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Natural Makeup Removal Using Essential Oils

Posted on February 16 2016

It’s a fact of life for most women who wear makeup – the process of removing it at the end of the day.  Makeup removal can be harsh on your skin, but it often feels like there’s no alternative to getting the makeup to come off.  You could use makeup that didn’t last as long, but then it wouldn’t make it through your entire day.

So how do you remove the long lasting makeup without drying out and damaging your skin?

natural makeup removal

You could spend a fortune on make-up removing wipes, creams, or lotions to remove and moisturize your skin afterwards, or you could go a more natural route. 

It’s a little unconventional, especially if you grew up seeing lots of advertising for facial products that claimed no oil, oil removing, etc.  In the United States, we’ve grown up hearing that oil is bad, and using products that make our faces feel tight and “squeaky clean”. 

That’s actually not quite accurate.  Squeaky clean and tight skin is actually a sign that your skin is dry, and for some of us, that actually can make skin problems worse.  When your skin is dry, it’ll try to compensate by producing more oil – which is where the idea of oil in your beauty products or cleaners is a bad thing came from.  You dry out your skin by removing all the oils, and it freaks out and frantically produces extra to replace it.

What does this have to do with makeup removal?

The way you take off makeup (and moisturize your skin afterwards) has a direct impact on the health of your skin.  That’s why this particular method for washing off makeup works so well – it not only removes all the makeup, it cleans your skin, and it doesn’t leave it dry and tight afterwards.

natural makeup removal

This method is called Oil Cleansing, and it’s one that has been a major part of Asian beauty routines for centuries.

Before you go too crazy with the oil cleansing, you’ll first want to carefully test carrier oils to determine which ones work best with your skin type.  Coconut oil is known to be comedogenic (it may make you break out), but grapeseed oil and argan oil should be safe for most skin types.  Luckily, we sell many of these oils in small, inexpensive sizes that make it easy to try them before committing to larger orders.  Once you find oils that you like, keep up a consistent cleansing routine for best results!

First, rinse your face with cool or lukewarm water.  Don’t “steam your pores open”, don’t scrub, don’t wash your face with hot water – these are all activities that may actually damage your skin and won’t actually make your face any cleaner. 

Pores don’t actually open or close, despite plenty of online posts about them and the old wives’ tale you probably heard from your mom.  Hot water and hard scrubbing also won’t really do much except irritate your skin and make you more prone to breakouts. 

Be gentle with your skin.  Treat it with love!

natural skin care

Alright, so you’ve rinsed off the top layer of makeup and dirt with some cool water on a washcloth.  Next, gently rub about a tablespoon of oil on your face.  You read that correctly – rub a tablespoon of oil on your face.  I usually distribute it between the fingers on both hands, and then gently rub in circular motions.  Take your time, and be thorough.  Use a little bit of gentle pressure to help remove any stubborn makeup, and to help clean out your pores.

This works so well because oil likes to bond with itself.  The oil in your makeup and your skin will bond to the oil you’re rubbing on your face, pulling up dirt and gunk along with it.  Really take your time rubbing in the oil to get all the funk out – this isn’t a process you should rush!  

You may feel small little bits of…something…after you’ve been gently rubbing your face with the oil for a while.  What you’re feeling are bits of sebum that are getting dislodged from your pores thanks to the cleansing.  This is good!  This means you’re thoroughly cleaning your face and that now, your pores are truly nice and clean. 

This method is AWESOME at reducing the appearance of blackheads thanks to its deep cleansing effects on your pores. 

After you’ve been massaging your face for at least a minute or two, time to use a clean washcloth to wipe the oil off.  You could try just rinsing in the shower, but you’ll probably still feel a bit of oily residue left afterwards. 

Using a washcloth will help wipe off all the dirt, makeup, and oil – because while the end of this regimen does call for a little more oil, you don’t want to leave the oil full of dirt sitting on your face.

Wipe off the oil, then use a cotton pad with some witch hazel to gently remove the last of the oil you used to wash with.  Let the witch hazel dry, then use a couple drops of clean oil with a drop of frankincense or lavender to moisturize your skin.

I’ve mentioned using oil with a drop of a skin-healing essential oil as a part of your beauty routine before – for a reason!  It works!  After cleansing this way on a regular basis, your skin will start to glow. 

That healthy “glow” in your skin comes from natural oils and healthy, hydrated skin.  By treating your skin gently, keeping it moisturized, and cleansing it regularly, your skin will look and feel amazing.  After a while, you’ll feel so naturally beautiful you won’t even need makeup!

You can create your own gentle skin cleaning blend by mixing different carrier oils and an essential oil or two in a glass jar ahead of time. 

For dry, damaged, or wrinkled skin, you may want to use Rosehip seed oil as your cleansing base.  Add in a little argan oil or sweet almond oil to help the oil penetrate your makeup and glide smoothly over your skin.  I also recommend adding in 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil to help fight common bacteria that can lead to breakouts.  Jojoba oil is another great option for your personalized cleansing blend – experiment with different combinations until you find a blend that works for your skin! 

For moisturizing after you’ve washed your face, you’ll definitely want to mix the blend ahead of time, since you’ll be using such a small quantity.  You should only massage in 3 or 4 drops for your entire face, which makes it hard to blend together different oils for their benefits while also keeping them diluted properly.

natural beauty secrets

Rosehip seed oil, jojoba, argan, and especially evening primose oil all work extremely well as the base for your personal face moisturizing blend.  You can then add a few drops of the following oils, depending on what you’d like your moisturizing blend to accomplish. 

Frankincense: excellent for healing and caring for aging skin.  The scent is calming, relaxing, and helps prepare you for a good night’s sleep.  Read more about its properties by clicking here!

Lavender: for healing damaged skin, fighting wrinkles, and reducing scarring. Great for fighting acne scars!  Read more about its various properties here.

Patchouli: to protect dry, mature, or aging skin.  Helps in treating flaky skin! 

Sandalwood: helps to heal dry and damaged skin.  Calming, soothing, and sensual – great night time oil not only for relaxing before bed, but before bedtime activities, too. ;)

Combine no more than 10 drops of essential oils to 1 oz of carrier oil(s), mix well, and gently rub the blend into your skin.

I hope this has been helpful for you, and I'd love to hear all about your results!  

Remember, not every oil works for every skin type - and the only way to find out what would work best for your skin is to test it out a little at a time. 

Share what combinations have worked best for you in the comments below! 

-Jen, your friendly essential oil enthusiast


  • Jen: March 29, 2016

    Hi ladies!

    YES you absolutely can use this method for eye makeup – in fact, it’s amazing for that. My only caveat is to use just the plain carrier oil on the eyes, as they are very sensitive, and the skin around them is extremely sensitive as well.

    Also, Gail – this method is gentle and works wonders for those with rosacea. I do still recommend using a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil after the oils to help get the rest of the ‘dirty’ oil off your face, especially if you’re trying to avoid using a washcloth. Try this method on a small part of your face, such as just under your ear on your cheek, to see how your skin reacts before using it on your entire face. That should help you determine if this cleansing method will help your skin :)

  • Lori: March 25, 2016

    This was an amazing article!!! But you didn’t mention removing eye make up. How do the essential oils affect the eyes? Thank you!!!

  • Gail: March 04, 2016

    Wish I could try one of these methods for washing my face but don’t think I can as I have roscea. Looking for a more natural way to wash my face and really liked the information you have about using essential oils in place of lotions and washing cloths. Just had to let you know your article was very informative

  • Jen: February 24, 2016

    Hi Liz! Yes, absolutely – just be very careful. I would use just a few drops of carrier oil and avoid any additional essential oils, just for the eye area, since the skin there is so much more sensitive. It works like an absolute DREAM to get mascara off, although you will definitely look like a raccoon until you rinse your face! :)

  • Bridget: February 22, 2016

    Loved reading every word of that! Very informative!

  • Liz : February 17, 2016

    Does this method work for removing eye make up also?

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