In my teens and early twenties, I had a fairly basic skin routine – some would even say a bad one. I was always aware I had oily skin, but the only reason that registered was because I had to invest in extra coverage powder to tamp down my foundation for a night out.
But later on in my twenties, I struggled massively with oily skin problems and painful breakouts, meaning I found it hard to find cleansers that wouldn’t dry me out but also wouldn’t leave my skin oilier than before.
So I did what any skin-idiot would do – I researched. At first, I looked to natural remedies, and when those failed, I started researching the ingredients in my current face wash. I quickly realised all the important information I needed for my skincare routine that I was missing out on and how bad for my current skin condition my usual skincare was.
I promptly went overboard and completely overloaded my skin with about twenty different products in a frantic attempt to rid my skin of its demons, but of course that had the opposite effect – my skin freaked out at the massive amount of intermingling chemicals and ingredients and made it worse.
So how did I find something that would sufficiently hydrate my skin but not be overwhelmingly creamy or oily? Products with citrus fruits that weren’t oil based were good solutions for a while but eventually it became clear that my skin wasn’t getting the hydration it needed. My scars and pigmentation were showing up like never before, my blackheads were unbelievably persistent and no matter what combo of products I used, nothing seemed to be working.
So eventually I slowed down, took my time going through the products and seeing which ones would work for me in harmony with the rest of my skincare routine, like retinol, moisturiser, serums – just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you need to dry it out. Your cleanser is an important step in supporting your overall skin health, so I’ve picked out the best cleansers for oily skin that I’ve tried and heard of in the last few years so you can see what works for you.
A soap-free cleansing gel for oily, blemish prone skin, that gently removes oil, dirt and other impurities, this gel is cleansing without stripping the skin of moisture . Gentle yet purifying, this gel cleanser deeply cleanses and reduces excess sebum for an immediate and long‐lasting mattifying effect, thanks to innovative patented ingredient Comedoclastin™. The innovative, patented plant-based active ingredient derived from Milk Thistle, to help reduce excess sebum and prevent blemishes while Avène Thermal Spring Water’s anti-irritating active with soothing properties leave the skin feeling soothed; supple and soft.
This has been a game changer for my skin problems. It’s gentle and hydrating where a lot of other blemish-banishing products strip the skin of all oil, causing your pores to overproduce, adding to the problem instead of targeting certain areas. I’m still using this one as part of my daily skincare.
Clarins new range of Gentle Foaming Cleansers are tailored to your skin type and concerns. Purifying Gentle Foaming Cleanser is suitable for combination to oily skin types thanks to meadowsweet extract which reduces the over-production of sebum in the oil glands. The anti-pollution formula is now even greener than ever with the two key alpine herb ingredients, gentian and lemon balm now being harvested from the Domaine Clarins, the open-air laboratory in the heart of the alps. The thick cream texture lathers upon contact with water to remove all traces of make-up and impurities, whilst also protecting from dehydration and helping to limit the drying effects of hard water. Skin is left feeling soft and soothed.
Clarins products are always a firm favourite with me because they really prioritise the quality and efficacy of their ingredients. This cleanser focuses o natural ingredients that that work to counteract overproduction of oil without stripping the skin of hydration.
Developed with dermatologists, the foaming gel formula of the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser gently cleanses the skin to remove excess makeup, dirt and oil. It contains 3 essential ceramides to help protect the skin barrier. Hyaluronic Acid helps to retain the skin’s natural moisture while Niacinamide calms the skin. It contains 3 essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) to cleanse while protecting the skin’s natural barrier and its moisture retaining ingredients like hyaluronic acid retain skin’s moisture.
Now this one I haven’t tried but I hear people raving about the simplicity and effectiveness of CeraVE’s products constantly. It’s fragrance free which is always a plus as it means no unnecessary and irritating chemicals have been added and the foaming gel means there’ll be no creamy, pore-clogging residue leftover that oily skin often reacts against.
A fresh, foaming gel facial wash specifically formulated for oily and blemish-prone skin. Gently cleanses the skin thanks to its high tolerance foaming power and removes dirt, grime and sebum from the surface of the skin all without disturbing its delicate balance. Leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed and is proven to reduce the appearance of spots and blackheads and control shine. Enriched with La Roche Posay Thermal Spring water and zinc PCA.
Now this one I found actually dried my skin out a little, but I know some friends who rave about it. My skin can be a little sensitive as well as oily though, so perhaps this one was just a little too strong for me. But I have heard it’s fantastic for blemish control and can really clear up skin.
Cleanse your way to fresh glowing skin with the Nip + Fab Vitamin C Cleanser! This daily use gentle cleanser helps to protect skin from everyday environmental pollutants whilst revealing clearer brighter skin. Wash away dirt and impurities and leave skin refreshed and glowing. Contains vitamin C to help brighten skin, panthenol which moisturises and hydrates and amino acids which helps improve skin clarity.
I haven’t actually gotten around to using this one yet but it’s been on my list for a while. He combo of panthenol and Vitamin C means that your skin is not only cleared of impurities but is also brightened and clarified. Oily skin can often look dull and flat and because we can’t use that ‘glowy’ type of foundation (thanks sebum) we can miss out on the glowy look. Vitamin C gives us that natural lightness that helps us shine without the icky oily look.
Purifying Cleansing Wash is formulated with skin clearing Salicylic Acid to help detoxify and deep clean congested skin of daily impurities and excess oils without causing irritation. With regular daily use, this lightweight, refreshing foaming gel infused with Elderflower will leave skin feeling balanced and looking healthier and clearer. Super Facialist is a comprehensive range suitable for everyone – combining natural extracts, high performance scientific ingredients and exquisite aromas to give the best results - Healthy, beautiful youthful looking skin.
This is another one that I’m still using as it worked really well for my skin. Gentle, but effective, the salicylic acid is great for very oily skin to balance oil levels. I use this as a combo with the Avéne cleanser so that I double cleanse without my skin drying out.