Though I’ve used SPF almost my entire life, I only hopped onto the cleansing oil craze in the past few years. Like so many others, I’d been fed the well-intentioned lie that oily-skinned people should never use facial oil products; rather, we should just use harsh face washes and toners to remove both our oil and our makeup in the same steps.
Unfortunately, as public knowledge has finally started to realize, this is actually bad advice as super harsh cleansing can actually make oil production even worse – if you strip your skin too much, it will try to overcompensate by amping up its oil production to replace the moisture that you’re scrubbing, washing, and toning away every day. While there are still many brands out there that still cater to teens (who have oil for hormonal reasons and may have sturdier skin; products for teenage acne/oiliness generally won’t work well for adult acne/oiliness as the base causes are not the same) and/or people who just can’t get past the idea that they need to make their skin super dry and squeaky-clean to prevent acne, most brands and beauty magazines have pretty much caught on to the idea that less is more when it comes to cleanser strength, and that you CAN remove oil, makeup, and sunscreen without making your skin feel like a piece of ancient papyrus. This concept was proven to me when I tried to use The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil line and it turned my skin into a total mess due to how drying it was – but that’s a topic for another post!
Nowadays, cleansing oils are generally considered to be the optimal way for all skin types to gently dissolve and remove their makeup and sunscreen. I’m sure you’ve all heard the basic selling pitch: oil attracts oil, it gently dissolves the makeup and/or SPF and allows it to rinse off easily, and if you’re oily, as long as you follow with a good, gentle cleanser, you won’t suffer acne or clogs from using the oil.
With all that said, cleansing oils can STILL be hard to find in grocery and drugstores, meaning that unless you’re willing to import or pay high-end prices, your options will be extremely limited. I realized this about two months ago – I was under a lot of work-related stress at the time and totally forgot to re-order my cleansing oil until I was almost entirely out, so I ended up stuck in limbo where I needed SOMETHING to remove my daily SPF, but I didn’t want to go to Sephora and shell out $30 for a product that I’d only be using for a couple weeks until my Skinfood oil showed up. So I decided to grab a random drugstore cleansing oil and hope for the best during the 2-3 weeks until my “real” oil cleanser arrived.
To my surprise, however, I found a whopping total of ONE cleansing oil in the skincare aisle at my local Target. A check at Kroger and Meijer proved the same – Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil was apparently the only option. Now, I have a love-or-hate relationship with Garnier: as much as I totally worship some of their products (Sakura White cleanser is top-tier for me), I’ve also used items from the brand that I’d personally love to banish to the pits of hell (I remember borrowing one of their shampoo/conditioner sets from a roommate once and having my hair dry out so badly that it started BREAKING OFF IN CHUNKS). So I approached this product with some trepidation, but hope, as well. So I purchased my bottle for around $6 at Target, and crossed my fingers.
Yes, it says right there on the label: for DRY skin. However, as I said before, at the time this was my only affordable option. Plus, I figured, I’m using it as a sunscreen/makeup remover only – I’ll be washing it off with my foaming cleanser afterwards anyhow, so how bad could it be?
Read more to find out!