How do Oil Cleansers work? <br> (...and do they actually clean?)

How do Oil Cleansers work?
(...and do they actually clean?)

Our Coconut Oil Balm for bath + body + bum has been a breakout hit with parents, in part because there are so many ways to use it.  In today’s post, I am introducing one of my favorite, but less common ways to use it - as an oil cleanser.

In fact, this formula was originally inspired by oil cleansers that have become increasingly popular in adult skincare.  I fell in love with oil cleansing for my face, and realized that this would be a fabulous way to bathe my daughter Juhi while she was struggling with eczema and dry skin.  Over time, we realized that this amazing formula could be so much more...

The idea of cleansing with an oil is not very intuitive to most, so keep reading to understand how this works and why it's so great for your little one’s skin...

Traditional soap versus oil cleansers

Traditional soaps primarily clean with surfactants, or chemicals that allow water to dissolve and wash away oil and dirt.  However, harsh surfactants can strip the skin entirely of its oil and dead skin, sometimes damaging the outer layer of the skin over time with habitual dryness, redness, and irritation. Frequent use can even weaken the skin and allow for unwanted substances (like toxins and bacteria) to seep deeper into the skin, where it can cause long-term damage.

Baby skin, about five times thinner than adult skin, is more susceptible to losing moisture, and does not contain enough natural oils to sufficiently protect it from pathogens.  This is the reason that Pediatricians recommend only using mild soap once a week max on babies - because it can strip their underdeveloped skin cells.

On the flip side, oil cleansers that are predominantly made of natural oils can dissolve skin’s impurities while retaining skin’s natural oil balance, thus maintaining strength and hydration.  

Natural coconut oil baby balm for deep moisture, diaper rash, cradle cap, oil cleansing

So how does an oil cleanser work?

At first, it may seem counterintuitive to use oil cleansers, especially on already oily skin. Wouldn't that just make skin even more oily?

The simple chemical principle of like dissolves like explains how oil cleansers effectively cleanse. This principle states that similar substances dissolve each other.  Oil molecules are lipophilic - i.e., they attract other oil / fat molecules.  So when you massage an oil cleanser onto the skin, the oil in the cleanser and the oil-based impurities in your skin effortlessly integrate with each other. The cleanser attracts and softens sebum, bacteria, and dirt, and pulls it out of pores.

The oils in these cleansers also help to replace such oil-based impurities with beneficial oil. They add an extra hydrating layer of protection to the skin’s natural barrier, so you may not even need for a moisturizer after the bath!

Coconut oil baby balm deep moisture, chapped skin, cradle cap, diaper cream, oil cleanser

A deeper look into ours

Our Coconut Oil Balm can replace your little one’s traditional body wash a few times a week. It is 100% naturally derived and is primarily a concentrated blend of organic coconut oil and sunflower oil, two ‘powerhouse’ oils that fortify and enhance the skin barrier.

As explained in our recent blog post, coconut oil is primarily composed of medium chain fatty acids, which are “healthy fats” that help keep skin snuggly and smooth. But this amazing oil is also antibacterial, antifungal, AND anti-inflammatory, with similar pathogen-fighting properties to breastmilk!  This is why you can use coconut oil as an all-natural diaper cream.

Sunflower oil reinforces many similar benefits. It is comprised of fatty acids, high levels of Vitamin E and other antioxidants that enhance the development of new skin cells. Sunflower oil also bears anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin redness.  

When used under water, our Coconut Oil Balm spreads easily onto skin, dissolving and lifting away impurities and then actually turns into a moisturizer. Skin feels clean and soft, even after drying off.

This concentrated blend of two oils makes our Balm a true multipurpose product for baby’s (and parent’s) skin.  And in addition to oil cleansing, this little pup can do so many more tricks!

  • Apply on dry patches like chapped cheeks, elbows, knees and tissue nose to soothe the sensitive skin and form a protective barrier.

  • Use as a diaper cream to heal rash and protect baby’s bum.

  • Remove cradle cap by massaging onto baby’s scalp and leave it in for ten to fifteen minutes. Afterwards, gently brush away any flakes with a soft brush and wash baby’s scalp thoroughly.


Pre-order our Coconut Oil Balm for bath + body + balm now!  Ships mid- to late-March.