A couple of weeks ago, you read my tirade on oily skin and the makeup products I have found to fake truly glowing rather than shining skin. This week I’m focusing on what lies beneath (how do you like that as a poetic musing?!) and talking about the best cleansers for oily skin and the best exfoliators for oily skin.
It took me a while to realize that no amount of makeup can create the glow from within unless that glow really does, indeed, come from within. Especially for us oily-skinned earthlings, it’s important to have a good oily skin care routine to keep the pores clean and the sebum flowing. Seriously. The last thing you want is for all that oil to be trapped underneath your pores.
In my experience, the two most important steps to keeping oily skin looking pristine are:
- Clean skin and 2. Exfoliated skin
I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that if you are going to skimp on a facial product, let it be your cleanser. The argument is that your cleanser is the product that stays on your skin for the least amount of time, therefore why spend a bunch of money on it?
I agree with the fact that good skincare doesn’t necessarily mean expensive skincare. However, cleansing is so so so important when you have oily skin. Because cleanser stays on your skin for the least amount of time, it also has the least amount of time to work. So get a good cleanser for oily skin and make it count.
Exfoliating is just as important. One of the most annoying things about oily skin is that it feels like all the products just sit on top of your skin instead of actually absorbing. Exfoliating helps tremendously with this problem. If you remove the layer of dead skin that sits on top, you allow the products to actually penetrate. That dead skin also doesn’t allow your skin to breathe…an added reason to take it all off (the dead skin that is).
Through lots of trial and error, I have come to find some cleansers and exfoliators that are truly oily skin savers! I have broken them down below into three categories: cleansers for oily skin, cleansers for very oily skin, and exfoliators for oily skin.
My skin is generally very oily, however, lately it gets super tight after cleansing. Ouch! So, I have shifted to using milder more moisturizing cleansers and then lightened up my follow-up routine (i.e. lighter moisturizer, etc.). You will have to assess your own skin and see what works and what doesn’t. Likely it will be a combination of products from the three groups.
Cleansers for oily skin:
Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser
Not because it’s Greek or anything, but I LOVE the Korres brand. It just smells so natural and is so gentle. The Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser is currently my most used cleanser, mostly because it’s winter and my skin needs a little more tenderness this time of year.
Sisley Cleansing Milk with Sage
Another favorite from Sisley that is in limited rotation sadly due to the price point is the Cleansing Milk with Sage. But it is truly phenomenal. It smells wonderful and I love that it uses natural ingredients to get the job done. It feels like it completely cleanses and moisturizes at the same time.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple
Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple really is a simple cleanser. Smells like pure soap, never makes me break out, and doesn’t claim to do anything other than what it’s supposed to: clean your skin.
Drugstore staple: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
I tend to opt for Cetaphil Cleanser for Normal skin in the winter, when my skin is a bit more thirsty than summer. This one is not drying at all, so if you are more on the combination skin side, this one may be for you.
Yes! You read that right. Oil. I have recently jumped on the double cleansing wagon and it’s made a big difference in the amount of breakouts I get. Not all oils are made alike however! I have tried A LOT, and the only two that consistently keep my skin clean and clear are…
Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil and Shiseido Essentials Perfect Cleansing Oil
If you haven’t heard of double cleansing, you need to read about it now !! I double cleanse only at night. I always start with an oil to remove all makeup, and then follow with one of the above cleansers on my Clarisonic brush. I have noticed my breakouts and those pesky little bumps on my skin decrease dramatically since I have started doing this. However, not all oils are made equal. Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil and Shiseido Cleansing Oil are light and never make me break out.
Cleansers for very oily skin:
Drugstore staple: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for oily skin
The Cetaphil cleanser was initially given to me by a dermatologist and, not having used a drugstore cleanser on my skin since high school, I just about laughed in his face when he handed it to me. I gave it a try though, and since then it’s been on regular rotation in my bathroom cabinet. It is basic, gentle and gets the job done. Fair warning: this is truly for very oily skin…if you have closer to combination skin, you may want to consider the regular option (see below).
Sisley Gentle Cleansing Gel with tropical resins
If you are willing to pay a little extra (ok a lot extra), then I highly recommend Sisley Cleansing Gel with Tropical Resins. It completely eliminates oil from your skin, yet it’s so gentle and smells amazing! I noticed visible results in the amount of breakouts I got when I started using this. Because of the price point, I alternate between this and other cleansers.
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud cleanser:
PTR Irish Moor Mud cleanser was initially given to be as a sample at Sephora and I was hooked upon first use. Don’t be alarmed when you see the color (it’s black!). It truly deep cleans your skin without completely stripping it of moisture and somehow leaves it looking brighter within a few minutes.
Exfoliators for Oily Skin:
It may sound like a lot but I am a firm believer that if you have oily skin, you should be exfoliating every morning. During the night, your skin is working to regenerate itself. The morning is the most effective time to exfoliate because you can basically slaugh off all the dead skin that has accumulated overnight.
But, like cleansing oils, not all exfoliators are made alike. Use one that’s too harsh for daily use and you’ll be calling me a liar when you break out!! My favorites:
Korres Wild Rose Exfoliating Cleanser
The Korres Wild Rose Exfoliating Cleanser is seriously the gentlest yet most effective daily exfoliator I have ever used. The beads are super gentle and literally feel like they are gliding on your skin! It never makes my skin feel tight AND, best of all, I feel like ever since I started using it, my oil production is actually more balanced and I am not as shiny as I used to be throughout the day. Truly one you have to try!
Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash
The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash is such a classic and I find myself going back to it on a regular basis. It’s a bit more grainy than the Korres and the actual beads feel “scratchier” (I know that’s not the best descriptive word!!). However, the grains are so small that it doesn’t feel too harsh on my sensitive skin.
Last but not least, my absolute favorite weekly exfoliator:
Sisley Gentle Facial Buffing Cream
This one is NOT for daily use. And good thing because the price point would make it prohibitive for me to buy. The Sisley Buffing Cream is the most unique exfoliator I have ever used. Twice a week, (on Thursdays and Sundays if you must know) I swap out my morning exfoliator for this little gem. It’s unique in that you apply it on dry skin, leave it on for 15 minutes, and then buff it off by using your hands to go over your skin in circular motions. You can literally see your dead skin flakes fall on the sink. It’s like the exfoliator version of Biore strips…on steroids!!