Who needs hydrophilic oils, how do they differ from regular oils and are they suitable for oily skin? Understanding!

Cleansing the skin with oils is one of the beauty trends that came from Korea (like the fashion for BB and CC creams). Despite the fact that the habit of washing your face “to the squeak” is already unpopular in our society, not everyone is ready for the idea of removing makeup with oils. In this article, we will explain why this approach seems strange only in words.

What is hydrophilic oil?

The answer to this question lies on the surface, although it sounds paradoxical: a hydrophilic oil is one that is “friends” with water. Of course, such oils do not exist in nature, so hydrophilic oil is not a special kind, but a conventional name. The composition of such a product can be any oil (mineral or natural vegetable) or a whole complex. When in contact with liquid, the oil turns into a light emulsion, it "collects" the remnants of cosmetics, sebum and impurities, and then it is easily washed off without leaving a greasy film and a feeling of skin tightness.


Even children know that ordinary oil is very difficult to wash off with water without residue: water will simply slide over its surface. But in the composition of the hydrophilic, in addition to the oil itself, there are emulsifiers - substances that bind the molecules of oil and water. It is thanks to this component that the oily texture turns into a light emulsion. In the list of ingredients, emulsifiers can hide under different names - for example, PEG, twin and polysorbate.In addition to water and emulsifier, the composition often includes vitamins, fruit extracts, acids, essential oils.

How is hydrophilic oil different from cosmetic oil?

We have already mentioned the main difference between hydrophilic oil and ordinary oil - it contains emulsifiers. In addition, these products have different tasks: cosmetic oil cares for the skin, while hydrophilic is designed to cleanse and remove makeup.

Hydrophilic oils are 100% soluble in water and removed by emulsification. Hydrophilic means “loving water” (translated from Latin “hydro” - water, “phil” - love). Upon contact with water, it is washed off with it, leaving no film. This hydrophilic differs from the usual cosmetic oil, which can be used to remove makeup.

Pros and cons of hydrophilic oils

When you use hydrophilic oil, you don't have to choose whether your skin is clean or moisturized.Unlike most other cleansing products that are used after washing with water, hydrophilic oil not only deeply cleanses the pores, but also does not leave a feeling of tightness and dryness. Soft and moisturized, the skin does not experience any discomfort. This is the main benefit of hydrophilic oils, for the same reason they are especially recommended for dry skin. When using a hydrophilic oil, you do not have to make much effort - just lightly massage the skin for a minute to remove even shimmery shadows or waterproof mascara.

If we talk about the minuses, then there can be only one potential problem: the comedogenicity of some types of oils. But the choice of hydrophilic products today is so great that it is not so difficult to find your optimal composition without controversial components. So individual hydrophilic oils will not harm even acne.

Can hydrophilic oil be replaced with regular oil?

We emphasize once again: pure vegetable oils are not intended for cleansing, therefore they cannot serve as a worthy alternative. Of course, if you massage your face with almond oil for a long time, then the foundation will someday be washed off, but deep cleansing of the pores will not occur, and an oily film will remain on the skin. In a hopeless situation, of course, it is better to wash off cosmetics with olive oil than laundry soap, but nothing can replace a special cleanser.

What are hydrophilic oils used for?

We have already found out that the main task of hydrophilic oils is to cleanse the skin of the face and remove makeup. But can you find another use for them?

For hair and scalp

Some manufacturers produce hydrophilic oils specifically for the scalp. Their task is the same - the removal of dirt and fat. But there are also versions designed specifically to combat hair loss, dandruff or the effects of coloring.You need to use such products before washing, but whether to wash your hair after that with shampoo is a question to which there is no definite answer. Check with the manufacturer.

For massage

If you see a "massage" mark on a hydrophilic oil package, it probably doesn't have any special benefits. Massage oils are a separate category of products. And the usual hydrophilic oil can simply be applied along the massage lines of the face - it will not be superfluous.


This remedy is suitable for girls for whom shaving always turns into torture. When in contact with water, this hydrophilic oil turns into a shaving cream: soothing and antiseptic ingredients prevent skin irritation.

For body

Cleansing body oil is not such a rarity in the cosmetic market. The prefix "hydrophilic" in this case is rare, although, in fact, such oils are also hydrophilic.More often the combination "shower oil" or "cleansing foaming oil" comes across (especially in the lines of children's cosmetics). Such a tool, as a rule, has additional bonuses: it not only cleanses and moisturizes, but also protects against the effects of hard water.

For eyebrow growth

Specially buying hydrophilic oil to “grow” eyebrows, it makes no sense: cosmetic oils will do better with this task. But when removing makeup with hydrophilic oil, also grab the eyebrow areas - it won’t hurt for sure, but what if it helps?

Recommended to read:

  • How to grow eyebrows? Beauty cheat sheet
  • Eyebrow and eyelash oil: how to use and which is better?
  • How to do an eyebrow massage?

Types of hydrophilic oils

Strictly speaking, hydrophilic oils always look more or less the same: a bottle with a pump dispenser filled with an oily liquid.Some manufacturers do not use the word "hydrophilic" and simply call the product "cleansing oil" , "emulsion" , "gel-oil" or "balm-oil" , but the essence of this does not change.

Hydrophilic oil can be referred to as hydrophilic oil, cleansing oil, oil to foam, balm-to-oil, oil-in-gel and a dozen more combinations - so it's better to immediately look for the word oil in the title and read the instructions. The differences between these products are very conditional (or do not exist at all), so it is better to focus on your own feelings - evaluate the texture and aroma.

Also pay attention to which part of the body the oil is intended for - for the face, body, head. Many people pay attention to the bottle, and this factor should not be discounted either.

Nutri:nectar cleansing emulsion, Shu Uemura

Another criterion by which hydrophilic oils can be conditionally divided into different types is the composition.If next to the word "hydrophilic" on the package is the inscription "coconut" , "peach" , "almond" , most likely, the composition of the product is not a complex of oils, but one of its types. In addition, in the list of ingredients from different manufacturers, you can see additional caring components: hyaluronic acid, charcoal, extracts of green tea, ginger and other plants.

How to choose hydrophilic oil?

Hydrophilic oil is suitable for all skin types, so you will rarely find more than one type of this product in the lines of beauty brands. What special components to look out for?

For oily, problematic and combination skin

Most of all fears and prejudices associated with hydrophilic oils occur precisely in owners of oily, problematic and combination skin types. They are accustomed to beware of any oils, forgetting about the old wisdom: we treat like with like. Oil dissolves oil, so it works great as a cleanser for oily skin.True, another problem arises: some oils can clog pores, provoke the appearance of acne and blackheads. To prevent this, look for products without mineral and comedogenic vegetable oils in the composition (coconut, cocoa butter and wheat germ).

POREfinist Sakura Refreshing Oil, Shu Uemura

" Your" oils are almond, apricot and grape seed, jojoba.

For dry skin

If you have dry skin, hydrophilic oil is your best friend. The principle of its action is ideal for you - deep cleansing without loss of moisture. We advise you to try several products from different brands to find the best option. And keep in mind that in your case, you should ignore the rule of the two-step care system: after using hydrophilic oil, you do not need to wash your face, as Korean women do.

For mature skin

If you have mature skin, look for an anti-aging cleansing oil. In addition to basic tasks, the product also solves additional ones: the components in the composition work to correct age-related skin changes.

For sensitive skin

In the case of sensitive skin, you never know what will cause outrage. However, when using hydrophilic oils, the risk is minimal. Means cleanse the skin extremely delicately, do not draw moisture from it and do not injure. Just in case, read the ingredients anyway, and avoid potential irritants like vitamin C. Before using hydrophilic oil on your face, do a small allergy test: apply a small amount to the crook of your elbow and observe the reaction.

How to use hydrophilic oil?

Another plus of hydrophilic oil is ease of use. Absolutely anyone will cope with the task. How to use hydrophilic oil, we tell in our brief instructions.

  1. Squeeze two to four drops of oil into your palm.

  2. Massage the product with your fingers over dry skin of the face (no need to wash off makeup in advance). You should not be careful: you can literally “smear” makeup on your face. Hydrophilic oils can be used to remove eye makeup, but if you have sensitive eyes, you may need a separate product, such as biphasic or milk. We wrote more about this here.

  3. Wet your hands and continue massaging your face. The water will emulsify the oil.

  4. Rinse emulsion thoroughly with water.

Do I need to wash off hydrophilic oil?

The product came to us from Korea, where they strictly follow a two-stage cleansing system: first, make-up is removed with hydrophilic oil, and then they also wash their face with foam. If you have oily skin, we advise you to do so so that there are definitely no traces of hydrophilic oil on your face. But girls with dry skin should stop after the first stage - otherwise the moisturizing effect will be reduced to zero. It is to this opinion that cosmetologists advise to listen.

How often can I use hydrophilic oil?

Hydrophilic oil is a tool for daily use as a basic make-up remover. There are no restrictions at this point: they can wash both in the morning and in the evening.

Can I make hydrophilic oil with my own hands?

You can make hydrophilic oil at home, the recipe is simple: you need to mix any base oil with an emulsifier (for example, polysorbate-80) in a ratio of 9 to 1.Another question is why all this torment is needed: there are enough hydrophilic oils of different prices on the beauty market, so it’s easier to choose a ready-made option than to do everything yourself. In addition, ready-made hydrophilic oils, unlike those made by hand, contain additional nutritional ingredients, vitamins, unique complexes and extracts that you cannot buy in a regular pharmacy.

Rating of the best hydrophilic oils for washing: top 3

Hydrophilic oils for washing, which showed themselves better than others in combat conditions, created by the editors of FashionVIPdergisi.com, were collected in a separate rating. Introducing the top 3 best, in our opinion, hydrophilic oils of 2023.

  • Biosource Total Renew Oil, Biotherm

    As we warned, the name of a cleansing oil doesn't have to contain the word "hydrophilic" in order for the product to do its job perfectly.And this is exactly the case: Biosource Total Renew is a universal remedy that will dissolve both persistent make-up and take dead skin particles with it.

  • Lipikar AP+ Oil Emollient Bath & Shower Oil, La Roche-Posay

    Designed specifically for skin with special needs (e.g. atopic) and suitable even for babies. As part of a special Aqua Posae Filiformis complex, which strengthens the protective functions of the skin, niacinamide (soothes the skin) and shea butter (effectively fights dryness). The product can also be used as a hair wash and added to the bath to soften the water.

  • Micellar makeup remover water, biphasic, L'Oréal Paris

    Chameleon cleanser: micellar water and cleansing oil in one bottle.Ideal for beauty conservatives who love the traditional make-up removal ritual. The tool gently and quickly removes impurities and make-up residues (including waterproof), working like a familiar micellar water. And components with an oil texture additionally nourish and soften the skin, providing a feeling of comfort.