Ditch Dry Skin With One of These Skin-Softening Cleansers

Oil Cleansers

We’re selective about the formulas we use on our hair, skin, and nails. The Spotlyte 7TM highlights recently-released and/or noteworthy products you can add to your makeup bag, one day at a time. Let’s go shopping.

The ‘90s were fraught with fat-free food. In retrospect, this restriction seems to have seeped into skincare, too — or, at least, brands weren’t peddling oil-based products nearly as frequently as they do today. Now, avocados are deemed nutritional gold, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a skincare brand that doesn’t offer a face oil (or at least an oil-spiked cream).  

Then there are oil cleansers. These formulas often look and feel similar to straight-up oil, and oftentimes do not lather in the way that a traditional gel cleanser might. Most oil cleansers can be massaged over dry skin to dissolve the outermost layer of makeup. And, though they’re tough on grime, oil cleansers leave skin feeling unbelievably soft — and never tight, dry, or stripped. From ultra-nourishing concoctions to acid-spiked elixirs, we’ve compiled seven skin-softening superstars to prove our point. 

Travel-worn skin can especially benefit from a nourishing oil cleanser, but shoving a bottle of the stuff in your carryon is decidedly less ideal. Avoid exploded bottles and oil-slicked shirts with Eve Lom® Cleansing Oil Capsules ($25). These individually-packaged pods deliver the same grime-busting punch as their full-sized counterparts, thanks to fatty acid-rich grapeseed oil. Egyptian chamomile soothes and calms skin (and airport-induced stress!).

If you’ve avoided cleansing oils for fear of greasiness, consider Innisfree® Hydrating Cleansing Oil ($22). The lipid component takes a backseat to antioxidant-rich green tea, which acts as a mild astringent. Green tea root lends a mildly frothy effervescence that’s uncharacteristic of many oil cleansers.

Squalane is the skincare darling of 2019, and for good reason (read more about it here). Biossance® Squalene + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30) delivers all of the ingredient’s hydrating goodness, plus pollution-pummeling antioxidants.

Oil and blackheads sound like they’d meld as well as oil and water, but Hanskin® Pore Cleansing Oil PHA ($25) proves that they’re not such an unlikely pair after all. In addition to makeup-melting oil, this formula is also spiked with polyhydroxy acid (PHA), which gently loosens debris. Tea tree oil works in tandem to clear pores, while aloe vera soothes.

Ultra-dry skin types will love the DHC® Olive Concentrated Cleansing Oil ($31). While the formula doesn’t leave a film, per-se, it does leave skin feeling significantly more velvety. As the name suggests, the formula retains many of olive oil’s esteemed qualities, including its healthy fats (good for glow) and ability to remove makeup in a single swipe.

If you’ve been meaning to try double cleansing, but have yet to hop aboard the bandwagon, ease in with the Tatcha® Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48). Initially, the formula has an oil-like consistency that’s perfect for busting through makeup. Add water, rub-a-dub, and watch it turn into a foamy cleanser, which sweeps away any remaining debris. The hero ingredient, camellia oil, is loaded with glow-boosting omegas and plant-derived collagen.