Cleansing oils are very effective in dissolving oil-based and waterproof makeup. Personally, this is my favourite type of makeup removal method as it is quick and easy. It is capable of dissolving heavy-duty makeup in one step. Most cleansing oils are gentle enough to be used on the whole face (include eye areas). There is no need to use any cotton pads or cloths.
Cleansing oils are usually either plant-based (e.g. grapeseed oil) or hydrocarbon-based (e.g. mineral oil). As opposed to common misconception, cosmetic-grade mineral oil does not cause acne, as the hydrocarbon molecules are too big to actually "clog" pores. Nevertheless, it is always best to double cleanse (see separate section below).
To use, apply cleansing oil on dry skin over makeup. Massage to dissolve makeup. Add water to emulsify. Rinse and follow with a water-soluble cleanser.
Pictured from left to right: 1. Clarins Total Cleansing Oil; 2. Dermalogica Precleanse; 3. Shu Uemura Skin Purifier.
Cleansing balm is a variant of cleansing oil. The underlying basis is the same - balms are oil-based and they dissolve waterproof makeup. Balms are thought to be more gentle and are better for dry skin type. However, the catch is that most balms are too thick to emulsify or to be rinsed off, and to remove the balm properly a wash cloth or a face flannel is necessary.
Pictured clockwise from left: 1. Goodness break-up make-up balm; 2. Trilogy Make-up be gone cleansing balm; 3. Clinique take the day off cleansing balm.
What is double cleansing?
Double cleansing means, as the name has already suggested, cleansing skin twice. The most effective way of double cleansing consists of using an oil-based cleanser as the first step, and a water-soluble cleanser (or "regular" cleanser) as the second step. The ensures that makeup and sunscreen is properly removed in the first step, and that any oily residue from the first cleanser is removed in the second step. Double cleansing also allows your regular cleanser to penetrate into the skin surface just a little better, as the hard work of getting rid of makeup and any oil built-up has already been done by the first cleanser.
That said, if an oil-based cleanser is not readily available, using your regular cleanser twice will give you cleaner and fresher skin than to cleanse just once.
This article is part of our pre-wedding skincare crash course. Read more skincare tips for the beautiful skin that you want for your wedding day.