The Differences between Oil and Creme Cleansing

Amidst the abundance of skincare advice, it's crucial to discern between what works best for your skin. The contrasting approaches of washing your face with oil versus cream cleansers— and the concept of double cleansing— can be confusing, but by understanding the differences and benefits of each method, you can make informed decisions to tailor your skincare routine to suit your unique needs and preference.

Let’s break down the differences between washing your face with an oil cleanser versus a cream cleanser, as well as the concept of double cleansing.


Oil Cleansers

Oil cleansers are formulated with various oils (safflower, coconut, or jojoba) that help to dissolve and lift away oil-based impurities on the skin, including makeup, sunscreen, excess sebum, and environmental pollutants.

The principle behind oil cleansing is that “like dissolves like,” meaning the oil in the cleanser binds to the oils on your skin, making it easier to rinse away.

We like oil cleansing as its suitable for most skin types, including dry and sensitive skin, it can help to balance oil production, potentially reducing the occurrence of breakouts and deeply cleanses the skin by removing impurities without stripping away natural oils. From the archive: How to Oil Cleanse

Our favorite Oil cleansers include:


Marie Veronique Replenishing Oil Cleanser

Living Libations Best Skin Ever Oil Cleansers





Cream Cleansers

Cream cleansers are formulated with moisturizing ingredients such as emollients and humectants, which cleanse the skin while also providing hydration— additionally, typically, they don’t contain the ingredients responsible for creating foam (surfactants).

Cream cleansers work by gently breaking down and lifting away dirt, sweat, and some makeup without disrupting the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

We like cream cleansing as it provides gentle cleansing for dry, sensitive, and mature skin, it maintains the skin’s hydration levels, and leaves the skin feeling soft and nourished after cleansing.

Our favorite creme cleansers are from Biologique Recherche, currently only available in store or via phone orders (804-354-6707)


The plot thickens

Cream cleansers are often used as a standalone cleanser, especially for those with dry or sensitive skin. They can also be used as the second step in a double cleansing routine to ensure thorough cleansing after using an oil cleanser.


Double Cleansing



Double cleansing is a skincare technique that involves using two different types of cleansers sequentially to thoroughly clean the skin. It typically starts with an oil-based cleanser followed by a creme-based cleanser.

The primary goal of double cleansing is to ensure the removal of all types of impurities from the skin, including oil-based impurities like makeup and sunscreen, as well as water-based impurities like sweat and environmental pollutants. By using an oil cleanser followed by a creme-based cleanser, you can achieve a deeper and more effective cleanse— without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

By thoroughly removing all traces of impurities, double cleansing helps to prevent clogged pores, breakouts, and dull skin. We also find it best prepares the skin to absorb subsequent skincare products.



The main difference between washing your face with an oil cleanser versus a cream cleanser lies in their formulation and cleansing mechanisms. Oil cleansers effectively remove oil-based impurities, while cream cleansers provide gentle cleansing and hydration. Double cleansing combines the benefits of both types of cleansers to achieve a thorough and effective cleansing routine.

Still wonder which is right for you? Reach out! We also off a stand-alone, in-person skincare consultation, and our facials leave you feeling relaxed, informed, well-cared for, and optimistic about the future of your skin health and look.