Botnia Skincare Guide to Oil Cleansing

Now trending: Oil Cleansing

Oil cleansing might be the new kid on the block in the beauty industry, but it’s actually been a cleansing method for centuries. The basic idea is that “oils dissolve other oils,” and attract excess sebum, clean out clogged pores, and remove makeup and sunscreen with ease. In the 60’s Japanese makeup artist Shu Uemura introduced his formulation for cleansing oil to the masses. Now, cleansing oils are abundant and easy to find and we’re here to convince you that oil cleansing is good for all skin types and the best method to see the cleanest results. 

How to oil cleanse//

  1. Apply a warm, damp washcloth to your face for about 20 seconds to dampen the skin or dampen the skin with a splash of water. You can also start on dry skin.
  2. Take a quarter-size amount of oil and massage it between your hands to warm up the botanicals in the oils.
  3. Massage the oil in a circular motion all over your face, focusing on any areas of congestion and adding water to create slip as necessary. Do this for at least 20 seconds and up to a minute to really work the oil into the skin to remove the impurities in your pores. Take this time to enjoy the process! 
  4. Take a clean warm or dry washcloth and press it onto the skin, warming up the oils on your face until the towel cools down, then gently removing the oil from your skin. Your face should feel hydrated when you’re done but not greasy or overly irritated from wiping it down.
  5. Feel free to double cleanse with a water-based cleanser like our Gentle Cleanser and rinse clean. 
  6. Pat dry.
  7. Follow with a hydrosol or toner and moisturizer.

For all you choose-your-own-adventure types, oil cleansing gives you lots of options! There aren’t hard rules around oil cleansing, so try it with a dry or damp face, and a dry or damp cloth and experiment. The two most important steps are taking the time to massage the oils into your skin to work the dirt out of your pores and to remove it all with a clean towel. Try it in different ways and see what works best for your unique skin!

The evidence is on the towel//

Traditional cleansers can irritate the skin, stripping it of its natural oils, which causes excessive dryness and ultimately can result in the skin overproducing oil after washing. Instead of taking away from the skin, we’re working with what’s already there and emulsifying the oils on your skin. The squeaky clean sensation doesn’t exist with oil cleansing. Some people prefer foam cleansing because of this, but it negates the benefits of oil cleansing when you use a foaming cleanser afterward.

With oil cleansing, the biggest difference from other methods is using a clean warm towel to remove everything at the end of the cleanse. This step helps to dissolve the cleansing oil and oils you’ve emulsified on your skin and fully removes them better than only water can. The acid mantle on the skin that functions to protect itself isn’t stripped away in the process. Instead of pulling everything off the skin and doing damage repair to put the good stuff back into the skin, oil cleansing removes the makeup, sunscreen, and other environmental impurities but keeps the acid mantle intact, in turn keeping your skin microbiome healthy and happy!

When to oil cleanse//

It’s not necessary to oil cleanse both AM/PM. Feel your skin and let it tell you how much cleansing you need. In the morning, if your skin feels oily, definitely oil cleanse, but it’s not always necessary to double cleanse if it feels fine after the first cleanse. We definitely recommend oil cleansing at night, especially if you’ve worn SPF and makeup all day. Double cleansing can also be done in the evening if you yearn for that “squeaky clean” feeling before going to bed. If you do a double cleanse, make sure you follow up with a toner to pH balance the skin. 

Who is oil cleansing good for?//

ALL skin types… Yes, we said it! Contrary to popular belief, cleansing with oils can actually reduce sebum production in oily and congested skin. Even those with dry and sensitive skin types can benefit from oil cleansing because there are no harsh soaps or essential oils in our Balancing Oil Cleanser. Dry/sensitive skin may only need to oil cleanse once in the day to remove heavy-duty residue. Again, feel and listen to your skin during your routine. Not so sure? Email us at and we can help you out! 

If you’re new to oil cleansing, it may take some time to get used to a different sensation than having “squeaky clean” skin. Your face shouldn’t feel tight or dry after cleansing, that means the acid mantle has been stripped away, and you may have to do more work to get it feeling normal again. With regular use, you will see better skin barrier function and fewer symptoms of dryness. Once your skin gets used to the feeling and adjusts, oil cleansing feels incredible! 

Click here to shop our Balancing Oil Cleanser!

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