Oil Cleansing Method: How I Do It

Cleaning your face with oils is all the rage.

I had first learned of the oil cleansing method back in 2011-2012 (?) when my friend Maria did a post on it that went viral on Pinterest. She had shown before and after photos of her skin, and the transformation was amazing. Maria had been struggling with acne and decided to try oil cleansing to clear it up, and the results were incredible! Seriously, people went nuts for this post.

Unfortunately her and her twin sister don’t blog anymore, and her post isn’t up … but I am going to break down what I have learned over the years about oil cleansing.

First off, if you are new to this and think:

“OMG! Oils on my FACE!? Won’t that clog my pores?!”

Don’t worry.

You MUST do it right, and you MUST use the correct oils for your skin type.

For instance, coconut oil has a cosmegenic rating of 4, so I wouldn’t use that if you are prone to acne and breakouts.

Actually, I just wouldn’t use coconut oil for cleansing in general. It is best to remove makeup (and shave), but it will leave residue and clog pores most likely.

I am lazy a lot of times (Lisa Beach did a WHOLE post on lazy oil cleansing), and will use coconut oil to remove my makeup then take the oil cleansing steps a few times with a washcloth, but I feel I can’t all of the oils washed off, and end up using a gentle cleanser on top of it, which kind of defeats the purpose.

What is oil cleansing?

The oils cleansing method has gained popularity over the past few years. People are tossing away their face wash and massaging healthy oils on their face to dissolve dirt and makeup.

Like dissolves like. Oil dissolved oil.

For SO long we have bought “oil-free” cleansers and makeup to keep out skin clear, but have since learned that is not the best method for everyone!

No harsh chemicals, no shady ingredients that strips your skin of sebum (creating more acne, irritation, and clogged pores).

Oil cleansing is using a healthy, nourishing substance similar to what is already being produced on your skin, to dissolve the icky version of it that causes skin issues.

How do you do it? What oils do you use?

When I first started using this method I was blending castor oil and almond oil, my skin was more oily then and more combination now.

I can no longer us almond oil because of Jaxon’s allergy.

I felt like castor oil dried my skin too much.

Right now, my favorite blend is argan, avocado, and jojoba oils.

This is what I do …

I place either coconut oil, or my custom oil cleanser on a cotton ball, remove eye makeup, wipe off with a hot washcloth, then get into the oil cleansing method.

You can TOTALLY skip this, it is not necessary, I just feel coconut oil removed my eye makeup best.

I usually use a combo of  argan (20%), jojoba (40%) and avocado oil (40%).

I’ll massage the oils on my skin in a circular motion and let it sit for about a minute.

Meanwhile, I heat up the faucet with super hot water and place my washrag under it. I let that sit for a few seconds to get to the right temperature (my water gets hot), then place an open rag over my face to break up the oils.

After that I turn the rag over, and wipe off the oils in a circular motion until it’s gone. Sometimes I re-wet the rag before this step.

If I feel more residue, I repeat from the top.

Often times, I will do this before getting in the shower, the additional steam is helpful with removing oil residue! Sometimes I will do one round, then massage more oils, get in the shower with my rag, and after a minute remove it. Others, you can do that from the very beginning!

After this, I take a cotton ball and apply witch hazel like an astringent.

How to choose your custom blend:

  • Start with 1 oil that is ideal for your skin-type and use 2/3 of that oil. Add in a supportive oil to fit your needs.
  • For acne-prone skin, the lowest rated oils (“0” or “1”) on the chart below are ideal.
  • For mature skin, you want to add in argan, jojoba, apricot kernel, evening primrose, or rose hip oil.
  • For oily skin, try castor, grape seed, or almond oil.
  • Do not add essential oils to your oil cleanser. In my opinion, they are best used in a serum that will stay on the skin like this one. In some instances not using EO correctly in an oil cleanser could be problematic (especially if they aren’t high quality and you don’t have the proper guidance to use them).
  • I am not a huge fan of using olive oil. Not only is it stinky, but I felt it was very hard to get off my skin. The rating of olive oil is a “2” so it is moderately low, and if I remember correctly it was one of the oils my friend Maria was using that worked well. It may work for you, I just don’t personally recommend it from experience and hearing feedback from several others their skin didn’t love it.
  • Speaking of stinky oils, for things like sesame oil, or any, always choose cold-pressed, organic and specific for skin like this one.


DO you think you will try oil cleansing? DO you currently use oils to clean your face? I want to hear about how you do it and what oils you use!

Here is a full list of the comedogenic ratings of oils and other botanicals here!

More info on oil cleansing/what to expect.

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