Shu Uemura pioneered the cleansing oil – and sadly, that make-up artist’s brand was recently withdrawn by owners L’Oréal from the UK market. However – as you can see from these winners – the category has massively expanded, with many beauty-seekers falling for the make-up melting, somehow grime-magnetising powers of cleansing oils. We find they offer skin a bonus, too: because they require massaging into the complexion, that stimulates circulation (which in turn boosts radiance). In fact, we’d suggest taking a minute or two with any of these to really work your fingers into skin, helping to disperse fluid and enhance blood flow. NB Where cleansing oils aren’t sold with a muslin cloth as part of the ‘package’, we still recommend that’s the best way to finish off the cleansing process and get skin optimally clean.
GOLD AWARD Trilogy Rosehip Transformation Cleansing Oil
From New Zealand ‘clean beauty’ pioneers Trilogy, this recently-launched all-natural plant oil – pumped from a dark glass bottle – harnesses rosehip (one of Trilogy’s signatures), grapeseed and sweet almond oils, making for a silky texture that massages beautifully into skin, melting away impurities, make-up, cellular debris and general gunk. Just add a little water, though, and it emulsifies into a milk that can be swooshed away by splashing or removed with a face cloth.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
.'I loved the subtle fragrance of this light oil, which was so easy to apply. It removed everything with a double cleanse. Great results! Skin moisturised and clear looking. I loved everything about this from the fragrance to the texture and to the results on my skin. Lovely product’ • ‘This suited me as I have a dry skin and prefer cleansing oils to any other form of cleanser. It did not feel too greasy, and removed all make up and cleansed the skin very well. You can’t use around the eyes though. I did use a toner sometimes after the oil but there was no trace of make up on the pads. I really did enjoy using this product’ • ‘Lovely rich oil that was pleasant to apply, then massage in before removing with a wet muslin cloth. It removed all my make up and although it says not to I did use it without a problem on my waterproof eye pencils and mascara’ • ‘I love the fact this is such a natural product. There is a subtle rose fragrance, which I liked very much. It promised to reveal soft, perfectly clean skin and I think it really did live up to this promise. I would definitely buy it again’ • ‘I liked the easy to use pump and my skin felt so silky soft and hydrated. It also has anti ageing effects, which is really important for me.’
£21.50 for 110ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil
Antonia Burrell’s facials are always high on our beauty bucket list, but the next-best-thing is this water-soluble cleansing oil, which has a gloriously uplifting fragrance from lemon (also good for fatigued skin), lavender (calms irritation), bitter orange and bracing camphor and purifying tea tree leaf oils. Base oils are castor seed, sesame and wheatgerm oils, which again emulsify when you add water, acquiring the consistency of a cleansing milk that can be washed away without leaving any oily residue.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘I loved the effect of this light, gorgeously scented oil on my skin and it worked really well at removing make up, including my waterproof mascara. There were no traces left anywhere and my skin felt very moisturised’ • ‘You apply this oil to your face then add water to turn it to a milky emulsion, which you can massage in and then remove with a damp cloth. The results were much better than with my normal cleanser’ • ‘Gorgeous natural product with lovely herbally fragrance. It removes make up quickly and easily if you follow the directions to add water before you attempt to take off make up. I only had traces on my pillow if I didn't do it properly. It promises a luxurious deep cleanse and it delivers. I would buy this’ • ‘I was very impressed with this; it even took off mascara easily and worked on waterproof make up. It left my skin feeling moisturised and I didn't need toner. I would certainly buy it.’
£46 for 200ml - click to buy
BRONZE and BEAUTY STEAL AWARD Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil
A definite snip, with a high street price-point well behind our other winners – and yet only a micro-point behind those, score-wise. Alongside the sunflower, olive, rosehip, grapeseed and raspberry oils, there’s the addition of vitamin C to brighten skin. This also morphs into a milky lotion that rinses off; Super Facialist actually recommend that you use as part of a double-cleansing routine, following with another cleanser (a balm, milk or cream) – but based on testers’ comments, we’re not sure that’s really necessary.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘A really great cleansing oil at any price- point and I prefer its formula and efficacy to my usual far more expensive product. Weirdly it isn’t greasy, despite being an oil. In fact, I have now made this my regular cleanser. It definitely takes off waterproof make-up and even when I went over my face twice with a muslin, my skin felt moisturised, not stripped of natural oils’ • ‘I love this and would happily continue to use it after finishing my current bottle. I love the citrus smell. It is a great option as part of a double cleanse routine’ • ‘I loved how easy this made it to take off all my make-up and how nourished my skin is after using. I even tried waterproof make up and it came off with ease. It really did nourish my skin after use; great for dry skin types like me’ • ‘I loved the feel of this product on my skin; it removed all my make-up with little fuss. Have already bought more’ • ‘I’ve had this nearly two months, used it every day, twice a day, and have still only used a small amount out of the bottle. I find other cleansers run out very quickly but this lasts and lasts. I love it!’
£10.99 for 200ml - click to buy