WHAT I USE: CLEANSING OILS
WHEN YOU GET PAID TO TEST BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR A LIVING, WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY PAY TO USE? ELLE’S BEAUTY DIRECTOR Katy Young COMES CLEAN
Our Beauty Director on why you should be adding an oil-based cleanser to your skincare routine
A fellow beauty editor and friend of mine vows that she ‘will never use oils from the nipples up’ for fear that they will clog up her poreless, perfect face. For the most part I am with her, because while oils work hard for the natural skincare movement, they don’t necessarily work that effectively on our skin, congesting and jamming our pores. Unless that is, you wash your face with them – because when transformed into ‘cleansing oils’, these rich, unctuous ointments are absolutely fit for purpose.
And thank goodness – my ‘weekday’ face can get grubby; I never leave the house without three coats of mascara and I’m usually testing a few layers of skincare and make-up at any one time, and that’s before I’ve taken the Central line to the office and back. Needless to say, my evening cleanser needs to be industrial strength; a strength that milky cleansers just never seem to have.
The problem is, dirt and grime are usually oilbased, while make-up causes all kinds of cleansing problems in its waxy, greasy glory. That’s where the ‘like attracts like’ scientific principle comes in – if I can take you back to your science GCSE for just a moment. Described as ‘lipophilic solvents’, oil-based cleansers are able to effectively latch onto and dissolve fats and greasy pigments that have high oil content, unlike their creamy counterparts.
That’s why they’re so popular today, especially with the use of long-wear foundations, which I personally love for a night out. But I do approach cleansing oils with caution, as warned by my long-term friend and complexion confidant, dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. I tend not to use any that contain wheatgerm or coconut oil, as these can be problematic when it comes to clogging pores, and I wouldn’t allow any other kind of oil beyond a cleanser to slip into my skin regime.
The theory goes that if you apply a treatment oil on your face every day, it ‘nanny states’ your skin, suffocating it and reducing any kind of natural moisturisation. Most dermatologists will tell you to give your skin some relief and help it to help itself. Most oil-lovers, on the other hand, will tell you that they can’t live without beauty oil, mostly for the wonderful slip it provides for facial massage.
For maximum effect, the key is the doublecleanse. The first dollop will melt away most of your mascara, foundation and top-layer grit. Go in a second time, and not only do you get a much deeper clean, you can also start using your knuckles and thumbs to get right up under the cheekbones, around the eyes (to the inner corners) and along the jawline (towards the ears) for a wonderful lymph-draining, depuffing massage.
For me, the wonderful thing about beauty is that with a little bit of knowledge, you can throw away the rulebook and start to work out which creams, tinctures and oils suit your skin and lifestyle as your needs evolve. And it’s OK that we make a few mistakes along the way. I’ve since told my friend with the oil aversion to have a punt with the cleansing variety – sometimes you have to go tits up first before you find the answer.
“LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE: OIL-BASED CLEANSERS ARE ABLE TO LATCH ONTO AND DISSOLVE FATS AND GREASY PIGMENTS”