UPDATE: Apparently many of you have misunderstood the message of this post. I said this in a comment, but for those of you not interested in reading comments, let me reiterate. FACT: oils are larger in size than peptides/polysaccharides, etc. FACT: a layer of these large molecules WILL form a barrier that prevents actives from getting through. FACT: if oil cleansing is your only step, OR if your second cleanser isn’t strong enough to get rid of that layer, actives will not be able to get through. Do you know which surfactants will cut through an oil layer? How will you know if your second cleanser does its job? Because I would bet $$ on the fact that very few, if any, of you know what combination of surfactants will do the trick, I am telling you that these are your options:
1) Do not oil cleanse.
2) Oil cleanse, then wash with a lotion-based, non-SLS cleanser. Not just any cleanser will work though, which is the crux of the whole post. Non-SLS surfactants vary wildly in their cleansing abilities, so not every cleanser will work.
3) Oil cleanse, and use a moisturizer with no actives.
There is zero harm in oil cleansing. None of the ingredients in oil cleansers I’ve looked at have been harmful. I’m simply warning you that if you are buying expensive moisturizers and oil cleansing, you are probably not getting the benefits of that expensive moisturizer. END UPDATE.
Many of you may have heard me mention that I don’t pay much attention to other brands, or trends in the market. This is largely because the industry is mostly marketing, with little to no contact with actual facts. So, when oil cleansing became a thing, I looked into what it was, looked into how the cleansing oils were formulated, and decided it was a viable option, especially for folks with sensitive skin. Welp, I’m sad to say I was wrong. Kind of. (I’m too much of a Virgo to give a full-throated admission of wrongness, lol)
Besides making your products, I am always researching ingredients, formulas, new in vitro skin testing techniques, etc. Yesterday, I was looking up information on how to deliver actives to skin more efficiently, and I learned that cleansing oils should be a no because they leave a residue on the skin, which then prevents actives like peptides from getting to skin cells. So, while I appreciate the reduced irritation profile of cleansing oils, no cleanser is worth sacrificing the power of your actives. You really want to use a water-based cleanser that cleanses thoroughly and then washes off, so that your moisturizer will be able to deliver all of the actives to your skin properly.