Oil Cleansing Method: What And Why

beth April 12, 2013



By Amanda Klenner-Labrow, Contributing Writer

Spring is a time for cleansing and restoration. A great part of spring is we get the energy and drive to make changes that positively effect our lives. One of the most importing things we can do to reduce our toxic load and help truly heal our bodies is to remove toxins from our home and personal care products.

In ancient times using oils to cleanse and nourish the skin was the norm. Woman and men would spend hours on their bathing rituals to cleanse and nourish their skin. Only in recent times has oil been vilified in favor of chemical concoctions.

Oil is necessary for proper skin health.

You heard me right. We need oil to maintain proper skin health.

Your skin naturally produces oil called sebum to keep your skin healthy, moist, and nourished. Your body knows how much sebum to produce to maintain optimal skin health. We, the consumer, have been told that we need to wash away these natural oils because our body does not know what it needs to maintain optimal skin health, and have been told to strip away our natural oil and replace it with these nasty chemicals instead.

By stripping our faces natural oils, along with the dirt and grime from daily living, we are removing our skins natural defense and moisturizer. This puts our skin into overdrive and it over produces oil because it is so stripped and dry, thus making us move to stronger face washes to remove the excess oil.


Did you know oil dissolves oil? In other words like dissolves like. This is a basic principle you learn in intro chemistry.

What the oil cleansing method does is it gently, naturally, and effectively dissolves the built up environmental gunk that gets on our skin during the day and moisturizes the skin promoting optimal sebum production so your skin can look, feel, and BE healthy.

The oil cleansing method is astonishingly simple. In its most basic form it involves two oils: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and castor oil. Other oils can be substituted for the olive oil depending on the skin type and need. Jojoba, flax-seed, grape seed,  and evening primrose oils are mobile casino highly recommended for people with severe acne, for example.

Olive oil has a very simaler PH to human skin, and is very nourishing with a high antioxidant content. It moisturizes, nourishes, and heals the skin.

Castor oil is thick and dissolves the oil on your skin, pulling out impurities and environmental junk that builds up in your pores over the course of the day.

How much oil should I mix together?

Skin Condition Extra Virgin Olive Oil Caster Oil
Dry 3 tablespoons 1 tablespoon
Normal (or unsure) 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Oily 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons


I recommend starting out making a very small amount until you find the proper ratio for your skin type. This is completely customiseable to YOUR skin type, which means it does take some tweaking, and some time to get it right. Be patient and stick with it!

You can also chose essential oils to help target “problem skin”. I wrote a great post about what essential oils to use for different types of skin here.


  1. Rub the oil into your skin. Put a quarter sized amount of oil in the palm of your hand and gently apply it to your whole face and neck, rubbing the oil in well. Take a minute and give your self a nice, relaxing face massage. Apply to your dry face, do not rinse with water first.
  2. Steam your face. Wet a wash cloth with hot water, (not scalding), and place the hot wash cloth over your face until it is room temperature. Steaming your face like this helps pull out impurities from your pores removing dead skin cells and impurities.I like to do this while in a nice hot bath. Barring that, if it is a night like tonight, while sitting on the toilet hiding from my children. It is nice to take a minute or two of quiet time in the evening before getting the baby down to sleep.
  3.  Wipe off your face. Take the wash cloth, rinse it out with warm water, and gently wipe any residual oil off of your face. This will give you gentle exfoliation and wipe away any impurities from your skin.
  4. Enjoy your beautiful skin! I have noticed that my skin is more even and balanced and does not need a toner or moisturizer any more. My pores have shrunk and I barely have acne, when before I had chronic acne, even when using the “big guns”.

When you first start out with OCM, especially if you have been using chemical facial cleaner or face cleaners that stripped your skin of necessary oils, you might have a detox period. A detox period might show its self as a “brak out” of deep zits. I find a dab of lavender or melaleuca essential oil clears those zits up quickly. Stick to it! The average detox period lasts 1-2 weeks. If your detox perid lasts longer you might look into changing your oil ratios,  the quality of your oils, or adding some high quality essential oils to the mix to get the desired effects.  Persistence is key to getting through the detox to nice healthy skin.

If you feel like you need a little bit of moisturizer just get a dab of the OCM solution and rub it on your face. Other great moisturizers are coconut and almond oils.

Have you tried OCM? What combination do you use?

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  1. THanks for this advice. I don’t like using commercial chemicals to wash and cleanse my skin. You don’t know what those chemicals might do. I’ll give your tricks a go. Thanks for sharing!


  2. […] for moisturizing your skin. If you are a follower of this blog you may have already read about the Oil Cleansing Method, which uses a mixture of oils to clean your skin instead of soap. I am a huge fan of this method […]


  3. i’ve been using coconut oil as a moisturizer and just ran out of my normal skin ‘cleaner’ at the same time my almond oil got delivered. I’ve been using straight almond oil for OCM and so far my skin is amazing. Is the castor oil necessary?


  4. I bought castor oil from amazon
    and my face had a terrible reaction. It got red, itchy, and broke out in small bumps all over my face. Is there an alternative I could use to castor oil, or do I need to get a higher quality oil?


    • I had the same reaction to this castor oil! What works for me is the small blue bottle of castor oil at Walgreen’s. I have much better luck with that kind. It’s with the constipation meds.


  5. I’ve just recently tried the oil cleansing method- a little over awhile ago. Is there a substitute oil for castor oil? Lavender oil maybe? I wanna mix something with my sweet almond oil and i was wondering about the ratio in mL.
    You mentioned in one of the comments that you can spot treat with lavender oil-Is that really effective? Like the next day it’s gone?


    • Depending on your skin type you want more or less of castor oil. The thicker oils tend to clog pores. I have omitted castor oil all together from my oil cleansing only because of it being comedogenic (clogs pores) and I have acne prone skin. If you want quick solution to some zits that pop up apply a small amount of tea tree oil. Lavender oil works well too, both tea tree and lavender oil are anti-microbial/anti-bacterial and will dry up and prevent more zits from establishing. Lavender oil is better for sensitive skin. Tea tree oil is much stronger at drying those zits up. Also, you should google apple cider vinegar toners. They are great after oil cleansing and help bring the skin’s ph back to where it likes to be (roughly 4.5-5 ph). After the toner, then apply maybe a tallow balm or just straight up Argan oil which has a comedogenic rating of 0 ( which means will not clog your pores)for face. If you live in the United states you should try Fat Face products. They have great products…as long as you are not vegetarian or vegan… I hope this helps.


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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