There are plenty of different ways to cleanse the delicate skin of your face. The classic is with soap and water, but there are also oodles of soap-based and non-soap based cleansers available to clean, scrub, and polish your skin. Which type of cleanser to choose depends mostly on your skin type, and how your skin tends to react to different cleansers.
If you've tried all manner of cleansers without great results, it might be time to try something totally different. The Oil Cleansing Method is unlike conventional facial cleansing methods, and for some people, results in the naturally perfect skin of their dreams. We've put together a quick guide to getting started with this method, including some basic information on how the Oil Cleansing Method works, how to use it, and how to create your own, all-natural and fully customized Oil Cleanser.
How does the Oil Cleansing Method work?
The Oil Cleansing Method is a bit different than most traditional cleansing methods, in that it uses oil to clean out your pores as opposed to soap or water-based ingredients. Oil can be very effective at dissolving sebum, your skin's natural moisturizing and protective agent. Sebum can build up in your pores, which can cause acne, and make your skin appear dull or dirty. The Oil Cleansing Method operates under the principal of like dissolving like, and the idea is to use oil to reach deep down into the pores in a way that soap and water can't.
While this method might sound frightening to those with already oily or acne prone skin, the Oil Cleansing Method can actually help improve your skin's ability to regulate moisture. When used properly, this method pulls out the oil in your pores and rinses away, leaving your pores totally fresh and open. Depending on your own skin's reaction, the Oil Cleansing Method can actually help reduce acne.
What do I need to use the Oil Cleansing Method?
All you need to use the Oil Cleansing Method is a homemade Oil Cleanser (recipe below), hot water, and a stock of clean washcloths. It also helps to have a nice toner and moisturizer on hand for after cleansing. Surprisingly, this method can sometimes leave skin quite dry.
What kind of Oils does the Oil Cleansing Method use?
Castor Oil is the key ingredient to creating an Oil Cleansing blend. This thick, viscous oil is highly comedogenic, meaning that it sits on top of pores, potentially clogging them up. This might not seem like the greatest thing to put on your face, but remember that the purpose of an oil cleanser is to bond with the oil already in your skin and pull it away. After rinsing, your skin should be totally clear of all the cleansing oils, and any excess sebum that has been building up in your pores.
Oil cleansers are often a combination of Castor Oil and other, more conditioning Carrier Oils, such as Jojoba, Camellia, or Rose Hip Seed Oil. Which Oils you choose to blend with Castor Oil should depend on your skin type. For a soothing blend, try using Tamanu, Argan, or Passionfruit Oil. For oily, or acne-prone skin, consider using Sacha Inchi, Perilla Seed, or Karanja Oil. Mature skin will love a blend using antioxidant-rich oils like Rose Hip, Evening Primrose, or Pomegranate Seed Oil.
Be sure to use only the highest quality Carrier Oils possible for your Oil Cleanser. Look for virgin, cold-pressed, and organic oils when you are shopping for ingredients. Overly processed oils, like cooking oils, can clog your pores.
How do I make an Oil Cleanser?
The basic recipe for an Oil Cleanser is:
This ratio is just right for normal skin, but should be adjusted for skin types that are on the dry side or on the oily side. For dry skin, use 1 part Castor Oil, and 9 parts Carrier Oil. For oily skin, use 3 parts Castor Oil, and 7 parts Carrier Oil. Simply mix the oils together in a small bottle, and shake them up to make sure they are totally blended.
How is the Oil Cleanser used?
- To use the oil cleanser, start by immersing your washcloth in hot water. The water should be at the highest heat you find comfortable on your face and hands. You don't want to scald your skin, but you do want to generate a good amount of steam.
- Place the hot, wet washcloth over your face, and leave it there for about 30 seconds.
- Remove the cloth, and pour about one or two teaspoons of Oil Cleanser into your palm. Gently massage the cleanser onto your face in a circular motion. Oil cleansing experts recommend massaging your skin for about two minutes for best results.
- Allow the cleanser to sit on your skin for about thirty more seconds.
- Wet the washcloth again in hot water, and place it over your face for another ten to twenty seconds.
- Rinse the washcloth again in hot water, then use it to gently rub the oil off of your skin. Repeat this step at least three times, or until you are sure that all the oil has been removed.
- Follow with a toner. You can make your own all-natural toner from Hydrosols.
- Give your pores a few moments to close back up again, then apply your favorite moisturizer or facial oil, if your skin feels dry.
Basic Oil Cleanser for Most Skin Types
Soothing Oil Cleanser for Dry, Sensitive Skin
Oil Cleanser for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
How often should I use the Oil Cleansing Method?
Most users find that they don't need to cleanse their skin more than a few times per week, and stick to plain water rinses on the days in between cleansing. Others prefer to use the Oil Cleansing Method daily. How often to cleanse your skin really depends on your skin type and your own preferences. I'd recommend starting off at an every-other-day rhythm, and adjusting as you go along.
Can I use other cleansers in addition to the Oil Cleansing Method?
Like the No-Poo method and other alternative kinds of cleansers, your skin will need time to adjust to this new routine. While you could get away with an occasional mask or exfoliating scrub, it's best to stay away from any soap or detergent-based cleansers while you are using the Oil Cleansing Method. In time, your skin should adjust to the method, and begin regulating its own moisture more effectively.
What if this method doesn't work for me?
Most users go through a short adjustment period when they first start using The Oil Cleansing Method. It's totally normal for your skin to go through phases of being overly dry or oily for the first week or two. Try to pay attention to how your skin is behaving after the first week, and make adjustments to the routine if you feel like you need to. Try changing how often you cleanse your skin, or changing the ratios of oil in your Oil Cleanser.
Having said that, every individual's skin is unique, so the Oil Cleansing Method won't be perfect for everyone. If you try this method for a few weeks, and you don't see your skin adjusting to the new routine in a positive way, go ahead and try something else.
- My skin is way too oily after cleansing. First, make sure that you are rinsing properly. Is the water hot enough to produce steam? Are you rinsing at least three times to make sure that all of the oil has been removed? Try adding another rinse to your routine to see if that helps. If not, try increasing the ratio of Castor Oil in your Oil Cleanser. It might be possible that the ratio of conditioning oils is too high for your skin.
- My skin is way too dry after cleansing. It sounds like your skin might need a little extra moisture. Try reducing the amount of Castor Oil in your Oil Cleanser by increasing the ratio of conditioning oils. It also may help to add a facial moisturizer to your routine after you have finished cleansing your skin.
- My skin feels itchy or irritated after cleansing. Make sure that you are removing all of the oil from your skin when rinsing. Take a close look at that part of your routine. Is the water hot enough to produce steam? Are you rinsing at least three times to make sure that all of the oil has been removed? Try adding another rinse to your routine to see if that helps. Sometimes adding a soothing toner to your routine can also help.
It's also possible that your skin could be sensitive to one or more of the ingredients in your Oil Cleanser. Try creating a new Oil Cleanser with really simple ingredients, like Castor Oil and Rose Hip Seed Oil. If your skin starts clearing up, that might mean that you have a sensitivity to one of the other ingredients you were using. If this doesn't help, than you might be sensitive to Castor Oil. If that's the case, you may need to stop using the Oil Cleansing Method.
One last piece of advice: keep an eye on your skin, and how it reacts to the method.
After your skin adjusts, its important to pay attention to how your skin feels before and after cleansing. If you find that your skin is too dry, too oily, or if it is irritated, you may have to make some adjustments to your cleanser or your method. Check out the troubleshooting section of this guide for tips on improving your routine.
More resources for learning about the Oil Cleansing Method
This method has been around for a while, and there are plenty of great blogs sharing tips, tricks, and valuable insight. Check out the following posts to learn even more about the Oil Cleansing Method:
- Nitty Gritty on the Oil Cleansing Method | Crunchy Betty
- The Oil Cleansing Method | TheOilCleansingMethod.com
- 5 Questions About the Oil Cleansing Method | Sorta Crunchy
- How to Wash Your Face Using the Oil Cleansing Method | Keeper of the Home
- The Oil Cleansing Method for Washing Your Face | High on Health
- The Oil Cleansing Method | My Merry Messy Life
- Could the Oil Cleansing Method be Your Answer to Clear Skin? | Holistic Health Herbalist
- The Oil Cleansing Method | Natural Living Mamma
- Oil Cleansing for Naturally Perfect Skin | Wellness Mama