Have you heard of oil cleansing? Perhaps you have and thought it sounded crazy. Or maybe you felt intrigued, but not convinced. The truth is, while oil cleansing might be a little exotic, it is actually becoming more and more mainstream as skincare enthusiasts everywhere discover the bountiful benefits of this age old practice for their skin. If you’ve never tried it, thought it would make you break out or that nothing could possibly replace your favorite cleanser, read on! We’re going to break down the ins and outs of oil cleansing for you, so you can make the best decision for your skin.

In a nutshell, oil cleansing is when you use a carrier oil, such as jojoba, to cleanse your skin instead of soap. Simply wet your face with a warm, wet washcloth, squirt a small amount of your oil of choice onto the wet washcloth and gently massage the oil all around your face using a circular motion. Then rinse your washcloth and wipe gently around your face once more. From here you can follow with more carrier oil for additional moisture, apply your favorite serum or leave your skin as is.

The reason that oil cleansing is gaining in popularity is that it is just as, if not more, effective than traditional cleansers for dissolving dirt and excess oil, as well as removing makeup. And it has the added benefit of not stripping the skin of its natural protective barrier, called the acid mantle, the way that soap does. This is one of the main differences between using oil instead of a regular facewash: your skin is actually better equipped to protect and regulate itself when you use oil because its acid mantle stays intact. With soap, that acid mantle is removed and must be superficially replaced by something like a moisturizer or serum.

Oil cleansing with an oil like jojoba also helps the skin to regulate the amount of oil it produces, another benefit you can’t get from using soap. This is because oils like jojoba are adaptogenic, which means they help the body better respond to and cope with stress. Whether your skin is too oily or too dry, using jojoba oil every day as a cleanser will help your skin self regulate so that your complexion can be more balanced and easily maintained.

Lastly, when you oil cleanse, your skin gets to soak up all the essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants from the oil(s) you use, making it a multi-tasking skincare product that’s affordable, efficient, and most importantly, effective.