Cleanser is, quite frankly, the boring bit of the skincare world. Let's face it—washing your face has nothing on the joyous sensation of peeling back a mask to find gleaming skin underneath or the soothing sensation of massaging a buttery face cream into dry cheeks. Hell, even geeky serums are more exciting.
Thrilling it is not, but cleansing is categorically the most important step of your skincare regimen. Not only does it prepare skin to soak up whatever skincare gems you layer on top, but it also washes away all the junk (pollution, dirt, makeup and the like) that builds up on skin throughout the day.
The way I speed up this step so I can get down to the fun stuff (i.e., vitamin C pastes and hydrating eye creams) is by opting for an oil cleanser. Not only do these formulas melt away makeup in a flash, but they also leave the skin feeling nourished, not stripped. I've spent years trialling every cleansing oil I can get my hands on, and after a rather meticulous marking process, I'm pretty certain I've found the greatest ones.
Keep scrolling, and I'll talk you through the five best cleansing oils to ever grace my bathroom sink.
This stuff is the dream—and quite rightly so for the price tag. It smells divine, feels super silky and melts down a treat. I simply massage it in for 30 seconds and then splash warm water over my face, which is enough to rinse the cleanser away, along with the 27 layers of mascara I wear every single day. Plus, it has balanced out my combination skin, meaning my cheeks are suitably plump and hydrated while my forehead's overactive sebaceous glands have drastically calmed down.
I've never seen such a dramatic transformation in my skin than when I started using C.E.O. It contains vitamin C, which is a proven skin brightener, and while it's likely to be more effective in the form of a serum (rather than something you wash off), it does leave skin more vibrant in cleanser form too—perfect if your skin looks constantly hungover. It also contains AHAs and BHAs to nibble away at dead skin cells and flush away pollution particles. One word of warning: Do not get this in your eyes. It stings like nothing else.
Okay, so there's nothing luxe about this cleansing oil, but if you're looking for something that gets the job done with minimal fuss, let this be it. There's hardly a scent to it at all (handy if you have sensitive skin), and it takes a little more massaging to dislodge mascara, but it washes away brilliantly, leaving no residue.
Elemis's formula is great if you have skin that is starting to look a little off-kilter. It contains 90% natural oils including winter rose oil, which is rich in omega-9 and chia seed oil, which is perfect for conditioning the skin. It plies the complexion with vitamins and hydrators just as well as any serum.
There's so much going on in this bottle. First, there's a blend of borage, sunflower, bilberry and cucumber oils, which are all supremely hydrating on their own but come together to form a powerhouse of skin nourishment. It also contains sea salts which are full of minerals to strengthen skin and leave it looking smoother. Oh, and I should probably mention the scent: It smells of tangerine skins (excellent at boosting the mind in the morning) and lavender, which will send you into snoozeland no problem come the evening.