They'll leave your face soft and supple (swear!).
Oils are a great salve for dry skin, and not just in creams and lotions. Enter the new category of oil facial cleansers: "A cleansing oil replenishes skin so it doesn't feel dry or tight," says Lisa Vela, a medical aesthetician in Santa Monica, CA. And it won't leave your skin greasy. "It sounds counterintuitive, but an oil cleanser combines with the oils on your skin and in your makeup, breaking them down so they're actually easier to remove," says cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski.
Meanwhile, traditional "foaming and lathering cleansers typically contain higher levels of surfactant to strip makeup and dirt from your skin," explains Julia Tzu, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Cleansing oils keep your skin moisturized while purifying, and are less likely to irritate your sensitive face. This product is especially perfect for removing makeup: "Cleansing oils tend to be more gentle on the skin, but will remove even the most stubborn makeup," says pro makeup artist Tati Westbrook.
If the word "oil" instantly brings to mind clogged pores and rampant breakouts, don't fret — "every skin type can benefit from cleansing oils — even oily," says Westbrook. Dermatologists recommend oil cleansing, since they "are specially formulated to take away impurities in the skin while leaving a layer of moisturizing oils to prevent skin irritation," explains Dr. Tzu. To use, massage the formula onto your dry face and then rinse it off with several splashes of water.
At the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab, we test hundreds of skincare products each year, from cleansers to moisturizers, face oils and beyond. We test these products in our Lab using advanced imaging and moisturization-gauging technology and we send products out to consumer testers who report unbiasedly on factors including satisfaction, efficaciousness of cleansing, and how effectively each cleanser whisks away makeup and oil, and how skin feels (and looks!) after use. While we haven't run a cross-category test on cleansing oils in particular, we have rounded up our expert and dermatologist-recommended picks, including GH Beauty Award-winners and Seal-holders that remove makeup and gently cleanse acne-prone, dry, and sensitive skin types, and everything in between: