Home Personal Finance 10 best cleansing oils for oily, dry and acne-prone skin

10 best cleansing oils for oily, dry and acne-prone skin

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Cleansing our skin before bed can be a chore at the best of times, let alone in the summer when we turn to longer-lasting cosmetic formulations and SPF moisturisers that are harder to remove. The thing is, there’s no need to struggle: a simple switch to a hard-working cleansing oil will see it melt off in seconds – even your trusty waterproof mascara.

Cleansing oils are such an effective cleanser because, as school science taught us, likes attract. Oil attracts oil, so a cleansing oil will latch on to oily make-up formulations – as well as oil in your skincare and the grease your skin produces – and dissolve it. That’s why cleansing oils are suitable for all skin types – even oily complexions.

Effortless to use, simply apply a couple of pumps to a dry face and massage in circular motions. Then rinse with water or, if you prefer, a muslin or washcloth. For a deeper clean, go for a double cleanse with your favourite cream, gel or lotion after.

We tried and tested the latest cleansing oil formulations to bring you our edit of the very best. They were all trialled on the same waterproof mascara, as well as long-lasting foundation and SPF moisturiser.

All our winners were quick and easy to use, with no rubbing of the delicate eye area required. They left no make-up residue, caused zero irritation and left skin feeling soft and supple.

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There’s a slick operator to suit every budget and skin type in our round-up.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best cleansing oils for 2021 are:

Best overall – Pai light work rosehip cleansing oil: £33, Cultbeauty.co.uk Best for mature skin – Adaptology time warp cleanser: £34, Contentbeautywellbeing.com Best for dry or sensitive skin – Curel makeup cleansing oil: £14.50, Boots.com Best for normal to dry skin – bareMinerals smoothness hydrating cleansing oil: £22.10, Escentual.com Best for oily and combination skin – Dear, Klairs gentle black deep cleansing oil: £20.90, Beautyandseoul.co.uk Best value – Q+A rosehip cleansing oil: £10, Feelunique.com Best for dry skin – Biossance squalane and antioxidant cleansing oil: £25, Cultbeauty.co.uk Best luxe formula – Epara cleansing oil: £45, Net-a-porter.com Best for swapping with your make-up remover – Typology 7-ingredient cleansing oil: £14.90, Typology.com Best one-step cleanse – Decleor micellar cleansing oil: £18.95, Allbeauty.com

Pai light work rosehip cleansing oil Best: Overall A bestseller for the British sensitive skincare brand, this formula should not be overlooked by other skin types as it’s so quick and easy to use, dissolving and removing even the most stubborn long-lasting and waterproof make-up in seconds. It boasts, as the name suggests, rosehip oil, which is rich in essential fatty acids crucial for healthy skin function and, crucially, won’t strip the skin with its hydrating and healing properties. This formula makes the usual chore of make-up removal a joy thanks to both its effectiveness and the uplifting citrus and jasmine fragrance. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Adaptology time warp cleanser Best: For mature skin If you’ve already turned to the skincare superpowers of vitamin C elsewhere in your skincare routine, you’ll love this cleansing oil that’s enriched with an oil-based form of it. The powerful antioxidant is well known for its skin-brightening and collagen-boosting effects. Combined with rosehip oil – another radiance booster – you’ve got yourself a beautifully indulgent and sweet-smelling oil cleanser. It makes fast work of make-up removal, and for a really deep cleanse, we found two rounds made our skin glow. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Curel makeup cleansing oil Best: For dry or sensitive skin Hailing from Japan, the masters of the double cleanse, this sensitive skincare brand has infused its cleansing oil with hydrating and strengthening ceramides – perfect for skin on the dry or sensitive side. Designed to be used as the first step in a double cleanse, we found it effortlessly lifted away make-up with no heavy rubbing needed – removing waterproof formulations was a doddle. It has more of a water-like consistency that makes it feel beautifully refreshing on the skin, making it perfect for the warmer months, and it turns into a milky-white emulsion when massaged with water. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} bareMinerals smoothness hydrating cleansing oil Best: For normal to dry skin Even the most stubborn waterproof mascara that you’ve had to turn to in order to stay meltproof in the summer heat doesn’t stand a chance against first contact with this formula. It instantly breaks down make-up, dirt and grime with its antioxidant-rich pomegranate and sunflower oil formula. The soothing lavender scent, meanwhile, makes it a pleasure to use before bed. Once applied, place a washcloth over the face to really take in the relaxing aroma with some deep, steady breathing. It’s such a firm favourite with our tester that she’s returned to it time and time again. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Dear, Klairs gentle black deep cleansing oil Best: For oily and combination skin Beauty fanatics that like to look to Korea for their next-generation skincare will already be familiar with this sensitive brand that does “back to basics” at its best. We’d heard good things about this formulation and couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. And we can confirm it’s worthy of its reputation, as the super lightweight and gentle formula makes easy work of removing every type of stubborn make-up. And don’t let the name confuse you – it’s not a black formula. Instead, the blend of natural oils includes black bean oil, for balancing excess sebum, making it the best pick for oilier skin types. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Q+A rosehip cleansing oil Best: Value For an effective and affordable cleansing oil, turn to this ingredient-led UK brand. This new cleanser is made from a cocktail of some of our favourite oils, including healing rosehip and essential fatty-acids-rich avocado oil. Then there’s repairing and moisturising argan oil, as well as hempseed oil. It’s one for all skin types, as it’s gentle and nourishing, but still breaks down long-wear and waterproof make-up easily. We like to use this as a first-step cleanse, with a cleansing balm for the second. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Biossance squalane and antioxidant cleansing oil Best: For dry skin If your skin’s on the normal to dry side, reach for this nourishing option. It’s enriched with antioxidants and super-hydrating squalane (derived from sugarcane), so it packs a moisturising punch that leaves skin feeling well hydrated. It’ll melt away the toughest budge-proof formulas, and we found it even removed our long-lasting liquid lipstick that can be a nightmare to take off. Impressive. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Epara cleansing oil Best: Luxe formula Our priciest pick is a who’s who of beautiful oils, using a blend of the best organic and natural ingredients from Africa. Epara means “to cocoon oneself” in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira, and we liked to do just that with the nourishing blend of moringa, marula and argan oil, to name drop just a few. It also boasts liquorice-root extract for its brightening properties and plankton extract to help with hyper-pigmentation. Expect it to melt away make-up and SPF skincare instantly, leaving you with a soft and subtle complexion. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Typology 7-ingredient cleansing oil Best: For swapping with your make-up remover The French minimalist brand with a stripped-back approach to skincare has this bestselling formula in its collection. With, as the name gives away, only seven essential ingredients, such as soothing sweet almond oil and nourishing sunflower seed oil, unnecessary additives are left out. No rubbing of the delicate eye area is needed, as it lifts away make-up and impurities effectively, ready to be rinsed away with water once it emulsifies. You’re left with comfortably soft skin. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Decleor micellar cleansing oil Best: One-step cleanse When you combine the technology behind the brilliance of micellar water cleansers with the effectiveness of oil, you get this hard-working formula. Stand-out ingredients include soothing and strengthening sweet almond oil, as well as squalene (derived from olive oil) for hydration. The subtle, spa-like fragrance makes this such a pleasure to apply, you almost wish it wasn’t so effective, so you could leave it on the skin for longer. No long-lasting make-up or SPF formulations are too tough for this oil-to-milk cleanser. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}}

The verdict: Cleansing oils Our best buy goes to Pai light work rosehip cleansing oil, not only for making it so quick and easy to remove the day’s make-up, dirt and oil, but for making it such a pleasure. If you’re looking for change from a £20 note, you won’t be disappointed with the effective and affordable Curel makeup cleansing oil. Voucher codes For the latest discounts on skincare, try the links below: Very discount code Asos discount code Elemis offers If it’s not just your skin that needs some TLC, check out these 9 best hair oils that lock in moisture, prevent damage and add shine

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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