Make Your Own Oil-Based Cleanser

Make Your Own Oil-Based Cleanser

Oil cleansing gently removes makeup, soothes sensitive skin, and can tame breakouts. What’s not to love? Have a read of our article and see if cleansing oils are for you. Better yet – learn how to make your own and save money whilst reducing your need for excessive packaging. But why oil cleanse at all? Well - apparently using oil instead of, or in addition to, traditional soap or detergent cleansers can help to protect the natural lipid layer of the skin and the good bacteria that live there. It’s now hailed as the way to avoid stripping moisture from your skin, in addition to being used to dissolve make-up even on the most sensitive eyes.

Who would have thought that adding oil to your face actually removes make-up and impurities – particularly after being told for so long to use oil-free products, particularly for those of us with acne or blemish-prone skin. Usually ‘cleansing’ has usually conjured up images of bubbles and lather hasn’t it?!

What is the science behind this phenomenon?

It seems rather odd that oils are an important component of soap, doesn’t it? But without oil or fatty acids the ‘saponification’ reaction can't take place. Saponification is the reaction from mixing these oils with an alkaline base (e.g.: sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide). But that’s quite a lot of science! All we need to know is: soap has oil in it anyway! So how does pure oil rather than soap work on our skin?

Cleansing with pure oil works based on the idea that oil dissolves oil. If we choose to simply dissolve our original oil (the skin sebum) with new and pure natural oil, we can clean our skin without disrupting its balance. Fantastic!

What are the benefits of an oil-cleansing stage to your face wash routine?

Using oils help protect the natural lipid layer of the skin and the good bacteria that live there. Oils may also have healing properties, important nutrients, or other skin-boosting benefits.

Cleansing oil works with your skin, not against it: when massaged into the skin, oils in the cleanser bind to surface impurities and pull the impurities out without clogging pores. The impurities can be rinsed away and the skin is left feeling clean, soft, and hydrated.


Making your own oil-based cleanser is easier than you think, and goes a long way to reduce plastic packaging.

Oils for Your Skin Type

Oily & Acne-Prone Skin: The astringent properties found in tea tree and peppermint oils are great for oilier skin. You can also look for cleansers with rosehip oil, which has a natural drying effect. Avoid heavy oils such as olive. Tea tree and eucalyptus oils have antibacterial properties, and added rose water can soothe inflammation. Other more attainable acne-friendly oils that are light but effective are: grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil and safflower oil. Hemp seed oil is well known as a non-comedogenic oil (non-pore blocking).

Dry Skin: Look for argan or shea oils for complete hydration, without a greasy feeling.

Sensitive Skin: Choose all-natural blends, such as cold-pressed coconut oil. Again, added rose water will help soothe your skin.

Combination Skin: Olive oil and Vitamin E work to purify oily areas while moisturising dry patches.

Can You Make Your Own?

The simple answer is yes! And what a great way to reduce plastic waste and save money at the same time. Pebble Magazine says that all you need is a blend of oil of your choice, a reusable glass dropper bottle, and a cotton or bamboo fibre cloth pad.

Thanks to Foreo, the recipe we found that we like the most – for acne prone skin – is below:

Ingredients: Rose water (or normal, boiled and cooled water if you’re on a budget), tea tree (optional) & acne-suitable oil(s) of your choice (see above).

Method: Combine 3 drops of rose water, 5 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of oil in a bowl. Stir the ingredients together with a spoon or a fork until evenly mixed. Pour into a bottle (with a pipette dispenser if you have one) and shake. And there you have it!

In our research we’ve found that it is advised that you choose high quality, cold pressed oils that have not been obtained by chemical extraction methods – preferably those that are unrefined and organic. Another tip is that a mix of oils can really bring wonders to your skin. This is essentially because every oil has a unique fatty acid profile, and while some oils might have similar properties, other oils might lack something you can complement with another oil.

Check out our article on double cleansing to get the scoop on how to use your facial cleansing oil to its best effect, by clicking here.

*Remember to consult your dermatologist or GP if you have particularly sensitive skin before trying your own oils, and it’s always helpful to patch test on a small area of skin 48 hours before use, just to make sure you’re looking after your skin.

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