There's a new(ish) trend happening in American skincare, and I like it: Well-known budget brands are adding cleansing oils to their existing product lineups. This may not sound like much of a big deal to my readers in Asia, but up until recently, domestic brands had been very lacking in the cleansing oil department. ("Lacking" as in pretty much nonexistent.) A lot of mainstream drugstore brands have finally started to take the cleansing oil plunge though, so today I thought I'd share all the ones I've discovered so far!
Before I get into the individual oils on offer, let me briefly explain for the uninitiated (a) how oil cleansers differ from plain old oil and (b) why you might want to try such a product. The extremely quick-n-dirty Cliff's Notes version is:
- Oil cleansers are oil-based (duh) facial cleansers that have other ingredients besides oil added to them. In many cases one of these extra ingredients is an emulsifier of some sort, which helps the cleanser rinse away clean (unlike plain oil, which will either sink into your skin or leave it feeling filmy and greasy). There are often other beneficial ingredients in the mix as well.
- Oil cleansers are a 100% essential part of my skincare routine because oil dissolves makeup, sunscreen and general face gunk without stripping the skin better than any water or solvent-based cleansers do (in my opinion, anyway). Many people do what is referred to as "double cleansing", which means using an oil cleanser to remove their foundation and whatnot and then following up with a regular foaming cleanser to get off any residue.
- One more important note: All skin types can benefit from oil cleansers. Even oily. Now, some cleansing oils and formulations may be better-suited to dry skin (because they're more emollient, don't rinse away as cleanly etc.), but the bottom line here is that oil cleansers remove makeup more effectively than foaming cleansers alone, and some do wash away very cleanly (like my current non-drugstore favorite, Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil).
Now without further ado, let's take a look at the drugstore cleansing oils I discovered whilst doing way too much internet shopping!
1. Garnier Clean+ Nourishing Cleansing Oil for Dry Skin (4.2oz/$7.99 MSRP)
This is the first of the drugstore cleansing oils I remember popping up, all the way back in 2013. It's also one of the few I've actually tried from this list, and unfortunately I didn't like it very much... I found the texture a bit heavy and difficult to rinse away from skin cleanly. It does have its fans though, so YMMV, and it's hard to beat the price.
Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil, Zea Mays/Corn Germ Oil, Polysorbate 85, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil/Safflower Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Sorbitan Trioleate, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil/Jojoba Seed Oil, Glycerin, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Squalane, Parfum/Fragrance, Aqua/Water, Propylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Linalool, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Isopropyl Myristate, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer. [COSDNA]
Mineral oil and corn germ oil are the main ingredients here. A lot of people abhor mineral oil, but honestly I think it works fine as a cleansing oil ingredient. Corn germ oil seems a little strange to me though. Maybe I'm biased because I grew up in a household with a bunch of people who were allergic to corn (not including me, thankfully).
Where to buy online:
2. Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil (4.5oz/$8.99 MSRP)
I'm pretty sure this is a new (summer 2015) addition to Neutrogena's cleansing lineup. Their Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover has been a favorite of mine for years, so I was very curious to see what they'd come up with in the oil cleanser department.
Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Isostearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 80, PEG-8 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sorbitan Trioleate, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Water, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PPG-10 Cetyl Ether, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Propylparaben, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract [COSDNA]
As you can see, the main ingredient is mineral oil. Not terribly fancy, but it does remove makeup pretty well—I may give this one a shot to see if I like the texture better than the Garnier oil.
Where to buy online:
3. Eclos Daily Facial Cleansing Oil (5oz/$10.99 MSRP)
This oil was released in spring of 2014, as I recall. Eclos™ is Freeman Beauty's (AKA one of the companies that makes cheap mask packets that are sold in most drugstores) anti-aging line. This oil might be a little harder to track down than some of the others on the list, but it's certainly drugstore-priced, and easy enough to get online.
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Pentylene Glycol, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Glycerin, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Curcuma Zedoaria Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Flower Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Water, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin. [COSDNA]
Olive oil is the first ingredient! Makes me wonder if it's at all comparable to cult favorite DHC Cleansing Oil? Eclos' ingredients list is about 3x as long as DHC's, but a number of the additions are plant extracts that have antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory benefits. Interesting.
Where to buy online:
4. Nuance Salma Hayek Marigold Oil Cleansing Facial Oil (4oz/$9.99 MSRP)
"If I use this oil, will I look like Salma Hayek?" ...and other important questions. (Answer: No.) Anyway, actress Salma Hayek has her own beauty line that's exclusive to CVS, and apparently there's an oil cleanser amongst the product lineup!
HELIANTHUS ANNUUS SEED OIL, LAURETH-4, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED OIL, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) PEEL OIL, POLYSORBATE 20, POLYSORBATE 80, ARNICA MONTANA FLOWER EXTRACT, CALENDULA OFFICINALIS (CALENDULA) EXTRACT, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, CITRUS LIMON (LEMON) PEEL OIL, TOCOPHEROL [COSDNA]
You're in luck, mineral oil haters—not a drop of the stuff in sight.
Where to buy online:
5. Pond's Cold Cream (sizes/prices vary)
OK so Pond's Cold Cream isn't an oil cleanser, but it is an oil-based cream cleanser, meaning it has many of the same magical makeup-removing abilities as its runnier, drippier counterparts. This is what I used to remove my heavy stage makeup when I performed in plays 800000 years ago, so it definitely works. This stuff has been around for over 100 years, and there's a reason for it: It works!
Mineral Oil, Water, Ceresin, Beeswax, Triethanolamine, Ceteth 20, Fragrance, Behenic Acid, Montan Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, Carbomer, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate [COSDNA]
Pond's Cold Cream is probably best-suited to drier skin types or folks who don't follow up with a foaming cleanser though—it isn't really the "rinse away clean" type. Beeswax helps lock moisture in, which is helpful if you have really dehydrated skin.
Where to buy online:
6. Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil (6oz/$15.99 MSRP)
If I'm not mistaken, this is another new oil (released in the last month or so, summer 2015). I can't find it on the Burt's Bees website yet, in any case.
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Isoamyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquioleate, Fragrance*, Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol Natural Fragrance. [COSDNA]
Interesting choice of ingredients. Coconut oil is wildly popular in the beauty world, but it can be very comedogenic for some people—as it that shit can clog your pores, so it might not be the best choice for a facial product. A lot of folks swear by it as a DIY/natural makeup remover though, so YMMV.
Where to buy online:
7. Simple Multi-Benefit Cleansing Oil (4.5oz/$9.99 MSRP?)
I don't have a picture of this one because it's very, very new—so new that I haven't been able to find it on Simple's website (or in any stores yet, for that matter). The only reason I know that it exists is because budget-friendly blogger Nouveau Cheap posted about it recently.
GOSSYPIUM HERBACEUM (COTTON) SEED OIL, SORBETH-30 TETRAOLEATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL [COSDNA]
According to that post, one of her readers found it at Harmon Face Values, so if you live near a Harmon perhaps look for it there? And if you've spotted it in any other drugstores, let me know in the comments! In any case, cottonseed oil seems like a strange choice to me for a cleansing oil because it's sort of comedogenic, but maybe it's one of those ingredients that works amazingly well for some people (like coconut oil). I guess we'll have to see.
I'm really glad that oil cleansers are becoming a mainstream thing in America, because discovering oil cleansing was a total game-changer for my skincare routine. Now here's hoping that some of these new options are actually good. I love my current oil cleanser, but it's not readily available in the United States, and sometimes I don't want to hoard backups in fear that I'll run out while I wait for a new bottle to reach me from the other side of the planet. Go figure. Now the question is, which one(s) to try? If you've already tried some of these, let me know what you thought in the comments. And if you've discovered any other drugstore oil cleansers that I haven't listed here, let me know that too!
Are oil cleansers part of your current skincare routine? Would you be more likely to try an oil cleanser now that they're becoming widely available in drugstores?
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