Can I use oil to remove makeup?

How To Wash Your Face And Remove Makeup With Oil

Use a cleansing oil to remove makeup and wash your face. It's a 2-for-1 that simplifies your skincare routine, without compromise. In fact, once you've started, you likely won't go back to the days of cotton pads or makeup wipes.

Here's what you need to know and do.

Our steps for using oil to remove makeup

The first order of business is to rethink what it means to take off your makeup.

Many of us have grown up using wipes for our face and then an eye makeup remover on a cotton pad specifically for things like waterproof mascara.

After the makeup is gone and our skin feels slick and greasy with product, we scrub away the residue - and likely the natural oils on our skin - with a foaming face wash.



This section is a step-by-step guide to the oil cleansing method to gently remove your makeup. And surprise! You'll be washing your face at the same time too. We love anything that's a time saver. 


Step 1: Dampen your skin

Before you think about the oil, you need to apply water.

Here's why: a true cleansing oil is waterless. The oils break up/dissolve makeup, but it's the water that will wash it away. Always use cool/warm water, never hot!

Empyri tip: Be extra careful with temperature around your eyes or if you have sensitive skin.

The "traditional" oil cleansing method says to apply the product to dry skin.

That's because the method also says to follow up with a second, water-based cleanser.

It's in that second cleanse that the water is added to the equation.

But we are all about the #skinimalism baby! Why do in 2 steps what you can effectively do in 1?


woman holding and reviewing oil cleanser


Step 2: Apply cleansing oil and massage

Apply oil cleanser (the amount will depend on the oil and how much makeup you're wearing) to your fingertips. Distribute between both hands and then gently rub all over your face.

If you are wearing heavy eye makeup, we suggest massaging the rest of your face first. That way you can end with your eyes and not smear black streaks of oily mascara all over.

Step 3: Rinse and repeat

After your make-up is sufficiently melted, it's time to take it off. 

You can now rinse by splashing water and repeat until face is clean. Or you can dampen a clean, soft washcloth with natural fibers and use it to remove the makeup smears and oil residue. 

We prefer this second method because it more thoroughly removes makeup and oil. You'll use less water too, so it's a less wasteful choice.

Step 4: Pat dry

This one is self-explanatory. Always use a clean towel to gently dry.



What oils can you use?

Many oils are good at removing makeup. Almost all are natural alternatives to regular makeup removers. Most oils work best together, which is why you'll find them in many oil-based cleansers. Look for them on the label, near the top of the ingredient list.


Coconut oil

We said most oils are best used in combination with each other for the ideal makeup removal experience.

Coconut oil is the strongest exception to this rule. 

It stays solid at room temperature - you need to massage a small amount in your fingertips to warm it up before applying. Plus it has anti-bacterial properties.


Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is a great oil for cleansing for three reasons. First, it is very similar to our skin's sebum i.e. it's perfect for creating that process of "like dissolves like" that we need in the oil cleansing method. Second, it's hydrating. This is an important characteristic for any cleansing oil as you don't want to dry out your skin with every wash. And third, cleansing with jojoba oil can help with relieving acne symptoms because it's balancing and won't clog pores.


Castor oil

Known for its anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties, castor oil is a popular choice for skin. Anecdotally, castor oil supports healthy eyelash growth which makes it especially good for removing eye makeup.


Baby oil

Many people swear by baby oil as their go-to makeup remover. The truth is, it works! The main ingredient is mineral oil. Unfortunately, baby oil does not pass a clean beauty test. Like many many makeup removers, baby oils often contain fragrance which is irritating, especially around the eyes. And mineral oil is derived from petroleum, a big no-no if you want to keep it clean.


Almond oil

Almond oil is a 2 on the comedogenic scale, so it's unlikely to clog pores. It effectively dissolves make-up and it also full of essential fatty acids and vitamin E.


Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is suitable for all skin types. Hemp seed oil is highly biocompatible with our skin ie its very similar. Oil cleansing relies on the solvent process of "like dissolves like" which is why hemp seed oil makes a great oil cleanser. It's also rich in essential fatty acids like omegas 6 and 9 which hydrate and nourish the skin's natural moisture barrier.


empyri customer Natalie showcasing oil cleanser


Is it different if my skin is:


If you're using oil only as a makeup remover - and following up with a second cleanse to wash your face - then you don't need to worry if your skin is oily. Any of the oils mentioned above will do the job of removing your makeup without exacerbating oily skin. If you're going for a 2-in-1, choose an oil cleanser that contains hemp seed oil - it helps to control sebum production.



The key to oil cleansing acne-prone skin is to choose a cleansing oil that is non comedogenic. (That's the technical term for, 'it won't cause clogged pores'). We love an oil cleanser with hemp seed oil for acne prone skin. The linoleic acid in hemp keeps sebum thin and runny so that pores don't get clogged with oil and dead skin cells.



A dry skin type loves cleansing oils! Choose a product that contains coconut, avocado or olive oil. These are hydrating and will fortify your skin barrier to protect from moisture loss.



Our recommended oil is coconut

Like we said, it's best to remove your makeup and cleanse your face in one step using a combination of oils. But if we have to choose just one, we're picking coconut. It's effective at melting makeup, it's super moisturizing and it smells amazing! Plus, if you've got it in your pantry, you can use coconut oil when you've run out of your favourite cleansing oil product.


When shouldn’t I use oil?

You shouldn't use oil as a makeup remover if your skin has been reactive to oil in the past - which can happen with certain skin conditions. Always patch test new products on the inside of your upper arm to avoid unwanted irritation or reaction on your whole face. Depending on your skin type, you may want to avoid oil cleansers with high essential oil content.


Should I use a different oil for my eye area?

No, you should not use a different oil for the eye area. That's the beauty of using oil cleansing to remove makeup: it eliminates the need for additional products. Coconut, castor or a blend of cleansing oils will effectively dissolve makeup on your entire face including your eyes - and waterproof formulas.


To conclude

There is nothing to lose when you switch to a cleaning oil to remove your makeup - and so much to gain! Less products reduces spending and precious bathroom counter space. And less steps in your routine means more time for the things that matter most. So, what are you waiting for?

You are loved.



Jennifer Grant with Hemp Roots


Author Bio: Jennifer is the president and founder of empyri.  Jennifer’s passion for formulation and product development was set ablaze in 2019, when she incorporated the healing power of cannabis roots into her long-standing three-step skin care system. Armed with scientific evidence on the actives in cannabis roots and seeds, a clean and conscious brand was born. Using her masters degree in bio-chemical engineering, Jennifer is forging a path to ...READ FULL BIO