6 Best Korean Cleansing Oils (2021)

A woman applying a cleansing oil all over her face. (From: Unsplash)

Upgrade your skincare routine with our favourite Korean cleansing oils.

Product Name Ranking Key Ingredient Type of Oil Fragrance & Essential Oils/ Alcohol-free Skin Type Price
Pyunkang Yul | Deep cleansing oil

Best Overall

Hyaluronic Acid; Centella Asiatica; Green tea extract Avocado; Olive; Macadamia seed; Sweet almond N/Y All incl. sensitive Check Here
SKINFOOD | Black Sugar Facial Cleansing Oil

Strong Runner-up

Rice ferment filtrate; Vitamin E Jojoba; Olive; Meadowfoam seed; Camellia seed N/N Dry/Normal Check Here
Etude House | Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil

Best Budget

Vitamin E; Squalane Coconut; Grape seed; Apricot Kernal N/Y All Check Here
THE FACE SHOP | Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Light Oil

Best Fan Favourite

 

Rice Water Jojoba; Rice Bran N/Y Dry Check Here
Dear Klairs | Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

Best for Sensitive Skin

Vitamin E Jojoba; Soybean; Black sesame; Blackcurrant seed; Shea butter; Cranberry seed N/Y All incl. sensitive Check Here
iUNIK | Calendula Complete Deep Cleansing Ol

Best Natural Oils

Calendula flower extract Queensland nut; Canola;Jojoba seed; Sunflower seed; Cananga Odorata flower N/Y All except sensitive Check Here

How to Pick the Best Korean Cleansing Oil?

You have probably heard that oil cleansing is the key towards effectively removing dirt, makeup, and other impurities from the skin. However, looking for a great cleansing oil can be more challenging than you think. After all, there are quite a number of Korean oil cleansers in the market, so how do you pick the best one?

Well, the secret to finding the best oil cleanser for your skin type lies in a few factors: the type of oil used, as well as the added benefits it offers your skin. Knowing these factors will allow you to choose a cleansing oil that won’t clog your pores, and will actively address your skin issues.

Let’s take a closer look at some key factors to consider in choosing the best Korean cleansing oil:

Types of oils

Olive oil being poured into a container. (From: Pixabay)

Olive oil being poured into a container. (From: Pixabay)

Depending on your skin type, some oils can be better for you than others.

That’s why, if you’re planning to buy a Korean cleansing oil, it’s crucial to check what oil it’s primarily made from. After all, different types of oils yield different benefits to the skin. These benefits dictate what skin concern they address, and therefore what skin type they’re most compatible with.

Here are 7 of the best oils used in Korean oil cleansers and their benefits.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is a non-irritating oil with moisturizing and acne-controlling properties. This makes it perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin types. As a humectant, jojoba oil helps with sealing the skin’s protective barrier to ensure it doesn’t lose moisture.

In addition, it’s also known to help in regulating sebum production. When jojoba oil is applied to the skin, the skin is prompted to halt the production of extra sebum. This is because wax esters in jojoba oil are incredibly similar to human sebum. With reduced sebum production in the skin, chances of acne breakouts are also reduced.

Moreover, newer studies are detailing how jojoba oil can help fight acne. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties seem to help in preventing breakouts, as well as promoting healing for mild acne.

 

Jojoba oil has a comedogenic rating of 2, meaning it’s generally safe for use for acne-prone skin. However, since it may clog pores slightly, it’s still best to do a patch test prior to use.

Rice bran oil

If you’re looking for an oil that hydrates the skin while providing numerous anti-aging benefits, rice bran oil is for you. This oil favored by Koreans and Japanese skincare enthusiasts contains Vitamin B, squalene, and fatty acids, which all help protect the skin’s natural barrier and allow it to better retain moisture.. This makes it a great choice for those with dehydrated or dry skin.

Additionally, rice bran oil contains Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. These are known anti-aging compounds, which help fight against free radicals that cause skin aging. Vitamin E also absorbs energy from UV rays, ensuring your skin remains protected from sun damage.

Avocado oil

Known to be healing and moisturizing, avocado oil is a natural oil best used for extremely dry skin. Thanks to avocado oil’s potassium and lecithin content, it can easily moisturize and nourish the skin. As a result, this oil can heal chapped and dry skin, and even calm itchy skin.

In addition, avocado oil has also been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. High levels of fatty acids in avocado oil (e.g., linoleic acid, oleic acid, etc.) can also help speed up wound healing, and even treat skin conditions like psoriasis.

 

Unfortunately, avocado oil is comedogenic, with a rating of 3. This means it can clog the pores and cause acne breakouts. It’s therefore not recommended for people with acne-prone skin.

Calendula oil

Calendula oil boasts anti-inflammatory and healing properties, making it a great choice for those with acne-prone skin. It also has a comedogenic rating of only 1, so you can be assured that it won’t clog your pores and induce acne breakouts.

Calendula oil has actually been found to aid in the treatment and prevention of acne vulgaris, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a great choice in treating other skin ailments, such as psoriasis and eczema.

What’s more, calendula oil is also capable of moisturizing the skin. Its high fatty acid content allows it to help skin cells retain moisture better, thus keeping the skin supple and hydrated.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil in a jar. (From: Pixabay)

Coconut oil in a jar. (From: Pixabay)

One of the most famous natural oils in skincare, coconut oil boasts a variety of skin benefits. Coconut oil moisturizes the skin, promotes wound healing, and even contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes it a great choice for dry and sensitive skin types, especially those suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

In fact, a study has shown that coconut oil has significantly improved skin hydration in patients with mild to moderately dry skin. Coconut oil was found to drastically reduce the levels of transepidermal water loss in the skin, allowing it to retain moisture better. Other studies have also shown coconut oil’s significant effects in treating eczema, and in treating rashes such as atopic dermatitis.

 

Coconut oil has a high comedogenic rating of 4. This risks acne breakouts for those with acne-prone skin planning to use this for oil cleansing.

Olive oil

A natural oil with a comedogenic rating of 2, olive oil is suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

Oil being poured into a transparent bowl. (Photo from: Pexels)

Oil being poured into a transparent bowl. (Photo from: Pexels)

Olive oil still has a slight potential to clog the skin, so it’s best to test it on a small area of the skin before you try it out.

 

Olive oil is naturally anti-inflammatory, which helps in soothing and controlling acne. In addition, it also acts as an antioxidant—that is, it fights damage caused by the sun and environment on the skin. This keeps the skin looking young and healthy, while preventing signs of premature aging like wrinkles and fine lines.

Sunflower seed oil

A natural oil that’s great for dry skin, sunflower seed oil is a hydrating oil that helps maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier. Apart from providing moisture, sunflower seed oil also has a natural anti-inflammatory effect. This makes it perfect for people suffering with conditions related to dry skin, like eczema.

Another great thing about sunflower seed oil is its high antioxidant content. Thanks to its large amounts of Vitamin E, sunflower seed oil can protect against premature aging and wrinkles. It also protects the skin from radical damage from the sun’s harmful rays.

 

Sunflower seed oil can also be used by people with acne-prone skin. This oil is non-comedogenic, with a comedogenic rating of only 0 to 2.

Additional benefits of oil cleansers

A woman cleaning her face. (Photo from: Pexels)

A woman cleaning her face. (Photo from: Pexels)

Knowing the type of oil used in your oil cleanser is definitely important, but choosing the best Korean cleansing oil doesn’t stop there. What sets Korean cleansing oils apart from normal facial oils is the addition of different ingredients that provide added benefits to the skin. These range from added hydration to acne control.

Here are 4 benefits you should look for in your Korean oil cleanser:

Deeper cleanse

Oil cleansers utilize the lipophilic nature of oils to cleanse the skin more deeply. Oils naturally seek out other oils—as a result, oil cleansers easily adhere to oils like sebum and oil-based makeup on the face. This allows you to rinse these impurities off in one go.

Korean cleansing oils go a step further than this to ensure a deeper cleanse. These oil cleansers emulsify when they come in contact with water, thus allowing them to be washed off without leaving an oily film, unlike natural cleansing oils.

Anti-aging

Most Korean cleansing oils provide extra skincare benefits to the skin, and one thing you should look for is the addition of Vitamin E, a vital anti-aging ingredient.

Vitamin E is a known antioxidant, and has been found to help with protecting the skin from oxidative stress, which normally comes from UV exposure and damage. This helps in preventing photoaging, especially the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.

Extra hydration

Another key ingredient to look for in Korean cleansing oils is Hyaluronic Acid—a superstar ingredient in keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized.

[note]Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the skin, and is responsible for helping the skin hold moisture. Because of this, it plays a vital role in moisturizing and hydrating the skin.[/note]

Hyaluronic acid levels in the skin decrease as we age, which is why applying topical products with hyaluronic acid boost the skin’s hydration. Using an oil cleanser with hyaluronic acid, and then washing it off with water, will allow the skin to hold extra moisture to keep it supple and well-moisturized.

Acne control

If you’re struggling with acne, there are also Korean cleansing oils with Centella Asiatica, green tea, or AHA. These can all help with oil control or with fighting acne.

Centella asiatica has antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which help calm acne breakouts and fight redness. It also helps with controlling sebum, and can even boost collagen production to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Meanwhile, green tea has been shown to be effective against Propionibacteria acnes, the bacteria responsible for causing acne breakouts. Multiple studies have also explained the potential of green tea in preventing excessive sebum production. This is believed to be due to the polyphenol compounds present in green tea.

Lastly, AHAs are known chemical exfoliants. This means they get rid of dead skin cells through dissolving their chemical bonds, so they can be removed from the skin. These are effective in preventing pores from getting clogged, thus preventing acne breakouts from occurring.

Best Korean Cleansing Oil (2021)

Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil

Best Overall
A closer look at the Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil. (From: bykares.com)

A closer look at the Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil. (From: bykares.com)

Key features

  • Contains hyaluronic acid for added hydration
  • Has allantoin and panthenol to keep skin soft and supple
  • Controls sebum with green tea and centella asiatica
  • Blend of different natural oils for added skin benefits
  • Lightweight, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free
  • Suitable for all skin types

The Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil boasts a blend of amazing ingredients for the skin. It contains hyaluronic acid for added hydration, along with centella asiatica and green tea for sebum control. This cleansing oil is also fragrance- and alcohol-free, making it suitable for all skin types. It’s also a cruelty-free vegan product! For all these reasons, this cleansing oil has bagged the rank of best overall for this list.

What’s great about the Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil is the addition of Panthenol and Allantoin. These two ingredients boost the moisturizing benefits provided by Hyaluronic Acid to the skin. Panthenol is a known skin protectant, which improves the skin’s hydration and elasticity. It also provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.

Centella asiatica and green tea are known not only to control sebum production, but also to help with calm breakouts and control redness. Other extracts, like tea tree and barberry, also aid in soothing the skin and preventing breakouts.

This cleansing oil also contains a combination of four different natural oils, which provide different benefits to the skin. These are mostly non-comedogenic, with jojoba oil having the highest amount. This blend ensures that this cleansing oil effectively removes all impurities from the face. It also emulsifies well, and doesn’t leave an oily film after washing.

 

Some users may find that the watery texture of Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil messy to use. To avoid getting it all over your hands and the bathroom sink, you can opt to apply this using a cotton round. Alternatively, use this prior to your evening shower to ensure you can clean up any residual oil on your arms or body.

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SKINFOOD Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil

Strong Runner-up
A closer look at the SKINFOOD Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil. (From: amazon.com)

A closer look at the SKINFOOD Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil. (From: amazon.com)

Key features

  • Contains rice ferment filtrate to fight aging
  • Hydrates and moisturizes the skin with black sugar
  • Utilizes rice wine to fight free radical damage, wrinkles, and aging skin
  • Blend of different fruit extracts for natural, gentle exfoliation
  • Best for dry and normal skin types

The SKINFOOD Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil contains rice ferment filtrate for anti-aging, as well as black sugar extract for added moisture. This makes it a great choice for dry and normal skin types. However, note that because SKINFOOD Black Sugar contains denatured alcohol, it can irritate sensitive skin and dehydrate the skin, leading to excessive oil production. As such, this product only bags the title of Strong Runner-up in this list.

This cleansing oil’s star ingredients are rice wine filtrate and black sugar. Rice wine has been proven to boost collagen production in the skin, keeping it more elastic and thus preventing wrinkling. It has also been found to reduce sun damage towards the skin, therefore preventing photoaging. Black sugar, meanwhile, is a natural humectant that provides added hydration to the skin.

SKINFOOD Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil also features lemon, orange, apple, and papaya extracts. Apple and orange extracts add anti-aging benefits to this oil cleanser, while papaya extract serves as a mild exfoliant that removes dead skin cells.

It’s also great that this cleansing oil emulsifies well. As a result, it’s easy to wash off with water, without leaving an oily film on the skin.

However, this cleansing oil is not fragrance-free, and its scent may be too strong for some people. Its runny consistency can make it quite messy to use, too. You may try applying this to the face using a cotton pad, so you can control the amount you use at a time. This reduces the mess you might make while cleansing, and also ensures the scent won’t be overpowering.

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Etude House Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil

Best Budget
A closer look at the Etude House Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil. (From: amazon.com)

A closer look at the Etude House Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil. (From: amazon.com)

Key features

  • Completely removes makeup and impurities
  • Coconut and grapeseed oil to moisturize the skin and keep it healthy
  • Grapeseed oil to boost collagen production and fight aging
  • Suitable for all skin types

The Etude House Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil is not only budget friendly, but also does an amazing job at removing impurities. A little goes a long way when it comes to breaking down makeup using this potent cleansing oil. It’s also suitable for all skin types, and provides various benefits to the skin. As such, this cleansing oil gets the rank of Best Budget in this list.

This cleansing oil mainly uses coconut oil and grapeseed oil, which both provide numerous benefits for the skin. For instance, coconut oil is known to hydrate and moisturize the skin, since it reduces the rate at which moisture is lost from the skin. Grapeseed oil, meanwhile, contains a compound called proanthocyanidin—a potent antioxidant that protects the skin against sun damage.

Although this cleansing oil is quite potent, it’s still easy to remove as it emulsifies well. You can simply wash it off with water, without the need to use a foaming cleanser after.

 

While the Real Art Moisture Cleansing Oil is generally safe for all skin types, it contains coconut oil, a common allergen. If you have allergies to coconut oil, you might experience negative reactions to this product, and might be better off with a different cleansing oil instead. People with acne-prone skin are advised to patch test first, too, since coconut oil is a comedogenic ingredient.

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THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil

Best Fan Favorite
A closer look at THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil. (From: amazon.com)

A closer look at THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil. (From: amazon.com)

Key features

  • Rice bran oil hydrates the skin and protects skin barrier
  • Contains antioxidants that provide anti-aging benefits
  • Vitamin E to fight against sun damage
  • Jojoba oil to hydrate and soothe inflamed skin
  • Alcohol- and sulfate-free for non-irritating, non-stripping cleansing
  • Great for dry skin

The Best Fan Favorite cleansing oil is none other than THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil. Many users have raved about this product, evident by the sheer number of great reviews it has received on Amazon and numerous other websites. However, this product did not top our list as it contains comedogenic ingredients not suitable for acne-prone skin types.

What’s great about this cleansing oil, though, is how nourishing and hydrating it is. Made with a combination of rice water and rice bran oil, the Rice Water Bright Cleansing Oil provides adequate moisture to the skin, along with a host of anti-aging benefits. These components make the Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Oil a great choice for those with dry skin.

Rice bran oil is known to contain Vitamin B, Squalene, and fatty acids, which work together to protect the skin barrier, allowing it to maintain moisture better. Rice bran oil also has anti-aging benefits, thanks to antioxidants like Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid which prevent skin aging through fighting against free radical damage. Rice water is also an anti-aging ingredient.

However, those who prefer fragrance-free products should also think twice about using this, since some users has reported discomfort with the strong scent.

 

This cleansing oil can easily be washed off with water, thanks to the emollients present in it. However, one of these emollients is Isopropyl Myristate, which has a high comedogenic rating of 5. Hence, this product is not recommended for those with acne-prone skin.

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Dear, Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

Best for Sensitive Skin
A closer look at the Dear, Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil. (From: klairscosmetics.com)

A closer look at the Dear, Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil. (From: klairscosmetics.com)

Key features

  • Jojoba oil to hydrate the skin and protect the skin barrier
  • Black currant oil to prevent skin aging and sun damage
  • Cruelty-, paraben-, silicone-, and ethanol-free
  • Hypoallergenic formula best for sensitive skin

Dear, Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil is vegan, hypoallergenic and made from simple and minimal ingredients. It’s also free from usual ingredients that irritate the skin, like alcohol and sulfates. That’s precisely why it deservedly got the rank of Best for Sensitive Skin in our list.

The Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil features a rich blend of different oils: jojoba, soybean, black sesame, black currant seed, and cranberry seed. These ensure this product not only provides a deep cleanse but also offer up the multitude of benefits provided by different oils.

For instance, jojoba oil is a non-irritating oil that moisturizes the skin and helps eliminate acne by regulating sebum production.

The brand also claims that black sesame oil contains natural antioxidants to help the skin fight aging. The same can be said with black currant oil, which contains compounds called anthocyanins, which fight against skin aging.

A major concern with this oil cleanser, however, is that it’s quite difficult to wash off completely with only water. So, if you’re planning to make this a part of your routine, consider using a gentle face wash afterwards to get rid of any oil residue you were unable to wash off the first time around.

 

People with oily and acne-prone skin should take note that this cleansing oil contains Isopropyl Myristate, a comedogenic ingredient.

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iUNIK Calendula Complete Deep Cleansing Oil

Best Natural Oils
A closer look at the iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil. (From: iunikcos.com)

A closer look at the iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil. (From: iunikcos.com)

Key features

  • Contains 94% natural oils blend for a deeper cleanse
  • Calendula oil to reduce redness and soothe inflamed skin
  • Sunflower seed and jojoba oil blend for hydrated skin
  • Infused with Vitamin E which fights against free radicals that cause aging
  • Lightweight, alcohol-free, cruelty-free
  • Suitable for most skin types

If you’re a fan of skincare products made with natural ingredients, you’ll certainly love the iUNIK Calendula Complete Deep Cleansing Oil. Infused with 94% all-natural plant oils, this oil cleanser harnesses the benefits of completely natural ingredients. Because of this, there’s no surprise that this Korean cleansing oil has bagged the title of Best Natural Oils in this list.

This cleansing oil’s star ingredient is calendula oil. This non-comedogenic oil has anti-inflammatory and healing properties, which helps calm breakouts and soothes the skin. Recent studies have also shown its potential to aid in both treating and preventing acne, as well as other skin issues like psoriasis and eczema.

Through the blend of calendula oil, sunflower seed oil and jojoba seed oil, the iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil nourishes and hydrates the skin. Sunflower seed oil is also rich in Vitamin E, allowing it to fight against premature aging and wrinkles.

Another great thing about the iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil is its use of very minimal ingredients. This reduces its risk of irritating the skin. However, calendula oil has a medicinal smell, which is polarising and may be off-putting to some.

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