Disclaimer: All items purchased by me. Blog post contains affiliate links
Several months ago, I had decided to do some oil cleanser comparisons. I had thought that it would be 3 or 4 of them, but it seemed that I kept purchasing oil cleansers or getting them in subscription boxes!! That number grew to NINE oil cleansers (well, one is a gel cleanser, but I treat it like an oil cleanser) and even though I recently received an AmorePacific oil cleanser, I put a stop at nine for this review. I will be reviewing my AmorePacific in the future, but this blog post will only have the following cleansers
- Shara Shara Black Bean Cleansing Oil
- Recipe By Nature Green Tea Cleansing Oil
- Beyond Apple Mint Fresh Cleansing Oil
- Innisfree Biji Trouble Cleansing Gel ~ not really a “pure” cleansing oil, but I treat it as a 1st step
- Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil
- Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil
- Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil Moisture
- illi Deep Cleansing Oil (forest green bottle)
- illi Total Age Care Cleansing Oil (burgundy bottle)
Oil Cleansing, whether it is a liquid or a balm, is the first step in the Asian 2-Step Cleansing method. Oil Cleansing allows for all of the makeup, dirt and excess oil and grime to bind to the cleanser without clogging your pores, and whisking away all of the debris and impurities once you rinse your face, without stripping your face of its natural oils. Oil cleansers are full of antioxidants, which means they will help slow down aging and repair free radical damage. It also allows your skin to balance its oil and moisture level and keep your essential oils, which are naturally anti-bacterial ~ which means less blemishes. I fought for a while against the concept of oil cleansing but now I cannot imagine not washing my face without this first step. I follow up with a foaming cleanser that will not strip or dry out my skin to finish removing any remnants of the oil cleanser and debris left on my skin.
I cleanse my face with the 2-Step method twice a day ~ most people just do this at nighttime, but I like to use it in my morning routine as well. It moisturizes my skin without greasiness and I am a creature of habit! Plus it removes any makeup that I might have missed the night before as well.
I will cut to the chase and just say that since I do double cleansing ~ where I use an oil cleanser as a 1st step and then a foaming cleanser as a 2nd step (read more here) ~ I found that all of these cleansers worked fine with that method. However, I took in consideration that knowing how they worked on their own is a big factor in purchasing an oil cleanser, as they aren’t inexpensive and the scent ~ yes, I am shallow ~ haha. Scent is a huge factor for me in my cleansers, believe it or not. I don’t mind unscented ones, but I also love green, fruit and spicy scents!! No rose or heavy florals for me 🙂 None of the cleansers I used caused any issues, such as a heavy film even after the 2nd step, rashes, blemishes or allergic reactions. For the record, I have oily, blemish prone, aging skin.
I used a variety of makeup items for testing ~ I am a firm believer in putting my cleansers to the test, so you won’t see plain o’ lipstick or powder eyes shadows in my testing. I use heavy duty, long wearing, hard to budge items ~ Jessie’s Girl Black Liquid Eyeliner, Korean Gel Eyeliners, theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Liquid Lipstick (this stuff is tough to budge), Clinique Extreme High Impact Mascara, Innisfree Glow Liquid Shadow, just to name a few of the common items I used. Keep that in mind when you look at the testing results, as if you do not wear a lot of makeup, some of the oil cleansers that may not have performed as well might be adequate for your needs.
For each test, I would add a couple of pumps of the oil on my hand and massage for 2 minutes before rinsing off.
Shara Shara Black Bean Cleansing Oil I purchased this from Memebox and I do enjoy Shara Shara’s skincare line ~ not so much their makeup. I am also a big soybean fan (black bean) and really was interested in using this product. Like all of the oils used in this review, it is an oil. Very drippy and runny. Its scent is wonderful, very yeasty and bread-like ~ it may not be to everyone’s taste scent-wise, but I do love the scent of fermented products.
- Oil(s): Mineral, Avocado, Moringa Oleifera Seed, Jojoba, Argan, Sweet Almond, synthetic esters
- Contains: Alcohol
I will say that Shara Shara really did cut thru all of the makeup products in record time! In fact, I think this is the best one in terms of performance in removing makeup.
Description: This cleansing oil offers thorough and deep cleansing to fully erase makeup and get rid of other skin impurities accumulated in the pores due to full day outdoor exposure. It is enriched and fortified with natural organic oils and fruit extracts to promote healthier skin. It also leaves a thin layer of moisture film to keep the skin properly soothed and hydrated. With Black Bean as its main ingredient, this cleansing oil is full of antioxidants that get rid of hidden pimple-causing dirt.
Ingredients: Mineral Oil, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate , Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Myristate, Denatured Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract , Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Honey Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract , Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Saponaria Officinalis Leaf Extract, Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract, Yucca Vera Leaf/Root Extract , Pulsatilla Koreana (Pasqueflower) Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Chamaecyparis Obtusa (Cypress) Leaf Extract, Phytosphingosine, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil , Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter , Butylene Glycol, Water (Aqua), Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
Recipe By Nature Green Tea Cleansing Oil Look at this bottle! There are actually green tea leaves in it! Real ones ~ they also have a Rose Cleansing Oil with rose petals, but due to my allergies, I went with the Green Tea. Love the scent ~ at first a light green tea floral, but it quickly dries down to the scent of tea. This is one of my favorite cleansers due to the scent 🙂
- Oil(s): green tea, olive, macadamia seed, jojoba seed, castor, synthetic esters
It did pretty good in the cleansing test ~ removing the stubborn Meet the Matt(e) Hughes lipstick, but it did have issues with Jessie’s Girl Liquid eyeliner ~ which seems to be a common issue with the oil cleansers in this review.
Ingredients: Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-8 Isostearate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Oil , Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil , Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil , tocopheryl acetate, purified water, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Water, propylene glycol, Gypsophila Paniculata Root Extract, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
Beyond Apple Mint Fresh Cleansing Oil I do like Beyond products and they are an eco-friendly K-Beauty brand that should get more attention, but doesn’t. They have a whole series of Apple Mint ~ body gel, cleansing water, cleansing wipes, foaming cleanser and this ~ their oil. Despite the name, this doesn’t smell like apples OR mint, but actually like Clementines ~ very sparkling and refreshing citrus scent that really wakes you up! I do oil cleanse both in the am and pm, so this one is an oil cleanser that I would use in my morning routine.
- Oil(s): macadamia seed, olive and synthetic esters
- Contains: Alcohol
Why would I only use it in my morning routine? Because its cleansing abilities leave a bit to be desired. Since my AM routine means that I do not have makeup on my face anymore (or most of it gone, hopefully), this works well to remove any skincare product residue from my overnight treatments. If you do not wear a lot of makeup, this would be great as an evening oil cleanser as well. I love it because of its scent ~ I told you I was shallow ~ and I will repurchase.
Ingredients: Cetyl Ethylhexanoate , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triethylhexanoin ,PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate , C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate , Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate, Mentha Rotundifolia (apple mint) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil , tocopheryl acetate, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Melissa Officinalis (lemonbalm) Leaf Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract , Achillea Millefolium (yarrow) Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Primula Veris Extract, glycerin, alcohol, purified water, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
Innisfree Biji Trouble Cleansing Gel This is not an oil cleanser, but I purchased it thinking it was ~ duh!! However, because of its consistency, which is similar to an oil cleanser and it doesn’t foam, I do use it as a 1st step cleanser. That is just me and how you would use it probably will differ. This has a lovely wonderful pine tree and tea tree scent, as Biji (torreya nucifera) is part of the pine family. This does have rose extract in it, which I was very worried about when I read this ~ I am getting better about reading ingredients BEFORE I purchase ~ but I did patch testing and I guess it is so diluted that it doesn’t cause an issue. However, because of that ingredient and its performance, I will not repurchase.
- Oil(s): torreya nucifera (bija) seed oil plus esters and emollients
Since this is not an oil cleanser, I did do a pH test on it and it is a 3 to 4 without any water. I am sure once water is added, it will tick up to a 5.
As you can see below, the cleansing ability leaves much to be desired. It could barely budge the matte lipstick and you can see the gel eyeliners. I use this in the morning routine only as it isn’t strong enough for the end of the day, remove my makeup cleanser. Since I like my 2nd step cleansers to foam or be creamy, this is a confusing cleanser for me. It should be an oil cleanser and I wish Innisfree would make a Bija Oil Cleanser as I would purchase it in a heartbeat. Bija is great for oily, blemish prone skin.
Description: Contains Jeju bija oil for outstanding, enhanced skin. Contains natural ingredients, such as salicylic acid, to remove dead skin cells and treat skin problems. The mineral-free ingredients treat your skin without leaving an oily residue. Free from: synthetic colorants, mineral oil, animal-originated ingredients, artificial fragrances, and imidazolidinyl urea
Ingredients: water, dipropylene glycol, PEG-15 glyceryl isostearate, PEG-20 clyceryl triisosteate, Bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silance, butylene glycol, PEG/PPG/polybutylene glycol-8/5/3 glycerin, torreya nucifera seed oil (450 mg), salicylic acid, citrus unshiu peel extract, orchid extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, camellia japonica leaft extract, disodium EDTA, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, rosa centifolia flower extract, tocopherol, polysorbate 20, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil Okay, now this is an oil cleanser from Innisfree and this was one of the first oil cleansers I tried ~ the first one is coming up next. This smells so great ~ think of Jolly Ranchers Green Apple candies ~ a granny smith apple coated in sugar! Yes, I am really into the scents here. This doesn’t have any traditional oils in it, instead it relies on synthetic esters and emollients.
- Oil(s): None ~ uses synthetic esters and emollients
As much as I love Innisfree products, this oil cleanser did let me down. It wasn’t awful, but more mediocre ~ thankfully, I follow up with a foaming cleanser to remove any remaining makeup, but as you tell below, it really had a hard time with the eyeliner. That said, I do love the scent (shallow…) and this is my 2nd bottle of the stuff.
Description: This gentle cleansing oil simultaneously removes makeup, dirt, and sebum. The easy-to-rinse formula does not leave an oily residue. Enjoy the sweet and sour scent of apples. Free from: mineral oil, animal-originated ingredients, synthetic colorants, and imidazolidinyl urea. Apple ingredients for skin as radiant as the surface of a beautifully polished apple ~ The Apple Juicy Cleansing line will satisfy your skin with the fresh feeling of deep cleansing and healthy radiance. Restore your skin’s apple-like shine simply by cleansing.
Ingredients: cetyl ethylhexanoate, triethylhexanoin, polyglyceryl-10 dioleate, hydrogenated poly(C6-14 olefin), PEG-8 glyceryl isostearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, cyclopentasiloxane, hydrogenated polyisobutene, cyclohexasiloxane, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, citrus unshiu peel extract, orchid extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, camellia japonica leaf extract, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, butylene glycol, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil This was my very first cleansing oil ever and I really like it a lot! Despite its name of Black Sugar, this actually smells like sweet lemons and it is a nice refreshing scent. Skinfood is a solid player when it comes to skincare products and I think this one really performs well. This has some great ingredients in it as well ~ ceramides and a slew of amino acids. This is one of the more moisturizing cleansing oils in this review. There looks to be a “new” version of this oil ~ I don’t know if it is just the packaging or the ingredients. I am reviewing the one that is pictured and will link to those sites that carry this particular version. Update: The new cleanser is different and is called Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect Cleanser Oil, and this one reviewed is being discontinued *sobs* I don’t know why they had to mess with the formula but if you want to see the ingredients list ~ check out cosDNA.com analysis here
- Oil(s): mineral, synthetic esters
- Contains: alcohol, dimethicone
This actually got most of the makeup off and is in my top 3 picks for best cleansing oil. I like this oil so much that I have repurchased it.
Ingredients: mineral oil, PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate, octyldodecanol, sorbeth-30 tretaoleate, cetyl ethylhexanoate, polysorbate 20, triethylhexanion, water, sorbitan sesquioleate, 1,2-hexanediol, alcohol, hydrogenated lecithin, cholesterol, ceramide 3, dimethicone, tocoperyl acetate, sodium PCA, betaine, sorbitol, glycine, alanine, proline, serine, threonine, arginine, lysine, glutamic acid, disodium EDTA, sucrose, CI 19140, CI 17200, CI 42090, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil Moisture I received this as a sample in my 3B box, and decided to try it out. I am not a huge fan of Etude House as I do not think they are anything special, and this cleanser didn’t change my mind about that opinion. There was nothing outstanding with the scent. It has a faint citrus smell and it reminds me of citrus glow cleanser, which is a product for cleaning your floors, countertops, etc ~ so I really did not like this on my face.
- Oil(s): cocos nucifera (coconut), synthetic esters and emollients
I found this worked fine, it was an okay cleanser that had issues with the eyeliner. I didn’t like the scent, so I will not purchase it.
Ingredients: pentaeryhrityl tetraisostearate, cetyl ethylhexanoate, triethylhexanoin, PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, octyldodecyl myristate, hydrogenated C6-14 olefin polymers, PEG-8 isostearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, hydrogenated polyisobutene, cocos nucifera(coconut) oil, diisostearyl malate, methyl trimethicone, polyglyceryl-2 triisostearate, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, isostearic acid, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
illi Deep Cleansing Oil Oh MY BAE. I love illi products ~ I have used their Total Age Care line for foaming facial cleansers, oil cleansers, body washes, body lotions and I have tried their Fresh Moisture body lotion and washes (smells like lemons) as well as hand creams and facial masks. I do not believe there is a line for “Deep” ~ this looks to be the lone product and it is amazing. Better than Total Age Care, imho (coming up next). The scent is a sharp herbal one ~ pine and chamomile come to mind ~ and it really does a fantastic job. The bottle is beautiful ~ a deep forest green color with the simple illi hanbang logo ~ the pump is impressive as well. Very sturdy yet oddly beautiful.
- Oil(s): Mineral, camellia, synthetic esters
As you can see below, it pretty much takes off everything, leaving only a faint trail with the eye liner. This cleanser is a treat to use, as I totally love the scent and it is so lux in its texture. This also has bamboo extract, which contains silica ~ that is a very important ingredient as helps strengthen your collagen and elastin, which in turn will help firm and tone your skin and plump up your skin. Bamboo also is a very soothing ingredient that is good for sensitive skin, as it is an anti-irritant, retains moisture and is a powerful antioxidant.
Ingredients: mineral oil, Caprylic/CapricTriglyceride, PEG-20 glyceryl stearate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (green tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil , Nelumbo Nucifera (lotus) Flower Extract, Phyllostachys Bambusoides (bamboo) Juice, Butylene Gycol, Purified Water, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
illi Total Age Care Cleansing Oil I actually tried this illi cleanser first before the Deep Oil version and it is a very nice cleanser as well. It is easier to get a hold of right now than the Deep version. I love the illi Total Age Care Foaming Cleanser, with its light ginseng floral scent, and I am happy to say this has the same lovely scent. Just like the Deep cleanser, this comes in the same packaging, but with a deep burgundy bottle instead of the forest green. I like that this has natto gum in it as that is a great anti-aging ingredient (hence the name of the Total Age Care line)
- Oil(s): Mineral, camellia, synthetic esters
This has the same issue as illi Deep Cleansing as it has problems with my eyeliner ~ and it is a bit more worse here. However, it does do the job nicely, could be better, but if you don’t wear a lot of long wearing makeup and prefer florals over herbals, I recommend this illi cleanser.
Ingredients: Mineral oil, isopropyl palmitate, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate, PEG-8 isostearate, panax ginseng root extract, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, camellia japonica seed oil, natto gum, dextrin palmitate, glyceryl behenate/eicosadioate, butylene glycol, water, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
So, my top 3 cleansers are and in order
- Shara Shara Black Bean Cleansing Oil
- illi Deep Cleansing Oil (forest green bottle)
- Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil
I really am in love with illi Deep Cleansing Oil not only due to its performance, but its scent. I am not into florals that much, so having a sharper herbaceous scented oil is really something I love. Shara Shara Black Bean is the best in its cleansing abilities and I do hope that Memebox restocks it as it is superior and Skinfood i
s a great standby ~ just about everyone carries it and it also has lovely moisturizing ingredients. Black Sugar Cleansing Oil is being replaced so if you love this formula, stock up!
Out of the 9 cleansers that I tested, only two are on my “no-buy” list and one waffles, depending on the ability to purchase illi Deep Cleansing Oil. The rest are on a “buy” list as I like them enough for their cleansing abilities plus the scent makes me happy! As far as what you might want, I think it really comes down to
- How much makeup you wear ~ obviously, you do not need a heavy duty cleanser if you wear no or light makeup
- Scent preferences
What oil cleansers have you used? Any ones that I should know about?
Where To Purchase
The prices fluctuate wildly because some sites charge for shipping and others do not. Those that do not charge for shipping are building in the shipping costs into the product. You will have to determine if the shipping costs are worth it or if it is less expensive to go with free shipping with a higher product price.
- TesterKorea, InnisfreeWorld charge for shipping. InnisfreeWorld has free shipping over a certain amount
- Memebox has free shipping with purchases $30.00 up
- Jolse, Cosmetic-Love and W2Beauty all have free shipping
- Jolse, Cosmetic-Love and W2Beauty also include free samples
- If you never ordered from W2Beauty before, use my referral link (click here) or use my sponsor code 0811226902 and get a $5.00 coupon for your first purchase!
Shara Shara Black Bean Cleansing Oil 200 mL
Recipe By Nature Green Tea Cleansing Oil 200 mL
Beyond Apple Mint Fresh Cleansing Oil 150 mL
Innisfree Bija Trouble Cleansing Gel 150 mL
Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil 150 mL
Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil 170 mL
Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil Moisture 185 mL
illi Deep Cleansing Oil (forest green bottle) 200 mL
illi Total Age Care Cleansing Oil (burgundy bottle) 200 mL
This blog post is part of the AB See Asian Beauty Blog Party for the theme “Guides“
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