Oil-based Skincare – Does It Really Work For Oily Skin?



Oils have become a huge trend in beauty, for both the face and the body. But do they really work?

If you fit into the oily and combination skin category, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say, I have spent a life battling oily skin, using mattifiers, oil blotting papers, and oil-free beauty products.

That was before I understood the revolutionary concept of oil cleansers.

If you have not yet established a good understanding of how an oil cleanser can work for oily or combination skin type, prepare to be educated. Because the stats are in and the evidence is real. If you have oily or combination skin, you’re going to want to start using oil cleansers.

Sophie Hansson, founder of natural Aussie beauty brand SEEH, a brand dedicated to producing products designed for helping your skin naturally rebalance using organic ingredients and specifically designed for sensitive skin types, explains:

“Oil cleansers work as an emulsifier which breaks down all the grease and grime on the skin. this means they are perfect for any skin type really. It will regulate sebum production on oily and combination skin types. But will also nourish, protect and hydrate dry and sensitive skin types.

The easiest way to describe how an oil cleanser works, without science jargon, is that oil breaks down oil. And water breaks down water. If you have a cup of oil and then pour in water, they will separate and are unable to merge together. When you add oil instead of water, the oil will then begin to mix with the other oil.

This is how an oil based cleanser works on the skin. It uses the oil to break down the excess oil already on the skin, to cleanse and remove dirt. “Water based cleansers, especially those with harsh surfactants can strip all the good oils along with the bad, whereas oil cleanser will only remove the dirt and grime without stripping the skin, leaving skin feeling moisturised and clean at the same time.”

This is important for any skin type, as you need to keep the good oils intact in the cells to ensure they are working to keep skin hydrated and protected. If you strip those, then your skin cells go into overdrive to reproduce the good oils again. This can cause skin irritations.”

But lets step back and look at how and why skin becomes oily.

Oily skin types and combination skin types are created when there is an overproduction of oil secretion (sebum) from the pores, as the skin works to keep skin hydrated, protected from environmental impacts and even to fight bacteria, dirt and grime.

All skin types produce sebum. Sebum is an oily and slightly waxy substance found on the skin. This is a healthy oil which is produced by the body to create collagen, keep skin hydrated and well-balanced to combat any skin irritations like dryness.

However, sebum can often overproduce in the cells in the skin, which is normally a result of hormones or another imbalance within the skin cells. These imbalances are found in oily skin types and sometimes combination skin types, aka: the oily T-zone.

As your skin does require a certain amount of sebum to stay healthy, the goal is not to remove excess sebum altogether, but rather balance it for good skin. Excess sebum can stick to the cells and clog the pores, and in turn create icky blemishes on the skin as a result.

Of course, the other end of the spectrum is that your skin doesn’t produce enough sebum. This often results in dry, itchy skin and even inflamed and sensitive skin.

So how can you balance the skin to keep it well hydrated, clear and clean, and looking young?

Oil cleansers could be the answer. And these can range anywhere from a straight up nothing but oil cleanser, to a non water based cleanser which has oil in it, rather than a water based one which can dry out skin.

Before you turn your nose up at the idea of using oil to cleanse oil, remember we aren’t talking food grade oil to cleanse the skin. There are a lot of misconceptions about oil beauty products that need to go.

Oil cleansers are often made up of ingredients like Avocado Oil, Almond Oil, Apricot Oil and even Peppermint Oil.

These oils don’t clog the pores, but work to cleanse away excess sebum being produced to balance the skin and keep it clear and healthy. And the best part is that any skin type can use oil-based cleansers, but oily and combination skin types benefit more.

Sophie says oil is also PH neutral: “Our skin is also PH sensitive, so it’s important to note that oil is also PH neutral and wont impact the acid mantle of the skin. Keeping skin at a well balanced, slightly acidic PH level is vital to good skin health, because if the acid mantle breaks down it can result in varying skin issues such as breakouts, inflammation and other irritations.”

Check out these four beautiful oil cleansers to step into your oil cleansing journey:

SEEH Skincare Cleanse Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm RRP $63.95

Suitable for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive skin.

An easy balm to use. You simply pinch a small amount with your fingers from the jar of delicious smelling balm, and let it melt for a second or two between your fingers.

Lightly massage in circular motions around the face, and then rinse with warm water. Then repeat.

Balm will turn into an oily texture as you massage around your face to remove dirt, grime and balance oil.

Alkira Illuminous Gel Cleanser RRP $16.95

Perfect for all skin types.

Although made with aloe vera juice water, this cleanser contains the cleansing powers of coconut oil, olive fruit oil, sunflower oil and mixed citrus oils.

Shake the bottle before use and pump a small amount into your palm. Using circular motions, massage into the skin to form a light foam and then wash off with warm water. Then repeat once more.

The mix of aloe with oil helps break down dirt on the skin to cleanse the pores, moisturise and soothe.

Ginger & Me Nutri-Luxe Cleansing Oil RRP $55

Suitable for all skin types.

This oil cleanser by Ginger & Me has always been one of my fave products as the texture feels super luxurious and the smell of apricot oil is delicious.

You apply two to three pumps onto the skin and massage in. Then add warm water to the face and massage oil further to emulsifier the ingredients for a deep cleanse to the pores. Then repeat.

This oil cleanser is nutrient rich to help restore what’s lost on the skin through the day, to balance and hydrate.

QED Skincare Clarify Cleanser RRP $54

For oily and blemished skin.

This cleanser uses the power of essential oils and purified water to create an emulsifier to calm inflamed skin, cleanse and remove dirt and heal blemishes faster.

Shake the bottle well before use to combine as much of the oil and water as possible. before the oil and water separate, apply to damp skin and massage in to remove makeup. Repeat.

Infused with peppermint oil, this cleanser is designed to clear blemishes and treatment inflamed skin to help calm and restore balance.

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Rebecca Wilkinson


Say hello to Bondi Beauty's Beauty Columnist. Rebecca is a pescatarian, who may yet become vegan. She loves all things beauty, health & travel with a weakness for coffee. If she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's trying out the latest beauty craze like ice baths or rubbing smashed avo on her face. We know, what a waste of smashed avo. Reach out to her with your beauty questions.

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