oils.

Key Features:
  • Size & Packaging: Available in a 4 oz bottle or refill option.
  • Scent: Lightly scented with herbs, florals, and citrus.

  • Cleansing Efficiency: Effectively dissolves makeup, impurities, and excess oil without stripping the skin.
  • Skin Feel: Leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized, not dry or tight.

Ingredients Analysis:
  • Key Actives: Cold-pressed botanical oils, Vitamin E, and a gentle emulsifier, di-PPG-2 myreth-10 adipate, facilitate effective cleansing and rinsing.
  • Certified Organic Botanicals: Includes USDA certified organic, palm-free caprylic/capric triglyceride.
  • Scent Contributors: Geranium, pink grapefruit, and lavender essential oils offer a pleasing aroma and additional skin benefits.

  • Application: Intended for use on dry skin, massage-able, with easy rinse-off.
  • Packaging Efficiency: Comes in refillable glass containers, supporting sustainability.

Pros and Cons:
  • Pros:
    • Luxurious, spa-like scent and feel.
    • Effective in removing makeup and impurities.
    • Supports skin's moisture balance.
    • Eco-friendly and refillable packaging.
  • Cons:
    • Premium price point.
    • Essential oils may not suit all sensitive skin types.

Activist Skincare's Botanical Cleansing Oil is a top-tier choice for those seeking a luxurious, effective, and eco-conscious cleanser. Its blend of cold-pressed botanical oils, coupled with the thoughtful, sustainable packaging, makes it a standout product for eco-minded consumers. Ideal for a range of skin types, it ensures a thorough cleanse that respects the skin's natural balance, making it a worthwhile investment for skincare enthusiasts. Shop Botanical Cleansing Oil by Activist Skincare.


DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, rooted in Japanese beauty traditions, is a renowned facial cleanser that not only removes makeup but also leaves the skin feeling soft, clean, and radiant. Formulated with virgin olive oil, it is designed to bind with sebum and impurities, effectively breaking down even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup while providing a rich source of antioxidants.

Key Features:
  • Formula: Water-soluble, ensuring thorough rinsing.
  • Nutrition: Nourishes and hydrates for youthful-looking skin.
  • Richness: Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.

  • Efficacy: Clinical studies show that 92% of participants found it more effective than leading cleansers in removing makeup.
  • Skin Compatibility: Suitable for all skin types, known for completely dissolving all traces of dirt and cosmetics, including waterproof mascara and eyeliner.

Ingredients Analysis:
  • Main Ingredient: Olive oil, known for its antioxidant properties, defends the skin from environmental stressors that accelerate aging.
  • Benefits: The oil’s formulation hydrates and nourishes the skin, promoting a younger appearance.

  • Application: Applied with dry hands on a dry face, transforming into a milky emulsion upon contact with water, which then rinses clean without leaving a greasy residue.
  • Texture and Feel: Leaves skin soft and nurtured, never dry or greasy.

Pros and Cons:
  • Pros:
    • Effectively dissolves makeup without leaving residue.
    • Nourishes and softens the skin.
    • Provides antioxidant protection.
    • Non-comedogenic and does not clog pores.
  • Cons:
    • Mixed opinions on the product's scent and value.
    • Some users reported adverse effects on the eyes - so maybe avoid that are if you tend to be sensitive.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is a powerful, olive oil-based cleanser that effectively removes makeup while nourishing the skin. Its unique water-soluble formula ensures that it rinses off completely, leaving the skin hydrated, soft, and radiant. While it is highly effective and suitable for all skin types, potential buyers should consider the mixed reviews on its scent and value, and its potential eye sensitivity. Shop DHC Deep Cleansing Oil on Amazon. 

Kari Gran's Essential Cleansing Oil

This cleansing oil is beautifully-crafted for all skin types, gently dissolving makeup and impurities while preserving your skin's natural oils (and with the best scent).



Key Features:

  • Size & Packaging: Available in a 4 oz bottle or refill option, packaged in sustainable glass containers.
  • Scent: Infused with a delicate blend of herbs, florals, and citrus notes for a refreshing and soothing sensory experience.


  • Cleansing Efficiency: Effectively removes makeup, sunscreen, and pollution, leaving your skin clean and refreshed without stripping its natural moisture.
  • Skin Feel: Softens and moisturizes your skin, promoting a healthy and balanced complexion.

Ingredients Analysis:

  • Key Actives: Organic Castor Seed Oil restores skin's natural moisture balance, while Organic Avocado Oil provides antioxidant-rich hydration and strength.
  • Certified Organic Botanicals: Contains Organic Sunflower Oil, rich in Vitamins A and E, to soothe and nourish dry, sensitive skin.
  • Cruelty-Free: Formulated without animal testing, ensuring ethical and compassionate skincare.


  • Application: Apply to dry skin, massage gently, and rinse off effortlessly for a luxurious cleansing experience.
  • Packaging Efficiency: Refillable glass bottles support sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Pros and Cons:


  • Luxurious spa-like experience with a delightful scent.
  • Effectively removes makeup, impurities, and excess oil.
  • Supports skin's moisture balance and nourishes the skin.
  • Eco-conscious, refillable packaging contributes to sustainable living.


  • Premium price reflects the high-quality ingredients and performance.
  • Essential oils may not be suitable for hypersensitive skin types.

Kari Gran's Essential Cleansing Oil is a must-have for those seeking a luxurious, effective, and environmentally-conscious skincare regimen. Its blend of organic oils and botanicals, paired with sustainable packaging, makes it a standout choice for skincare enthusiasts. Elevate your cleansing routine with Kari Gran's Essential Cleansing Oil and experience the true essence of clean, nourished, and radiant skin. Shop with this link to save $10 off your order! 

ANUA Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil

Discover the power of gentle yet potent cleansing with ANUA Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil. This transformative formula effectively eliminates makeup residue, blackheads, and excess sebum while preventing pore congestion, leaving your skin clear and radiant.

Key Features:

  • Gentle Yet Potent Cleansing: A must-have for double cleansing, achieving glowy glass skin results by deeply purifying the pores.
  • Mild Ingredients Only: Formulated with Heartleaf extract for soothing effects on the skin, ensuring a calming and gentle cleansing experience.
  • Suitable for All Skin Types: Hypoallergenic & Non-Irritation Test completed, making it perfect for sensitive, acne-prone skin, and all skin types.
  • Gentle on the Eyes: No eye stinging experiences when used around eyes, validated by the Eye Irritation Test (Cruelty-Free HET-CAM Test).


  • Cleansing Efficiency: Effectively removes makeup, sunscreen, and pollution, leaving your skin clean and refreshed without stripping its natural moisture.
  • Skin Feel: Softens and moisturizes your skin, promoting a healthy and balanced complexion.
    Ingredient Analysis: 
      • Key Actives: Butyl Avocadate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil
      • Mild Ingredients: Formulated with Heartleaf Extract for soothing effects, making it suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
    Pros and Cons:

      • Effectively dissolves makeup residues, sebaceous filaments and sebum.
      • If you are sensitive to fragrance, this may not be the best option for you - as it is pretty strong. 

    Shop ANUA Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil on Amazon.

    Embracing oil-based cleansers in your skincare routine can transform your skin’s health and appearance. Whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin, there’s an oil-based cleanser that can meet your needs, offering a gentle yet effective cleansing experience.