Oil Cleansing Method 101 | How to Wash Your Face with Oil

I know, I know—cleaning your face with oil sounds downright nutty.

After all, we’ve been led to believe that oil should be kept far, far away from our faces. For years, we’ve scoured skincare product labels for the words “oil-free” before giving them the green-light to make contact with our skin.

Yet oil has been used in natural skincare for ages, and is certainly making a comeback. Many natural beauty aficionados swear by the Oil Cleansing Method as a way of keeping skin clean, clear, healthy, and vibrant.


Oil Cleansing Method 101

What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

Exactly what it sounds like: a means of cleansing the skin with oil.

How does the Oil Cleansing Method Work?

The Oil Cleansing Method is based upon the principal of like-dissolves-like—the oil used to cleanse the skin dissolves the oil on the skin.

Now you may be scratching your head and thinking, “But I have acne. Won’t oil just clog my pores even more?” Well a zit is nothing more than a sticky mess of sebum and dead skin cells and/or dirt. And since like dissolves like, the oil cleansing method can actually help to break up this sticky mess and clear it from the pore.

Will the Oil Cleansing Method make my skin a shiny mess?

The Oil Cleansing Method can actually help balance your skin’s natural oil production.

Putting oil on your face can “trick” your skin into producing less oil since it thinks it already has enough. And often, the skin produces excess oil if it is dry—by thoroughly moisturizing the skin, the Oil Cleansing Method helps prevent the sebaceous glands (which create face oil) from going into overdrive.

How do I wash my face with oil using the Oil Cleansing Method?

Basic Oil Cleansing Method routine:

  1. Splash some warm water on your face, then gently pat dry.
  2. Dispense a quarter-size amount of oil into the palm of your hand and gently massage it into your face for 1-2 minutes, especially focusing on those areas with clogged pores.
  3. Wet a washcloth with hot water (you want it as hot as possible without burning your skin), ring it out and lay it on top of your face.
  4. Quickly lay a second dry washcloth on top to trap the moisture and heat. Let it sit for for 1-2 minutes, or until the wet washcloth cools.
  5. Repeat, using the dry washcloth to gently wipe your skin at the end.

If your skin feels tight afterwards, follow up with a small amount of moisturizer. However, you likely find that you don’t need to moisturize at all since the cleansing oil will settle into the skin, providing moisture.

Which oils are best to use for the Oil Cleansing Method?

It’s best to use a blend of an astringent oil and other nourishing oils based on your skin needs.

Astringent oils:

I personally choose to avoid using castor oil due to possible environmental and human rights implications. It can also be extremely drying and so finding the perfect amount for your particular skin can take a bit of trial and error. However, it is the astringent oil you will most commonly see in Oil Cleansing Method oil blend formulas.

Nourishing Oils:

the-best-face-oils-by-skin-typeThere are so many AMAZING skincare oils out there, each with different benefits. Read The Best Carrier Oils Based on Skin Type to see which oils may be the best fit for your skin needs.

If you have tried the oil cleansing method using coconut or olive oil—two of the most commonly suggested oils—and were disappointed in the results, I suggest giving it another go! These oils can clog pores and so do not provide the best results for everyone.

Basic Oil Cleansing Method oil blend formula:

Normal to Oily Skin → 1 part astringent oil to 3 parts nourishing oil(s)

Combination Skin → 1 part astringent oil to 5 parts nourishing oil(s)

Dry Skin → 1 part astringent oil to 10 parts nourishing oil(s)

How long will it take for me to see results with the Oil Cleansing Method?

It may take a week or so for you skin to adjust to the Oil Cleansing Method. As the oil breaks up the gunk in the pores,  you may even experience more breakouts during this time. Try to wait it out and resist the urge to use regular facial cleansers during this time, which will prolong the adjustment period.

You will also likely have to experiment with the best oils and oil ratio for your skin.


Have you tried the Oil Cleansing Method?

Have any advice or input based on your experience? Please share with us!

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Disclaimer: The content of Body Unburdened either through this website, social media pages, or any other materials distributed by Body Unburdened is intended to provide helpful and informative material. I am not a doctor or a “registered dietitian,” and I do not provide medical advice or treat diseases.


Share Your Thoughts





  1. […] Oil Cleansing Method to cleanse and moisturize your […]

    November 4, 2016 • 6:23 pm •
  2. Doris

    What type of astringent so you recommend or is it a diy remedy?

    November 10, 2016 • 11:30 pm •
  3. Cathreen Styles

    I have used the oil cleaning for several months and I love it! I dont wear make up anymore and my skin has never looked better. I like to clean with jojoba or grapeseed and moisturize with rosehip seed oil with geranium essential oil added.

    November 11, 2016 • 10:57 am •
  4. I started doing this last week, and my skin did break out that first week, like you said, but it’s definitely starting to clear up, and my acne scarring is even fading (I use a combination of Jojoba oil and Rosehip Seed oil, which is know to lighten scarring). I keep thinking I should add some castor oil because I am still breaking out a bit. But trial and error. So far I really like it.

    November 15, 2016 • 11:46 am •
  5. Nadia

    Thanks for your feedback, Beks! I’m glad it’s working for you. Keep us updated if you add an astringent oil like castor or hazelnut and how that impacts the results.

    November 15, 2016 • 3:16 pm •
  6. Nadia

    Cathreen, that’s awesome! And that sounds like a winning combo of oils right there.

    November 15, 2016 • 3:21 pm •
  7. Nadia

    Doris, I’m not entirely sure of your question. Are you referring to the types of astringent oils you can use in your Oil Cleansing blend?

    November 15, 2016 • 3:22 pm •
  8. Chetna

    Hi, I have still not used the oil cleansing but am inspired to start. Currently using a body shop cleanser and a combination of aloe vera,rosehip oil and tea tree oil to nourish as I have oily skin. Can you please suggest combination of oil cleanser for me and also something to deal with pores.

    December 11, 2016 • 7:36 am •
  9. Maria

    Hi Nadia! I really want to start doing this, but when should i do this in the morning or night (i have combination-sensitive skin)? Can i use in the morning Dr. bronner’s soap and jojoba oil and sunscreen, and in the night do the oil cleansing (50% jojoba oil+50%castor oil will be good to my skin?), then use toner and then put a jojoba oil with some oils (your DIY moisture for acne)? I have to do the thing with the 2 washclothes or that i can use only one? I’ll really appriciate if you’ll answer me 🙂

    December 12, 2016 • 4:25 pm •
  10. Karman

    Hi Nadia! I was just wondering if this method works to remove makeup as well or should I clean my skin first and then apply?

    January 10, 2017 • 12:00 pm •
  11. Nadia

    Yes! The Oil Cleansing Method removes makeup very well. Good question – I should clarify this!

    January 10, 2017 • 8:20 pm •