The oil cleansing method and why it really works!


My Story

I have suffered from acne (all different types) and oily skin for around 15 years now, since I was about 12 years old. My mother and father both had acne, so of course I inherited it too. I am NO newbie to all the crazy acne products out there – benzoyl peroxide, triclosan, salicylic acid, chemical peels, and doxycycline/tetracycline are just some of the toxic ingredients I have used in and on my body while battling acne. I even used to always have those little oil absorbing sheets on me wherever I went, because my skin would be so greasy and shiny.

When I was a teenager my mother felt badly for me, so any time she would see an infomercial (think Proactive or Murad) or hear about a new acne product she would buy it for me to try. There’s no telling how many THOUSANDS (yes, thousands) of dollars she and I have spent on acne products over the last 15 years.

When I was around 22 years old, I diligently searched the internet for an answer. I came across something called the oil cleansing method (OCM), and although I was EXTREMELY skeptical – I decided to give it a try since what I had been doing for about 10 years prior obviously didn’t work.

But…why on EARTH would anyone want to wash their face with oil? Don’t most dermatologists say to ALWAYS get oil-free skin care products? True, they do, but I guess many just don’t fully understand how our bodies work.

The Oil Cleansing Method and Why it Works

What is the OCM?

The OCM is just that, using oil to cleanse your skin. The basis of the OCM is that like dissolves like, so, oil dissolves oil. You mix castor oil (the one oil you must use) with another oil of choice (jojoba, coconut, grapeseed, sweet almond, etc.) and rub it on your face, washing it off with a warm washcloth (full instructions below).

Why does it work?

When you strip your skin of the natural oils it produces, it goes into overdrive and produces oil (sebum) like crazy because it doesn’t like being dry! So when there is an adequate amount of oil on your face, your body doesn’t have to overproduce to compensate. Our bodies are quite sophisticated, you know. =)


My Results

After a couple weeks of my skin having no idea what was going on and being more oily than usual (which is what the internet article warned me of) – my oil production dramatically reduced. After several months, my skin cleared up significantly. I still have acne, but nothing like I used to. My acne seems to be most under control when I remove all white foods, gluten, dairy, and sugar from my diet. I am not there yet, though. It has been a process for me and although I have given up dairy and gluten, I still consume much more sugar than I need. I am a work in progress and for Lent I am planning on giving up sugar – something that will be very difficult for me, but I know that my body needs it.

The OCM is now my favorite way to cleanse my face at night to remove all of the makeup, dirt, oil and grime of the day. Below please see the recipe that I use, along with several variations. I like to use jojoba oil and/or rosehip seed oil to be mixed with castor oil. I also use a jojoba/rosehip oil blend on my skin afterwards as a mosturizer because just the OCM alone leaves my skin a little dry- and no, it won’t clog your pores!


Ingredients for Oil Cleanser

Oil of choice (jojoba is my favorite)
Castor Oil
Essential Oils (optional – but I have much better results using either tea tree, lavender, frankinsence or melrose).

  • If you have oily skin, you will want a ratio of about 1 part oil of choice to 3 parts castor oil.
  • For normal skin, about 1 part oil of choice to 1 part castor oil.
  • For dry skin, about 2 parts oil of choice to 1 part castor oil.

Mix all ingredients together (if you’re using essential oils, make sure it’s a glass bottle).

Directions for use: Pour about a quarter-sized amount in the palm of your hand. You can use on wet or dry skin. Massage all over face for several minutes. Run warm/hot (not hot enough to burn or hurt!) water over a washcloth and lay it on your face until it cools – about 60 seconds. This is creating steam that opens up your pores and allows the oil to penetrate and clean deeply. Wipe off your face with the washcloth, and repeat steaming your face once or twice more.


It’s SO simple and easy to do – yet has awesome benefits. My skin really has never felt better nor has it been softer or less oily.

Have you tried the oil cleansing method before or do you have a question about it? Let me know in the comments!