Wednesday, December 5, 2012

:::{The Oil Cleansing Method}:::

I have decided to try something that sounds kind of crazy:
I have started washing my face with oil.
I have combination skin; it gets oily in some places and dry/flaky in others, and I consistently have ~1-5 blemishes, in various stages, on my face at any one time.  There are so many skin care options out there: soaps, scrubs, toners, moisturizers, foam, gel; and I have tried my fair share, but I have never been impressed with any one particular product.  Some will work for awhile, then my skin will adjust and be back to its not-so-happy normal.  I'm definitely ready to try something new!
As I was reading about the benefits of coconut oil for skin, I kept encountering "The Oil Cleansing Method," or OCM for short, and the more I read about it, the more it made sense!  This method has worked for numerous people with all different skin types...  Now I'm giving it a try.

How does the Oil Cleansing Method work?

Our skin naturally produces and secretes oil, sebum, because it needs it.  Sebum helps lubricate, heal, protect, and moisturize the skin so that it can function properly.
When skin is properly functioning it is clear and beautiful.   

Oil alone does not cause blemishes.

Skin blemishes, such as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, etc, are caused by several different factors, including dirt, hormones, dead skin cells, bacteria, and the build-up of these factors on the skin's surface.

One of the most basic principles of chemistry is "like dissolves like."  So when you cleanse your face with oil, essentially what you are doing is dissolving all the icky, dirty, build-up oil from your face, wiping it away, and replenishing it with clean, nourishing oil.

This washing with oil will actually keep your face from becoming oily 

Because... When you use harsh chemicals to wash your face, you strip your skin of its sebum, so it goes into overdrive and creates more oil; this is what leads to clogged pores and blemishes.

So, in short, when you think about it: replacing the dirty oil on our faces with good quality oil is the perfect solution to so many of our skin problems… including acne!

Now that you know why, lets discuss the what and how...

What oils work best?

Start with Castor oil.

Castor oil is the drawing, cleansing, and purging oil for your pores; it is what will dissolve and cleanse all the dirty build-up, plus it is very antibacterial in nature.  It is actually quite drying, so its proportion will depend on your skin type...
It can be found in most grocery stores with a pharmacy section, and is most often sold as a laxative.

The secondary/carrier oil(s) in your cleanser can vary:
Olive - all skin types
Sunflower Seed - all skin types
Grapeseed - all skin types, especially oily
Avocado - dry and aging skin
Jojoba - all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin
Sweet Almond - all skin types, especially oily
Apricot Kernel - dry, aging, and normal skin

The oil cleansing ratio...

You know your skin best, so you will determine what ratio works best for you.  To begin, it is best to think in thirds:
  • Oily skin: Use 2/3 castor oil to 1/3 carrier oil. (For one application: measure out 2 tsp castor oil and 1 tsp carrier oil.)
  • Normal skin: Use equal parts castor oil and carrier oil. (Measuring out 1-1/2 tsp castor oil and 1-1/2 tsp carrier oil.)
  • Dry skin: Use 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 carrier oil. (Again, 2 tsp carrier oil and 1 tsp castor oil.)
You can measure these thirds out ahead of time and prepare a whole bottle full of oil.   

It might be better to start on a “wash-by-wash” basis before mixing a whole bottle of oil together, just in case you want to change up the ratios if you notice your face is becoming too dry or too oily.   

These ratios are NOT set in stone, but they’re a great jumping off point.

I mixed up a bottle of 4 oz. Castor Oil, 4 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), and 2-3 drops each of Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils.

How to oil cleanse:

  1. Prepare.  Either mix your oils together ahead of time, or have the bottles ready.  Set a clean washcloth beside the sink.  Turn the hot water on to warm up.
  2. Cleanse.  Starting with a dirty face (it works great for removing make-up, as well), rinse your face lightly with the warm, running water.  Pour a palm-full of oil into your hand and gently apply all over your face.  Massage firmly, but gently, always moving upwards, for 2 minutes, and then let the oil sit on your face for ~30 more seconds.
  3. Rinse.  Soak the washcloth in clean, steamy, hot water.  You want the water to be warm enough to open your pores and remove the oil (it’s probably going to be hotter than the water you usually rinse your face with).  Place the washcloth over your face to steam your skin.  As the wash cloth begins to cool, gently wipe the oil and dirt away, this will also help remove any dead skin cells that are stubbornly clinging on.   Rinse your washcloth and repeat until you’ve wiped all the oil off your skin.  After you have rinsed well, you can either splash your face with cool water to help tone and close your pores, or if your face feels tight, you can moisturize.
That's it!  Your skin will now glow!

According to
This deep cleansing method should be done regularly, but not too frequently. You'll know if you're deep cleansing too frequently by the dryness that your skin will exhibit. Don't be surprised if you find you've unblocked an oil flow for the first few days. Once you remove the plugs from your pores, they will begin functioning properly again. Perfect skin won't happen overnight and while it should take a few massages to achieve your goal, you should notice a huge difference in your skin after the first deep cleansing massage. Give your skin a few days to adjust and adapt to being clean and clear of blockages; understand that the new oil coming from your skin is actually a good sign and will balance out very shortly. You'll find redness and irritation subsiding. You'll find your skin losing that "congested," and thick feeling.
I have only done this twice so far, the first night was before I had bought the castor oil, so I just used EVOO, and that actually seemed to work quite well for me.  The following night, I mixed up my aforementioned bottle of oil cleanser, with the blend of castor oil, EVOO, and essential oils.  Afterwards, my face actually felt surprisingly dry and tight, so I moisturized with coconut oil, as I had been doing previously.  I will probably ramp up the EVOO in my ratio now...  I have noticed that the next morning my face still feels clean, and I haven't felt like it needs to be washed.  However, I have been also incorporating raw honey into my face care regimen, but that is a-whole-nother post (if you want to know more, read here and here)!  Since I wear makeup almost every day, I will probably continue to wash my face on a nightly basis, but time will tell; hopefully my skin tone will even up, and I will no longer feel the need to wear makeup, then I can adjust my face cleansing accordingly...  I will keep y'all updated!

These websites have been very helpful (especially, including the comments from their readers!):


  1. Thank you I hope to give this a try sometime soon.

  2. How is this cleanser working? Have you had any breakouts?

  3. Is there a difference between getting the cold pressed and regular castor oil? It seems impossible to find the cold pressed one

    1. Yep, it definitely makes a difference. Heated processing can break down nutrients in oils and basically renders their benefits useless. Amazon, iHerb, and Swanson Vitamins are all good sites to look at; Vitashoppe or GNC sometimes carry oils too. Health food shops, co-ops, and specific country-based grocery stores are all worth checking.

  4. If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, it's actually a terrible idea to use olive oil on it. It's one of the most comedogenic (pore-clogging) oils out there. While everyone's skin is different and the comedogency scale is based off of tests done on rabbit skin, it has caused breakouts for a lot of people. I messed my skin up really badly using olive oil. And coconut oil. AND castor oil.

    Definitely take the time to read about what oils have what properties, and which are best suited for your skin before putting any near your face - ESPECIALLY if you're already struggling with troubled skin. Acneic skin tends to respond best to low-comedogenic, high-linoleic oils like hempseed, rosehip, evening primrose, and sesame oils. People with reactive skin also sometimes switch out castor oil for slightly gentler, astringent grapeseed oil or hazelnut oil.

    You have to be VERY careful in mixing ratios, if you do choose a drier oil for cleansing purposes. Sensitive skin can easily become irritated or break out if you use too much in your OCM mix. The ratios you listed are far too heavy with castor oil for most people's skin to tolerate well.
    Same applies to adding essential oils, and it's probably best to only add them in after making absolutely sure that your skin responds positively to your chosen carrier/cleansing oils. It's advised to wait at least a month after establishing a routine with a bland mixture before adding any proprietary oils.

    Jojoba, argan, EEVO, and coconut oil are higher on the comedogenic scale and aren't generally recommended for people dealing with acne/sensitive skin. It's mostly people with already healthy, problem-free skin who have any real success with them.. lucky shits. They're certainly not for all skin types.

    And on top of all that, you should avoid hot water like the plague in facial care. It's very drying because it essentially bonds with the water in your skin and "pulls it out," it can cause irritation and even broken capillaries. Steaming should really be used rarely as a treatment with a bowl or sink, and mostly avoided if you have sensitive skin. If you do it's best to opt for a microfiber or flannel cloth, use lukewarm water, and gently blot away excess oil rather than wipe.

    I urge you to do thorough research on these things before putting them on your skin. I messed mine up using the oils and ratios recommended here.

  5. DHC Olive Oil Cleansing Oil is the best!

  6. DHC Olive Oil Cleansing Oil is the best!

  7. I ordered/received castor oil (NOW brand) and just mixed up the bottle but then came back and realized I miss the Cold Pressed part :( is it useless for me to use this?