Skincare routines seem to get more complicated with age. They often require multiple steps with various items and even a long list of tricks for making those products deliver lasting results. But what if all of those years of research, trial, and practice led back to the one item you probably smeared on your face as a pre-teen? "Oil cleansers effectively remove dirt and grime while hydrating the skin," Dendy Engelman, MD, a New York City dermatologist, says. "It keeps the natural oils present and helps to soothe irritated skin."
Engelman notes that there are no drawbacks to using a oil-based facial cleanser every day, making it the one item you need in a skincare routine regardless of everything else you might be inclined to use. Oil-based cleansers should be the first step of any morning and evening regimen since they'll pave the way for other items—like the hydrating qualities of toners and moisturizing properties of serums—to be better absorbed into skin. Even though you've likely been using one for as long as you can remember, oil-based cleansers still are a vital component to clear, smooth, and youthful-looking skin.
We asked Engelman to provide details into why oil-based cleansers are integral to proper skincare for every type and which products she recommends to try. Since these cleansers should always be cornerstones of your medicine cabinet, we also included a few more options, too.
"Think of your skin like a canvas, you need a clean canvas to start your work," she says. "The purpose of cleansing is two-fold. The first is to cleanse the skin of oils, impurities, makeup, and pollution—all while maintaining the skin's microbiome. The second is to aid the penetration of the products you will be applying afterward."