oil cleansing method

the oil cleansing method (natural, organic skincare)

i have tried sooooo many face washes/cleansers/acne-get-ridders/etc… but each one has something i don’t like about it. too drying, too oily, too many chemicals, not organic enough…etc, etc.

well my friends, i have hit the facial cleaning jackpot!! after lots and lots of research, i tried the oil cleansing method. what’s that, you ask? it’s cleaning your face and getting rid of the oils with another oil. that seems like the exact OPPOSITE of what you’d want to do, especially with acne-prone skin, but here’s the jist:

  • oil dissolves oil
  • your natural oil helps lubricate, it also heals, protects, and moisturizes your skin so that it may function properly

easy, right?

also, zooey deschanel uses the OCM. that’s really all i need to know. life complete.

overall, it’s suggested that you use a blend of two oils, specific to your needs. the first always being castor oil. castor oil will help with excess oil on your face and is anti-inflammatory. (for those of you worried about shelling out money for castor oil, you can use it for other health and beauty benefits, like growing your eyelashes and using it to help your immune system.) keep in mind that very little goes a long way, and if you add too much castor oil to your specific oil blend, it will DRY your skin out!

the second oil you blend your castor oil with can be one of many oils, such as sunflower seed oil, argan oil, or olive oil. i use argan oil and LOVE it. also, it can be used with ANY skin type. it’s pricey, but very worth it! check it out here.

oil cleansing method- what oils you should use

creating your blend of deep cleansing oil:

  • Oily Skin: mix 30% castor oil with 70% other oil of your choice
  • Balanced Skin: mix 20% castor oil with 80% other oil of your choice
  • Dry Skin: mix 10% castor oil with 90% other oil of your choice


  • use 1 organic oil, like argan oil. i find this to be the best for my sensitive skin!

how to

  1. wipe your face (make-up or not) with warm water and a wash cloth
  2. slather a generous puddle of your oil blend onto your face and massage gently for two minutes (i use a dime-size amount because a little argan oil goes a LONG way)
  3. put the wash cloth under HOT water and gently wring out excess water so it doesn’t drip on you (don’t burn yourself! this is meant to “steam” your face)
  4. place washcloth over your face and relax until it cools off
  5. gently massage/wipe the oil from your face with the same wash cloth
  6. heat up the wash cloth again with the hot water
  7. place over your face again until it cools off
  8. massage/wipe off your face again with the wash cloth
  9. allow your skin to air dry
  10. voila, super soft, super clean skin!!

you will be surprised at the dirt you see on the washcloth. i had my boyfriend try it after he showered and this method STILL took dirt out of his pores :)

IF YOU CAN’T GET THE OCM TO WORK FOR YOU (OR ARE TOO NERVOUS TO EXPERIMENT WITH OIL BLENDS)– try use pure emu oil. it’s my 3rd favorite oil (behind coconut and argan) and is PERFECT for every skin type. it’ll clena your skin, heal blemishes and scars, reduce redness, etc. my grandparents had an emu farm when i was growing up and we used emu oil for EVERYTHING. seriously. mosquito bite? slap some emu oil on it. acne? slap some emu oil on it. it’s crazy good. i personally only trust this brand. it’s pricey, but not as much as argan oil, AND a very little goes a long way! and it’s so versatile!! you can even take it internally as a supplement!
20130818_084911 20130818_084942

>> i do this every 4ish days, sometimes less. i wash with water only and a washcloth in between ocm days. and i exfoliate with a watery baking soda paste every week to week and a half. it works great for me!

i believe it also needs to be noted you must also take care of your skin internally… drink lots of water, eat right, exercise, etc.

seriously people, this stuff works wonders. try it and lemme hear about it!!

**one amazing reader emailed me a link to THIS informative oil cleansing site. it covers what types of oils to use, different recipes to try, and common mistakes. thanks, Sandy!!!



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  1. Would adding a few drops of an EO to the cleansing blend be an okay thing to do? something non-irritating, maybe even vitamin E or rose?


  2. About the first step: i should rinse my face with water and wipe the water off, or i should rinse my face with water and apply the oil on my wet face? Please answer!


      1. Dear Aley,
        i’ve been doing this oil cleansing from the day of my last comment. There were no breakouts, and i did it every day. (I don’t use castor oil, i know it is drying.)
        My question. after simply washing myface with oil, sometimes my skin feels tight. It is not especially a dry feeling, but somtimes it’s too tight for my comfort. Is it because i oil cleanse a lot. Should i onlydo it like you, two times a week?
        Another thing is: on the days when you are only washing with water, if i feel the need to moisturize can i simply put a few dropsof oil onto my face as a moisturizing cream, even if i only washed my face with water. Or should i wash my face with soap and put the oil after that?
        Sorry for being so long.
        Happy Holidays!


      2. That tightness you’re experiencing is actually dry skill. It’s not dry to the point of getting flaky, but it is dry nonetheless. :) I use an almod oil/castor old blend every single night, and my face is always dry after, so I use literally TWO drops of Argan oil on my face to moisturize.


  3. Hello chick :)… firstly going to say how much I actually ADORE you… then I am going to ask you if you’re sure you can just use argan oil because I heard the castor oil removes the grime and dirt from your face?…


    1. haha, thanks jesse! and yep! the combo of steaming and oil will clear out any dirt and grime. you don’t *need* castor oil. i can’t use it because my face gets too dry with it :)


  4. Hi! i have a question about OCM. I have acne prone skin and dry skin. My previous routine was using alba’s acne dote face scub and then bee yummy skin food lotion morning and night. I am on my second day of OCM, and each time after I wash, my face feels great and nourished, but after about 5 minutes I start to feel very dry. I chose the sweet almond oil because it was noted for acne prone and dry skin, and I only mixed it with 5-10% castor oil. I was wondering if it was normal to feel dry at first when starting this routine? Thanks for your help.


  5. I’ve done this for about a month with straight up organic, unrefined coconut oil. Occasionally, I add a little olive oil because it has a deeper cleanse and more moisturizing. I love it!!


  6. Hi! I’m using castor and avocado oil and love it but I find I have trouble getting them to mix to make up a batch… The avocado oil sits on top of the castor and they done want to seem to mix… Any tips??


  7. Hi there,
    I was reading about supplements that you take. You had Mentioned that you take biotin?? I keep reading that biotin makes you break out really badly. Any truth to this that you know of?


    1. I’ve been taking biotin for about a year and have not broken out because of it. Everyone reacts differently though. If my sisters take too much, they get a really bad stomach ache from it. I have no negative reactions to it at all, however.


  8. I have acne and I’ve been using hazelnut oil and castor oil. At first it worked well but now I’m breaking out like crazy. Idk if im doing it too often? I use it every am and pm since I’m breaking out so bad but maybe its causing it? Also my castor oil is cold pressed but not organic. Idk what to do and its getting extremely frustrating :( any advice?


      1. If you do the OCM ever 4 days or so and then just wash your face with a wet facecloth the rest of the time; what do you use for a moisturizer after that water only washes? Does your face get to the point of not needing more moisture or do you use argan oil? Or another moisturizer?


      2. I wear makeup everyday, so I feel like it’s necessary for me to use the OCM EVERY night. This does, however, dry out my skin a bit. Every morning I just do a quick splash with cool water, and before bed I do the OCM and then use an Argan oil and Castor Oil blend as a face moisturizer (Argan oil is just too expensive for me to use straight up, I had to cut it with something.). I literally only use two tiny drops, and that’s it. My face isn’t usually dry after my water rinse in the mornings, but if it does get dry I still use my argan oil and castor oil blend. It soaks into your skin really quickly and doesn’t leave your skin oily (unless you use too much. Seriously, just a few drops!!) Let me know if you have any other questions, I’m happy to help the best I can!


  9. Hi! I am dealing with similar problems to Kristine…I had initially had great success with the OCM but after about a month my skin got way worse. Now I’ve been dealing with large, painful acne (mostly on my forehead and around my temples). I’d hate to give up this natural method of cleansing but I can’t handle the breakouts (my skin use to be clear, minus a few blackheads and large pores on my nose). My t-zone use to get shiny but not anymore since starting oil cleansing. Here’s my typical routine:
    – Morning- wash with primal life organics face wash or baking soda and water, followed by Argan Oil to moisturize
    – Night- wet face and massage in 50%/50% castor/sunflower oil blend. Steam face with clean washcloth soaked in hot water (heated with a kettle), normally twice. I then wipe my face down with the same washcloth until all the oil residue is removed. I then moisturize with Argan oil or green pastures beauty balm (all natural)

    I don’t use fabric softener on my wash clothes and add baking soda to the load, so I don’t think that’s the cause. I’ve tried more castor oil but then my face is way too dry. I’ve tried olive oil instead but that didn’t seem to help. Any ideas? Is OCM just not for me? Thanks in advance for any advice you have!


    1. I wonder if you are doing it too often? I have acne prone skin and what has worked for me and diminished my scars is: I make face wash using used green tea leaves mixed with honey (keep it in the fridge) and then put either diluted ACV on it or aloe if it feels dry. Once a week I exfoliate with baking soda and then do the OCM with argan oil. I do all of this in the evening. In the morning all I do is wash with water then put some sunscreen on. I find the less I put on my face the better even with natural products.


  10. Hi ALex, I was just wondering if you use this OCM everyday, and what do you use as a mosirturizer? I just wanna use the argan oil because my skin has many problems. Also what skin of aragn oil should i purchase?I’m so happy I found your blog, I hope this is the answer to all my facial skin problems!


  11. Hey Alex!!
    I wasn’t going to comment on this till I’ve at least tried it a month but I’m on my third day and looking great. Usually when I wake up in the morning my face is greasy and a hot mess, but my husband woke up and said wow you look beautiful this morning. He said my skin was glowing! He has never said that before! My acne and blackheads are already pretty much gone. I’m using 30/70 castor/grape seed oil. I will give another update at around 1-2 months! Thanks!


  12. Oh how I love the oil cleansing method!! I firmly believe it is the best way to clean your face and achieve clear, healthy, well balanced skin! I used coconut oil for a while (I know, I know, BIG no no) and my skin actually didn’t break out from that too bad. But I wanted to use the non-pore clogging oils that would really get my skin to where I wanted to be. So I bought castor oil and jojoba oil and made the 30-70 mix for oily skin. My skin felt great the first time I used it. (There was no transition period because I had been using only honey and Greek yogurt to clean my skin, and only coconut oil with baking soda to exfoliate when I occasionally wore make up). Unfortunately, I turned out to be VERY allergic to castor oil! So weird right? I even double checked to make sure it was a safe, pure, cold-pressed castor oil from a trusted brand.
    Every time I used it, my skin erupted into a zit fest on top of an angry red rash that was itchy and painful.
    So my question is- what can I use without castor oil? I ordered sunflower oil and was planning on using that and the jojoba oil and tea tree oil.
    Also- I visited the doc yesterday and he prescribed some epiduo. I so didn’t want to put chemicals on my skin. I was so determined to clear up my skin naturally, but the angry painful skin hasn’t calmed down despite ditching the castor oil (I was back to using just honey and greek yogurt). But I broke down and in desperation started using the epiduo (the feeling of guilt kinda went away when I woke up with much clearer skin). I just wanted to see what you think about epiduo? Is it going to kill me? Should I feel more guilty? can I use it to clear up my skin and then go back to all natural methods?


  13. Hi alex! I really want to try the OCM it seems really cool! Is castor oil completely necessary? I have organic EVOO but I won’t be able to get the castor oil for a few weeks and I am breaking out right now.. Please let me know! I love your blog I’m always looking for more natural solutions to things and I look here first! Thanks for being cool, stay awesome! And please let me know! ~Jade


    1. hey jade! no, you dont “need” castor oil. also, be wary of using evoo, because it’s often times cut with a lesser quality oil, like canola oil, which can also be made from GMO seeds. if it’s indeed pure evoo, keep in mind that some people find it dries their skin out a bit. but of course you can use any OCM oil without castor oil :) hope this helps!


  14. hi Alex!
    I know you posted this awhile ago, but i have a question. I’m a teenager so I have pretty bad acne, and ive tried a few things but didn’t have any success. so I’d really like to try this OCM and see if it works but I can’t afford castor or argan oil. I do have coconut oil can I use that by itself or with another kind of oil? thanks so much!


  15. Hey!! sorry if i didn’t understand well.. So if I have organic emu oil at home I can do it without using other oil ? Thank you very btw your blog is amazing !


  16. Hey Alex i love your blog! I just within the last week started the OCM and so far so good, before i used Dr. Bronners castile soap to wash my face. I was just wondering if you or anyone else has any tips on what they do when camping. The only steamy water i will have access to will be if i boiled some over a campfire…and that kinda seems like a pain. But i guess if i have to i have to. Do you think it would throw my skin out of wack if i used soap again for a few days? or should i just suck it up and boil some dang water haha. not washing my face is not an option when i camp… Any tips are helpful! thanks


  17. I have been doing OCM for about 2ish months and really like it. I was using pumpkin seed oil and switched to hempseed oil. I have not ever tried Castor oil. In general, I really like it and I have stopped using Cetaphil and face lotion. I OCM every night and have had pretty good results. Hempseed oil seems to be less heavy because it is a drying oil; if I’m feeling like I need more moisture, I use pumpkin seed oil or mix the two. I rinse my face in the shower in the morning. I’ve also been using a no to low poo hair regimen for the same amount of time. The newest thing I’ve noticed is pimples in my temples and hairline. I haven’t figured out if this is from OCM or haircare, but if it haircare, wouldn’t it be all over my scalp, not just the hairline? So, I’ve been thinking about reducing my OCM to every other night or two, but I do wear eye makeup and very little mineral powder…what would you suggest to wash at night in between OCM that will get makeup off? I’ve been thinking about ordering the Norwex cloths for that since I know you can’t use them with oil


    1. Since my guess is this is due to too much oil being left behind after cleansing, I wonder if it would help if you tried using alcohol-free witch hazel or acv/water on a cotton pad around your hairline after? It’s funny, I was using raw honey as a face wash, and even though I SWORE I got it all off before bed, I would sometimes wake in the morning with sticky spots around my hairline! Sure does hide well..


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