The Oil Cleansing Method for Beautiful Skin Naturally

Posted on Mar 7, 2013 in Blog, DIY Beauty | 38 comments

The Oil Cleansing Method for Beautiful Skin Naturally

Several months ago I stopped washing my face with soap. Ha! I can’t help furrowing my eyebrows as I write that as it does, indeed, sound kind of gross at first read. Let me explain further. After struggling with acne and the constant nagging question of which face wash, moisturizer, spot-treatment, etc. to buy, I found myself desperately searching the internet for some solution to the endless frustration. I stumbled across a Crunchy Betty article detailing what is called the “Oil Cleansing Method.”

Why It Works

The oil cleansing method is effective for many reasons. First of all, it makes use of castor oil, which has anti-inflammatory as well as antiseptic properties, making it a powerful healing agent which can help to draw impurities out of your skin. Second, believe it or not oil actually helps to dissolve dirt, oil, and impurities in your skin (this is why many effective eye makeup removers are oil-based). Furthermore, since you are not stripping your skin of its natural oils by washing it with over-the-counter face washes (which can contain all sorts of chemicals and detergents) your skin is given an opportunity to find balance. Your skin won’t need to frantically overproduce oil to compensate for your face wash, thus leaving your pores relaxed and clog-free.

Another pleasant side-effect of this face washing method is that you won’t need to buy and use over-the-counter moisturizer any more, which may also contain strange chemicals that can be absorbed into your body through your skin. If you are interested in finding out more about the toxicity of your current skincare products, a great website is the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database which rates numerous products based on their hazard level.


The Oil Cleansing Method

Choosing Oils

If you are ready to give the oil cleansing method a try, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Castor oil
  • A second carrier oil (see notes below)
  • A small dropper bottle or other container
  • Essential oil (optional)

The carrier oil is a second oil you’ll use to dilute the castor oil, which can be very thick and actually slightly drying if used alone. I started this adventure by using olive oil, which is moisturizing, convenient, and great for all skin types. Some other great options include:

  • Jojoba (great for acne prone skin)
  • Sunflower Seed (normal skin)
  • Sweet Almond (normal to oily)
  • Avocado (normal to dry)

As far as essential oils are concerned, they are optional but can enhance the healing properties of your castor oil mixture. Lavender and chamomile essential oils, for example, can help calm irritated or inflamed skin.  Tea Tree oil, with its antiseptic properties, make it a great choice for acne prone skin. Make sure to test these essential oils (diluted always) on the inside of your wrist a few hours before planning to use them on your face for the first time. Also, remember that not all essential oils are skin-friendly, so do some research first before adding them to your oil cleansing regimen. My favorite essential oil brands are Aura Cacia and Now.


Lavender & Tea Tree Essential Oils

Mixing Oils

How you mix your oils will depend on your skin type. Basically, you’ll want to use more castor oil if you have oily skin, and less castor oil if you have dry skin. Here’s a simple guideline:

  • Oily Skin: Try a blend of 2/3 Castor Oil to 1/3 carrier oil. (for example: 2 Tablespoons castor mixed with 1 Tablespoon olive oil)
  • Balanced Skin: Try an equal blend of Castor Oil and carrier oil.
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 1/3 Castor Oil to 2/3 carrier oil.

To this mixture of oils you can add any essential oils if you are using them. I usually mix up a 3 Tablespoon batch of oil at a time, which lasts me for several weeks. I like to add about 5 drops each of lavender and tea tree essential oils for their soothing and antiseptic qualities.

The “How To” Section

Once your oils are all mixed up and ready to go, here’s what to do:

  1. Place a generous amount of oil (about a teaspoon OR two droppers full) in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to warm it up.
  2. Using both hands, massage the oil into your face, using gentle circular motions. Give your face a nice massage and try to relax.
  3. After a minute or two, soak a washcloth in hot tap water, wring it out, and place it gently over your face to steam your skin.
  4. Wait until the washcloth cools and then use it to carefully wipe any excess oil from your skin.
  5. That’s it! Behold your radiant, clean skin. If your skin feels a little dry still, you can rub a few drops of oil between your hands and press it gently into your skin.

I use the oil cleansing method to cleanse my skin several times a week, and simply rinse my face with lukewarm water on my off days. In addition to simply being a great daily cleanser, oil is a powerful makeup remover and the only one I use anymore (on the rare occasions when makeup meets my face).

It may take several weeks for your skin to fully adjust, so be patient and let me know how it goes. If your skin gets dry in between oil cleanses, simply rub a few drops of oil between your fingertips and press it gently into your skin. I hope that you’ve found this article both informative and helpful, and that you give this method a try. I love how natural it is and how much my skin seems to glow after I wash it using oil!

If you’re interested in reading more about the Oil Cleansing Method, another great resource is:

Prefer to Buy Pre-Blended Oil?

Check out the Creative Simple Life Etsy Store for our 4-in-1 Face & Body Oil. This special blend can be used for oil cleansing and moisturizing, as a makeup remover, massage oil, or as a bath oil! Choose from two great scents (lavender or geranium) or choose unscented! Purchase some here!

oil cleansing method

5-in-1 Face & Body Oil from the Creative Simple Life Etsy Store

Resources to get started:


  1. Could coconut oil be used as the carrier oil?

    • Coconut oil is trickier because it’s solid at room temperature. I’ve also heard mixed things about it being comedogenic (pore-clogging) so I’m not sure what to believe. You could certainly give it a try, though.

      • Thanks. What about vegetable glycerin?

        • Thanks Alex! I have been using this method and my skin feels so healthy. When you get older, your skin can get pretty dry. This method makes me feel like I’m getting younger! When people started commenting on my skin I knew something good was happening! Thanks again!

    • I use coconut oil and it works very well with my skin, I make these pads I cleanse with they help exfoliate while I cleanse and help me to not get oil every where, visit my website

    • I use 1/3 castor, 1/3 olive, and 1/3 cocont oil. I guess it’s the other oils, but mine stays liquid all the time.

  2. Hello, I’m 25 years old and have had acne issues since I was a young teenager. Cysts, small pimple breakouts, you name it, I’ve had it. I’ve tried nearly every prescribed medication and a bunch of over-the-counter stuff but, when I saw a natural healing way to treat acne, I was super-excited to try it. I tried the oil method for 1.5 weeks (at first using an equal balance of only castor & olive oil, then after a few days adding a bit more castor oil to the mix) but, unfortunately, it made me have one of the worst breakouts I’ve ever had. After a few days of trying to wait out the breakout and see if the oil method would calm it down, I finally gave in and switched back to an over-the-counter cleanser I had previously been using. After about 3-4 days of using that cleanser, the acne began to clear up but, even now, almost 2 weeks later, some of it still remains.

    I am wondering if this type of breakout is a normal thing to happen with the oil method or if this method just isn’t going to work for me? Should I have given it more time? Used a different oil than olive oil? Used an essential oil?

    I’d appreciate any advice you can give! Thanks.

    • Since the skin is the last exit route when the body is detoxifying itself, acne can can often be a sign of some internal congestion or toxin build-up. I’ve found my naturopathic physician to be very helpful in treating my acne from the inside out. Check out this article for more info and consider consulting a naturopath:

    • I have read elsewhere that olive oil is not a good oil for oily, acne-prone skin. It’s too thick, or heavy or something. I am getting ready to try a castor oil (75%) and jojoba oil (25%) mix. I’ve also read that adding some (not sure how much, maybe a few drops) of tea tree oil helps too.

      • I like adding tea tree as well for its antiseptic properties. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax ester, so I might recommend cleansing with a castor/almond oil blend instead and applying the jojoba after if you a need any extra moisture.

    • The olive oil you used was probably the culprit. 90% of the olive oil sold in the US has been denatured with cheap low grade oil that is rancid and who knows what else. If you read ” Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Mueller, Tom you can learn about this. You may want to try using organic jojoba oil which has been used in massage therapy for a long time with minimal skin problems.

    • I read in another article about this method that your skin has to get in balance and you could break out a bit first before it calming down and neutralizing. Maybe that was the culprit?
      I would definitely try using a different oil. I’m weary about using olive oil on my skin. I currently use coconut oil and am going to try jojoba oil as well.

  3. Do you have to do the washcloth step? Just seems like an extra step where you would have to wash (and dry) the cloth each time, and have more cloths on hand to wash your face with this method…

    • The washcloth helps to remove the dirt and impurities that the oil loosens up. I recommend using the washcloth. I keep one that I use with this method and rinse it in hot water after I wash my face.

    • I oil cleanse and I started selling these oil cleansing pads and crocheted wash clothes the pads work great for me because they exfoliate whole I cleanse and keep me from getting oil everywhere and the crocheted wash clothes can be hung up to dry after used, I use mine for 2 or 3 days and then just toss it in the washer
      visit my etsy site

  4. I have not used soap (on my body – just those non mention-able areas)in a long time. But, I am very eager to add an oil cleanse to my skin care regimen. I too have suffered with acne (adult acne) for years, and look forward to trying this.

  5. Hi ! I tried this! I am 45 and lately been getting junk in my pores on the sides of my nose! Eww! I tried this, I heard so much talk about it! I did half evo, and half castor. Left a hot wet rag on and the junk was hanging out of pores (eww) I had a hard time getting them off?? I did wash with my regular face wash, and still had hard time. Any advise? Should I be doing this in the winter months instead of summer?? Thanks

    • It sounds like it’s working well so far. I’d just keep it up. It can take some time for skin to adjust. Try doing this a few times a week! Anyone else have thoughts?

      • with the ocm u cant use any harsh soaps on your face at all or it will confuse your skin and cause it to over produce to make up for whats stripping it

      • By this method do we totally replace our face wash ? After i clean my face with oil and steaming it with the hot towel, i rinse my face again with just cold water , thought it would help to close or tighten the pores ! Also i use a little oil just as moisturizer after this process .

        Hope am doing it all well.

  6. I heard of the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) several years ago but was fearful to try it. I really didn’t believe oil could cleanse my face. Having combination skin, I often have difficulty keeping it balanced and never want to look greasy! After doing some research and watching some YouTube videos, I decided to give OCM a try. It turns out that I love the method! Ironically oil actually dissolves oil (and sebum)! I’ve been using organic/unrefined castor oil from and I’m loving it !

  7. I just recently heard about this method and was wondering if you could clarify something for me. On “” website, they state that the proportions of castor oil to carrier oil is as follows:

    30% castor oil and 70% EVOO (or carrier oil of choice)–Oily Skin
    20% castor oil and 80% EVOO — Balanced Skin
    10% castor oil and 90% EVOO — Dry Skin

    The info on this site seems to be just the opposite—well, not percentage-wise, but way more castor oil. Any thoughts on this? I had heard that too much castor oil can be drying to the skin.

    I am anxious to try this method, so I wanted to be sure I use the correct amounts of the oils involved.

    Thanks for your help.

    • You are right that depending on skin type, too much castor oil can be drying. The exact percentages are not overly important. Experiment with what ratio feels best for your skin! I recommend using as high of a percentage of castor oil as your skin can handle. As long as you are using less for dryer skin and more for oily skin, you should be fine.

  8. Hi, I have some minor (mainly hormonal) acne. I am interested in try this method but I use some great anti-aging moisturizer (day with spf and night) that I am hesitant to stop using. Would this method work if I keep using my moisturizer?

    • Yes, you can definitely continue using your spf. Try the oil cleansing method for a couple of weeks and see how it works for your skin type.

  9. Hi, I’m just wondering how you would cleanse your face in the morning? And can I still use my normal moisturiser in the morning? Really eager to try this!

  10. I Love the oil cleansing method because it worked for me, but my choice of oil was olive oil.
    I added Aloe Vera gel to it and kept it in the refrigerator…

    This is my Review

  11. Hi, I’ve been washing my skin with castor oil and olive oil for about three weeks now. It has helped my skin improve a lot, but I keep getting breakouts here and there. So I went out and purchased some tea tree oil, I’m just unsure of how to mix the portions. I read that Tea Tree Oil is drying, and so is castor oil. I could just use some advice on the matter.

    I’ve also been using a Burts Bees Blemish Stick which is probably not too great either.

  12. I love essential oils my favorites are peppermint and eucalyptus. Thank you for the recipes. I’ll have to try them.

  13. Hello,

    thank you for the post. I need some advice.

    I use the oil cleansing method to clean my face. I also use argan oil, just apply it on my face (usually at night) and leave it on. I was just wondering, is it ok to apply moisterizer after having put the argan oil on my face? Or it won’t have any effect?

    Also, after I clean my face with the oils, is it ok to wash it with the organic soap bar as well (I don’t like the oily feeling after cleaning it with oil, it makes me feel like my face in still dirty and it won’t absorb the facial cream that I put on).

    Thank you,

    • Hi Alba, You can certainly use your regular moisturizer on top of the argan oil, but as far as washing your face with soap after cleansing with oil, I wouldn’t recommend this. If you prefer to use soap, I’d just skip the oil cleansing step and stick with your soap routine.

  14. Hi Alexandra
    Im new to this OCM and I was wondering if Sweet amlmond oil + jojoba oil + tea tree or lavander are a good mix for my oily acne prone skin . I just dont want to use castol oil. Also what amount of each should I start with?

    • I’d recommend experimenting to see what ratios work best for your skin. With the essential oils, add only a drop or two at a time until it smells good to you.

  15. Curious, on your oily skin recommendation vs the site you suggested It seems there is quite a range of blends out there, and I understand it is a bit of trial and error. However, it seems to be a large disparage between the say…”Balanced skin”. 50%-50% blend, and alternatively, 20%-80% blend. Can you describe further the method of selecting an appropriate amount of caster oil(carrier oil)?

    your site states:
    “Oily Skin: Try a blend of 2/3 Castor Oil to 1/3 carrier oil…
    Balanced Skin: Try an equal blend of Castor Oil and carrier oil.
    Dry Skin: Try a blend of 1/3 Castor Oil to 2/3 carrier oil.”

    The site you mentioned states:
    “Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% Sunflower Seed Oil.
    Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% Sunflower Seed Oil.
    Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% Sunflower Seed Oil.”

  16. I m using only olive oil….
    I do massage with it n den put steamd cloth on my was….
    Is it good only to use olive oil? I hv oily skin and having breakouts on my chicks….

  17. Hey, you have shared great cleansing tips. I think it is really important to have cleansing on regular basis. Usually I use olive oil for cleansing. But recently one of my friend recommend me everyuth cleanser for oily skin. So i am giving try to everyuth. Let c how it works on my face.

  18. Hi, Iive got hormonal acne and I’ve been reading about this ocm for a while now and I think it could help, but I don’t happen to have any Castor oil. Do you think Olive oil + Tea Tree Oil + Lavander oil would do ok?

    Thanks xx


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