The 14 Best Cleansing Oils to Remove Every Trace of Dirt and Makeup

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14 Best Cleansing Oils for Easy Makeup RemovalCourtesy of Sulwhasoo


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Nailing down an effective skin care routine seems to come with too many boxes to check. In all my years of building a star team, I've made some discoveries: sunscreen is non-negotiable, and, at some point, so is an eye cream. However, I didn't realize that adding the best cleansing oil to my lineup could make all the difference in my quest to achieve supple, clearer skin.

You've likely seen the videos on TikTok; a user douses their face in oil, gently massages the solution into their skin, and then turns their fingertips to the camera to show all the gunk that was trapped in the pores. That's not merely video magic, but one of the main benefits of using an oil cleanser.

“Cleansing oils gently draw out or loosen oil-based debris, such as sebum, makeup, SPF, and pollutants. Water-based cleansers don’t remove oil-based debris as effectively as oil-based because water repels oil. Most oil cleansers are able to remove oil debris more effectively without drying out the skin,” Charlotte Cho, licensed esthetician, founder of Then I Met You, and co-founder of Soko Glam, tells ELLE.com.

Cleansing oils can seem a bit intimidating for individuals riddled with oily and acne-prone skin, but there are formulas tailored to every skin woe. I scoured my own stash, perused online customer feedback, and interviewed Cho about the benefits of cleansing oils. Ahead, shop the 14 best cleansing oils for all skin types.

Chia + Moringa Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Squalane, fruit (pumpkin, pineapple, papaya, and grapefruit) enzymes, chia, moringa

Size: 4 oz

The gentler the exfoliant, the better it is for your skin. Mara's cleansing oil uses fruit enzymes, chia seeds, and squalane to softly buff away impurities to reveal brighter, hydrated, and smoother skin.

Sephora rating: 4.8/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “The best oil cleanser I’ve tried. Truly removes everything and leaves my skin feeling amazing. I also massage it onto my face in the morning, leave on for a few mins then rinse off in the shower. Will def be repurchasing!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fmara-beauty-chia-moringa-algae-enzyme-cleansing-oil-P503992&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Chia + Moringa Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil </p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$58.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Vacuum Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Rice bran oil, B vitamins, vitamin E, castor oil

Size: 4 oz

The name alone gives way to this cleansing oil's best feature: vacuum cleansing. This formula is thick yet emulsifies to a thinner, milkier texture and completely removes all traces of makeup. When you're done, your skin doesn't feel tight, but nourished and smooth.

Sabbatical Beauty rating: 4.8/5 stars

An ELLE Editor says: “A friend of mine introduced me to this cleansing oil, and I was hooked ever since. As a full-beat, matte-finish makeup girl, I need a formula that effectively removes my makeup without me having to do extra cleansing steps. After using this cleansing oil, all that's left to do is one final cleanse and I'm set.”—Nerisha Penrose

<p><a href="https://sabbaticalbeauty.com/products/vacuum-cleaner-cleansing-oil?_pos=1&_sid=ee07bdd92&_ss=r" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Vacuum Cleansing Oil</p><p>sabbaticalbeauty.com</p><p>$75.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser - PEACH & LILY

Key ingredients: Ginger, pineapple extract, sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil

Size: 5.07 oz

Conversations around aging always mention loss of elasticity. Peach and Lily's Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser is built around the star ingredient in its name to help restore that bounce and suppleness that fades over time. There's also exfoliating pineapple and nourishing sunflower seed and grapeseed oil in this make-up.

Ulta rating: 4.3/5 stars

An ELLE Editor says: “I received this cleansing oil in a gift bag following a customized Peace & Lily facial and immediately put it to use. What I remembered from the facial was how soft and silky the oil felt on my skin, and how moisturized—not greasy—my skin felt afterward. As I used it myself, I loved watching the day melt off my face without stripping it bare—and I am a bit rough with cleansing (we're working on it!).”—Nerisha Penrose

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fginger-melt-oil-cleanser-pimprod2030963&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser - PEACH & LILY</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$32.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Nourishing Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser

Key ingredients: Squalane, vitamin E,

Size: 4.1 oz

Buy for the spa-like trance the heavenly aroma casts, stay for the supple, nourished skin you see after each use. This feather-light cleansing oil takes squalane, vitamin E, and alfalfa to melt away makeup, sunscreen, and other hard-to-cleanse formulas and imparts a healthy sheen and hydration.

Sephora rating: 4/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “The scent of this oil instantly puts me in a tranquil state and helps me decompress from a busy day. It quickly removed my stubborn eye makeup and worked wonders for my nightly double cleansing routine. Highly recommend!” Danielle James, digital beauty director

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fnourishing-oil-cleanser-P392142&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Nourishing Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$88.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Japanese Yuzu, ginseng root extract, rice bran oil

Size: 4 oz

Nemohamo's Cleansing Oil is a multitasking wonder that brightens and firms skin as it gently cleanses and exfoliates. Ginseng root and plant extracts offer a boost in elasticity; rice bran oil, Japanese Yuzu oil, and japonica seed oil support barrier strength and hydration.

Nemohamo rating: 5/5 stars

A Nemohamo reviewer said: “I love Nemohamo Cleansing Oil! It has nice scent, and remove eye makeup without double cleansing. Skin feels so soft and smooth!

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshikobeauty.com%2Fproducts%2Fwhole-plant-of-ginsent-cleansing-oil&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Cleansing Oil</p><p>shikobeauty.com</p><p>$48.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

PreCleanse

Key ingredients: Vitamins E and C, rice bran oil

Size: 5.1 oz

With all your favorite skin care ingredients packed into this unassuming bottle, this cleansing oil basically does all the work for you. Packed with vitamins E and C and rice bran oil, the Dermalogica PreCleanse takes away build-up and arms your skin with enough nourishment for the next step.

Ulta rating: 4.7/5 stars

An Ulta reviewer said: “I don't know how anyone can give this product less than 5 stars! I've been using the pre cleanse for many years. First introduced by my esthetician before sold in stores. It completely removes the toughest makeup with ease. I've tried other brands and ALWAYS come back to this one. I follow up with my regular cleanser and my skin is squeaky clean! If you haven't tried this, you'll be hooked after one use!!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fprecleanse-cleansing-oil-prod2152625&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>PreCleanse</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$45.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Lipikar AP+ Gentle Foaming Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Niacinamide, shea butter, vitamin B3

Size: 13.52 oz

Most cleansing oils are formulated for facial use. However, La Roche-Posay entered the fold with a moisturizing formula meant to be used from head to toe. With an oil-to-foam lather, this cleansing oil buffs away impurities and restores nourishment via emollient-rich ingredients.

Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “I used this at a friend’s house and was so impressed by the formula. It takes away the need for you to double cleanse, which, let’s be honest, many of us may skip after a long work day. Now your skin doesn’t have to suffer. You can use this on your entire body and I recommend you do! It leaves your skin so soft and smooth and an extra dose of hydration before you moisturize.” — Danielle James

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C673PKK3?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10051.g.46429100%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Lipikar AP+ Gentle Foaming Cleansing Oil </p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$16.99</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover

Key ingredients: Hydra Capture Complex

Size: 6.76 oz

For daily luxury indulgence, reach for this cleansing oil by Sulwhasoo. The creamy, breathable formula unclogs pores and removes dirt to leave your skin feeling fresh and clean without the squeaky, stripped feeling other formulas give.

Sephora rating: 4.4/5 stars

An ELLE Editor says: “My travel cosmetics bag isn't complete until this is added. I love to double cleanse, so I don't need a cleansing oil that completely strips my skin bare. This does the job and leaves my skin feeling comfortable and nourished so its sister product, the Cleansing Foam, can swoop in gently finish the job.”—Nerisha Penrose

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fgentle-cleansing-oil-P450633&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$40.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Squalane + Antioxidant Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Squalane, plant extracts

Size: 6.76 oz

If you're seeking hydration, look no further than Biossance's cleansing oil. The antioxidant-rich formula imparts radiance and hydration to leave your skin in better shape than before.

Sephora rating: 3.9/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “Perfect! Does exactly what it's intended for and doesn't break out my sensitive skin. Easily my favorite makeup remover.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsqualane-antioxidant-cleansing-oil-P416560&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Squalane + Antioxidant Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$32.00</p>

Silk Rice Makeup-Removing Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Rice bran oil, sunflower seed oil

Size: 5.1 oz

If you're someone who enjoys seeing someone on TikTok use an oil cleanser to unplug clogged pores and show the evidence on their fingertips at the end, here's a cleanser that will proffer similar results. The soothing, lightweight formula helps to remove dirt and debris from the skin—even stubborn waterproof mascara.

Sephora rating: 4.8/5 stars

An ELLE Editor says: “I ran through this bottle faster than anticipated because it's just that good. I absolutely hate when a cleaner gets into my eyes and burns, so I enjoy that this cleanser gently washes away my eye makeup without any mishaps.”—Nerisha Penrose

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fdam-dam-silk-rice-makeup-removing-cleansing-oil-P472025&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Silk Rice Makeup-Removing Cleansing Oil </p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$46.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Black Rice Moisture Deep Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Black rice bran oil, jojoba seed oil, macadamia seed oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil

Size: 5.1 oz

Amazing for sensitive skin, the Haruharu cleansing oil features natural oils and ingredients to restore moisture to parched, irritated skin.

Soko Glam rating: 4.6/5 stars

Our expert says: “Formulated with patented black rice, it's a 100 percent natural cleansing oil that is unscented and melts away oil-based impurities. I would especially recommend this for sensitive skin.”—Charlotte Cho, esthetician and co-founder of Soko Glam

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fsokoglam.com%2Fcollections%2Foil-cleansers-and-cleansing-balms%2Fproducts%2Fharuharu-wonder-black-rice-moisture-deep-cleansing-oil&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Black Rice Moisture Deep Cleansing Oil</p><p>sokoglam.com</p><p>$22.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

pH Balancing Watery Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: tea tree water, Green tea extract, Licorice root extract

Size: 6.7 oz

This cleansing oil from Acwell is a powerhouse formula that restores the skin's natural pH level to prevent irritation or damage. Excess use of the wrong cleanser and harsh chemicals can spell disaster for your skin, so this is the kind of formula to use when your face is out of whack and yearning for reprieve.

Soko Glam rating: 4.4/5 stars

Our expert says: “One of the best sellers on Soko Glam, this antioxidant-rich cleansing oil gently emulsifies impurities from the skin, without a greasy residue.”—Charlotte Cho

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fsokoglam.com%2Fcollections%2Foil-cleansers-and-cleansing-balms%2Fproducts%2Facwell-ph-balancing-watery-cleansing-oil&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>pH Balancing Watery Cleansing Oil</p><p>sokoglam.com</p><p>$25.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil - PHA

Key ingredients: sunflower seed oil, gluconolactone, tea tree oil

Size: 10.14 oz

Cleansing oils are typically used more for removing makeup and sunscreen than exfoliation. Hanskin's cult-favorite cleansing oil uses a gentle pHA, gluconolactone, to enhance the cleansing process so skin is thoroughly cleansed and visibly brighter.

Ulta rating: 4.3/5 stars

Our expert says: “If pores are your biggest concern, use the Hanskin PHA cleansing oil to help dissolve impurities in your pores that can cause breakouts! Another best seller on Soko Glam!”—Charlotte Cho

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fpore-cleansing-oil-pha-pimprod2007175&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil - PHA</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$27.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

Pure Cleansing Oil

Key ingredients: Grape seed oil, olive fruit oil, evening primrose oil, jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil, rice bran oil, lavender oil

Size: 6.76 oz

Waterproof makeup, heavy sunscreens, and matte products don't stand a chance against this oil-rich formula. Manyo's cleansing oil is supercharged by 14 oils that coat the skin to cleanse away tough formulas. The oil evolves into a milky consistency and imparts nourishment to dry skin.

Soko Glam rating: 4.6/5 stars

Our expert says: “This is a popular option for dry skin types because this is made with rice bran oils that nourish the skin while cleansing it.”—Charlotte Cho

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fsokoglam.com%2Fcollections%2Fmanyo-factory%2Fproducts%2Fmanyo-factory-pure-cleansing-oil&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elle.com%2Fbeauty%2Fmakeup-skin-care%2Fg46429100%2Fbest-cleansing-oils%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Pure Cleansing Oil</p><p>sokoglam.com</p><p>$29.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy of the brands</span>

What skin types benefit from a cleansing oil?

Despite what oily-skinned folks might think, oil cleansers actually work great for everyone. “For sensitive, oily, combination, and acne-prone skin types, they will gently remove sebum that can clog pores and cause breakouts. It's especially great for dry skin because it will clean the skin without stripping your skin,” Charlotte Cho, licensed esthetician and co-founder of Soko Glam says.

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How do you use a cleansing oil?

Oil cleansers are best used as the first step in your skin care routine. “You scoop just a dime-sized amount of the cleansing oil and massage it into your face in gentle, upward circular motions. Add a splash of water to your face to emulsify and further break down the oil-based debris. Lastly, rinse off the oil cleanser with lukewarm water,” Cho explains. From there, depending on the oil cleanser formula used, you can opt for a double cleanse with a different, water-based cleanser for a thorough wash.

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How often should you use one?

“As an esthetician, I am an advocate for 'double cleansing' being a key part of a skin care routine. Double cleansing means washing with an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. It sets the foundation for clear, dewy skin by thoroughly removing any debris that may be causing build-up on your skin and helps your skin absorb other skin care products more effectively,” she adds. While not every skin type needs to double-cleanse daily, those who are oilier or wear tons of makeup and heavy sunscreens could benefit from extra reinforcement.

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Meet the experts

Charlotte Cho, esthetician, founder of Then I Met You, and co-founder of Soko Glam

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Why Trust ELLE Beauty?

As a leading publisher of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content, ELLE.com is committed to highlighting the best products in various categories by personally testing the latest and most innovative products, interviewing countless experts, and vetting customer-loved items. For this piece, ELLE.com beauty commerce editor Nerisha Penrose tested a slew of cleansing oils to find the best formulas and interviewed an expert to learn about the benefits of cleansing oil and best practices.

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