Style + Beauty Editor
The Best Cleanser for Your Face
When it comes to washing your face, grease is the word
-Lois Joy Johnson
A while back in American beauty history, oil-free became the big trend in skin care. Ever since, millions of women shunned what is most probably the best cleanser for your face-oil! But for so long-and mostly out of fear of pimples–women wouldn’t let anything without an “oil-free” label touch their faces. I wasn’t one of them, and here’s why.
As a teen beauty-junkie, I read in Vogue about the mysterious skin-care regimen of Hungarian dermatologist Erno Laszlo (who was then new to New York) and his cult of fans, including Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo Jackie O (and, it is said today, Madonna, Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman).
He was the first dermatologist with his own brand of medically based products, but the real big deal was his face-washing technique, which called for pre-treating your skin with his special oil and then splashing your face with fairly hot water exactly thirty times! I ran over to Saks Fifth Avenue and used my allowance to get my first Laszlo fix. My friends were convinced I was on the road to blemish hell.
They were wrong, and today I still love Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl Oil and Soap ($39 each, ernolaszlo.com). Strange as it sounds, oil has the ability to break down excess oils on the surface without stripping your skin and helps it to maintain a healthy lipid barrier, which prevents moisture loss. Treating even breakout-prone skin with essential oils is now a hot trend in day spas since many skin-care oils like lavender, grapeseed, rosewood and bergamot are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
Oil-based cleansers are especially great for dry skin, and women who wear water-resistant sunscreens and waterproof makeup. Most work best (and the product’s label will verify) applied to dry skin; the product then turns milky and sudses as you add water. Oil treatments are excellent primers for night creams on dry, sun-damaged, or stressed complexions.
Here are ten more oil picks to slide into:
Laura Mercier Purifying Oil Light ($40, lauramercier.com) yummy plant extract scent and no greasy after-feel, just dewy fresh skin.
Lancôme Huile Douceur Remove-All Deep Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes ($34.50, lancome-usa.com) waterproof makeup and mascara come clean fast, leaving your face velvety smooth. Non-comedogenic, dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested.
Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil ($23, macys.com) effortlessly removes water-resistant sunscreens and long-wear foundations that sink into your pores without leaving sticky residue.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/I ($32, shuuemura-usa.com) dissolves even heavy, full-coverage makeup when activated with water, producing a creamy emulsion–a favorite of actors, performers and TV anchors.
YSL Pureness Cleansing Satiny Oil ($38.50, yslbeautyus.com) goes milky as it emulsifies and has bamboo sap to help with dryness; good for normal to oily skins.
Kiehl’s Oil-based Cleanser & Makeup Remover ($20.50, kiehls.com) perfect for very dry skin.
Darphin Rose Aromatic Care ($80, darphin.com) nighttime blend of rose essential oil and sweet almond, evening primrose and hazelnut oils treat thirsty tight skin–apply under your night cream.
Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate ($70, us.lizearle.com) skin-softening argan oil loaded with vitamin E plus organic rosehip, neroli, lavender and chamomile oils has made this a cult favorite with models who travel on long plane flights.
Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil ($48, us.clarins.com) nourishing treatment with rosewood, patchouli oils and orchid extract for dehydrated skin–ideal post-beach summer soother.
Sundari Essential Oil for Pitta Skin ($60, skinstore.com) a blend of jasmine and ylang ylang oils that adds radiance to normal/combination skin.