I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been using oil makeup removers, years for sure. It’s effective at dissolving makeup (especially waterproof makeup), quick to use and isn’t harsh on the skin. Also, not having to use a myriad of cotton pads and scrub my face (even gently) is a relief.
Instead, I pump a little oil in my hands, apply it to dry face and massage until I resemble a raccoon (in reality, it looks more like a horror movie serial killer). Actually, my mom once took a picture of me midst oil cleansing and it was quite frightening (I made her delete it).
Anyway, then I use a flannel with tepid* water to take it all off. No need to think about a separate makeup remover for the eyes, lips etc. Nowadays, I only use micellar waters to change my makeup quickly or, more often, to correct a makeup mistake (you know who you are… eyeliner!). I have thus had the time to test this cleansing method extensively.
Once some years ago, when I was quite broke, I decided to use pure sweet almond oil of which we had an unused liter bottle (my mom likes to imagine she is going to follow an elaborate beauty routine or play little chemist creating her own products whereas she often uses night cream regardless of the time of the day and has been known to wash her face with hand soap). Anyway, I poured it in a clean pump bottle and began using it. It worked perfectly. I would say that the only difference is that you must use a flannel with it because it doesn’t contain the emulsifier found in specifically formulated oil cleansers meaning that it cannot rinse clear with water; you have to physically remove it. However, since that was already the method I was using it didn’t bother me. That’s a nice story and all but don’t worry the stupid part is coming.
A liter bottle like that can last a long time, a very long time indeed. I was quite happy about it because it meant fewer expenses for me. Until one day it began smelling different but I shrugged it off thinking it was only in my mind. Then I realized it must have turned rancid. You would think that would be the point one would decide to throw it out. Not me. Instead, I thought: what harm could it do? It’s only on my face for a matter of minutes and I flannel it off. Well those few minutes were enough to cause serious breakouts. It came to a point where I couldn’t ignore it and replaced the rancid sweet almond oil with a new oil cleanser. After that, my skin calmed down. Shocker!
But the resulting breakouts took a long time to completely disappear (it was a deeply embedded breakouts kind of situation). Which just shows that we can really bury our heads in the sand sometimes and ignore all common sense.
Now, I do think using pure plant oils as makeup removers is safe and a good option (and an economic one); just don’t keep using them past their expiration date!
The best store-bought oil cleansers I’ve tried so far are the Body shop (full review here) and Melvita ones. Briefly, they are efficient and good value for money.
*I can’t be bothered to wait for the water to be hot, it takes too much time and stresses me out when I think of all the waste. I only do wait for it on special occasions when I want to let the hot flannel sit on my face for a few minutes.