Living Well - Natural & Nourishing Cleansing Oil for Dry Skin

Okay, it’s time for some honesty here. I have ditched 99.44% of my skincare products in favor of things I can make myself. I love the idea of exactly controlling what goes on my skin because I’ve got issues. ISSUES I tell you.

Eczema (from a random gluten / dairy food allergy.)

Aging (45 and counting!) Stress (self-explanatory.)

Stress (self-explanatory.)

Travel (not enough lately.)

When my skin randomly decides to freak out on me I need to be able to change or alter my skincare routine on the fly to accommodate. Having bins full of mostly-full products expensively purchased to attempt to combat a once-in-awhile issue really isn’t great for my wallet. Another truth moment here, since switching to my own formulations, I haven’t had the wild skin fluctuations as before. I did have ONE store-bought product I clung to like a life preserver…

My holdout product was a Garnier cleansing face oil. See? “Oil” right there in the name. It was one of the first products I used that let me trust that using oils on my face wouldn’t make me break out. Remember how in 1986 we teens were beaten nearly to death from the St. Ives marketing department telling us oil = bad? Yeah, me too.

Every time I wash my face I use less and less of the Garnier product because the bottle is runnin’ low low low and it has been hard to find in the stores. Today I decided to just look it up online and order it direct. I popped over to the product website to take a peek at the ingredients to see where I could buy it.

The. Product. Is. Being. Discontinued.


Panic sets in. Should I just cruise eBay and pay $50 a bottle (not really, I haven’t looked, but it may not be such a bad money making opportunity…)? Should I drive to every Target I can and clear out the stock? Should I (GASP) make my own? Should I see if Garnier has a replacement product? I realize even though this product was perfect for ME, the company either didn’t sell enough to keep going or replaced it with something else, or decided to stay within the ‘young / oily skin’ demographic – which I am NOT.

There is no choice. I have to start testing to make my own replacement. The first step in that process is to research the ingredients, see what seems to be the ‘core’ of the benefits and ditch all the foo-foo stuff needed to make a product smell good or not go rancid on the shelf.

Below the items in GREEN seem to be at the core of the products usefulness and benefits. Those are the ones that I’m going to try to replicate. I’m sure the ingredients listed further down in BLUE are super helpful, but they are not easily acquired unless I buy them in 55-gallon drum bulk and/or have a chemistry degree. RED is way out for the reason stated.

My base recipe will be 10% castor oil (OMG I HATE THE SMELL), 30% high linoleic sunflower oil, and 60% avocado oil. From there I’ll try adding jojoba and macadamia oils as soon as I get them in the mail.

For more reading, Crunch Betty has a GREAT write up on the same oil cleansing topic.

The key here for me is to make SMALL batches in order to test – not waste – product. I’m assuming I will need to adjust my formulation for the time of year and if I happen to be wearing heavy makeup or not. THIS is exactly why it’s great to make your own products!!

From the ingredients below, this is what stays on my formulation list:

  • Corn Germ Oil: I’m going to skip this one because it seems to be a cheap alternative to a better choice such as high linoleic safflower oil.
  • Safflower Seed Oil: Keeper. Apparently, the linoleic acid is great for dry/mature skin.
  • Jojoba Seed Oil: Absolutely on my list.
  • Glycerin: I might pick this up and add a few drops. Personally, I don’t care if the face cleanser “feels” oily vs. slick.
  • Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil: YES. YES. YES.
  • Squalane: Too hard to reasonably find.
  • Aqua/Water: Yes, mostly to thin out the mixture.
  • Tocopherol: Vitamin E? Yes, it’s a super antioxidant.
  • Hexyl Cinnamal: Many sites with recipes for face oil cleansers stay away from adding essential oils to the cleanser, but I may add a FEW drops of chamomile essential oil along with lavender as needed.
  • Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil: Too hard to reasonably find.
  • Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract: Too hard to reasonably find.

Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil

4.2 oz, $7.99 MSRP, Ingredient List from Product Website

Let’s break this down ingredient by ingredient so that I can start to reproduce the discontinued formula in a much healthier way. Remember that the further to the top of the list, the more of the product is included in the formula:

  • Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil: Medicinal liquid paraffin, also known as paraffinum liquidum, is a very highly refined mineral oil used in cosmetics and for medical purposes. The zinger here is that mineral oil is a petroleum product and contains 1,4-Dioxane, which has been listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a probable carcinogen.
  • Zea Mays/Corn Germ Oil: Pretty self-explanatory, it’s corn oil. It’s an inexpensive and a great way to get a dose of linoleic acid for your skin. In skincare, linoleic acid may be best known for its ability to heal, hydrate and plump.
  • Polysorbate 85: Solubilizer, surfactant, and emulsifier for personal care products. In plain-speak, this means it helps keep all the ingredients mixed in the bottle. Personally, I’ll just shake the bottle before using, thanks.
  • Carthamus Tinctorius Oil/Safflower Seed Oil: Again, pretty easy. Safflower oil. Inexpensive and acts as a lubricant on the skin surface, which gives the skin a soft and smooth appearance. It is also used as a skin conditioning agent.
  • Cetyl Ethylhexanoate: Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate is a mixture of fatty alcohols that consists predominantly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols and 2-ethylhexanoic acid. It functions as skin or hair conditioning agent in cosmetics and personal care products. My opinion: Some of the other naturally derived oils may produce similar results.
  • Sorbitan Trioleate: Another emulsifying agent.
  • Simmondsia Chinensis Oil/Jojoba Seed Oil: Now we are talkin’! This is one of my go-to carrier oils because it works great for everything from oily skin, acne, chapped lips to easing symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. (Side note: My grandmother used an Avon face moisturizer in the 70s that must have had this in it. The smell brings me right back to being a little girl and playing with her makeup.)
  • Glycerin: Glycerin is a well-known humectant that prevents the premature loss of moisture from cosmetics and personal care products so they don’t dry out. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists it as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).
  • Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil: Macadamia oil is the non-volatile oil expressed from the nut meat of the macadamia tree, a native Australian nut. Macadamia oil is sometimes used in cosmetic formulations as an emollient or fragrance fixative. Bonus, it smells amazing.
  • Squalane: Squalane is an oily substance that is common components of other oils. Squalane is a natural component of human sebum, a mixture of lipids produced by glands in the skin. In cosmetics and personal care products, squalane is used in the formulation of a wide variety of products including cleansing, moisturizing, and skin care products. NOTE: There is a HUGE difference in the source of squalane and squalene. The version spelled with the ‘a’ is derived from plants, mostly sugarcane or olives. The version with the ‘e’ is derived from shark liver and doesn’t (THANKFULLY) seem to be on the market any longer. Both versions produce the same result.
  • Parfum/Fragrance: Added smell, probably artificial. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Regulation, a fragrance is “any natural or synthetic substance or substances used solely to impart an odor to a cosmetic product.” My view is if it doesn’t help my skin or health, I don’t need it.
  • Aqua/Water: DUH. H2O. We good here.
  • Propylene Glycol: Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. Propylene glycol is used as a humectant, solvent, and preservative in food and for tobacco products. It is also one of the major ingredients (10–92%), along with vegetable glycerin, of the “e-liquid” and cartridges used in electronic cigarettes (as well as liquid nicotine), where it is aerosolized in the atomizer. I’m going to go with NOPE on this one even though it’s considered fairly safe for topical use.
  • Tocopherol: Fancy name for Vitamin E oil. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a significant role in human health. As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps maintain healthy cells and, subsequently, a healthy body.
  • Linalool: Linalool is a naturally occurring terpene alcohol chemical found in many flowers and spice plants with many commercial applications, the majority of which are based on its pleasant scent. Linalool is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with a floral smell similar to that of bergamot oil and French lavender. (So why not just use bergamot and lavender oil??)
  • Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate: WUT? Not gonna lie, I had slim hopes in searching this ingredient. From what I can find, this ingredient is used as a product stabilizer and antioxidant. It also appears in many cosmetics and is generally considered safe.
  • Hexyl Cinnamal: Hexyl cinnamal is a common additive in perfume and cosmetic industry as aroma substance. It is found naturally in the essential oil of chamomile. Let’s remember here that “aroma” essential oils are NOT the same grade as therapeutic essential oils. How about we call this a win IF you use therapeutic grade chamomile oils.
  • Isopropyl Myristate: Isopropyl Myristate is a synthetic oil used as an emollient, thickening agent, or lubricant in beauty products. It is a popular cosmetic and pharmaceutical ingredient and used most often used an an additive in aftershaves, shampoos, bath oils, antiperspirants, deodorants, oral hygiene products, and various creams and lotions. A unique characteristic of Isopropyl Myristate is its ability to reduce the greasy feel caused by the high oil content of other ingredients in a product. This synthetic oil is often added to beauty products to give them a slicker, sheer feel rather than an oily one.
  • Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil: Moringa oil is extracted from the seeds of Moringa oleifera. Moringa oil sometimes goes by “Ben oil” because it has high amounts of behenic acid (a fatty acid.)
  • Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone: Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone is used as a fragrance ingredient. We’ve covered this, nothing “just for smells…”
  • Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract: Imperata cylindrica is also known as Cogon Grass. It is used as an ingredient in the skincare brand Kiehl’s Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cream for its “high concentrations of potassium which provides an immediate and lasting hydrating effect… [it] helps skin to store and retain moisture efficiently – even in the driest weather conditions.” Their website also states that indigenous native Australians may have used the plant as a substitute for salt due to its high saline content.
  • Caprylyl Glycol: A humectant and skin conditioning agent that lends moisturization, emollience and wetting properties to many cosmetic solutions. It also functions as a stabilizer and has been shown to increase the antimicrobial activity of other preservatives.
  • Carbomer: Helps to distribute or suspend an insoluble solid in a liquid. They are also used to keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components. Carbomers are often used to control the consistency and flow of cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer: According to the Cosmetic Database it is also used as a stabilizer, to increase the viscosity of a product and to form a film when applied topically. AACP is commonly found in moisturizers, sunscreen, cleansers and anti-aging skin care in general.


RED: Huge no-no on your skin or in your body. Listed on the Top 10 Toxic Skin Care Ingredients.

BLUE: Could give or take the ingredient – I’m going to go with leave

GREEN: Generally accepted as safe to use and seems to be an ingredient that makes the product have the benefits it does.



BIG DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor. None of this is medical advice, issues a guarantee or promise of cures or results from any of these products or ingredients, and I’m pretty sure it’s not FDA-approved wording. It’s my own personal research and results. Do your own research and talk to your own healthcare providers. Common sense prevails ya’ll!!