In Oil Veritas

In Oil Veritas

So here you are. It’s finally evening. A long day of work or study has passed. Now it’s time to take the load off your shoulders –and your face: time to get rid of the make-up you put on this morning, time to get rid of that greasy feeling of dirt and impurities that have piled up on your skin. So it’s time to fight that oil…with more oil!

Someone might think this is not a good idea. I remember this was also the first thought that crossed my mind when I heard of this first step in the Korean beauty routine. You have to know that my skin is definitely the “oily type”. I’m not exactly acne-prone, but I can definitely feel that greasy feeling under my fingers when I touch my face, especially after a long day spent “into the wild” of the city life. So, adding more oil to this deadly mixture of sebum, make-up and pollution that has covered my face, didn’t just sound right.

The thing is, facts proved me to be wrong: not only my face didn’t feel greasier at all after the first time I tried an oil-based cleanser, but most importantly I sensed, for the first time, a skin so soft and free from dirt that made me realize: “I’ve never actually removed make-up before in my life”.

But how is this possible? How is it that, by adding oil to sebum already produced naturally by my skin (the one I want to get rid off), the pores won’t clog causing a terrible break out that would ruin my mood for the next few weeks?

All the truth behind cleansing oils

There is, of course, a scientific explanation to this (I’m not a scientist, but I’ve done a lot of researches on this subject, trying to grasp the reason behind the crazy love koreans have for oil-based cleansers):

Impurities and make-up contain oil. If you just use a water-based cleanser to remove them, remember this truth that you probably learnt during your elementary school days (and that I had forgotten): water and oil won’t mix. So basically you’ll try to capture dirt, but it will just stay there. On the contrary, when you add oil, the “good oil” from the cleanser and the “bad oil” from the impurities will bind, allowing to rinse everything away in a breeze. So, cleansing oil will not sink into your pores since it works to remove impurities and then gets washed away.

Someone might still say, after this explanation: okay, I get this point, but I still believe that if I add oil to my skin it will probably remove my make-up, but it will leave my skin terribly greasy afterwards. But again, here is another scientifically proven truth: a lot of oil-free cleansers strip our skin of natural oils, leaving it unbalanced and causing it to produce more oil to rebalance it. Excess production equals more problematic skin. Oil cleansers keep the skin’s natural pH balance, and prevents it from having a production overload.

There is actually more: depending on the product and the effects desired, cleansing oils usually contain a mixture of botanical oils (olive, sunflower, sesame, safflower, almond, grape seed), extracts (green tea, jasmine) and/or vitamins (vitamin E and C). So that means they don’t only cleanse: they can actually help to improve the texture and appearance of your skin. Great, isn’t it?

So now you’re convinced that oil cleansers are you thing?

Try at least once to use a cleansing oil and you’ll see this immediately: your make-up melts. Literally. You don’t have to use strenght, you don’t have to rub desperately a cotton pad onto your eyes like you’re scratching away mud after a car rally. You just keep gently massaging in circular motion and everything will start dissolving (you’ll look like a panda before you wash it all away, just so that you know): this process is really helping your skin, because it doesn’t get stressed out from too much rubbing, plus the gentle massage helps with circulation.

So now you see why cleansing really is the first step in your beauty routine!

Find the right cleansing oil for you!

Almost every company in Korea that produces skin care products has created a cleansing oil of their own. So there are literally hundreds of choices out there for you to try (if you manage to find a few good retailers).

This type of cleansers can be found in different consistencies:

  1. Cleansing oil
  2. Cleansing balm
  3. Cleansing stick

A cleansing oil is exactly what you imagine: a liquid product and therefore sold in bottles. Among the (many) popular items in this category, I particularly like the Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil produced by Skinfood (which is probably one of my favorite korean brands ever).


SKINFOOD | Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil

It contains, of course, black sugar, refined rice wine and botanical oils. It’s also enriched with vitamins and minerals that helps to hydrate and nourish skin. I personally also love the way it smells -sweet yet a bit tangy. It’s really pleasant from my perspective! And it melts make-up and dirt so efficently, I couldn’t ask more from it!


Cleansing balms are sold in jars and, when you open them, they appear to be rather solid or jelly-like. The fascinating thing is that, once you take out some product and rub it into your hands, it quickly transforms into oil. One of the most famous cleansing balm (and a steady seller) is produced by Banila Co. and is called Clean It Zero.


BANILA CO |  Clean It Zero

This product is actually the cleansing product in the oil-based section that I love the most, so I thought I will have to give it a proper review later on.

My friend Gina recently introduced me to another very good product in the cleansing balm compartment, which is the Naked Cleansing Oil Cream Strong by VDL (a subsidiary of LG Household & Health Care Ltd.). I love it because of its fresh floral scent and because it transforms from a jelly cream to an oil and then to milky substance after you emulsionate it lightly with water.


VDL | NAKED Cleansing Oil Cream Strong

Cleansing sticks are pretty new and very convenient for women on the move. Because of their solid appearance, it won’t be hard to bring them around while travelling. D’MASK has created a Pollution Fighter line, specifically designed for women who live in big (and therefore often polluted) cities. Their Cleansing Monster 3 Steps Deep Cleansing stick has clay among its main ingredients, so despite being an oil-based cleanser, it helps oily skin to reduce excess sebum -plus it creates a protective barrier against polluting agents. Pretty smart, isn’t it?


D’MASK | Pollution Fighter Cleansing Monster 3 Steps Deep Cleansing

Curious to see how these products actually work?

I’ve prepared a short video for you to watch all of them in action.

The video has been uploaded on my Youtube channel: don’t forget to subscribe by clicking here if you want to get updates on new videos : )



Have you ever tried an oil cleanser? What was your experience? Or maybe you’re just too afraid it might not be your thing?

Share with us your thoughts on oil cleansers and on the “Korean 10-step Beauty Routine”! I’d really love to hear what you think : )

Talk to you soon!



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