oil cleansing method

Oil Cleanisng Method

I wash my face with pure oil.

Sounds crazy, right? It’s honestly what I do though, and once you hear me out, you might not think that sounds so very crazy at all. You may actually want to get in on this all natural, vegan/cruelty-free, easy, old-fashioned, simple facial cleansing method for yourself too.

Some friends were discussing the “oil cleansing method” months and months ago, and it piqued my interest.  Washing your face with oil?  I’d never heard of such of a thing.  It sounded insaneo and awesome at the same time.

You see, ever since I quit taking any form of birth control in 2007, and ever since my face has been a mess.  I have the worst acne ever.   And at age 28, it’s so tiring.   I should have been ending my acne phase a decade ago.  I’ve tried everything.  Even *gasp* Proactive. I’ve been to dermatologists, I’ve taken really strong stuff that I’m not allowed to go out in the sun while using.  I’ve tried creams and washes.  Been there, done that.

The Oil Cleansing Method was so far off course of anything I’d ever tried before, that it fascinated me.  The ideology is simple: since our body naturally produces oil, oil is part of our skin and not the enemy.  All the facewashes that proudly boast “oil free!” – are actually counterintuitive and making things worse.   When you dry up all the oil on your face, your glands react by producing more oil.   When your glands overcompensate and over-produce oil, you get clogged pores, breakouts, acne.

There’s a happy medium that should be happening on the surface of our faces: a natural, healthy amount of oil belongs on our skin!  So goes the ideology of the oil cleansing method.  The thinking is that by using oil on our faces, we stop those glands from getting protective and overcompensating.   We clean out our pores, keep our skin supple and moisturized, and stop over-washing.   Besides, the ingredients you need can be bought in a grocery store (or health food store, depending on what you choose to use) and in the long run are far cheaper than buying washes, cleansers, toners, soaps, etc.   And to prove to you what I mean, I made myself the guinea pig and I have serious results to brag about!

Before i started the oil cleansing method (January 28, 2011):

before pic - yikes!

acne city

acne on this side too

my mug

One week later I wrote: I can totally feel a difference in the quality of my skin, its much smoother and it feels supple.  i’m not sure if you can tell much of a difference in these pics… but we’ll see as it goes.

Pics from one week after I started:

one week later!

after just one week, looking better already!

i look so creepy in this pic.

lookin' good already

I linked to the site that taught me everything I needed to know to start the method earlier in this post, but in case you didn’t click on it… here ya go:  The Oil Cleansing Method.  Read that page, and it will explain to you how/when to use this method.

For my personal use, I mix Castor Oil and Sunflower Oil, in a 25/75 ratio.

castor oil, sunflower oil, and the glass vial that holds my 25:75 mix

As copied verbatim from the OCM website:

The Oil Cleansing Method

First and foremost, this is typically done in the evening, prior to bed. There should be no need for deep cleansing in the morning if you’re waking up with skin cleansed the night before. In the morning, a quick wipe with a warm washcloth should suffice. We don’t want to overcleanse our skin as this will serve only to irritate and cause more oil production. The objective of using this method is to deep clean while balancing our skins oil production at the same time.

  • You’ll need a soft washcloth, your oil blend, and hot, running water.
  • Pour a generous puddle of oil into the palm of your hand. Roughly, the size of a quarter, but more is acceptable. Rub your hands together to warm the oil and smooth over your face.
  • Begin massaging the oil into your face. This will remove makeup, dirt, and other impurities, so there is no need to use a makeup remover or wash your face prior to the massage. I’ve found that this removes even my stubborn waterproof mascara and concealor.
  • Using slow, firm motions across the skin, massage the oil deeply into your pores. Take your time and focus on your problem areas. You want the oil to work into your pores so that blackheads and the like can be dissolved and steamed away.
  • As you’re massaging, let your mind drift off to something calming and breathe deeply. Take this time to relax and release some of the stress that your body is harboring. Sit down, breathe deeply, and take your time. Give the oil enough time to work on dissolving the impurities in your pores and give yourself enough time to unwind. Picture what your face would look like if it were completely clear and free from blemishes. Focus on that image and know that it is attainable. Trust that it is attainable. Accept that it is attainable. You can have clear skin, free of blemishes and you will have clear skin, free of blemishes. Focus on perfect skin and breathe deeply.
  • Once you’re satisfied that your pores are saturated and you’re feeling calm, pick up your washcloth and soak it in clean, steamy water. We want the water to be warm enough to open your pores and remove the oil. Cool water will not open your pores, nor will it remove the oil efficiently. We’re not scalding our skin, we’re steaming to coax our pores to release the oil carrying the impurities. We’re essentially steaming our skin as an esthetician would, but without the luxury of a steam machine.
  • Hold the washcloth to cover your face. Allow it to stay until it cools. You will feel your pores releasing the impurities. Wipe the oil gently away and rinse the washcloth well in hot, running water. Hold the washcloth to your face again, allowing it to cool. Wipe gently, rinse well, and repeat two or three more times. Avoid any temptation to scrub, as you’ll find it’s completely unnecessary and your skin will be soft, smooth, and free of flakes without the additional manual exfoliation and irritation that will result. Impurities, dead skin cells, and bacteria will be gently swept away.
  • Have no fear of the oil, as the steamy washcloth will remove it. The Castor Oil, though it is an oil, will help with the removal of the other oils, as well. It is our main cleansing oil and is easily removed with warm water.
  • If your skin feels tight, take a tiny drop of your oil blend, rub it between your clean, damp palms and pat it onto your damp skin. Gently massage any oil residue into your skin so there is no film of oil left sitting on the surface. Your skin should now glow!

using my hot washcloth

so fresh and so clean, post-OCM! ahh! this is from a couple days ago... my skin has improved so much in past six months!

I use Sunflower Oil as a general moisturizer too.  I don’t even use any creams or lotions anymore.  Literally, oil and makeup are the only things I put on my face.  Well, sometimes I use a little soap (here and there, like in the shower on days I’m not doing OCM … and I use sunscreen, but you know what I mean: the lotions and stuff I used to use in the past, I haven’t touched in months.  I prefer my oil).  Before I apply make up, I use sunflower oil.  I just put a teeny amount in my clean hands, rub together, and then pat on my face.  I get such an even amount of moisturizer, it makes applying makeup so much easier.  It’s my daily moisturizer!

I get compliments on my skin all the time now.  My mom is out here visiting us this week, one of the first things she said after we picked her up from the airport was a compliment on how great my skin looks.  I can go out without makeup on now.  I feel happy about my skin.  I like the quality of how it feels, soft, even, nice.

a very recent photo - nice skin, huh?

Don’t get me wrong: I still get occaisional breakouts.  When its my time of the month, always.  Ugh.  But, the overall quality of my skin and the overall condition of my acne is so much improved.   I know many of us gals in our 20’s deal with acne and it just sucks.  I’m sure it happens to guys too.  So, as someone who’s been there, done that: hated the way my skin looks, piled on the makeup, hated going out and hating seeing photos of myself… as someone who’s dealt with that for years, and now doesn’t have to, I’m just passing on the knowledge of what’s worked for me.

Do you use OCM?  Have you had great luck with it?  Are you going to try it?  Tell me about your own experiences!

10 responses

  1. Aromatherapy oils have many advantages and can aid within the prevention or healing of several complaints. Each and every individual is different. Some crucial oils can be toxic. Some oils must never be ingested while others require limited exposure to the sun due to phototoxicity. Read the label and ask your supplier if you’re in doubt of the safest use for any particular oil. Not just the 1 in this article.

    • Awesome, thank you so much!

      Have you ever heard of “oil pulling?” a friend of mine recently turned me on to it, and i’ve given it a try. the touted benefits seems pretty incredible, and well – i already have sunflower oil on hand because it’s what i use for OCM.

      I’m going to blog about Oil Pulling soon!

  2. I’ve been using the Oil Cleansing Method for 3 months now and am astounded at the difference in my skin. I’m a 42yr old mom and have ALWAYS had skin issues. Mine were mostly attributed to hormones and food sensitivities (I’m gluten-, grain- & night-shade veggie sensitive). Before kids I would have regular breakouts in my oily T-zone, but they were pretty consistent – I felt like I was battling them every month. As soon as I turned 40 I started having awful cystic breakouts on my jawline & neck that would last for weeks and were so painful. I feel like I have literally tried every product available, from Walmart brands to high-end, with no relief. A few weeks before Thanksgiving I got desperate and decided to go back to basics and try the Oil Cleansing Method. My husband thought I was nuts putting oil on what I thought was an already oily face. Turns out my poor skin was reacting to all of the drying out I was trying to do to the breakouts and going nuts overproducing. It took a few weeks for all of the inflammation to go down and to find the right combination for my skin but I am thrilled with how much better my skin looks and feels. Here’s what I do:
    1. In the morning I wash my face in the shower with the Olay ProX cleaning brush and a very gentle face wash called “Yes to Cucumbers” Soothing Gel. I take 5 min or so to make sure I use the brush all over, especially hairline, jawline & neck. Then I use 5 drops of pure Jojoba Oil as my face moisturizer (when I get out of shower).
    2. At night I have a bottle with a mixture of: 1T castor oil, 2T jojoba oil, 2T olive oil. I rub a quarter size puddle of it all over my face & neck and then use the ProX brush to really work it in. I wash off the oil with the Cucumber gel (my skin is so sensitive that the castor oil causes too much dryness if left on) and apply 6-8 drops of jojoba oil as my nighttime moisturizer.
    Every few days I don’t wash my face in the morning, just pat some cool water on & moisturize with Jojoba Oil.
    I wish I had taken before pics because I am amazed at how soft, smooth & glowy my face looks. My breakouts are minimal, and I treat any with a small amount of Tea Tree Oil at night and they are mostly gone by morning. My hyper-pigmentation, from acne scars & sun damage, has faded significantly as well. Once a week I also do a baking soda scrub which helps to slough away any dullness. I’m a believer!!

    • Oooh, I’m so happy to hear that the OCM has worked for you! That’s awesome. I love the Yes To Carrots and Yes to Cucumbers stuff, great products.

      I have a confession to make – about a month and a half ago, I finally gave in and bought Proactive. My acne has just been so bad… I realized that I’m damn near 30 and I’m so ashamed about my skin that when breakouts are real bad, I avoid going in public and make all kinds of excuses not to be seen by others.

      So I caved, and bought Proactive, and it’s been working. In fact, my skin has never looked better. It’s pretty insane.

      I learned that they claim not to test on animals, so I do feel good about that… but who knows what I’m putting on my face. It’s definitely some strong stuff, and if I really use it 2x a day, everyday, I peel and flake like woah. The OCM really worked for me in a lot of ways. My skin was more soft and supple, and when I regularly did it, it did keep my breakouts down. But it wasn’t the miracle cure I was looking for… I still had some scarring (although it improved, it didn’t go away) and I was still getting big breakouts.


      It just seems so hard to break the cycle, and I know that different things work for different people. I love the OCM, and I love using oil-based products on my skin. I still use oil on my body, now, and use proactive on my face (for now). I’m not sure if I’ll keep it up for a while or see what happens, or what. I’m just happy that for once in my life I don’t feel like an acne-ridden MESS. And that freedom is amazing!

    • Oh wow, I’m so glad you found me on Pinterest! What were you pinning that brought you through to the blog – tie dye?

      I love the OCM. I do have to add in an update though. My acne got better with the OCM, and I’m glad for that. But I had some really stubborn scarring and my monthly breakouts were still happening. So I actually ordered and tried Proactive, and that’s what I’m currently using. I still use oils as body moisturizers, and I want to go back to using the OCM on my face at some point. I totally believe in it, for sure. I just wanted to try Proactive and see how it would work, and so far I am happy with the results. It’s really harsh though, and it can dry my skin out super bad. When that happens I do use my sunflower oil to help moisturize.

      If the OCM works for you, keep it up! I hope my update doesn’t seem contradictory or anything… I just haven’t written a new post about skin care since I switched. I need to get on that!

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