Many trends come and go in the beauty realm, so my curiosity was piqued when I heard about a new cleansing method that recently hit the market. I admit, I was quite averse to the idea of slathering oil onto my skin (yes, you read that correctly) to cleanse it. Yet the promise of improved texture and overall appearance of my skin completely outweighed the fear of giving it a bash. After all, who doesn’t want a clear, smooth complexion?

So, drawing on my Nancy Drew nature, as well as my line of work, which has involved researching and hearing amazing feedback from those who’ve braved the waters, I was encouraged to find out more. I asked some experts about the ins and outs of cleansing oils.

How does the cleansing oil method work? 

It begins with an oil cleanser that transforms into a milky emulsion once water has been added. “Oil attracts oil to remove dirt and impurities without stripping or drying the skin’s surface, making it a great cleansing option for all skin types, but especially for those with dry skin,” says Pellegrino, Vice President at Elizabeth Arden.

Why do oil cleansers emulsify in water and how is this beneficial to the skin?

Naturally, oil and water don’t mix together properly. However, explains Pellegrino, in an emulsion, the oil phase and water phase are able to combine through the use of an emulsifier. A traditional foaming cleanser contains surfactants, which can be drying, especially on sensitive skin. Most cleansing oils don’t contain any surfactants and are therefore able to provide a luxurious and gentle, deep-cleansing experience while simultaneously protecting the skin’s moisture barrier.

How do micellar oil cleansers work?
Micellar oil cleansers have a non-greasy texture which is transformed into a milky fluid when mixed with water. A combination of gentle make-up-removing micelles and nourishing oils cleanses skin of impurities, sebum and dead cells, even removing make-up. “Just like magnets, the micelles attract and coat dirt particles to eliminate them more easily. Easy to rinse, the micellar oil doesn’t leave the skin feeling sticky, oily or shiny,” explains Debra de Wet, Education & Service Manager for Vichy SA

Which skin types benefit most from oil cleansers?

A micellar oil cleanser is recommended mainly for women with dry or sensitive skins.

Where in one’s skincare routine would a micellar cleansing oil be used?

It should be used before retiring, at the end of the day. Apply it with your fingers directly to dry skin and the eye contour area. Massage for a few seconds, before wetting your hands. Finish the massage until the oil turns into a milk, then rinse. Finally, apply a toner, advises De Wet.