By Shannon R., SELF magazine
It may sound odd to wash your face with oil since oil is usually what you are trying to remove from your skin. However, oil can be an effective way to remove makeup. Olive oil in particular is becoming a more popular skincare ingredient so lets take a look at how olive oil works as a cleanser and the pros and cons of the "oil cleansing" method.
How does oil cleansing work?
You may remember from your high school science class that "like dissolves like." In other words, materials will dissolve other materials that have a similar chemical structure. Since makeup is often made of oil and heavy waxes, it makes sense that olive oil can dissolve oily makeup. Cosmetic chemists use the "like dissolves like" principle to formulate oil-based cleansers and makeup removers. Liquid makeup removers are usually pure oil, while creams (like cold creams) are oils mixed with water, emulsifiers and thickeners. Standard facial cleansers don't always work well on makeup because they are water-based and designed to gently remove surface dirt and oil (cleansers can remove oil but use completely different chemistry to do so). The more gentle you make a cleanser, the less ability it has to remove heavy oils and waxes. Cleansing ingredients can be harsh for your face, so if manufacturers made the cleansers with more detergent, you could remove makeup but you would also remove your natural facial oils and dry out your skin. Thus, the need for makeup remover.
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Benefits of olive oil
- Inexpensive - You can buy a pretty big bottle at the grocery store, which will last a long time, but you probably already have some in your kitchen!
- Effective - Works similarly to makeup remover (though not as well)
- Non-Comedogenic - Doesn't clog pores
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Downsides of olive oil
- Greasy skin - Your skin won't feel squeaky clean and you will likely want to wash your face with a standard cleanser after makeup removal.
- Not Optimized for Skin Care - Olive oil works well, but makeup removers are still the most effective way to remove makeup and don't leave skin feeling as oily.
- Skin-Type Dependent - While olive oil is considered non-comedogenic, I have heard of women complaining that olive oil leads to breakouts. If you already have oily skin or are prone to breakouts this may not be the method for you.
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Olive oil is a decent makeup remover, but most makeup removers will work better. However, if you are looking for natural at-home beauty solutions, olive oil can be an effective way to remove makeup without causing acne (depending on your skin type).