Cleansing oils can be tricky for those who are venturing into them for the first time. Needless to say, the term “cleansing oil” sounds contradictory because it seems counterproductive to be cleansing with an oil when you’re trying to remove makeup, gunk and sebum.

Before you associate cleansing oils with formulas that are heavy, sticky and well, oily, here’s the truth about cleansing oils: They are effective because they melt and dissolve everything. Be it waterproof eyeliners and mascaras, long-wearing lipsticks or matte foundations, a few pumps of cleansing oil will set your skin free from all of that.

And thanks to modern technology, cleansing oils are no longer thick and rich. In fact, many of them glide onto skin and feel just like a silky emulsion. Moreover, the high-performing ones are also infused with skincare ingredients that not only cleanse, but also soothe, hydrate, decongest and protect your skin. Here, the best cleansing oils to suit all skin types and concerns:


Best for fighting pollutants: Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil, $64 for 150ml

With a lightweight, silky texture, this cleansing oil lifts pollutant particles and melts all traces of makeup, even long-lasting and waterproof ones. Transforming into a soft lather when it comes in contact with water, it reveals clarified and supple skin with zero discomfort when rinsed off. Best part? It is infused with blue micro algae which helps to strengthen and hydrate the skin.


Best for dry skin: Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, $67 for 150ml

Taking cues from a geisha’s beauty regime, this cleansing oil effectively eliminates makeup and impurities while minimising skin dryness. It is also enriched with camellia oil, a source of vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants to fortify skin so that none of its natural moisture is stripped in the process of cleansing.


Best for ageing skin: Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil, $165 for 450ml

Take Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil expertise, add a blend of eight precious botanical oils, and you get this skin-conditioning cleansing oil. Suitable for all skin types, it effectively removes all traces of waterproof makeup while respecting skin’s moisture balance. And thanks to the blend of plant oils, this luxurious cleansing formula also enhances skin elasticity, reduces irritation and infuses skin with a boost of antioxidants. 


Best for brightening the complexion: KOSE COSMEPORT Softymo White Cleansing Oil, $15.90 for 230ml

If you’ve always shunned cleansing oils because you dislike having an oily film over your skin, try this lightweight cleansing oil. When applied onto skin, it gets rid of makeup and pore-clogging impurities, while rinsing off thoroughly without leaving behind any residue so you can even eliminate double-cleansing. Fortified with rice bran oil, it is rich in vitamins B, which rebuilds skin’s barrier, soothes inflammation and accelerates cellular turnover for a clearer complexion.


Best for sensitive skin: Kopari Coconut Cleansing Oil, $55 for 150ml

Well-known for its nourishing properties, this coconut oil-based cleansing oil effectively melts stubborn makeup while respecting skin’s moisture-lipid balance. This is especially important for those with irritation-prone skin because it ensures that the skin’s barrier function is not compromised. In addition, it also contains green tea and rice oil to provide antioxidants for healthier, more resilient skin.


Best for evening out skin texture: Skin Inc Pure Trinity Serum-Infused Cleansing Oil, $78 for 150ml

Thanks to its H2Oil technology, this cleansing oil features a tri-phase formula which combines serum, cleansing water and oil to remove makeup, hydrate and purify the skin. Infused with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients and decongesting actives, it thoroughly eliminates impurities and gunk while refining skin texture. Expect smoother, softer and more even skin over time.


Best for quick results: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil, $52 for 200ml

Thanks to rigorous testing, this cleansing oil from Clinique is highly efficacious in melting and removing makeup (even waterproof and stubborn ones) without any harshness. Allergy-tested and free of fragrances and potential irritants, you can be rest assured that it achieves maximum results in minimum time.


Best for combination-oily skin: Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Oil, $34 for 100ml

Count on this cleansing oil if you want to remove makeup and impurities from your skin and keep it conditioned, yet not feel any greasy residue. Made with 100 per cent natural ingredients, it also contains sweet almond oil and grape seed oil to soothe irritation, accelerate skin repair and keep skin supple.


For all skin types: Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil, $55 for 100ml

If you are a fan of Sunday Riley’s C.E.O serum and moisturiser, then chances are, you’ll love this cleansing oil. It goes beyond removing makeup but also has a host of skincare benefits like skin turnover, anti-pigmentation, decongesting pores and soothing inflammation. Powerful against makeup yet gentle enough for irritation-prone skin, it works ideally for all skin types to promote clearer, healthier skin.