Everything You Need To Know About Oil Cleansing Method

Oil cleansing method is taking the world by storm as of late, but you shouldn't just hop on this band wagon without knowing these crucial facts first.

About a year ago, I decided that I, like so many other women out there, wanted to take the all-natural route when it came to skincare. I wanted to cut out all of the chemical-ridden products I used every day and trade them out for something simpler—something that was more beneficial.

That being said, I read an article about the oil cleansing method and decided that it was made for me. I jumped on the oil cleansing method band wagon so fast that I didn’t even take the time to determine if it was truly right for me.

While the oil cleansing method had been used for many, many years before it began gaining popularity, there are a few things that everyone should know before buying their oils and getting to work on their face.

What is the Oil Cleansing Method?


For those of you who don’t know what this skincare regimen is, I’ll tell you about it fairly quickly. It’s basically as it sounds. Instead of using soaps and products, you switch them out for oils when you wash your face.

The science behind why this method works for some people is the idea that like dissolves like. This basically means that if your goal is to wash off the oil on your face, you should use oil to do so because it’ll dissolve itself. So, people literally take some oil, rub it over their face and that’s the oil cleansing method.

How do you oil cleanse?

Although it sounds like washing your face with oil would be pretty straight forward, there is a certain process you should follow while doing so.

1. Choose your oils

Choosing an oil to use can be a huge process all on its own. Different skin types work best with different oils, so you really go through a process of trial and error. Be careful though: some oils tend to clog pores for some people but not for others.

You should be using at least two different oils for this method: a carrier oil and castor oil. Castor oil is the astringent in this method and opens up your clogged pores. However, it’s far too thick and drying to use on its own, and you need a carrier oil.

Spa still life with lavender oil and flowers on wooden table

The best carrier oils that have been reported to work for this method have a comedogenic rating (the likelihood that they will clog your pores) of 0-2 and include: argan oil, avocado oil, Evening primrose oil, grapeseed oil and hempseed oil.

Mix ¼ part castor oil with ¾ part your carrier oil, and use this is the mixture you’ll use on your face. You can also add an essential oil for their added benefits.

2. Steam your face

Before applying your oils, you’ll have to steam your face lightly so that your pores can be sufficiently open to allow the oil to slip in and dislodge clogged pores. To do this, you can steam your face over a pot of hot water for 5 minutes, or you can wet a washcloth in hot tap water and drape it over your face a few times.

3. Apply oils

Now, you can slather your face in the oil mixture that you’ve prepared. You want to rub your face with these oils from 5-10 minutes in order to really get the most cleansing effect. After about 5 minutes, you’ll also notice little grainy bits on your fingers—don’t worry, it’s a great thing! These are actually clogs that have been dislodged from your pores.

4. Steam your face to remove oils

In order to remove the oil from your face, you can’t just rinse it with water because oil doesn’t dissolve in water. So, you’ll have to steam your face with a washcloth and wipe away the extra oils.

To do this, get the water hot and put the washcloth underneath it until it’s soaked through. Then, ring it out until it’s no longer dripping before draping it over your face for 30 seconds at a time. Do this 3 times until there’s no more oil on the surface of your face.

5. Moisturize with oils

Yes, you’ll use oil to moisturize right after using oils to cleanse. Instead of using your mixture though, you’ll just use your carrier oil or even a more nourishing oil like avocado oil or shea butter (yes, this is an oil that has a 0 comedogenic rating).

Words of Caution

woman washing face

Now, just because this skincare method seems to work for thousands of women, that doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you. Before giving up, though, be cautious of these things that can make it seem like the oil cleansing method doesn’t work.

1. Don’t do it every day

Many newcomers in the oil cleansing method (like me) make the mistake of doing this every single day because they’re so used to washing their face on a daily basis. However, this can actually make your face worse. Castor oil can be drying and harsh on your skin if used every day. So, be careful and only do this about 3-4 times a week.

2. Make sure you’re using the right oil

Using the wrong oil for your skin type can cause further trouble. If you use an oil that’s too drying (yes, oils can be drying) as a carrier oil, it can make your face tight and dry, which leads to more clogged pores and outbreaks.

3. Use microfiber or muslin cloths

Using your everyday wash clothes on your face for this method will be too much exfoliation. Over exfoliating your face is the #1 thing people do in the oil cleansing method that is the cause of their problems. If you get closed comedones and excessive blackheads after starting this method and your face feels tight and dry, you could be using a cloth that’s too rough.

4. Know that oil cleansing doesn’t work for everyone

This method just doesn’t work for everyone. You can spend months trying out different oils that you think will work better for your skin only to find that none of them do. The truth is that some skin types can’t tolerate the pores being flooded with oils, and that’s fine. There are plenty of other natural skincare regimens out there for you to try.

Oil cleansing is the newest all natural way to get clear, radiant skin—but only if it’s right for you. Have you tried this method and had success or failure?

About the author

Bella Pope

Just a small town gal fighting my way through this seemingly endless war called life. Writer. Reader. Guitar Player. Craft Enthusiast. Workout Junky. Wannabe Chef. My passion for helping others through words transcends any other aspect in my life.

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