Top 5 Makeup Removers for Oily Skin

By: Thorin Klosowski

Makeup Tips Image Gallery Just because your skin is oily doesn't necessarily mean it can handle harsh products to clean off your makeup. See more makeup tips and pictures.
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If you have oily skin, you might think it can take a stronger product when it comes to makeup removers. That may be true in some cases, but your skin isn't invincible. Oily skin requires a different, more stringent cleansing process than dry or sensitive skin, but that still doesn't mean you can use harsh chemicals onto your face just to get your makeup off.

Because both genetics and hormones can lead to oily skin, it's not something you can get rid of [source: Lehrer]. The oil, or sebum, is part of your skin's natural moisturizing process, but some people's skin produces more sebum than others.


It's not all bad news, though. Makeup removers specific to oily skin exist for the same reason those for sensitive skin do: to clear products off quickly and effectively without causing too much damage to the skin. It sounds simple enough, but just because a makeup remover is branded for oily skin doesn't mean it's the best product to use on your skin. In this article, we'll be taking a look at five of the best ways to remove makeup from oily skin.

5: Makeup Removers without Added Oils

This one might seem a bit obvious, but it's an important one to mention. If you already have oily skin, you don't want to add more oils to it in order to remove makeup. Since your skin is already producing extra sebum, you're in danger of clogging your pores, which can lead to acne [source: WebMD].

Without oils, makeup removers use other ingredients that don't add additional grease. Some might even dry out your skin a bit. Examples of what you might find on the ingredients listing include water, benzyl alcohol, aloe and cyclopentasiloxane, an emollient which actually adds moisture and increases the capacity for your skin to hold water [source: Starch]. Although moisturizing oily skin might seem backward, some cleansers can actually strip away too much necessary sebum, so adding back moisture can help your skin.


If you need to get deep down and clean up more than just your skin's surface, you might want to consider another type of makeup remover, which we'll be looking at in the next section.

4: Deep Facial Cleansing Creams

People with oily skin can use the stronger deep facial cleansers to remove makeup.
People with oily skin can use the stronger deep facial cleansers to remove makeup.
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Deep facial cleansing creams may sound too comprehensive for a daily use like makeup removal, but when formulated for oily skin, they can provide excellent results by not only ridding your skin of layers of powder and cover-up, but also clearing out blocked pores. However, because of their strength, these types of cleansers are best suited for once-a-day use -- in this case, at the end of the day to clear off your makeup.

Many deep cleansing products take the user's skin pH level into account, and sometimes come in a slightly more acidic form because it helps to break up sebum. Oily skin can handle this better than dry and sensitive skin types, but you'll still want to shy away from cleansers with too high of a pH level, because it can dry out your skin too much.


For a daily cleanser, you'll also want to avoid alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), salicylic acid and alcohol in the ingredients listing. While these can be useful in cleansing and dealing with acne on an occasional basis, they tend to be too harsh for daily makeup removal. They also tend to dry out your skin, which can lead your body to make more sebum.

Even with oily skin, harsh cleaners can cause more damage than good, a fact we'll look at in the next section.

3: Exfoliating Cleansers

While many of these makeup removers can get makeup off quickly, exfoliating cleansers can help get rid of the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, too.

If not removed, these dead skin cells -- especially when combined with makeup buildup -- can clog pores and lead to mild breakouts, such as blackheads and whiteheads. But if you have problems with severe acne, these types of cleansers might actually worsen your breakouts.


Although exfoliating cleansers might seem like a great way to remove oil buildup on your skin, keep in mind these products sometimes remove too much oil and dry out your skin [source: Draelos]. For this reason, they're not always recommended for daily usage , but they can be an excellent resource for removing makeup on occasion, as well as cleansing your skin on a weekly basis which helps makeup application go more smoothly in the long run.

Although exfoliating cleansers are a good occasional resource for makeup removal if you need to handle blocked pores, the next type of makeup remover performs on a daily basis.

2: Noncomedogenic Cleansers

Noncomedigenic cleansers should clear your makeup off without clogging your pores.
Noncomedigenic cleansers should clear your makeup off without clogging your pores.
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Noncomedogenic cleansers come recommended for nearly all skin types -- including oily -- because they lack harsh chemicals and shouldn't clog your pores (usually a main problem for oily skin) [source: WebMD]. Noncomedogenic cleansers often use glycerin and water and rarely include fragrances.

While noncomedogenic cleaners often won't be able to remove stronger makeup, such as waterproof mascara or lip stains, they can usually handle most other types well. Most importantly, they're formulated specifically not to block pores any more than your natural oils already do, making it a great resource for people prone to breakouts.


While noncomedogenic cleansers are almost the least harsh of all the makeup removers, they're not quite at the top of the list. We'll look at what type of cleanser should be in your makeup remover repertoire if you have oily skin.

1: Gentle Cleansers

As with other skin care products, it might take some experimenting to find the right combination to effectively clear off the day's makeup while still taking care of your skin.

When all is said and done, the best type of makeup remover for most skin types -- including oily -- is usually going to be gentle cleansers. You'll want to find a lathering cleanser, which is best suited for people with normal to oily skin [source: Draelos].


While gentle cleansers are especially recommended for the delicate eye area to handle the removal of eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara, you can also use them on other areas of your facial skin. If you're not using a lot of makeup products, these should be able to handle their removal.

Gentle cleansers tend to use a mix of water and glycerin, making them the least invasive of all the makeup removers on this list. This enables them to cleanse the skin of makeup products and some oils without drying it out too much

For more articles about skin care, makeup and oily skin, check out the links on the next page.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

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