The Goods

Oil cleansing myths busted by a beauty expert

Natural beauty maven Sheri Stroh shares why this counterintuitive treatment may be your acne-prone skin's saviour.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Oil cleansing has been huge in the beauty community for a while now, and it turns out it may actually be just what your skin needs this winter. If your skin is suffering from the cold but the idea of putting oil on your face is still rather terrifying, we totally get it. Many are concerned that it will cause breakouts, that it will make their skin feel greasy and clog pores, but thankfully most of these worries aren't true, according to natural beauty expert Sheri Stroh. She stopped by The Goods to debunk some common oil cleansing myths and — lucky for us — shared how to cleanse your face with oil at home.

The basics

Oil cleansing is a way of deep cleansing your skin without stripping it of all of its essential moisture that it needs. Oil cleansing sounds scary, but "like attracts like," so oil is actually perfect for removing dirt, grime, pollution, makeup, and sunscreen. It binds to all of these clogging substances and more, so it's easy to remove.

The great thing about oil cleansing is that anyone can do it because it's so simple. All you need to do is massage an oil that works for your skin type into your face, and then clean it off with a hot towel. But before you try it at home, here are the most common oil myths busted.

When you use harsh, super foaming cleansers you are stripping your skin and causing it to go into overdrive which means it will likely produce more and more oil. You know that squeaky clean feeling that people love so much and associate with our skin being clean? Well, that's a myth too! It's not good to feel dry and tight after washing your face, and cleansing with oil can totally help your skin feel more balanced. Our skin has something called the "Acid Mantle" that is our own natural protection from bacteria, dryness and irritation and stripping that away can actually lead to breakouts and a host of other skin issues. But you shouldn't use just any oil, which leads us to the next myth.

There are many different oils with different structures that are suited to specific skin types so you have to try the right one: not every oil is for everyone. Luckily, oil won't make you break out if you use the right one for your skin type.

Here's what oils you should use based on skin type:

Oily - Grapeseed, pumpkin seed, sunflower

Acne-prone - Jojoba, hemp, castor oil

Sensitive - Camellia (for inflamed skin)

Dry - Avocado, extra virgin olive oil, almond

If you're going to use oil from the kitchen, always opt for use cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil. Never use vegetable, canola, shortening, or corn oil. Organic, cold pressed, and unrefined oils contain much more nutrients and antioxidants your skin will benefit from.

Because of coconut oil's popularity it has really become the be-all-end-all of kitchen and skin products, but while it can have antifungal and antibacterial properties, it can be drying as well. It is also an oil that is very high on the comedogenic scale which means that if you are prone to breakouts, this oil can definitely clog pores and lead to more problems. Coconut oil is one of the most polarizing oils or ingredients in skincare: some love it and many experience issues with it. If you are one of the lucky ones it works for, that's great, but if you suffer breakouts or dry skin, keep it in the kitchen.

This type of cleansing is definitely worth your time! Oil cleansing doesn't have to take long and it deep cleanses without stripping your skin. Plus, it effectively removes all makeup without harsh chemicals — even tough-to-remove eye makeup. The massage action of applying the oil softens hardened plugs of sebum lodged in pores to make them easier to remove and helps with congested pores to keep skin clear. Massage also increases circulation and lymph flow so that skin is plump and looks healthy and radiant. Massage for a few minutes and your skin will thank you.

How to cleanse your face with oil

Regular oils will usually not rinse off, which is why you need to rinse with a cloth. This action adds some very gentle exfoliation which is an added bonus. If this is too much, there are skincare companies that make oils that emulsify and break up with water so they rinse clean. They usually smell nicer too, since they are blends of oils and other ingredients. Try cleansing once a week or once at night and learn what your skin responds to.

  1. Take a tiny amount of oil in the palm of your hands. Massage into your skin for a minute or two. Remove your eye makeup last.
  2. Take a soft washcloth wet with warm water, and lightly rub on your face to remove the oil.
  3. Lightly dry your skin, or let it air dry to avoid drying it with a towel, which can be harsh on skin. Your skin will feel super soft, and not tight and irritated like it might after using a harsh cleanser.