I tried using olive oil as cleanser just like J-Lo and Brie Larson do. It made makeup removal way easier than using wipes.

·5 min read
Author Julia Pugachevsky holding up a can of olive oil on left; a hand holding a makeup pad of olive oil on right
Julia Pugachevsky
  • I read that a few celebrities use extra virgin olive oil as a facial cleanser.

  • I bought organic EVOO and used it as an oil cleanser before my micellar water cleanser.

  • It hydrated my skin and made makeup remover easier, but I wouldn't use it every day.

When I was working on a roundup of the affordable skincare products celebrities love, I expected to see lots of Cetaphil lotions and facial sprays.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The most surprising reveal was that celebrities like Brie Larson and Chloë Grace Moretz use old-school olive oil instead of pricier cleanser options.

Brie Larson on the red carpet.
Brie Larson asks hotels for spare olive oil on the road.Michael Kovac / Contributor/Getty Images

According to Moretz, olive oil was one of the first things she used that cleared up her cystic acne, and Larson will ask hotels for spare extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) when she's traveling. Even Jennifer Lopez credits olive oil — and no other cosmetic procedures — with making her look young (though I'm not willing to stretch my imagination quite that far).

"'Like dissolves like' is a well-known mantra from chemistry," Dr. Ivy Lee, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Los Angeles, told Insider.

Despite how un-intuitive it feels, oils (like extra virgin olive oil) can remove natural oils in our skin as well as oil-based cosmetics. It falls in line with what Moretz said about the oil reducing the oiliness in her skin, giving her a more neutral baseline.

Jennifer Lopez on left; Chloe Grace Moretz on right
Jennifer Lopez credits EVOO's anti-aging properties, while Chloë Grace Moretz claims olive oil reduced her cystic acne.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor/Pascal Le Segretain / Staff/Getty Images

Olive oil is also believed to have some antioxidant and antibacterial skin benefits, supposedly restoring any damage to the skin barrier.

Intrigued and a little concerned for my pores, I decided to try out the celeb-worthy hack myself for a week.

I had no idea what to buy, so I went for the high-quality stuff

Since the celebrity interviews made no mention of specific brands (or even a distinction between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil), I asked Lee for her recommendations. She said she was brand agnostic and couldn't make a concrete suggestion because there's no research on how different olive oils compare as far as skin benefits.

So, I went with my gut, and I mean that literally: I went with a container of what I thought would be the highest-quality olive oil I could ingest.

I bought La Tourangelle's EVOO, an organic version that was cold-pressed (retaining more nutrients) and came with an easy-to-open cap.

TKTK
With its flip-top cap, it was practically begging to be used as a cleanser.Julia Pugachevsky

I was afraid of breaking out, so I double-cleansed

According to Lee, the trickiest thing about using olive oil as a cleanser is that it "does not absorb well into the skin and can be comedogenic," meaning it could clog your pores and create new pimples.

Lee, who's had clients primarily use olive oil to remove stage makeup, advised me to double-cleanse: First with the olive oil to remove oil and cosmetics, then with a water-based cleanser to fully clean my skin.

A hand holding a cotton pad with olive oil on it.
I dabbed some EVOO on a cotton pad for easy application.Julia Pugachevsky

I started by pouring a little EVOO on a cotton pad (and, accidentally, on the edges of my sink). After wiping my whole face, I used my usual micellar water cleanser.

It took off more foundation and mascara than my makeup wipes

What shocked me the most was how much makeup the olive oil got off, and how easily. A gentle swipe got most of my mascara, eye shadow, and eyeliner off without needing to violently rub my eyes.

It's been a great discovery: I know makeup wipes can be ineffective and even damaging to the skin, and while I still sometimes use them, I always feel like there are patches of glitter clinging to my eyelids, no matter how hard I try to scrape them off.

A makeup wipe with makeup on left; two cotton pads soaked in olive oil with makeup on them on right
Taking my cosmetics and sunscreen off with olive oil was easier and more effective than tugging my skin with a makeup wipe.Julia Pugachevsky

It opened my eyes to how much of my foundation would stick to my skin when I thought I got most of it off with a makeup wipe.

My skin felt moisturized at first but got greasier after using it every day

For the first few days, my skin felt hydrated and — thankfully — unaccompanied by fresh acne. I had a tiny patch of dryness on my left cheekbone that went away within a day and my skin hasn't felt as tingly and dry in the winter cold as it did a few weeks ago.

After a week though, my skin looked slightly greasier. I don't know if it's a placebo effect, but it's hard to want to add even more oil to my face when my forehead already feels like a moist slice of focaccia.

I also don't wear makeup every day, so I don't feel I need to bring out the Mediterranean big guns every day.

I'll use this hack when my skin feels dry or when I load up on eye makeup

Besides my delight at not having a horrible breakout, I loved how easy it was to slide off my makeup and rehydrate my face during the harsh winter months.

It may not be a miracle Botox alternative or acne solution for everyone, but as someone who already drizzles olive oil over everything from pasta to lemon ice cream, it's fun to add my skin to the rotation.

Read the original article on Insider