Traditional soap facial cleansers sometimes (okay, more than sometimes) don’t clean as well as we would like. It’s just a fact of life. This is especially true if your makeup routine includes some combination of carving out your cheekbones with the latest cream contour or dotting some faux-freckles along your cheeks.
While double-cleansing is a useful thing to do, it shouldn’t take double cleansing just to give you truly clean skin. That’s why we look to the East, mainly South Korea, for some guidance.
If you know anything about K-beauty, you know that clean, fresh skin is all the rage. What is one of their secrets? Cleansing oils. We know it may seem counterintuitive to wash your face with oil when it’s the oil that often clogs your pores, but some of the deepest, most refreshing cleanses are with oil-based products.
Never again will you have remnants of splotchy, patchy makeup on your cheeks, forehead, or the creases of your nose.
Because it can be intimidating to try a new product, we have done all the work for you. We’ve taken a page out of the K-beauty handbook and compiled a list of the best Korean Cleansing Oils. Let’s take a look!
Best Korean Cleansing Oils Reviews
1. Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil
With ingredients like black sugar and rice wine, you’ll be left wondering whether this Korean oil cleanser is for your skin or your appetite!
All jokes aside, these ingredients combine together with perfectly curated botanicals to cleanse the skin while your makeup dissolves away. Enriched with vitamins, your face will be velvety soft because of how hydrated and nourished it will be.
What’s more, Skinfood is a tried and true Korean brand, founded in 1957. Despite being oil-based, the black sugar works hard to gently exfoliate your skin for a smoother, even texture.
One of the benefits of oil cleansers? Your skin won’t feel overly dry and stiff after rinsing it off. Best formulated for normal to dry skin, simply massage a few pumps of product into your damp skin and rinse it away with lukewarm water.
2. Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Cleansing Oil
If relaxation and serenity is your aim, then this chamomile cleansing oil is your game. Excellent for all skin types, this cleansing oil is loaded with chamomile that will calm your skin and your senses.
It works together with the Jeju Sparkling Water and Jojoba Oil to rid your skin of any excess makeup, dirt, unwanted oil, and impurities to leave you with silky soft, clean, sleep-ready skin.
One of the benefits of chamomile in skincare is its anti-inflammation properties that are excellently suited to overly sensitive skin. Want an added bonus? Chamomile is also great for acne-prone skin and acts as both a sword and shield against free radicals that try to damage your skin.
You will look forward to washing off your makeup at the end of the day because of how calming and relaxing this cleansing oil will leave you feeling.
3. Manyo Pure Cleansing Oil
Made with 99.9% naturally derived ingredients from 14 different plants, and free of any synthetic oils, Manyo has created a truly pure oil with no frills or fuss. Ingredients including argan oil, jojoba seed oil, and olive oil are nutrient-dense and provide endless hydration.
After rinsing, you won’t even feel like you’ll need to moisturize but definitely don’t skip that step.
Show your skin how much you cherish it by maintaining your skin’s water-oil balance. That’s exactly what the fermented rice extract does – your skin won’t get overly oily.
If getting rid of blackheads or tightening your pores is your main concern, this hypoallergenic cleansing oil will do just that as it’s loaded with lipophilic properties. These types of substances help prevent moisture loss in the skin barrier, meaning no dryness!
4. The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Oil
Rice water – the star ingredient in this cleansing oil – has been used in Korea for centuries. A popular ingredient in skincare, it is known to reduce dark patches, protect against sun damage, and care for dry skin.
Gentle enough for daily use, use this as the first step in a double-cleansing, deep clean feel. Free from harmful ingredients like parabens, talc, and paraffin, your skin will be left feeling clean and soft.
With vitamins A, B, and E and nourishing oils like Moringa oil, any and all skin types will truly benefit from a daily cleanse with this cleansing oil. Labeled “witchcraft” by one reviewer, there is no doubt as to why this cleanser is as popular as it is on Amazon.
5. Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil
This oil-based cleanser will turn into a creamy, milky consistency when combined with water, ridding your skin of all makeup, dirt, and debris from whatever rough day you may have had. The triple-threat oil-combo of Black Bean Oil, Black Sesame Oil, and Black Currant seed oil ensure your skin is properly hydrated and moist.
Despite being a powerful product, this doesn’t disrupt your skin’s natural oil barrier so you can use it every day without any worries.
A truly deep clean, your skin and the earth will thank you — this is cruelty-free, vegan friendly, and packaged with care for the environment. Since it’s hypoallergenic, it’s not only suitable for sensitive skin but all skin types.
6. IUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil
One of the greatest benefits of using an oil to wash your face is how easily it rids hard-to-remove makeup such as waterproof mascara and other oil-based products like sunscreen. Oils also provide excellent hydration without leaving any additional slick or grease.
Calendula is an oil extract derived from the sunny marigold flower. It has excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are extremely soothing for the skin, making this a great choice for sensitive skin.
Deep penetration is what this oil does well, getting deep into your pores to rid them of dirt and prevent future breakouts and acne, with the added bonus of reducing the size of pores and recurrence of blackheads. Use whenever you’re looking for a deep clean that won’t have your skin cracking and dry.
7. Etude House Moisture Cleansing Oil
Comprised of this triumphant trio of oils – coconut, grape seed, and apricot kernel, this moisturizing cleansing oil is gentle enough for daily use but tough on unwanted oil, makeup, and other impurities that burrow deep into your skin.
Exfoliation is something not commonly associated with oils, though old, dead skin cells will wash away with ease. Reveal a fresh, clean, and new-looking face.
Try keeping your hands off, but it will be difficult with how soft and clean your face will feel. Excellent for dry skin, adding extra moisture to every step is beneficial and provides added hydration that flaky, textured skin needs.
The key to maximizing this product is to apply it to dry skin, then massage in a little bit of water before rinsing everything away.
8. Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil
Another gentle exfoliating cleansing oil, Hanskin has formulated their product with plant-derived oils. Easily melt away makeup and sunscreen without a trace!
The added bonus ingredient in here is Salicylic Acid. Although uncommon in other oils, it’s truly beneficial for those of us who suffer from acne and blackheads.
Suitable for all ages, skin textures, types, and tones, regardless of your skin concerns you will serve to benefit from this cleansing oil. Feel refreshed with deep penetration that works hard to erase any and all blackheads, and acne with visible results.
For best results, emulsify in your hands and apply all over your face and rinse away with lukewarm water.
9. Huangjisoo Pure Perfect Cleansing Oil
The credentials of this vegan-friendly cleansing oil are nearly unrivaled. Winner of the 2018 Beauty Global Awards, and dermatologically tested this is a #1 selling cleanser in Seoul for a reason.
Ingredients like Jojoba Oil, Calendula Oil, and Apricot Kernel Oil, just to name a few, do the dirty work to dissolve and melt away makeup without any shiny residue.
The eight oils deeply penetrate your skin to give not only a deep clean but long-lasting hydration too. Excellent for all skin types, even sensitive and oily skin, you can wash away sebum and dead skin with ease.
For best results, apply it to dry skin and add lukewarm water to your fingertips before gently massaging around. Give a generous rinse and enjoy your soft, fresh, clean skin!
10. Missha Perfect BB Deep Cleansing Oil
Missha has been on our lists before, and that’s for good reason! This deep cleansing oil is rich in antioxidants and Tea Tree Oil – an excellent deep cleaner that won’t dry out your skin.
Despite being packed with oils, Missha has perfected this into a non-greasy formula for a truly clean face. Specifically formulated to emulsify upon contact with water, waterproof makeup and BB creams won’t stand a chance.
And you don’t have to worry about your skin drying out, there is a plethora of hydrating, moisturizing oils such as Jojoba, Macadamia Nut, and Olive oil just to name a few.
Your face will have everything it needs to erase any sign of makeup, while still providing beloved hydration. If using as a double-cleanser, as is frequently recommended for makeup users, follow up with your favorite cleanser for an even fresher clean.
A Little About The Best Korean Oil Cleansers
What makes Korean oil cleansers so great? Well, they’re loaded with plant-derived oils such as Jojoba and Calendula Oils. These two oils are anti-inflammatory, meaning they are useful in healing and treating any targeted inflammation that may have occurred from picking pimples (we all do it even though we shouldn’t!)
Added bonus – Calendula Oil is a known acne-fighter! And because they’re oil-based, they double down and provide the nourishment and hydration that your skin needs.
Grapeseed Oil is comprised of a strong antioxidant, proanthocyanidin – a mouthful, but an excellent ingredient useful in evening out skin tone. Grapeseed Oil also protects the skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays emitted from the sun.
We are all well aware of the harm that the sun can do to your skin and the importance of protecting against those rays.
While we could list the benefits of each and every oil used in best Korean Oil Cleansers, that would take nearly forever. That’s how beneficial oil is. We’ve been conditioned to fear oil, oil is the enemy of the skin, it will clog your pores. While that is true for some, it is not true for the majority.
Overall, a majority of the oils that are included in Korean Cleansing Oils are rich in Vitamin E – a powerhouse of a vitamin known for its ability to heal, protect, and hydrate skin. It’s basically the holy grail of skincare vitamins.
One benefit of Korean cleansing oils that isn’t available in most Western products is the addition of rice water. It generally appears in these oils in its water form or as rice wine, which is fermented rice water. The benefits are nearly endless, including its anti-aging properties that increase the amount of collagen present in your skin.
One final thing to add about this K-beauty secret ingredient is its ability to protect and defend the skin against the harmful sun rays. It’s a wonder that rice water hasn’t penetrated the western skincare world!
If you’re like us and love to play around with makeup and the latest trends, you may find that your traditional cleanser isn’t keeping up. Korean Cleansing Oils are an alternative that may sound intimidating but will live up to the hype. They’re the go-to cleansers for many beauty and skincare lovers in the West, where clear skin and fresh glass-like faces are the standards.
Many of the ingredients in these Korean Cleansing Oils have been used in skincare for centuries. It’s surprising that they are truly coming to light in recent years. Don’t sleep too long on these cleansers! Once you’ve tried them, you’ll regret not having done so sooner.
If you’re looking for a cleanser that will suck up oil and dirt like a magnet and rinsing away with ease, pick your choice from this list we’ve provided, and take the plunge. You’re welcome.
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Sheryll is a lifestyle editor with over 7 years of experience in beauty. She is obsessed with Korean skincare, and she mostly covers the Beauty and Skincare space at Skin Seas.