Which Cleansing Oils Remove Makeup Best? See My Reviews
Last week, an acquaintance casually mentioned that she only uses makeup wipes to “clean her face” most nights, and will wash it only when she’s “wearing a lot of makeup.” Upon hearing this proclamation, I had what can only be described a mild heart attack—my chest tightened up, my breath shortened, and I felt all the blood rush to my face. As someone who prefers a lazy approach to every other aspect of my beauty routine, face-cleansing lands squarely in the “just do it, no matter how tired/drunk/lazy you are” category. Why? Because none of the other products you just spent all that money on are going to work unless your canvas is clean (this cautionary tale should convince you of that). I know I may come across as a total beauty editor skincare snob right now, but I’m not—mainly because if I’m going to make the effort to wash my face, I sure as hell am not going to remove my makeup beforehand. (See? Lazy.) Thus begins my quest for a cleanser that 1. doesn’t strip my skin (read: no sulfates) and 2. removes all my makeup so that I don’t have to add another step to my regimen. Enter: oil cleansers, which promise to fulfil both of those desires. But alas, I’ve been heartbroken more than enough times to realise that not all products perform as they promise. So, armed with a bevy of oil cleansers both classic and new, I set out to find out which ones removed my makeup best—and which ones didn’t.
Keep scrolling to read my reviews!
Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($68)
The consistency of this cleansing oil is on the thicker side, and it feels luxurious. I used two pumps and massaged it into my face, reveling in the light camellia scent. The scent and consistency make the product feel like the ultimate indulgent ritual, and I found myself coming home actually looking forward to washing my face (weird?). Made with camellia and rice bran oil, I had high hopes for this mineral oil-free cleansing oil—and wasn’t disappointed. It left my skin feeling so soft and clean, and it removed the need for a second cleanser. In terms of makeup, sadly, a bit of eye makeup remained each time I used it—but nothing I couldn’t wipe away easily afterward with a cotton pad. One other thing: It took quite a bit of massaging to get the oil to the “melting” consistency, and often I just gave up and added warm water to the mix immediately.
Makeup removal: B
Overall rating: A-
Tom Ford Beauty Purifying Cleansing Oil ($110)
I have a weakness for Tom Ford beauty products the same way most women have a weakness for bags and shoes. Something about the gold “TF” logo makes me want to throw my wallet into the wind and scream, “TAKE MY MONEY!” Not surprisingly, I was excited to try the brand’s new cleansing oil. My initial impression was a bit disappointing; the oil, unlike Tatcha’s, didn’t really smell like anything. I don’t know if I was expecting it to smell like Neroli Portofino, but I certain wouldn’t have complained if it did. However, I was soon appeased; the oil was light, and I could feel it immediately dissolving my eye makeup. Afterwards, I looked in the mirror and was greeted with a makeup-free face. The tiniest bit of eye makeup remained, but the second time I used it, I focused a bit more on massaging that area and fixed the problem. My only qualm was that I couldn’t find the ingredients listed anywhere online, and I prefer to know what exactly I’m putting on my skin.
Makeup removal: A
Overall rating: A -
Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil ($37)
The fact that “makeup-removing” is in the name of this product seems to indicate it will do just that—and it does indeed. The oil was a bit more watery than the others, and it's made with ingredients like sweet almond oil, grape seed oil (the brand’s hero ingredient), linoleic acid, and more. The ingredient list is short, which I appreciated. It removed my makeup easily and left my skin feeling soft—my only problem is that it left a bit of an oily film over my eyes afterward. Also, I wasn’t too crazy about the scent, but that is strictly a personal preference. Overall, I would recommend this to anyone, especially cleansing-oil newbies—plus the price can’t be beat.
Makeup removal: A
Overall rating: A-
bareMinerals OIL OBSESSED Total Cleansing Oil ($45)
To put it frankly, I was shocked when I first used this oil. The consistency is much lighter and more watery than the others—more like a serum instead of a thick oil. Thus, it made it incredibly easy to work the oil into my skin and dissolve my makeup—it glided easily over my skin without any need to add water. When I finally did add warm water, it transformed into a milky texture that was easily rinsed away. When I patted my face with a towel and looked in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it—there was absolutely no trace of eye makeup left on my face whatsoever. None. Zilch. Nada. I was blown away by the consistency, the scent, the ingredients (sunflower, bilberry, cucumber oils, and mineral-rich sea salts), and its ability to remove my makeup with barely any effort. Needless to say, this product has earned a permanent place in my cleansing rotation.
Makeup removal: A+
Overall rating: A+
Do you use a cleansing oil? Tell me your favourite below!