We’re no chemists, but if there’s one thing that stuck with me from my chemistry teachers, it’s this: Like dissolves like.
And since we use oil-based skincare products every day, we need to ensure they are properly removed before sleeping. This is essential if you want to achieve glowing skin like a Korean. To achieve this, you need to start your ‘Korean beauty’ regimen with oil cleansers.
So if you haven’t found the best Korean cleansing oil for your skin type, we’ve got you covered with this list.
10 Best Korean Cleansing Oils for Glowing Skin
Make P:Rem Radiance Me. Cleansing Water Oil
When you first see this Korean cleansing oil, you’ll notice it has a unique look to it. The yellow part at the top of the bottle is the oil cleanser part. The other half is actually cleansing water.
This is one of those beauty products that try to mix the goodness of multiple mediums in one. So whether you belong to dry or oily skin types, this Korean cleansing oil will be a welcomed step to your skincare routine. Use it before applying your foam cleanser.
This double phase cleanser is the best Korean cleansing oil to try out if you are iffy about using pure oil to get rid of makeup. It’s 70 percent water and 30 percent oil. You get to reap the benefits of double cleansing.
Another thing to love about this Korean cleanser is the fact it has Vitaberry 5, which is a mix of Raspberry, Cloudberry, Sea Buckthorn Berry, Bilberry, and Blackberry.
- Double phase oil and water cleanser
- Easy to remove
- Does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Not as effective in removing oil-based makeup as pure cleansing oils
Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil
Best for Removing Heavy Makeup
The main component of this Korean cleansing oil is black sugar, as can be gleaned from its name. Black sugar contains AHA that helps exfoliate the skin. It also is rich in Glycolic acid to help treat sun damage and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
The texture of this cleansing oil is quite runny that it almost doesn’t feel like your ‘run of the mill’ oils anymore. As a result, the nutrients of these oils are absorbed easily by the skin. This is also why it is very effective in removing makeup.
Another thing I love about this cleansing oil is its container. It has a separate clamp for the nozzle that helps prevent accidental spilling of the oil. However, the clamp does not take care of the extra cleansing oil that gets clogged in the nozzle after dispensing, so it will still leave a small mess.
The adhesive power of this cleansing oil is on another level. It’s why I chose this as the best in this cleansing oils list in terms of removing makeup.
- Smells like burnt caramel
- Oil spreads easily on skin without being greasy
- Contains mineral oil
Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Oil
Best for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
Innisfree makes high-quality oil cleansers and this one is no exception. If you have oily and acne-prone skin, you will love this Korean product. It’s infused with green tea extract that is rich in antioxidants. The natural ingredients will take care of the excess sebum on your face.
It is enriched with a unique green complex from Jeju Island. The main ingredient of this cleansing oil is Alkyl Benzoate, an ester derived from naturally occurring oils.
The texture is very slippery and the formula is water-soluble. Thus, this oil cleanser is not hard to rinse off after use.
I have to note, however, that this Korean cleansing oil does take longer to remove makeup. But once it does, it leaves you with a fresh ‘citrusy’ fragrance. Your skin will feel more nourished and moisturized.
LEARN MORE: Korean Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin
- Perfect for oily and acne-prone skin types
- Helps ease sun damage
- Leaves a subtle citrus smell
- Requires to be massaged longer compared to most cleansing oils
- Not suitable for those who are allergic to isopropyl palmitate
Laneige Perfect Pore Cleansing Oil
Oil cleansers are not the first thing to come to mind if you want to refine your pores. But this Laneige oil cleanser does just that while acting as a mild makeup remover.
What I love about this Korean cleansing oil is the fact it contains no artificial ingredients or harmful chemicals. This makes it ideal for any skin type.
This lightly-formulated oil cleanser contains Mugwort extract that refines the pores. It also has natural virgin coconut oil that provides cleansing and nourishment to the skin.
For better effects, steam a towel and put it on your face to open up the pores before using the cleanser.
- Mild enough to fit all skin types
- Mugwort extract effectively refines pores
- Has a strong smell
Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oil
If you’re looking for the best Korean cleansing oil to moisturize dry skin types, this Nature Republic cleanser should be on top of your list.
Let’s face the fact that many foam cleansers strip moisture off our skin. Prepping your face for the second step of your double cleansing routine with this Korean oil cleanser will help alleviate that problem.
This product is rich in jojoba oil that dissolves oil-based makeup. It also has chamomile extracts that have antifungal and antibacterial properties. The extract helps calm skin redness which makes this oil cleanser perfect for those who have acne-prone skin.
To boost the moisturizing power, this Korean cleanser also has macadamia oil rich in fatty acids.
The only problem I have with this cleansing oil is the fact it does not do a great job in removing matte liquid lipsticks. This may depend on the lipstick’s formulation, but I would have loved a cleansing oil that could take care of every kind of makeup.
- Contains macadamia and jojoba oil moisturizes the skin
- Has chamomile extract that prevents skin redness
- Does not effectively remove matte liquid lipsticks
Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil
This Korean cleansing oil derives its cleansing power from apple oils which help brighten the skin. This results in the sweet smell of apples after cleansing.
This cleansing oil has a light texture that does not give away a greasy feeling.
Aside from its natural components, I also love the fact that this cleanser does not contain parabens, colorants, and mineral oils. It’s good for sensitive skin types.
The only problem I have with this cleansing oil is the fact it takes a while to remove highly-tinted cosmetic products.
- Brightens skin with green apple extract
- Has no harmful ingredients
- Leaves a sweet natural fruity smell
- Does not effectively remove tints
Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil
This cleansing oil is an effective makeup remover that can also effectively remove excess sebum from the skin.
The coconut oil component moisturizes the face deeply by adhering to oil-based makeup. It also contains Grapeseed oils with anti-aging properties to keep your skin nourished. In addition, it has apricot kernel oil that helps gently exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal that youthful glow.
This cleansing oil does not burn or sting at all. However, it does contain mineral oil that may not react well to those with sensitive skin types. Most users don’t have a problem with this, but it’s better to test it out first before committing to the full bottle.
- Perfect for normal to dry skin
- Contains grapeseed oil with anti-aging properties
- Contains mineral oil
- Smell is too strong
The Face Shop Natural Rice Water Light Cleansing Oil
When you want to purify your skin, this Korean cleansing oil is your best bet. Packed with rice water, moringa, and jojoba oil, it effectively detoxifies the skin so it can absorb more of the goodness of your other beauty products.
Jojoba oil contains anti-inflammatory properties to calm irritated skin which has made it a common ingredient for most cleansing oils. Moringa oil, on the other hand, is rich in Vitamin A that helps increase collagen production. It belongs to a group of rare premium oils.
The formula is quite thick, so it might take some time for the skin to absorb the nutrients. You should take some time before you finally rinse the product off.
This Korean oil cleanser is also not suitable for those with sensitive skin because its main ingredient is isopropyl myristate, a potential acne-causing ingredient.
- Anti-inflammatory ingredients
- Nourishing properties
- Thick consistency
- Not suitable for sensitive skin
Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Oil
After a tiring day, your skin deserves some soothing. This cleansing oil makes it easier for you to achieve that.
The oil-based ingredients in this product are combined using Micellar technology. It helps oil, gunk, and dirt stick better to the formula so that it’s easier to wash off. The Micellar water content also hydrates the skin as it cleans it.
An ingredient called Centella Asiatica extract, or Cica as its more widely known, soothes skin irritation as well. It’s mixed in with Madecassoside which enhances the skin-calming effects for maximum relief. These also continue to hydrate the skin.
This cleanser isn’t strong enough to remove makeup on its own though. It’ll wipe off a good amount but won’t do the job completely. It’s still better to use another makeup remover before this, particularly for your eye makeup and mascara.
Many who bought this have also complained about the packaging. They notice that the product has spills and leaks when it gets delivered. They realize that the safety seal isn’t locked well. It’ll probably be better to look for this in a physical store just to be sure.
- Uses oil-based Micellar technology
- Soothing ingredients
- Can’t remove makeup on its own
- Bottle tends to leak the product
Tonymoly Wonder Apricot Deep Cleansing Oil
This cleansing oil is an all-in-one makeup remover for your face, eyes, and lips. More than just makeup, it can also get rid of gunk and oil that are trapped deep in your pores.
The key ingredient is Apricot Seed Oil which can penetrate easily into the skin and expunge dirt. The formula is also completely water-dissolvable so it isn’t a hassle to rinse off.
Other ingredients include Pomegranate Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, and Meadowfoam Seed Oil. These all work with each other to bring moisture and nourishment to the skin.
Many users love commenting on the fruity scent of this oil. It makes their skincare routine much more enjoyable.
This product isn’t recommended for people with dry and combination skin though. The strong oil-removing properties may leave their skin feeling overly dried out.
Also, though this works well in removing eye makeup like eyeshadow, it doesn’t do so good for waterproof mascara. You might still need a separate remover for that.
- Removes lip, face, and eye makeup
- Hydrates and nourishes the skin
- Fruity scent
- Not suitable for dry and combination skin
- Can’t remove waterproof mascara
What is Cleansing Oil Exactly?
Simply put, cleansing oils are oil-based makeup removers. As pointed out in the introduction, like dissolves like. If you are using oil-based products on your skin, you won’t be able to remove them through water-based foam cleansers.
Using oil cleansers is the first step to the 10-step Korean skincare routine. This is the first part of the two-step process called dual cleansing. It’s highly effective and you should definitely adopt it into your beauty routine. In fact, some prefer to take a step further and commit to double cleansing everyday.
Cleansing oils come in two main forms—liquid form and in oil balms. Both forms function the same way— by attracting oil-based gunk from the skin to effectively remove them.
What Does Cleansing Oil Do For Your Skin?
The main purpose of a cleansing oil is to remove makeup, sebum, and dirt. But in addition to cleansing, the rich formula of most cleansing oils helps nourish the skin and address other skin concerns.
Korean cleansing oils, in particular, contain high-quality natural ingredients to aid in solving dryness, sensitivity, and other problems.
Even if you have very oily or acne prone skin, you should not skip this step. It’s a myth that oil cleansers can worsen your oily skin problems. In fact, it helps improve it by allowing your skin to take a break from producing excess sebum because it senses that it is already moisturized.
How Do You Use Cleansing Oil?
Cleansing oil is used at the very start of your skin care regimen. This is especially important for your night routine when you’ve been wearing makeup the whole day. Doing double cleansing ensures you remove your makeup or any excess oils completely.
To use liquid form cleansing oil, squeeze some into your hands and gently massage the product all over the face. Include the eyelids to remove eye makeup, but be careful not to get any oil into the eyes. Users suggest applying cleansing oils around the eyes is not safe. Using a makeup remover first before applying cleansing oils to remove mascara seems to be a safer option.
Quick tip: We made an article on the best Korean mascaras here, which are all waterproof.
Note: In general, cleansing oils are applied water-free. However, others such as The Face Shop Natural Rice Water Light Cleansing Oil can be used even when the skin is slightly wet. Some also work better by adding a little water. Just make sure to read through the product instructions to be safe.
After massaging onto the skin, rinse off with lukewarm water.
Balm oil cleansers are used similarly. Check the container label for the recommended amount and apply the balm all over the face. Balms tend to be messier compared to the oils, but they are more travel-friendly. They can also take care of oily skin and excess sebum just as well.
Do You Need To Use Cleansing Oil Everyday?
The short answer is yes. You should cleanse using a cleansing oil once a day to remove stubborn makeup and pollution particles that water-based cleansers can’t.
There’s a reason why Koreans integrate this in their beauty routine. You can’t really be sure you’ve thoroughly cleansed when you limit yourself to just water-based cleansers.
Types of Cleansing Oils and Their Benefits
This oil has a high concentration of Behenic acid that protects the skin from aggressors. It is also used in perfumes to protect the skin from harsh chemicals that may be in the formula.
Coconut oil contains 49 percent of lauric acid. In one study, it was found that lauric acid was the most effective in blocking bacterial growth. This means this oil is best for acne-prone skin.
Coconut oil also has anti-aging properties and gently exfoliates to reveal a healthier complexion.
This oil is also packed with lots of antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins.
However, take note that olive oil should not be used excessively especially on infants and adults with dry skin. If used in excess, this oil can cause childhood atopic eczema and can lead to clogged pores.
Rice Bran Oil
“You have a rice bran splendor” is a Japanese compliment that means you have a healthy-looking skin. This is because rice bran oil is extremely helpful in reducing dark spots and moisturizing dry, flaky skin.
It is full of antioxidants including CoQ10 and Lycopene, as well as Vitamin E that helps in brightening.
The Best Choice For Glowing Skin
When it comes to skincare, Korea has been at the forefront. Korean beauty standards are different from the rest of the world which is why when it comes to cleansing oil and skin care as a whole, Korean brands are a favored choice.
If you’re still starting out, I would recommend the Make P:Rem Radiance Me. Cleansing Water Oil because of its dual nature.
If you like wearing heavy or stubborn makeup, the cleansing oil I suggest would be the Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil because it can take care of the removal process while still being gentle on the skin.
We wish you luck with your foray into the wonderful world of cleansing oils!