Cosmetic Oils Aren’t For Everyone

So many beauty guru YouTubers and DIY non-professional cosmetologists have been stepping out to support the use of cosmetic oils recently. They claim using oils for the face is basically like using a miracle drug you see in TV infomercials. And while using cosmetic oils does work wonders for some, it is absolutely not a universal cure all for the skin issues faced by every individual.

Personally, I do not use cosmetic oils. I have combination oily and dry skin, so finding an oil that suits my whole face is difficult. I also have very sensitive skin that’s prone to rosacea and deep rooted blemishes. All of this adds up to cosmetic oils being my worst enemy. I’ve tried vitamin E oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil (yikes), grapeseed oil, and more, and every single one has brought with it incredible oil imbalance and a fresh crop of blemishes that last.

The frustrating part is that just about every Pinterest cosmetologist and YouTuber seems to be endorsing that everyone should and can use them. Without understanding the reasons these products simply don’t work for everyone, marketing these products as a cure all can potentially lead unwitting and trusting followers to causing real damage to their skin. Yes, it is a great sustainable option for some, but it is, by no means, the best or only sustainable option.

Most recently I’ve seen influencers replacing their cream or herbal based moisturizing routine for oil based ones, fully cutting out the moisturizing effects of their former products. This quick transition and heavy pore saturating switch can wreak havoc on skin and cause damage that can take a while to reverse.

I can appreciate wanting to use an oil cleansing method over all. Using a natural oil to cleanse your skin provides you with a single ingredient skincare product that in turn will help create less waste and will simplify what you use on your body. If you are considering switching to a cosmetic oil for your daily routine, please read this first. We’ll discuss some of the oils that may work for your individual skin type, as well as what to watch out for when trying this trend. I’ll also provide a few links below to YouTubers I trust for cosmetic advice, and who’s knowledge of cosmetic oils has greatly informed my own.


Dry Skin:

If you have dry skin, you’ll need to be careful how you use oil based products. You do want to add oils back into the skin to replenish it after long periods of dryness, but adding too much can be detrimental. You’ll want to use a thicker oil product with a high omega fatty acid content so that it can really penetrate your pores and provide moisture to your skin. It will also help to massage the oil into the skin for 60 seconds or longer to really give your skin a chance to soak up all it needs. However, when you go to remove this oil be thorough in your removal. Use a damp cloth and warm water to really pull the oils back off the skin and follow with a secondary cleanse to further remove any excess you couldn’t get with the towel. Leaving too much oil on the skin can easily cause breakouts, especially for skin that isn’t used to oil. Some good oils for you to try: Avocado Oil, Apricot Oil, Argan Oil, or Sweet Almond Oil.

Oily Skin:

If you have oily skin, the oil cleansing method might actually be your best friend. It sounds counterintuitive to add oil to an already oily surface, but this is actually one of the best and most natural methods of removal. Since the oils in your skin will more readily bond to an oil based cleanser than a water based one, you are more likely to get a good, deep clean. With a water based cleanser, ingredients called surfactants need to be added to the product to really cleanse the natural oils off your skin, but with an oil cleanser nothing needs to be added to the oil to make it effective. Some good oils for you to try are: Sunflower Oil, Rosehip Oil, Safflower Oil, or Hemp Seed Oil.

Combination Skin:

If you have combination skin like me, and especially if your skin is sensitive, oil cleansing might not be for you. However, you still have options if this method is what you want to try. When you do use oil cleansers or serums/moisturizers be careful about where you are placing these products on your skin, as well as how much you use in these areas. The oil will be most beneficial as a cleanser on the parts of your skin that are more naturally oily, so you’ll want to target those areas and follow with a simple water based cleanser for the full face including the areas with more dry skin. Some good oils for you to try: Jojoba Oil, Rosehip Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, or Grapeseed Oil.


When cleansing the face with natural oils, be sure you are picking up one that is specifically designed for the skin and not just for cooking. While these oils are very similar, they’re not exactly the same. You’ll also want to make sure you transition your skin slowly into this oil based routine. Transitioning too quickly from water based to oil based products can cause inflammation of the skin, and can leave pores clogged with the oils it isn’t used to absorbing. Be sure to use a warm, damp towel to remove the oils and follow with a secondary cleanse to really get every bit of left over oil out of your pores and off your face.

For additional information here are some YouTubers I trust for well researched skincare advice. They don’t all fully practice sustainability, but the information and knowledge provided is often applicable to sustainable skincare ideals and practices.

The Golden Rx on Youtube is a really great source for information on all your skincare needs. While she does not focus solely on sustainable products, the science and expert advice she offers is invaluable to a sustainable or DIY skincare user.
Dr. Dray on YouTube is a dermatologist and skincare enthusiast. Also not every product used in her videos is sustainable, but she does provide great information and sometimes does use simple and sustainable products.

Thanks for reading! Let me know: will you be trying the oil cleansing method? What are your favorite cosmetic oils?

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