8 In style/ wellness

The Oil Cleansing Method

The Oil Cleansing Method | Thoughts By Natalie

Call me crazy, but I’ve never really been one to use face wash. In middle school I gave a bunch of different face washes a try—mostly because my friends were doing it—but they always made my skin feel too tight and sort of red. The truth is, I’ve always had dry skin and that never included acne, so I was adding a step into my daily routine that was totally working against the good thing I had going on.

Well, fast forward to the beginning of this year when my hormones went berserk thanks to sweet little Jack. Suddenly, I could relate to all of my friends in middle school, and I found myself scouring the face wash aisle week after week to find a safe way to clean my face, clear my acne and not damage Jack in utero. It was a challenge, and also a complete failure. Nothing I tried worked—until oil cleansing.

The concept of putting oil all over oily skin is very strange, I know, but as someone who usually has to moisturize multiple times a day, and is totally comfortable with adding oil on her face (love my Argan Oil!), it didn’t feel like too much of a stretch. The basic concept is this: like dissolves like, so cleansing with oil dissolves the nasty oil that’s creating acne.

Here’s the step-by-step…

STEP ONE: Mix your oils
The combination I’ve been using is 3/4 olive oil and 1/4 castor oil, but your combo should be customized to your type of skin. In a nutshell, the less dry your skin is, the less castor oil you’ll want to include. Since my skin has been more oily lately, my ratio has been working wonders, but if my skin goes back to its usual dryness post-baby, I’ll decrease the castor oil even more. Ultimately, it’s all trial and error, but my mix is a great start for those with more oily skin.

STEP TWO: Massage oil onto your face
Unless you’re wearing super, super heavy makeup, there’s no need to remove your makeup before cleansing thanks to the natural makeup-removing power of oils! (I don’t wear waterproof makeup, but I’ve heard the oils will remove it just fine.) Start with about a quarter-sized amount of oil in your palm, warm it up a bit by rubbing your hands together, then massage your face, especially focusing on areas where you have blemishes or are more prone to them. Massage for a minute or two and pretend you’re at the spa getting a facial :)

STEP THREE: Steam it
Soak a face cloth with hot (but not scalding) water, and ring out so it’s not drippy. Then hold it up to your face to steam out the oils. Repeat a few times (I usually just do it twice), then very gently wipe your face when you’re finished, avoiding scrubbing.

STEP FOUR: Moisturize, only if necessary
I personally haven’t had any need to moisturize after cleansing, but if your skin is still wanting some moisture, go ahead and use a tiny little bit of the oil mix to moisturize, or your favorite face oil (I use Argan oil every morning and love it!).

Looking for pre-made oil cleansers? Lucky for you, there are tons on the market that pretty much do the same thing as the homemade oil mix! Here are some to check out…

How do you cleanse your face? Would you ever try using oils?


  • Reply
    Elizabeth Fuller
    May 28, 2014 at 6:27 am

    You can also do this with liquified coconut oil also and the positive effects of the coconut oil on your skin are outrageously great!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I love using oil! I haven’t tried mixing oils but I love coconut oil for cleansing and moisturizing. I have heard that castor oil is good for skin, I want to try it out I just haven’t found it yet. Do you mix your oils in your hand for each use or stored in a bottle together?

    • Reply
      May 28, 2014 at 6:54 am

      Oh, I forgot to mention…I also like to add a little baking soda to my oil for a gentle face scrub!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      May 28, 2014 at 8:47 am

      I store them in a bottle together!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I have acne prone, dry skin and I tried the oil cleansing method. At first I thought it was alright, but after a while I became tired of my mascara never seeming to disappear. I don’t wear waterproof mascara so at first the oil would seem to remove it but every morning I would wake up with raccoon eyes. So I became a little more vigorous (haha) in removing it and eventually felt like I was over scrubbing my skin. Since then, I have turned to a more internal approach to healing my skin. I do love facial oil, though! I just need a light cleanser to remove my makeup.
    By the way, were you thinking you might share your take on the Olay version of the Clarisonic? I am interested in your thoughts on that :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      May 28, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Yes, if the mascara was never going away then that makes sense to remove it beforehand. I loved using coconut oil as a makeup remover before I did this—maybe do that, and then cleanse with face oil afterward? Just a thought. Ultimately it’s all about what works for your skin specifically. Oh, and regarding the Olay brush, I ended up returning it because I didn’t really feel like it was doing much for me and it added so much time to my nightly routine, haha. But I have friends who still use and love theirs!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Natalie, where did you find the Castor Oil to use for cleansing? In my area, I can only find it in generic drugstore brands and I’m a little unsure if the quality is high enough to use on my skin. Thoughts?

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