Oil Vs. Cleansers: Keep It Clean

Rachel Adler

Oil has been a hot topic for beauty lovers ever since we began seeing a growing number of products showcasing the mysterious new ingredient on the front of labels. Since we have spent most of our lives trying to battle oils with countless mattifiers and oil-free products, this new addition pretty much has us stumped. So of course, we talked with skincare guru Ole Henriksen to find out which oils were safe for our skin, and which we should avoid.

Oils have become a huge trend in beauty, for both the face and the body. Can you explain to us what benefits they have for the skin?

Basically there are two kinds of oils used in skin care formulations. Essential oils for one, and only nature can produce whole essential oils. They are tiny droplets contained in glands, glandular hairs, sacs or veins of different plant parts: leaves, stems, bark, flowers, roots and fruits. They are the essence of that particular plant form and they are responsible for giving the botanical its unique scent. Contrary to popular belief, these highly therapeutic essentials oils aren’t oily at all, but rather a water-like fluid. Essential oils impact on skin are exceptional from soothing, calming, purifying, stimulating, anti-septic, astringent and reparative.

Mineral oil and vegetable oils make up the other category of oils used in skin care formulations. Hydrocarbon oils, such as mineral oil, petrolatum, jojoba and squalene are quite different in structure than fatty acid fruit and vegetable oils. Fruit and vegetable oils spearhead the current trend when it comes to the use of oils in beauty products, because of their high concentration of essential fatty acids. These natural fats impact the skin with protective, soothing and nourishing benefits, while improving the skin’s texture and all over resiliency. Essential fatty acids wrap themselves around the skin, creating a comforting cushion that makes it more difficult for surface wrinkles to form, while protecting the skin against environmental abuse and capillary sensitivity.

Many of us are cautious about using oils especially if we tend to be on the oily side already are they safe for all skin types to use?

Essential oils with their water-like consistency are safe and extremely beneficial for all skin types, including oily/eruption prone skin because of their diversified, therapeutic properties. Oils like avocado, sunflower seed, grapeseed, borage seed, primrose, soybean, black currant, hazelnut, almond, sesame, wheat germ, apricot kernel and rosa mosquetta, on the other hand, should be used in various concentrations, dependent on skin type. For instance, dry/sensitive skin can use a richly textured cream with emphasis on a variety of essential fatty acids, while an oily/eruption prone skin should use a lightly textured cream with emphasis on one or two essential fatty acids. It is important to note that natural oils will not clog the pores, instead they enhance skin respiration.

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Should we be applying oil cleansers to our face just like we do normal cleansers (both morning and night)?

One cleanser will do it is all a matter of preference, either an oil-based cleanser or foaming cleanser. Many foaming cleansers also contain oils, like my hugely popular African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser. In sophisticated cleansers, natural oils are frequently turned into surfactants, making them even more compatible with water. It must be noted that fruit and vegetable oils are extremely effective at removing all kinds of makeup, including mascara, accomplished in a gentle manner. Many women love to double cleanse, especially in Asia, first with an oil based cleanser, followed by a foaming cleanser.

Since many facial cleansers pride themselves on being oil-free, why are we now applying oil to our faces? Are there oil cleansers that are more sensitive or for certain skin types?

Traditionally, oil based cleansers, most often referred to as cleansing lotions, have been targeted for dry/sensitive skin, while oil free cleansers have been targeted for oily/eruption-prone skin. But as stated above, oil is not bad for even oily skin, it is the synergy of the ingredient index that matters.

Oils come in many forms (cleansers, moisturizers for face and body, etc.) which do you advise using for those of us new to the oil market? And, what are your favorite forms?

I would start with an oil based cleanser, since they feel so good on the skin, while doing an amazing job at removing even the most stubborn dirt and grime, leaving the skin soft and glowing. Personally, I absolutely love my Herbal Day Creme, with its high concentration of essential fatty acids. My skin’s texture would not be the same without this heavenly day creme. Halle Berry also told People Magazine it was her favorite.

Recommended products from my treatment range that include natural oils: Herbal Day Creme – SPF 15, Black Currant Complexion Oil, African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser, Apricot Cleansing Lotion, Express The Truth Creme, Vitamin Plus Creme, Fresh Start Eye Creme and Visual Truth Eye Creme.

Image: istock.com

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