Overview of Oil-Based Cleansers

Recently I was putting together a list of oil-based cleansers for my friend that is getting into skincare and I thought I would share the list with you all.

These are oil-based cleansers that I have used and like.

I like to use an oil-based cleanser at night to take off makeup and SPF. I prefer to use a cleanser that doesn’t require a washcloth to not leave a film on my skin. I also prefer oil-based cleansers that emulsify completely–meaning they turn milky and wash away easily. Also, a perk of oil cleansers is that they leave your acid mantle in tact. You don’t need to worry about the pH because that doesn’t pertain to oil cleansers. Even though I have oily, acne-prone skin I LOVE oil cleansers. Since switching to an oil-based cleanser to take off makeup I feel like my skin has improved so much because they do such a good job at gently removing all traces of makeup. (A good double-cleanse it pretty important to have really clean skin).

I came up with some keys to highlight for the different cleansers but all of these emulsify (turn milky) with water (except the Jordan Samuel Skin one only doesn’t emulsify for me). Some of them leave a bit of a film, and that is indicated with the symbol with the 2 in it (signaling that I would either have to wash with a 2nd cleanser to remove the film or I would have to use a washcloth.

Speaking of washcloths. I love these ones by Jordan Samuel Skin. But my secret weapon is to buy baby wash clothes on Amazon. They are really cheap and soft. The only downside is that they are a bit small, but it still works.

In terms of mascara, they all help remove mascara (that’s what I love about using an oil-based cleanser to take off makeup), but I highlighted the ones that really excel at it–meaning that the majority of time they remove all traces of mascara without me having to go over my eyes again with another makeup remover. The cleanser that does that the absolute best is the Deviant Cleansing Concentrate. Clinique TTDO is incredible at it too but it doesn’t feel as gentle and nourishing as Deviant.

There are two sales going on at the moment that can help  you save money. The first is the Sephora sale that goes through August 27th (and you can save 15-20% based on VIP status). The other is the Dermstore sale where you can save 25% until August 25th with the code CELEBRATE. And don’t forget to check what the cash back amount is on Ebates.

So.. on to the results!

The products that appear first in the list for each category is my favorite of that group.


Balm cleansers

I find that balm cleansers are hit or miss in terms of being easy to work with. I don’t like the more waxy/clumpy feel of the Clinique or Drunk Elephant. In other words, when I scoop out the Clinique or DE I feel like I have to rub my hands together first to break up the balm. I much prefer a silkier oil texture like the Deviant or You.Skincare which I can just scoop and apply on my face. I like the Farmacy one a lot because it doesn’t feel as waxy/clumpy as the DE and Clinique.

  1.     Deviant cleansing concentrate
    • $35 for 1.7 oz ($20.59 per oz)
    • **This is my absolute favorite of this entire list**
    • This has a nutty, earthy smell. Perfect for people with sensitive skin because it doesn’t any any synthetic fragrance or essential oils.
  2.     Farmacy Green Clean Makeup removing cleansing balm
    • $34 for 3.2 ($10.63 per oz)
    • Tip: Buy it during the Sephora sale to save
  3.     You.skincare Barrier Repair Cleansing Balm
    • $69 for 1.8oz ($38.33)
  4.     Clinique Take the day off
    • $30 for 3.8 oz ($7.89 per oz)
  5.     Drunk Elephant Slaii Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanse
    • $34 for 3.9 oz ($8.72 per oz)
    • Buy it during the Sephora sale to save

Liquid (in a pump)

  1.     Maelove Day Eraser
    • $18.95 for 3.9 oz ($4.86 per oz)
    • This one is the winner because I prefer its ingredient list to the Belif one and the price point is great.
    • Glass container (with pump even though that isn’t pictured)
  2.     BELIF Cleansing Gel Oil Enriched
    • $34 for 5.1 ($6.67 per oz)
    • Buy now at Sephora to save
    • LOVE the smell of this one. It smells like a spa.
    • Plastic container (which matters for those of us with butter fingers)
  3.     Tula Kefir Replenishing Cleansing Oil
    • $34 for 4.7 ($7.23 per oz)
    • Buy it at tula.com and save 20% with code GETGLOWING
    • Plastic container
  4.    Apothaka Rebalancing cleansing oil 
    • $47 for 3.4 oz ($13.82 per oz)
    • glass container
  5. Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser  
    • $48 for 5.1 oz ($9.41 per oz)
    • Buy now at Sephora to save
    • plastic container

Gel to oil

  1. Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Treatment Cleanser
  1. Oskia Renaissance cleansing gel
    • $50 for 3.4 ($9.82-14.71)
    • Buy at Cultbeauty.com to save money if you live in the US. Because it makes it $33.40 after VAT is removed.
  2. Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser
    • $38 for 5 oz ($7.60 per oz)
    • Never pay full price for this because it is always going on sale. You can get it now at Sephora on sale, or look for it at Ulta, and even TJ Maxx.
    • This has the most amazing warm vanilla almond pastry smell. It doesn’t wash off very well, and it leaves a film, but I keep it in my collection because of the smell. So sue me.

Best smelling

(1) Algenist (smells like warm almond pastries)

(2) Belif cleansing gel oil enriched (smells like a spa)

(3) Farmacy (smells like lime sherbert).

JSS And Oskia also smell great but I actually primarily buy Algenist JUST bc it smells so good.  It leaves a bit of a film and there are better cleansers but damn I love that smell. 

Best at removing mascara and not needing to go over my eyes again with eye  makeup remover

  1. Deviant. Hands down. Clinique does a great job too BUT it doesn’t leave my skin feeling as nourished as the Deviant balm

Best multipurpose

  1. Jordan Samuel Skin all the way. I mix it in with dry masks so they don’t dry down, I wear it as a mask on its own. I’ll apply it when I want to take a really hot shower so it protects my face

Best for when my skin is sensitized 

  1. Deviant balm or JSS sensitive skin version