What Is Cleansing Oil and Why Do Makeup Artists Swear by It?

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We’ve tried almost everything to take off our makeup: micellar water, coconut oil, cold cream, makeup remover, makeup-remover wipes, baby oil, scrubbing our eyes with abandon… Yet somehow we still wake up with that gray smudge. So when a makeup artist told us she uses cleansing oil to get rid of even the most stubborn of mascaras, we were all raccoon eyes ears.

What it is: Cleansing oil is nothing new, but it’s not as common as the micellar waters and makeup removers you’re used to (probably because most people have a stigma against anything oil-based). Most varieties contain flower or seed oils mixed with vitamins and amino acids that work double-duty as anti-aging and makeup-removing ingredients (and never actually make your skin oilier).

What you do: Keeping your skin completely dry skin, grab your cleansing oil and rub onto eyes, face, wherever. Then rinse with warm water. Voilà: All traces of that stubborn eyeliner have vanished.

Why it works: There’s a reason Japanese makeup brand Tatcha says that geishas have used cleansing oils for centuries to remove even the most heavy stage makeup. The oils latch onto and whisk off the bad stuff—leaving behind natural oils your skin needs to stay moisturized. You’re left with perfectly smooth, clean, makeup-free skin.

So, no more raccoon eyes? We prefer our masks at Mardi Gras, thank you very much.