Diary / Beauty / Sep 27, 2022

Ask a Dermatologist: Cleansing Oil 101

Written by: Alexandra Perron

Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Paterson

If you’re new to the world of cleansing oils, consider this your crash course. We caught up with Leena Ramani, Philadelphia-based MD and Dermatology Resident (and Jones Road model!) to get the full scoop on how cleansing oil works, who should use it, and how to get the best cleanse. 

Let's start with the basics—how does a cleansing oil work?

Leena: Cleansing should always be the first step in any skin care routine. Over the course of the day, we accumulate a combination of dead skin, oils, dirt, bacteria and makeup on our face that needs to be removed. Cleansers are designed to remove this buildup from the skin while minimizing disruption of our natural skin barrier. 

Cleansing oils work by binding to the oils left on our skin and in our makeup or sunscreen. Once dissolved together, they are easily rinsed off, leaving the skin feeling soft and moisturized. 

What skin types might benefit from this type of cleanser? 

Leena: Cleansing oils are a great makeup-removing and cleansing option for any and all skin types. Cleansing oils are protective as they won’t break down the natural skin barrier, especially benefiting those with drier skin types.

Can someone with oily skin still use a cleansing oil?

Leena: Yes they can! It is a common misconception that those with oily skin should not use oil-based cleansers. It all goes back to those organic chemistry days, based on the principle that like dissolves like—oil dissolves oil. Cleansing oils work by dissolving the oils in makeup as well as the buildup of dirt and sebum that our skin produces, but they don’t strip the skin of its natural protective oils. If these protective oils are excessively removed from oily skin, the skin overcompensates by then producing more oil. 

Can you pair a cleansing oil with another cleanser?

Leena: Cleansing oils fit perfectly into a nighttime, double cleansing routine. “Double cleansing” is the concept of washing your face with two different cleanser types. You typically start with an oil-based cleanser or micellar water, followed by a gentle, water-based cleanser. The first cleanse is meant to remove heavier products like eye makeup, foundation, and sunscreen— which cleansing oils are great for! The second cleanse is meant to remove the rest of the underlying dirt and debris left on the skin. Properly cleansing your face every day will help brighten your complexion and prevent breakouts. 

swatch of Jones Road Cleansing Stick


The Jones Road Cleansing Stick is made with jojoba, avocado, and sunflower seed oils.

What should people look for when shopping for a cleansing oil?

Leena: Cleansing oils are made primarily with plant-based oils. A combination of oils with soothing, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties is ideal. You should also look for specific oils based on your skin type. 

Jojoba seed oil is a commonly used ingredient in cleansing oils, best known for its moisturizing capabilities, great for those with dry skin. It’s ability to regulate sebum production also makes it a great option for those with oily skin. Sunflower seed oil is another notable ingredient with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, helpful for those with sensitive skin. Both of these ingredients are also non comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores.

How do you use a cleansing oil? Give us your step-by-step. 


Step 1: The cleansing oil should be applied directly to dry skin.

Step 2: Gently massage the oil in circular directions on your face.

Step 3: Apply a small amount of water to develop a slight lather.

Step 4: Rinse off with warm water,

Step 5: Gently pat dry with a clean towel or follow with a second cleanser if needed.

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The Cleansing Stick

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Diary / Beauty / Sep 27, 2022

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