My Thoughts on Oil Cleansing

So. I’ve been using nothing but oil and water on my face since late October. Before I made the decision to do this, I did EXTENSIVE research. Meaning I had a five-minute conversation with Beauty Bets, got her blessing, and dove right in. Because that’s how I roll. And because I figured hey, if it was awful, I’d just stop.

I’ve had problem skin forever; Mostly acne, but also combination dry/oily issues. And although my acne is of the cystic/hormonal kind and absolutely requires more than over-the-counter remedies, recently I began to feel like I should change my cleansing routine. I’d been using Cetaphil face wash and a dermatologist-prescribed topical cream for several years, and the combination just felt … wrong. I broke out fairly regularly, my skin felt a bit sore at times, and I was pretty blotchy.

Then Bets mentioned that many dermatologists recommend Cetaphil because it’s mild, but that it’s just a big chemical cocktail and not actually beneficial in any way. I picked her brain, picked up some oil, and I don’t think I’ll ever turn back.

Why oil?

As teens, we’re taught that facial oils are the enemy, and that mindset sticks. We’re also told that the “shine” of facial oils is unsightly and must be managed. But just as the oils that your scalp secretes are beneficial to your hair, the sebum that your skin secretes is beneficial to your skin. Its purpose is to protect your skin from the outside environment, to prevent harmful substances from seeping into your pores. But for some reason, nobody talks about that. My dermatologist certainly never said anything of the sort to me. And most popular facial cleansers are marketed as“oil free,” and we buy them because of our deep-seated belief that oil is the enemy.

But when skin’s natural oils are removed, our bodies often compensate by producing more oil. So by getting rid of oil, you may be setting yourself up to become oilier. Or, on the flip side, if your skin seems constantly dry, it could be because your natural oils have been stripped away and your body has stopped naturally replenishing them. Some folks cope with these imbalances by skipping cleansers altogether and just splashing with water on occasion. But dirt does accumulate in facial oil over the course of the day, and that needs to be dealt with somehow. Additionally if you wear makeup, you’ll need to get it off eventually.

Certain botanical oils can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally and gently, while simultaneously replacing any contaminated oils with beneficial ones. They can also remove some makeup, and add a bit of moisture to your skin. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? So how do you get started?

Which oil?

Confession: I haven’t done a ton of experimentation. I’ve heard great things about jojoba oil for cleansing, but I’m yet to give it a whirl. I started out just using straight extra virgin olive oil, which worked fairly well, then began mixing it with castor oil. Now that I’ve got my proportions right, I’m loving my blend.

From what I’ve read, the castor oil draws out any lingering dirt and the EVOO moisturizes. During the dry winter months, I’m doing about two-thirds EVOO to one-third castor. Once it finally warms up, I’ll probably do half and half.

This post from Crunchy Betty gives some more detailed info on types of oils, their uses, and ratios.

How do you do it?

Again, there are many ways to use the oil cleansing method, and this is just mine:

When I shower in the morning, I rub about a tablespoon of my oil mixture onto a dry face. I finish my ablutions, and then gently scrub the oil off with a dry towel. Every week or so, I’ll add a bit of my Neutrogena scrub to the oil mix for some extra exfoliating action.

Before I go to bed at night, I rub about a tablespoon of my oil mixture onto a dry face. Then I take a hot washcloth and wipe the oil and makeup off. Then I pat dry with a different, dry towel. I have purchased one washcloth for every day of the week and let them air dry after they’ve been used, then wash in the washing machine once per week. I also rotate dry face towels frequently. This helps a ton!

I find that my oil blend removes cover up, eyebrow pencil, and lip products. I still use a traditional makeup remover if I’ve put on mascara and eye makeup.

Does it feel gross?

Amazingly, no. Before I started doing this, I imagined that smearing a bunch of oil right on a dry face would feel absolutely disgusting. It feels refreshing, natural, and normal. Once I’ve rubbed the oil in, it feels like I’ve just finished washing my face. I mean, washing my face the old fashioned way.

Do you still break out?

I totally do. As I mentioned, I have hormonally triggered acne, so when my hormones get ornery my face goes bananas. My body also really hates it when I eat sugar, and if I go on a candy bender I get a robust crop of zits. But my breakouts are less frequent and less severe, and my skin seems able to recover from them faster.

Does your skin look different?

Yes. But not drastically. I didn’t include before and after photos because the changes are so subtle that a camera is unlikely to pick them up. But my skin is generally less blotchy and more even in tone. I don’t get super shiny … pretty much at all. By 3 p.m. I’ll have a bit of shine going on, but nothing even CLOSE to what I had before I started using oil cleansers. And, as I mentioned, my acne is slightly improved.

My skin also FEELS better. It is both softer to the touch and less irritation-prone.

I know the oil cleansing method is a hot topic of conversation these days, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts! Are you a longtime devotee? A new convert? On the fence? Using a different method and can’t imagine moving to oils? Any resources to share about blends and applications? Tell all in the comments!

Image courtesy Radiant Brown Beauty.

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  • http://www.TheMariposaChronicles/.com Vintage Lucero

    Sally,
    I have been using solely olive oil on my face & body since July. I also have horror-monal triggered cysts & pimples, esp my temples & chin. I use witch hazel & apple cider vinegar as my toners, switching every other day.
    Here are my two link you may want to read ~

    http://www.themariposachronicles.com/The_Mariposa_Chronicles/The_Mariposa_Blog/Entries/2011/9/8_Entry_1.html

    http://www.themariposachronicles.com/The_Mariposa_Chronicles/The_Mariposa_Blog/Entries/2012/1/26_Entry_1.html

    Using the WH & ACV cut my breakouts dramatically, along w helping grains very visible broken capillary on my nose!
    I hope you find my posts useful!

  • anne

    Yet again i am the weirdo kid on the block. I don’t use a cleanser or moisturizer. I have great skin. ( most of the time, i sometimes get a hormonal zit, but not very disturbing). I wash my face with cold water in the morning . Mostly to wake up. And sometime i’ll wash it in the evening with warm water and sometimes soap. ( I use Dove or Nivea Soap). As a teen i had oily face, but now I feel it’s normal, or a little dry but I certainly don’t feel the need to moisturize daily. When feeling a bit dry i have a cream based on caldula oficinalis and beeswax.
    I read here and on other blogs about the oil cleansing method but I feel if i take it up i would try to fix a problem that it’s not there. For make-up removal I use wipes if i wear foundation ( aka – rare) and I have an eye makeup removal for mascara and eye-liner. I understand you don’t use oil on your eyes. I feel i’m left out of this whole skincare rituals.

  • http://bethdeepintheheartoftexas.blogspot.com Bethany

    I have been using oils to wash my face since November, and I LOVE it!! I use two parts castor oil to one part olive oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil (I have combination, acne prone skin). At night, I rub the mixture on my face, and then put a hot (but not scalding) washcloth on my face and let it steam for a minute or two, and the wipe off any excess oil. In the morning I just splash my face with warm water.

    My skin is so much less irritated, and I never have to use a powder to soak up oil anymore!!

  • http://nadinethornhill.wordpress.com Nadine

    I’ve been waiting eagerly for this post. Aside from my monthly your-period’s-about-to-start breakout, my skin isn’t too problematic. But I’d also read about the drawbacks of Cetaphil, which has been my go to cleanser for over fifteen years.

    I experimented with OCM back in the fall. And by “experimented with”, I mean tried it for a week or so, got some non-menstrual zits, freaked out and stopped. I’m tempted to try again I may need a different ratio or combination of oils – though the prospect of experimenting makes me a little nervous.

    • Susan, the one in Berkeley

      I sold natural remedies for years (stereotypically Berkeley!) The type of oil used for cleansing isn’t very important as long as it is from a vegetable source. Jojoba is popular because it is chemically very close to natural skin oils, rather inexpensive, and doesn’t go rancid as quickly because it is technically a wax not an oil.

      Acne breakouts are caused by imbalance in the body, often intestinal disturbances. Eliminating trigger foods can clear up your skin, even hormonal breakouts. Look up “Elimination Diet” if you are interested. Its hard work but well worth it.

    • http://www.venusianglow.com Eternal*Voyageur (Venusian*Glow)

      Your skin was detoxing, most probably the zits would have cleared up pretty soon.

  • http://elegantmusings.com Casey

    This is really interesting, Sally! I’ve been contemplating about using oil to cleanse my face lately–I had a few years of blemish free skin, but over the past three it’s gone nuts. Plus I’m now starting to notice more unevenness of tone, worse breakouts, and really dry patches on my cheeks.. I picked up some Jojoba oil last week at Trader Joe’s and still need to use it. I know everyone is saying it’s great for skin, but I’m still trying to get over my stigma of oil=bad for your face (especially acne prone skin like mine!). I need to just take the plunge!

    • http://evereadysmile.com Cricket

      Casey, I’ve replaced my moisturizer completely with jojoba oil. The trick is not to use more than 3 drops, and preferably 2 unless you’re feeling really wintry and dry. But it’s AMAZING, my skin is so much nicer now.

  • http://midwesternmodernmomma.blogspot.com Jen

    I am SO glad you have this post up today! SO GLAD!!! I am on week three of the oil cleansing method and am not looking back. I’m still tweaking my blend (using cold pressed sunflower oil and castor at a 75%-25% ratio) still, but couldn’t be happier. I started the method for the exact same reasons you listed-what I had been doing for years just felt wrong. I’ve had pretty much awesome skin since birth, with the exception of random chin breakouts during my flute-player years in high school. I’ve got an oily nose area that shines like crazy by afternoon, a dry forehead, and flaky skin around my mouth in the winter. But recently my skin has become more tempermental. Breakouts are more frequent and oil production was up. I read you had started this method and liked it so far. So I did research (googled it, read a few blogs, and dove right in). Once each week I do a “facial” with a steam and oil. The rest of the week I just rub it in, hold a hot towel to my face to blot, and then blot dry. I glow after! I am now the preacher of the oil method around here. My nose doesn’t shine much anymore. My blotches are becoming a thing of the past. And while my breakouts still happen, they aren’t as bad as before!

  • http://www.relatablestyle.com Lili @ Relatable Style

    I’m doing oil cleansing for a while now. I haven’t found my perfect mix yet, but I keep looking :-) I absolutely recommend oils instead of facial creams, too. I use pure squalane on my face, and never ever has my skin been this healthy and, well, “intact”. From all the oil-free creams and gels before, I’d get both flaky and oily skin at the same time. Now that I give my skin the oils that it needs, I’m much less oily over the course of a day.

    Now I only need to figure out how to mix and match this with makeup… I have mild acne, so I wear makeup. I try to limit it to face powder, but sometimes it will be foundation, too. What irks me about it is that I just wear it for coverage. I recently noticed that my face isn’t oily at all on “off-day” when I just put squalane on and nothing else. The skin absorbs the squalane and looks matte pretty much all day. With makeup, I do get oily. So if it weren’t for the red spots, I wouldn’t “need” makeup at all. Bummer.

  • TinaPete

    Two weeks ago started the oil facial cleansing w/ olive & castor oils and am figuring out whether to continue using the Thermal MiniPeel that has kept my skin smooth for years. And should I use the daily age spot lotion that, I hope, is preventing new discoloration. I’m in my early sixties and have aging skin issues although have always had oily skin also.
    The anti-poo folks (am planning to try this) seem to advocate going cold turkey and maybe I should just test the oil method w/o my other lotions etc for a couple of weeks. Sally, thank you for your post, very encouraging! Do you use any lotions, peels, etc along with the oil cleansing?
    Love your posts and the way you use color!

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Hey TinaPete! Oh shoot, I should’ve mentioned – I still do a moisturizer with SPF 15 in the day, and a tiny bit of non-SPF at night. I also use a little of an essential oil mix as as a serum, but that’s it.

      • Susan, the one in Berkeley

        Sal, how does this cleansing method work on removing sunscreen? I wear 30spf in the summer and it’s pretty sticky. Anyone have experience with this?

        • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

          Hmm, that I don’t know. My guess is it would work fine. What do you use to remove it now? Soap or cleanser?

          • Susan, the one in Berkeley

            Yes, I use a cleanser because the sunscreen clogs my pores (green clay masks help clean them out.) I’ve been cleansing with oil for a month now and my skin loves it. I hope it will work on sunscreen too. Hopefully someone will comment with their experiences.

  • http://www.madam0wl.com Sandra, aka madam0wl

    I did the EVOO routine (also I think was using some kind of baking soda mix for zits?) for a few months in 2009. I’m a believer, but I think any kind of routine waxes and wanes for me, so I fell off it after 6 months or so. I did keep up the no-poo or CO bit for my hair, but even with that I take a “break” and do a month or so of shampoos when I feel like I need it. This winter my skin has been being weird though, and I’ve been feeling the need to try oils again, so as tends to be, your post is a timely one! I’ll have to go check out Crunchy Betty, what a great name. PS – Semi-related crunchy-wise, last night I used warm EVOO with five drops of Tea Tree Oil as an ear drop for my right ear that has been bothering me (stuffy/plugged feeling), and this morning it feels better, yay!

    • Obapplepie

      Went no-poo about 6 months ago, and loooouuuvvvee it. Expected it to be this huge deal transition fiasco but it was easy peasy and my hair is great. However when I went up to CT a month ago I ended up having to use a conditioner because I was so dried out my hair turned to straw, and even my usual honey & BS face washing routine dried me out something fierce. I had been trying to get my mom to try no-poo but now I don’t know how well it works for people in less humid ‘environs’, especially in the wintery months. As much as I don’t like the heat and humidity of FL, my skin certainly loves it!

  • http://modernsauce.blogspot.com ModernSauce

    I’ve been seeing oil cleansing a lot lately and I’ve always wanted to try it but somehow I’m scared. Scared of what I don’t know – goblins in the bottle or something – but I think it’s time to experiment a little! Glad you found something that works for you!

  • http://librarygirl9.blogspot.com/ Erin

    I’m a super-new convert – this is my third day! I decided to do OCM for a little different reason than most people I’ve found online; I have very sensitive, dry skin, particularly in winter. You’re right, it doesn’t feel strange on your face at all. What I like most is that it doesn’t give you a squeaky clean feeling – aka that too dry feeling! I wipe off with a clean wet washcloth every time, just to keep bacteria down. Plus, it’s not like washcloths take up room in the laundry!

  • http://myfavouritethingsk.blogspot.com/ Nanne

    Thanks Sal for giving me the lowdown on OCM! I’ve heard of it but never cared to delve any deeper into it. As I’m trying to cut my spending and good skincare products are expensive, I’m definitely going to give this a whirl!

  • sarah

    I tried the OCM a few years ago when I had a crazy acne episode. (40 y/o, combo-oily skin) I really liked it too. I used a 1:1 ratio of jojoba and castor. I also experimented with fractionated coconut oil, virgin coconut oil and olive oil. I thought it was great, my skin felt really nice. It was kind of a messy hassle though, plus I feared that using a super-hot washcloth on your face every day might eventually cause problems like broken capillaries. But I do think it helped me get over my acne, along with Stridex pads for sensitive skin and Paula’s Choice 8% AHA lotion. I still use those, but now I cleanse with Aveeno Ultra-calming foam. Avoiding sugar, as you say, helps too, as do multi-vitamin and zinc supplements.

  • http://somethingsomewhereohyeah.tumblr.com Jess

    I too use olive oil on my face as a moisturiser, but not every day. Additionally, I do mix in olive oil, raw sugar, honey, and a small amount of baking soda for an exfoliant once a week.

  • http://lladybird.wordpress.com Lauren

    I’ve been waffling on trying the oil cleansing method – I already made the switch to using olive oil as a moisturizer, since my skin is suuuper dry & it’s pretty much the only thing that works. The only thing that was keeping me from trying oil to actually clean my face was that I do wear makeup & I didn’t want to deal with getting additional make-up removers and making the whole regimen complicated.

    My skin is drier than ever right now (blame it on the cold snap & the fact that both my home & office are heated with gas heat… ughh), so it might be time to give this a try!

  • Eliza

    Great post! I’ve been cleaning my face with oil at night for about a month and a half and I’m definitely seeing a difference. (Although I’ve also been drinking a TON of water and eating super healthy food, so I think there’s a sort of synergistic effect of all three factors on my skin.) I have combination oily-dry skin, and my favorite thing about the OCM is that I no longer have any dry patches on my skin. I still get oily throughout the day (and I should maybe play around with the oil I’m using to try to eliminate that — right now I’m at 50-50 EVOO/castor oil), but my skin is a lot smoother and more even.

    As a result of the insane amount of water I’m drinking (filling up my 32-oz water bottle 3 or 4 times a day! My New Years resolution was to drink lots of water) my breakouts are SO under control. I normally have a few pimples, and more around my period. Now I have NO pimples, and I got one tiny one at that time of the month, but even that went away really quickly.

    I’m loving the effects of this regime on my skin. And my overall feelings of well-being!

  • http://smackingdowntheapathy.blogspot.com D

    I’m currently trying it out, I’ve been using the OCM for about a month now. I’ve never been super regular about skin care though, so it is still hard for me determine how well it has been working. I have been breaking out, but it has been a super stressful month, so I think that is part of it. It certainly feels nice!

  • Velma

    I’ve been using this method for about three months now, and I’ve finally arrived at my perfect formula (for dry skin with a T-zone and some hormonal zits): 75% virgin coconut oil, 20-25% castor oil, and a dash of lavender essential oil (1/2 t. to 4 oz.). I warm the coconut oil slightly above room temp, mix the oils together, and then pour the mixture into a 4 oz. container. When it comes back to room temp, it solidifies into a nicely textured cream that I use basically as you describe in the evenings only (splash with water in the mornings). After washing, I put a tiny amount of the same oil mixture on very dry areas while my skin is still damp. I use a clean washcloth every day.

    It is working great–my skin is glowing and less blotchy and much less dry, but still feels very clean.

  • Gillian

    I have so appreciated your blog!
    I have heard that the heat opens up your pores, which helps get the dirt etc. out. But then it also leaves them open to take in more. If you end with cool/cold water then it helps close them up. This is the same with hair, less frizzy if you end with a cold rinse.

  • http://nuranar.livejournal.com Nuranar

    Sal, I tried OCM for 6-9 months about three years ago, but it did not work for me. It was lovely for two weeks, and then I started breaking out… and kept breaking out… and just got worse from there. It *brought back* my acne.

    Looking back, I might have been in Anne’s position – trying to fix a problem that wasn’t there. I’ve always had pretty clear skin. The usual teenage blemishes, and learning experiences (I can’t get away without washing twice a day, even on freezing campouts!), but no true acne or lasting breakouts. I’ve never noticed a hormonal pattern, either. Until my sophomore year in college, when I developed adult-onset acne. It took most of the school year to recognize that there was a serious problem, and then the summer using Retin-A, which cleared it up. But it was really awful while it lasted.

    Most of this time, I kept using my regular Walmart brand face soap. Eventually I stopped using scrubs and astringents, and cut back to using only water in the morning and soap at night. I have never used Cetaphil. I did briefly try the vintage cold-cream method, similar in concept to OCM, but that also brought back my acne. I still had enough Retin-A to bring it back under control. A major change, like all-cold-cold cream or OCM, causes my acne to flare up.

    I really love the insight you give on the face’s natural oils, however, and I whole-heartedly agree. I made another change in my routine last year, trying the creamy Noxema cleaner instead of my tried-and-true face soap. My family has used Noxema for years as a sunburn remedy, because it feels so smooth and cool. When I actually read the label and found it was designed for face washing, I just had to try. I was afraid of another acne breakout, but not a bit of it! It moisturizes as it cleans, and my skin has been just as happy as before. I use an SPF moisturizer during the day, too.

    By the way, I firmly believe in the same oil principles for the scalp as well as for the face. I have had long hair most of my life (mid-back to below the waist) and always washed it every other day, or ever 3rd at the longest. But now I go 5-7 days between washes, and it never looks dirty. I still use shampoo and conditioner, too; I haven’t gotten the hang of any other methods, and I’m happy with this. My hair especially is happier, even right after being washed, which used to be a frizzy mess after washing. My scalp makes much less oil than it used to, now that I’m not washing it all out every two days.

    End digression. I really don’t want to be a little black raincloud! I’m thrilled that OCM has worked so well for you and for others. I just wanted to be honest about my experiences, so others may perhaps benefit.

    • Susan, the one in Berkeley

      I also use jojoba oil on my dry, curly hair. Just a couple of drops with wet hands, wet hair. It makes a HUGE difference.

    • http://www.monkeyobsessions.blogspot alice

      I have really long hair too and always felt like I have to wash it after a couple of days, even though most of the hair is still clean, because the scalp gets oily. I’m curious to try what you are suggesting but am afraid I’ll be a smelly greasy mess. How long did it take for your scalp to adjust?

      I never comb or blow dry my hair and I find that I have zero split ends as a result…

      • http://nuranar.livejournal.com Nuranar

        Susan, that’s a great idea!

        Alice, I’m afraid I don’t clearly remember. It is a bit of a greasy road to get there, at least for a while! Te summer of 2003 I was overseas, and because of some plumbing issues, were without much water – and after that, hot water – for some weeks. I just switch to every 4 days in self-defense and found it wasn’t too terribly bad. I also noticed that my bangs showed greasy before the rest of my hair did, so a couple times I washed just my bangs with a dab of whatever soap was handy.

        I do living history sometimes as well, and I found that period hairstyles are MUCH easier without super-clean hair. It’s too slippery! So I started not washing it for several days before an event, instead of the night before.

        I think it was the fall of 2005 that I really started trying to go without washing. I did a full 7 days and my hair was SO shiny it was crazy. But I switched to braids and it wasn’t too noticeable. And I don’t recall any smell, aside from the natural hair oil. When I finally washed it, I think I used a smaller-than-usual amount of shampoo. I never went more than 7 days after that, but I think I went to just 3 days without washing, maybe 4 if my schedule got in the way (hair-washing takes a long time), and washing bangs separately as needed. At some point it became “does my hair look like it needs washed?” and then doing it. The real proof of adjustment is that I never have to wash my bangs out any more. :) I hope that helps! (My hair benefits somewhat by being only dark blonde/light brown and wavy, so although I notice its change throughout the 5-7 days, it’s not obvious in color and texture.)

        FWIW, here are a few things I do, that I picked up at the Long Hair Forum. When I wash, I put conditioner on the length (below the scalp) first, then shampoo the scalp, rinse, then conditioner again on the length. No conditioner on the scalp, no shampoo on the length (except as it’s rinsed through). The length doesn’t need it. Also, the LHF recommends a comb, because it’s less prone to breakage than a brush. Supposedly you can feel a snarl with a comb and stop and untangle it with your fingers, instead of breaking the hairs. I do use a brush for vintage-style hair, though!

      • http://evereadysmile.com Cricket

        Alice, I have really long hair and I wash it once a week. The trick for me was to not just switch. I used to wash it every day and so I switched to every other day for about a month, then every 2nd day for about a month, then every 3rd day for about 6 weeks, then every 4th day for about 6 weeks, and so on. It took me a good 8 months to get to washing it once a week. But now my hair never looks dirty (unless I make it to that 8th day, blech) and it’s much easier to deal with, it feels soft and healthier and I don’t have to spend as much time drying and straightening it. I wear a shower cap the rest of the week.

        Hope this helps!

        • alice

          thanks you guys! this was super helpful!

  • Hetley

    I have been using olive oil to cleanse for oh, about 2 weeks now. I was broke (poor graduate student!), out of makeup remover/face wash, but had tons of EVOO in the pantry, so after reading about it I said “why not?”

    I have incredibly dry skin, especially in winter, so it really helps combat that. I use the EVOO at night, to remove makeup and cleanse, and in the morning I just use water to cleanse. I will note I have been using argan oil as a moisturiser for some time, but I am using less of it (which is good because the argan oil is $$$$ and, like I said, I’m broke) — where I used to apply the argan oil in the morning and at night, now it’s just in the morning because my skin isn’t Sahara Desert dry.

    I am interested to see how well the OCM holds up; I normally get breakouts at a certain point in my cycle, and (for science!) will probably continue this for a month or two to see how it affects the monthly acne, if at all.

  • http://emilysgoingnuts.blogspot.com Emily

    Hmmmm… I feel compelled to try this. I have tried all sorts of acne treatments including prescription antibiotics (I get cystic acne on my chin and the occasional superficial zit in my ‘stache area or around the corners of my nose). I’ll try something new, it will work for a month, and then it will stop working and my chin/nose/stache areas go back to war-zone.

  • http://www.kitcheninthemarket.com tracy

    Yes! Been OCM for a few weeks now and have been thrilled with the results. I am about 25% castor + 75% sweet almond oil but am VERY intrigued by the coconut oil comment above. This oil absolutely removes eye make up (even the most waterproof, smudgeproof) without hassle. Once a day with the oil is enough for my sensitive skin – hot washcloth, done. I will say: take the time to give yourself a good facial massage when you’re doing this – great for drawing out the ick, great for skin tone and super great for stuffy winter sinus issues! Oh, and I put this stuff into one of those 4oz bottles with a dropper, making it no fuss, no mess. LOVE!

  • Stephanie

    Sally– Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been really wanting to try oil cleansing, but I’ve been lazy about doing my research about it. I’m thinking about starting with a commercial preparation– I saw at my local store that Burt’s Bees has a facial cleanser with orange oil, olive oil and nothing scary and chemical. Has anyone tried this?

    And if I were to go about mixing my own cleanser brew, do you just use the olive oil that you get from the oil aisle in the grocery store? Or should I seek out something fancier?

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      I was told any light olive oil works, so I grabbed a bottle from Target!

      • http://www.jsmithinnovations.com Julie

        Curious… Would grape seed oil work instead of evoo?

        • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

          Some folks use grape seed oil. I’ve never tried it myself.

    • Velma

      I have used the Burt’s Bees royal jelly cleanser happily, but that orange oil cleanser did not work for me. It smells great, but it left my skin sticky/slimy and within a couple of days, I had a massive breakout. Your mileage may vary, but I much prefer my homebrew mixture of oils.

      • Secret Squirrel

        I have been using the Bobbi Brown oil cleanser with great results.

    • http://dustwindbun.blogspot.com dustwindbun

      I can’t speak for the OCM, as I haven’t tried it for more than a day at a time yet (laziness), but I use the Burts Bees orange oil cleanser in the winter, and for me, with my hyper-shedding skin that needs to be exfoliated all the time*, the key is to put it on, then scrub it off with a wet washcloth. Brilliant. Of course, I also can’t speak to either major acne problems (I don’t have perfect skin, but it isn’t very reactive either better or worse to anything I put on it) or makeup removal (I don’t wear it aside from special occasions), but it’s been great for me this winter. Which suggests to me that when I run out or get bored, I should give oils another try!

      *put it this way, I’m the only person I know to have taken a pot-scrubber to their face and actually looked better for it.

  • http://twobirdsboutique.blogspot.com/ two birds

    i use grape seed oil to wash and jojoba oil to moisturize, and i love it! it’s such an easy way to not put chemicals all over your face!

  • Herbee

    I’ve been waiting for this post, too! At the beginning of the month, Sal made mention of OCM and I was intrigued and started doing some research. I am 50 and I’ve been noticing that the skin around my eyes was becoming saggy, wrinkly, dry and irritated. I was feeling like “I guess I’m just getting old” but then I Googled OCM after Sal mentioned it, and had a lightbulb moment….everything I was reading made total sense to me! I have very dry skin and have never had much of an acne problem, so I was totally willing to slather my face with oil!
    I wish I had taken before/after pictures because after ONE DAY all that irritation and sagging around my eyes started going away. I was floored and thrilled beyond words!
    Our family dermatologist has always touted Cetaphil and I was shocked to find out what is actually in it-just SHOCKED, seriously! I went right away to the local health food store and bought cold pressed castor oil, avocado oil and almond oil. (I’m going back today to get some neroli oil…it’s supposed to be very beneficial for “mature” skin plus I just love the scent!) I started with 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 EVOO, but since my skin is super dry, that was a bit too much castor oil, so now I’m using 1t. castor oil, 2t. avocado oil and 1t. almond oil mixed into a little squeeze bottle. I usually use this mixture at night (the almond oil is fantastic at removing all makeup-even mascara!), I lightly wet my face and massage the mixture in for 2-4 minutes, place a wrung out hot washcloth on my face til it cools and then gently wipe off the excess oil. If I still have a couple dry spots around my eyes, I’ll dab a little extra avocado oil on. (I also read that avocado oil is a natural sunscreen.) My skin looks really great…it’s brighter, firmer, healthier looking….rosy, even!
    Sorry for the long post, but I am SOLD SOLD SOLD on OCM! I want to print the method out on cards and hand them out to people! Thank you SO MUCH, Sal, for writing about it!! ♥

  • leah

    I love oil cleansing.

    But you know what else I love? Not cleansing at all. Well, at least with nothing but water and a few circular motions in the shower. When I’m in a hot climate, my skin produces more than enough oil and if I haven’t worn makeup, I just don’t cleanse. I figure it’s better for my body to regulate it’s own skin oils and it has been doing rather a good job of it – it works for my scalp so why not my face? So at the moment my beauty routine consists of removing any makeup I wear with a scant rub of almond oil and applying sunscreen in the mornings. When it gets dry I’ll use some oil to moisturize but that’s it. It took a couple of weeks for my skin to equalise but since then it’s been majorly low maintenance, and no cystic acne breakouts at all.

  • http://www.monkeyobsessions.blogspot alice

    I’m extremely intrigued by all of this and may just have to try it. I’ve never had any acne breakouts in my life, even during my teenage years, just an occasional stray pimple. But since moving back to the West Coast my skin feels constantly dry no matter how much lotion I’m slathering on so I’m very curious whether this will help. And bonus if this will help with wrinkles too!

  • Marsha Calhoun

    I discovered that oil was better than soap many years ago when I was camping, quite dirty, and found that I had forgotten to bring any face soap. Rather than use dish detergent, I decided to use the baby oil I had brought for some reason – after all, water and oil are the two most powerful solvents easily available to us. Now, I don’t even use oil – water morning and night does the trick for someone like me who uses very little makeup, followed in the morning by moisturizing sunscreen, and at night (usually) with my anti-wrinkle fantasy cream. When I wear eye makeup, I just wash my eyes gently with water and let whatever doesn’t wash off wear away in its own time, perhaps using a small bit of argan oil to dab below the lower lashes. My rule of thumb – if you are washing with something that makes your skin feel tight, it’s not doing you any good.

  • JenFin

    I’m so glad to hear your thoughts on oil cleansing, Sal. Thanks! I’m curious – do you still use the prescribed topical cream? I’ve been using a clyndamicin (sp?) lotion for a while now for my cystic/hormonal acne, and I’m curious how that would play with oil cleansing. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to just give it up though, because the resulting acne is both horrible to look at and painful.

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Hey JenFin! Hmmm, I’m using prescribed Adapalene cream, not sure if it’s the same thing … and I still use it, but very, very sparingly. It’s never really done much for me on the prevention end, more on the healing existing zits end.

      I’m inclined to think that something as natural as vegetable oils wouldn’t interfere with your cream, but I’d definitely recommend asking your dermatologist. I know how painful cystic acne can be, and if you’ve got a treatment that works, I’d hate to advise you to try OCM and have you experience an awful breakout.

  • Oksana

    You gave a link to OCM in early january, in one of your link collections, and I decided to try it. Well. It does work! My skin didn’t really get better looking than on soaps, but it stopped having that really tight dry feeling, which is really nice! And I think my pores got cleaner as well, but now I wish I knew how to make htem completely clean, but no luck yet.
    One thing though, those pore cleaning strips… they work TONS better right after an oil cleansing.

    Thanks for the original link. Never even heard of OCM before you.

  • Raven1025

    I started oil cleansing thanks to your post including it (I think in January or so?) I just use olive oil and castor oil, currently at a ratio of 1:3. I dab tea tree oil on problem areas. I have been enjoying it so far. I made a mix that was about 4 teaspoons total, have been using that for a couple of weeks and still have a few washes left. I would like to try the jojoba oil to see if that works better for my blackheads.
    I cleanse before bed at night, and that’s it. I avoid splashing water on my face in the morning, because it makes my skin feel tight. It’s really made the skin around my eyes better. I’ve had fine lines underneath since I was in high school. They are much less noticeable. I’ve been breaking out less, but when it’s that time in a couple of weeks I think that will be the real test! The only thing it hasn’t made a big difference in is my blackheads. They are hereditary, and are just on my nose (and now a bit toward my cheeks). Thanks genetics for those giant pores! This is why I think the jojoba might help.
    This is especially wonderful in these winter months, my skin no longer feels tight despite oozing oil.

  • Marisa

    I feel like I’m kind of in Anne’s position, too – I just wash my face when I wash my body, with the same bar, and scrub with a washcloth for exfoliation. My skin has been so happy with this for so long that I can’t see any reason to change it.

    That said, I had horrible cystic acne, which is only controlled through meds (I take a very low dosage of Spironolactone daily – it’s a blood-pressure drug, but this is a common off-label usage). I spent years trying different skin-care regimes (and elimination diets) in an attempt to get it under control without drugs, but finally had to accept that it had nothing to do with the surface of my skin and everything to do with my natural hormonal balance.

  • http://www.littlehomesteadinthevalley.blogspot.com Jen

    I use cream of my face occasionally in the winter for dryness. Other than that, I don’t use anything else, no soap, no toner, nothing. I get the occasional period related breakout but that’s it.

    I’m a no-pooer as well.

  • http://www.stylesymmetry.com eyeliah

    I use oil on my face, though not an every day routine yet. I think it feels great and much healthier than chemical filled products. I like evoo and coconut oils.

  • Marisa

    And I meant to add to my previous comment – if you are a woman and have cystic acne, definitely talk to your doc about Spironolactone. The difference in my skin has been amazing, and I’m a lot less concerned about taking it than I was about the various antibiotics or even birth control that are usually prescribed for cystic acne. (Men can’t take it because it acts as a testosterone blocker – it’s also used to treat excess facial hair in women, I think.)

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      TOTALLY investigating this. Thank you, Marisa!

    • Ruth

      My derm prescribed this to me and yes, it does work. However, when I told my mom (who’s a pharmacist), she advised that I stop taking it since it’s not intended for that use and that solving the problem short-term might lead to worse long-term effects (and that you’re treating the symptoms and not the cause). My internist (who aligns her practice with integrative medicine) agreed with my mom and advised that I have a blood panel done and then use diet, supplements and exercise as a first defense since skin issues are a reflection of gut issues. Stubborn as I am, I wanted the quick fix and was on Spironolactone for about 6 months until the annoyance of having to go in and have my potassium levels checked at regular intervals started to make me wonder what the true cost would be long-term. So I stopped taking it and followed my mom’s and Dr’s advice. While my skin still has hormonal breakouts, they are lesser than they were and I can almost time the breakouts now to what I’ve eaten. (I get some clockwork shark week breakouts and some from overly-processed-and-sugared stuff. Oh and sausage products all break me out on the left side of my chin like a darling little cluster having a hoedown.)

  • http://mavenhaven.blogspot.com Maven

    It’s so great that you’re having a good experience with this. Since I’m a fairly crunchy DIY type, it sounds appealing to me, BUT I’m also skeptical for a lot of reasons. Mainly, it appears that all the claims about the science behind oil cleansing aren’t actually backed up by anything apart from the chemistry rule of thumb, “like dissolves like”–which, if I understand correctly, refers to similarity in chemical structure and polarity, and not “oil will definitely dissolve other oil.”

    And I get the lack of super-sciency info–I mean, no one’s going to do any real research (I mean lab research, not internet research) on oil cleansing because there’s absolutely no financial incentive to do so (no product development possible, since the oils are already available for sale!). But I see beauty bloggers repeating the same information about oil cleansing from blog to blog–again, with no citations, no actual description of the science–and saying “commercial products are full of chemicals and that’s bad!!!!” with no real evidence. Believe me, I am no apologist for the FDA or pharmaceutical companies and I think that most skincare product claims are utter bunk, but the fact that something is made out of chemicals–as we all are, as everything is–is not in itself a reason to ditch the product.

    Annnnd if we’re just going on the anecdata, people’s experiences with it seem to be all over the place.

    Siiiighhhh. All that said, I’ll probably keep reading about it, and confine my coconut oil application to my legs.
    /soapbox

  • http://www.theclayrosarygirl.blogspot.com sarah harkins

    This is very interesting! I just bought a 5 gallon tub of this “miracle” virgin coconut oil that people use for everything from yeast infections to deorderant to lotion, to cooking. I have put the oil on my face instead of washing it, but I have never used this method. I think I will try it. P.s. I bought my coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.com. I think it is very important to get cold pressed oils or expeller pressed and not ones that have been chemically treated.

  • Margot907

    I, too, recently switched from Cetaphil to OCM for my combination dry & oily skin. When I first tried OCM last August, it made my skin super soft, but I broke out which I hardly ever do. I tried it again in October and I think my skin just needed to adjust, because I love it. My current mix is 25% castor oil, 50% sunflower, 25% apricot seed oil. It works better for me than the olive oil.

    My skin is so soft and it glows in a really nice way. The tone is much more even so I use much less concealer. Unlike most OCM users, I still need to moisturize after I wash, so I use Burt’s Bees Baby Oil. It is the best moisturizer I have ever used. In the morning, I dry brush with a facial brush from The Body Shop and just use water and sunscreen.

    I also went soap-free for my body last year and my skin looks better than it ever has. I shave with hair conditioner, clean with water, and moisturize with oil – that’s it. It makes you wonder what other “necessary” toiletries we need to unlearn to use.

    Does anyone have any tips for OCM while traveling?

    • Velma

      I just made up some little travel-size jars of my oil mix (see above). Because it is based on coconut oil, it is a solid at room temp–unless it gets pretty hot outside! It can be stored in the fridge in the summer or used as a liquid if it’s hot out.

      • Margot907

        Thanks Velma. I’ve used coconut oil on my body, but I heard it could make your face break out. If that hasn’t been a problem for you, I’ll give this a try the next time I travel.

  • http://www.whyisshesocute.com Emily

    Great post, I like how you went through the whole process. I don’t have problem acne, but I do have a-topic dermatitis, and my skin can flake like dandruff, especially in the winter . (it’s sexy, lemme tell you…) I used to use Ponds cold cream to remove makeup, cleanse and moisturize for a while, which worked pretty well – until my BF at the time told me I smelled like his mom. Ouch. That ended that. Then I tried a variety of expensive things, but I landed on vaseline. I love it. It removes all makeup, and I use a similar dry washcloth system. Tho I think I might try olive oil just to see. I use it in the bath sometimes, but I never remember to buy the light kind. And then I end up smelling like italian food with EVOO. ;)

  • http://www.seemefit.com Jen

    About a year ago I read a quote along the lines of “if you wouldn’t eat it, why would you put it on your skin?” After all, your skin absorbs things and I’m heavily affected by the foods I eat. With that in mind, I started using olive oil to remove my makeup and it worked wonderfully.

    I’ve always had chronically sensitive skin. I can’t wear eyeliner, I can’t use most lotions, I can’t use Chapstick brand because random ingredients make my skin blister and flake off. As a teen I used the “acne fighting” face washes like Clearasil or Neutrogena which likely exacerbated my skin issues. My routine looked something like this: wash face, dry face, apply moisturizer, apply foundation, apply cover-up, apply powder. It was lot of work to look “normal”.

    Fast forward to my previous quote, you are what you eat (or apply topically). I started using Burts Bees products on my face and they helped with the most severe of the blotchiness, tightness, and dryness I was feeling but my skin was still upset about something. Every time I’d wash my face I’d have to apply lotion afterwards.

    I now use EVOO to remove makeup and cleanse my face. I rub the oil into my skin with a cotton ball (after removing makeup) and apply a hot wash cloth to my face, letting it sit and steam for ~30 seconds. I’ll rinse the wash cloth and use it to remove any excess oil, then I’ll pat my skin dry. I haven’t needed to use any face moisturizer, my skin is clearer and smoother, and I haven’t had any issues with red, itchy patches. I also use hair conditioner to shave primarily to cut down on shower clutter; it also works well if you buy a conditioner and it doesn’t suit your hair type.

  • Jenni

    i am a jojoba fan. there is a company local to me that processes their own, and it comes in a convenient plastic squeeze bottle, which is perfect for me since i am a clutz. in the winter i wash with it, and if i need to exfoliate, i used a blend of kaolin clay and lavender flower buds that i buzz up in a coffee grinder. my skin feels soft and no longer gets that “tight”, overdry feeling. also, it is a great makeup remover, even mascara. non-irritating!

    haven’t moved on to oil washing in hot weather but might go there this summer, since i just turned 40 and am starting to get neurotic about moisturizing. but so far something about using the oil when i’m already feeling hot and sticky hasn’t been appealing.

  • paisleyapron

    Great post. I’ve been using Jojoba oil on my skin and hair for years. I prefer it over the EVOO because it doesn’t leave a greasy stain on my linens. I find it is the only thing that removes waterproof mascara well. Expensive make-up removers wrecked my skin.

  • Taryn

    Thanks for this post!! I have been experimenting with my skin, because I have some serious combination skin going on. I will get acne quite occasionally, and during the winter especially, certain areas of my face tend to flake right off. I have been using Pond’s Cold Cream recently, which my skin seems to drink right up (I feel like it literally makes me glow). I will definitely have to give this oil cleansing a shot!

  • http://radiant-brown-beauty.com Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty

    Great that it’s working for you! It’s a toss up really. Some people oil cleansing works for and others it doesn’t. I find that many women of color have issues with it and some don’t.

    Do whatever works. I don’t care for it :-)

  • http://www.oranges-and-apples.com/ Franca

    This is interesting, I’d actually not heard of that. I have skin that gets mega oily quickly but also anything too harsh dried it out and makes it feel tight so your usual oily skin cleansers and moisturisers are no good. I’ve been looking for a good cleanser and moisturiser combo for a long time to no avail I’ve recently switched to a nut based facial cleanser (herbalism by lush) which leaves my skin feeling nicely moisturised after cleansing, which I like and may be a step in the right direction. I’d love to try the oil thing, but I must admit having a skincare routine that involves so many face cloths is not really practical for me just now though.

  • http://www.meganmaedaily.com/ Megan Mae

    I want really badly to start this, but I haven’t. I just haven’t put forth the effort to do it, but I want to look into it more. I’m pretty happy with my current routine and the only skin problem I have is hormonal acne, and that’s only really affected with HBC pills. Glad to hear so many responses on the OCM method though,

  • http://www.pocketyourdollars.com Carrie Rocha

    Sally – I have had similar skin issues to what you describe ever since I started wearing make-up regularly shortly after college. I have tried about everything under the sun (but not oil, like you talk about here). I recently splurged on a Clarisonic Mia. I love and recommend it. I just had my first period since using it and NOT A SINGLE zit. For a gal that is used to huge breakouts every. single. month. that’s huge. You can use whatever cleanser you want with it, but wow – the sonic technology has left my skin seeming as if I don’t wear any makeup at all. It is that clean.

  • http://readinginskirts.wordpress.com/ Mia

    I’m loving reading all the comments from people about this! I’m semi-crunchy and getting crunchier–after I shave my head in May/June, I’m definitely going to try going no-poo, since it’s easier to hide an oily scalp if you don’t have any hair to get oily with it, hahaha. I use some crappy facial scrub that I get from the discount store and Cetaphil body lotion, but I also have just used up a sugar/oil scrub that a book club friend made for everybody for Christmas 2010. It left my face feeling so clean! I miss it, and am going to have to ask her for the recipe so I can make more. I’ve been making an effort to touch my face less to help with pimples etc., but, seriously, I touch my face A LOT. I wonder if completely conquering that habit would help my skin out some…

  • http://www.smilesgowitheverything.com Diana

    I’ll have to try this. I’ve always felt like stripping your skin of oils and then adding moisture back in with artificial moisturizers seemed a bit weird.

  • http://thehardestbitisthetitle.blogspot.com Erika

    I’ve been a natural products user for a loooooooong time. Any oil works well as a cleanser, I tend to use a mix of jojoba and almond oil. If I’m feeling decadent when making up the mix, I add rose and other essential oils. Yes, a bottle of rose absolute is hideously expensive, but it lasts years. When I’m stony broke, I make my own up. When I’ve got some spare cash, I tend to have fun at the local health food shop and get something lush like Trilogy (NZ based) or Alchemy (Australian). I love the fragrance… Witchhazel or rosewater are great toners, very gentle on the skin.

    Castor oil with gentle heat is used to draw out impurities – it’s one of the tricks for drawing out splinters! And when I had the time, I used to oil my (long) hair up, put on a shower cap, then wrap in a hot towel for the time it took to read the Sunday paper, then wash it out. I no longer have that sort of free time, but it did a great job of conditioning my dry hair. From memory, oiling your hair is a traditional Indian practice – predominantly coconut oil, I think. These days, it’s a couple of dabs of argan oil swiped over it before the morning shower. And it only gets washed once a week.

  • Heather

    I’ve been doing OCM for several years now (aside from a brief sojourn into homemade cold cream territory). It takes alot of tweaking to find the right oil blend for your skin- some folks love castor, some grapeseed, etc. I found I did best without adding essential oils so that I could use it on my eyes. Eventually I had to stop because I am blonde and the castor oil was dyeing my hair! (I also got really sick of the gunky washcloths that nothing would clean.) I found my Holy Grail with Silk Naturals Apricot Cleansing Oil- it just has 3 ingredients: Apricot Kernel Oil, Grapeseed Oil, and Cromoillent (a seaweed extract that helps the oil rinse clean). The other part of the equation is water-only washing, which is what I do if I’m NOT wearing alot of makeup, and what I do in the morning.

  • Melanie

    I was doing OCM for about 2 years, with a mix of castor oil/jojoba oil, and it was great, but then I started getting an allergic dermatitis type reaction around my eyes. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first, but stopped the OCM and switched to CeraVe which cleared it up. First time I tried my oil mix again, I immediately puffed up around the eyes & got red/scaly. I *think* it might be a reaction that built up to the castor oil (??) but I haven’t experimented anymore to figure it out. I use DHC cleansing oil now & CeraVe every once in awhile, but still use olive oil or jojoba oil as a moisturizer. Anyone else had such an experience? It was really weird since I had been using the method with great success for so long.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I started using almond oil for cleansing and moisturizing about a year ago and never looked back since. And it’s super cheap too.

  • Sarah

    I have been oil cleansing for over a year and my reviews are still mixed. My skin is combination acne prone/patches of dry. My blend is 50/50 castor and coconut oil. My acne is not gone completely but I think it’s improved, and my dry skin has has virtually vanished, but the texture of my skin is disgusting since I started oil cleansing. My pores are bigger than ever and my face is much more blotchy than when I used traditional products. I am curious if anyone else has had this kind of experience?

  • Ingrid

    I’ve just stopped (about a month ago) using shampoo and conditioner and have been dithering over the idea of starting oil cleansing. I have dry skin and washing it with just water makes it very unhappy. This post may have helped me finally make up my mind!

  • Bridget

    Sal,
    I hate to be a naysayer, but NO, no one breaks out solely because of hormones. It’s your diet, it’s everyone’s diet. Most people eat waaaay too much fat because the Standard American Diet consists heavily of meat and dairy (which are higher in fat than humans need), and processed foods. Switch over to the dark side VEGANISM! People who eat low-fat high carb diets (fruit, vegetables, grain, pasta, beans, rice) do not have skin problems, weight problems, emotional problems, etc.
    P.S. The correct amount of fat a human needs on a daily basis is under a tablespoon (in terms of overt fat) or 10% of your total calories.

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      I never said solely, Bridget. I pointed out my own dietary reactions in this post.

      Furthermore, I think that to say a vegan diet will cure skin, weight, and emotional problems is quite a stretch. It might help many, it wouldn’t cure all.

    • http://pockyandanne.etsy.com Anne

      Bridget,
      I appreciate your enthusiasm for the vegan diet, and agree that it is way healthier than the way most Americans eat, but I will personally attest that you can eat a “perfect” diet and still have skin, weight, and emotional problems- otherwise, I wouldn’t be on anti-depressants right now!
      I just wanted to clear things up- veganism is great, but it sure isn’t a cure-all. People might get offended if you go around telling them they have emotional issues simply because they aren’t eating correctly.

    • Katharine

      Bridget, I’m glad that veganism works for you, but I have to say that my experience (I was vegan for four years, and vegetarian for eight years after that) was the opposite of yours. As a vegan, I was the fattest I’ve ever been, had very low energy, and serious menstrual problems.

      It is also not as environmentally friendly as people would like you to believe, since most vegans are still eating unsustainably grown monocrops shipped long distances, and vegan eating would not be possible for most temperate-zone dwellers without the products and energy of the industrial oil complex.

      • http://www.chronologievintage.etsy.com Barbara

        I know some vegans with emotional problems.

  • Andrea

    I just wanted to weigh in! My method evolved from this oil-cleansing method to what worked best for me. I use only jojoba oil – about two drops worth – after scrubbing my face with a warm, damp washcloth (usually in the shower). I just apply the oil with my hands while my face is still damp – I find it makes it easier to spread around. The trouble with this method is not wiping off the oil by accident with a towel, but it usually only takes a few minutes for my face to dry. This is my morning routine, and at night I just scrub with the washcloth (or with oil if I happen to have makeup on).

    Even in the winter and my electrically heated apartment, my face does not get dry or breakout easily. However, this may also be in part to how little make-up I use. I’m fortunate enough to be in a work environment where I don’t need to put on a full face of make-up more than once a week. But when I do, pimples do seem to follow. Overall though, my skin feels so much better after abandoning face soap and cleansers. I always thought I had oily skin, but now it seems really well balanced.

  • CP

    Several years ago I went “no poo” (using baking soda and AVC) with good results. Hair and scalp is much better off, but the big surprise was how much better my skin was. Dryness and rosacea problems improved. So then I started using OCM. Continued improvement. I won’t be going back to even allegedly gentle shampoos or facial cleaners. Less is better.

  • Grace

    Hi, everyone!
    I have been trying oil cleasing method for sometime after Sally introduced a suggested reading list. The article was simple and I was hooked into it.
    First thing, and the only thing I could do was with EVOO, the only possible ingredient at home. Oil Massages and warm towel pampering were great. And above all, this doesn’t make you greasy and feel clean and fresh without drying and tight feeling on the skin. I am on dry side so needed a lot of moisturizer all day long. Not any more.
    As of yesterday, I am importing (meaning: international online purchasing) the other poossible oils I cannot easily get here in Korea. So far I am happy to know about this method and keep my fingers crossed for the imported goods. In the long run this will take less money. Think about all the cleansers, soaps and moisturizers.
    One tip about the towel for me. I use hand towel sized easy drying coloured tea towels. I need two or three towels at once and washed them with the warm water I have already in the basin. The will be ready for the next oil cleansing. It is not fussy at all. When I steam I use two of thre towels together to get the temperature longer. Coloured in important. Oily grease does make yellowish colouirng on the towel in what ever way you wash(Or is is just me?) but coloured one do not show those things.

  • Rachel

    Very informative article and interesting comments! I am just wondering, what does “no-poo” mean?

    • Grace

      Using no shampoo. Nor soap. There are people using baking soda and water ane rins with natural apple vinegar or something. It is not bad. An alternative if you can keep on somtime enought for your body do comeback to no no-need-of-strong-expensive-but-not-worth the money and effort you use it for. Google will help. That is all folks. :)

  • marcella pilarski

    sure enjoyed reading all the comments-will have to
    try these good ideas
    marcella pilarski

  • Sarah G

    Hi Sal, I recently read this interesting post on Girls Gone Child about olive oil that I thought I would share http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2012/02/eat-well-like-extra-virgin.html. It was a real eye opener – I had no idea that most supermarket olive oil wasn’t straight olive oil! Anyway, it might be worth checking that your olive oil isn’t already adulterated with lampanate or some other oil.

    Also, a tip. If you want to incorporate exfoliation into your oil cleansing system, you could always add some suger to your oil (I do the combining on my face, I don’t know if the suger would melt if you added it to the oil in the bottle). Sugar and oil is a great exfoliant. However, for some types it can be a little rough.

    Cheers, Sarah

  • http://www.chronologievintage.etsy.com Barbara

    What an interesting post…I’ve learned a lot from Sal and others commenting here.

    I’ve always had pretty good skin. As I’ve gotten older and had a baby, my routine got more lax and I’d find I’d often fall asleep without washing my face. Often I just splash water on my face, morning or night. I don’t wear foundation or very much makeup, so there’s not much to wash off.

    After feeling guilty/lazy about this “routine” for a long time, I now feel vindicated after reading the comments about less washing, and natural skin oils! I’m 48 and friends often comment that my skin looks great. Maybe I’ve been doing something right after all.

    Also, I’ve been shampoo-free for at least ten years. My hair is very curly and dry, and I love how it looks now more than I ever did.

  • http://www.tileflair.co.uk Bobby

    What an idea..I’ve recently been using oil-blotting paper on my face, but after reading this, I may shelve the paper and start sticking on more oil!! Thanks for the information and experimentation on our behalf!

  • Lily

    I’ve been doing OCM for about 2-3 weeks now but I am not seeing the benefits I so much read about. I have oily/combination skin and rosacea. I started off with 1 part castor oil and 2 parts sunflower oil. My skin almost instantly became much less oily in the T-zone but the rest extremely dry. I reduced the amount of castor oil and changed from sunflower to jojoba oil: 10% castor and 90% jojoba. I found this still quite drying and so I reduced castor oil to about 5% but even then I find that it dries my skin. The only conclusion I can come up with is that either I need to use even less castor oil or simply not use it and stick with just the jojoba oil. I also dab a little tea tree oil on my cheeks which is meant to help with rosacea.

    The red patches I get from my rosacea have not gone away with OCM but when I wake up in the mornings they’re not as visible. OCM has evened out my skin tone, my T-zone is definitely less oily than it used to be, and my skin looks so bright after cleansing. That’s all good. However, when I clean my skin I don’t feel like a lot of readers that it is cleaning my pores and removing all the dirt and grime built up throughout the day. My pores are incredibly visible and I am getting a lot more blackheads on my nose than I used to. I’ve never had this many blackheads in my life! Perhaps I am doing something wrong. I don’t really know. My routine for cleaning is massaging the oils for 2 – 5 minutes, steaming my face with a warm cloth (not hot because of my rosacea) about 2-3 times and gently wiping off the oil. I close my pores with apple cider vinegar diluted in water or sometimes with just cold water. I do need to moisturize afterwards and have been using either jojoba oil or a combination of jojoba and rosehip oil. I haven’t broken out in pimples and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t happen. My main worry is that my skin is so dry and that my pores don’t seem to be unclogging (or at least I don’t feel like they are) and all the blackheads I am getting which I can’t seem to get rid of.

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  • http://none Kelsey

    I am sort of almost afraid to dry this. So me, I have combo skin I have really dry spots and really oily spots also (it could just be the way my skin reacts to my harsh cleanser) haven’t found the perfect skin care routine but this looks easy! Thanks for posting this! Did this help anyone will cystic acne. I’m pretty sure I have cystic acne it lasts for soo long. Anyway any ideas would be highly appreciated, ( I’m still a teen) thanks!

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Kelsey, cystic acne is big, painful bumps that appear under the skin and never come to a head. If that’s what you’ve got, oil cleansing probably won’t help too much. Cystic acne is often hormonally triggered, and it would be best to talk to a dermatologist about treatment. But oil cleansing can help with other complexion issues, so it might be worth a try. You can just grab a bottle of olive oil from the grocery store and try it out. Cheap and easy!

  • Pelicanlake71

    I’m so glad you posted this! I’m 40 with lifelong chronic acne (I just started my second course of Accutane in three years…sigh. It works, but oh, the side effects). I can say from experience, jojoba oil does NOT make my acne worse. In fact, it soaks in beautifully and evens out my naturally-oily forehead and flaky dry cheeks and nose. It’s also great as a makeup-remover. Desert Essence sells it for less than some other brands and is readily available in many grocery stores.

    I have tried every dermatologist-recommended treatment and nothing worked. I have NEVER understood why dermatologists are so fond of recommending Cetaphil, Aquaphor, and other fake chemical products (often containing petroleum products, fragrance, phthalates, etc.). They either make my skin more irritated and red, or just sit on the surface not letting my skin breathe. Plus, who wants chemicals soaking into your body?

  • Candra

    I could use a suggestion from all your OCM users. I was using cetaphil as a cleanser and aquaphor as a moisturizer (I was getting eczema from any other moisturizers I tried) and my face was doing fine. But I hated the thought of all those chemicals and the thick coating on my skin from the aquaphor made my makeup look terrible. I switched to the OCM almost a week ago and for 5 of those evenings, I only used olive oil and lavender. My skin would feel tight afterwards- so I rubbed a tiny bit of oil back on my skin after wiping it all off. I noticed that it was starting to look dry around my mouth and eyes. Last night I tried the castor oil mixed 1/4 to 3/4 evoo since my skin was already getting dry- and today I have dry flaky spots under my eyes, and flaky skin around my mouth. Is this a normal thing to happen while my skin is adjusting? I was thinking my skin would be more oily until my skin adjusted- not dry up. Especially from just using evoo. Should I cut back and not do this every night? If so- what should I use on the off nights? I wear makeup daily- so I obviously have to do something to remove the makeup. I appreciate the feedback! I SO want this to work for me.

  • Benny

    Oh, please don’t use vaseline on your face Emily. It is just mineral oil, which I have read is dangerous. Try googling about it.

  • Christina

    I started the OCM approximately a week and a half ago. Like many others I suffer from sensitive, combination/oily skin, cystic acne and all. I should note that my skin needs a pretty high amount of exfoliating as well. I have tried it all and nothing has worked- peels, oral medications, and a ridiculous amount of different skincare lines ranging from under 10 dollars up to 100 dollars. Frustrating! I looked around on several sites to read reviews and the mix I’ve been doing is 2 parts castor oil, 1 part jojoba, and then after cleansing I spot treat with tea tree oil. I was hesitant at first, but every single day my skin is glowing more and my acne is diminishing. I have a blemish here and there but I know my skin well enough to know that it is in fact in its ‘purging’ phase and is healing much quicker than usual. For my skin personally saliyclic acid and benzoyl peroxide make my skin dry and clogged feeling and keep my acne dormant. It sounds like for many the castor oil is ‘the enemy” but it is helping me personally. (It may be because I have skin that needs a heavy amount of exfoliating). From what I’ve heard after reading over 100+ reviews on the OCM , those with acne prone skin should steer clear of olive oil and coconut oil as they may lead to more acne. Obviously everyone has different skin and a different mix they use! Over the past 12 years I have suffered from horrible skin and this is in fact the first time my skin has felt healthy, moisturized and cleaner than ever. Try it!

  • Tika

    I have used the OCM and I love it I use a combination of grapeseed oil and castor oil and just recently learned that lavender oil is good for acne and started adding a few drops of that. This by far has been the best decision I have made. Coming from a person that has tried every product that has been marketed not to mention seeing a dermatologist and still had no relief until I came across an article about OCM it has only been a few weeks since I started but I do see and feel the difference.

  • Georgia

    Hey there,
    Just a quick question – I did oil cleansing for a week or so. My skin is pretty normal – ie not too oily or dry but get black heads and usually have one or pimples. After doing oil for one week my blackheads were noticably improved, rest of my skin looked great – except for my chin which has had the most extreme breakout ever. So I stopped with the oil, thinking that it was causing the breakout. I have gone back to my old routine (of pretty much nothing) but still having major chin pimples. Any ideas – Is the oil cleansing method drawing these pimples out and it will go away after a while once I have “detoxed”? Or is my mixture not quite right? Any help on this would be great. I loved the feeling of my skin, when I was using the oil and loved that it was all natural. Thanks so much! G

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Georgia, that is odd … it’s possible that the breakout would clear after your chin got used to the oil cleansing, but I’m honestly not sure. I don’t know enough about combination skin to say for certain, but it’s possible that area is just more sensitive than others. You could definitely play with your mixture. If your chin is feeling dry, add more of the moisturizing oils. If it feels greasy, add drying oils like castor.

      Sorry I can’t be more help. You could also swing by one of these forums and ask for help: http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/oil_cleansing_method_reviews.html

      • Georgia

        Cool thanks for your help. I will try that forum. My chin is clearing a little so maybe it was just doing its own weird thing! Loving your blog. :)

  • Julia

    Quick question…I have had problem skin for years…my skin is very dry, sensitive and acne prone. Same as the comments above I have tried everything. I recently switched to the oil cleansing and I love it…one issue…in the morning when I put my makeup over top my skin feels itchy and irritated…any suggestions? I am using 75-25 olive oil to castor oil. Many people have said they just use water in the morning however, due to my dry skin I have been oil cleansing morning and night. If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Julia, you could try cutting out the castor oil entirely. It’s more of a drying oil. Again, I’m not a true expert, but you could also swing by one of these forums and ask for help from folks who know more: http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/oil_cleansing_method_reviews.html

      • Julia

        Appreciate the suggestion!
        Thanks :)

  • astrid

    i’m new at this, and after i tried i felt that my skin is getting softer and my acne redness and scars recover faster (usually it takes months to recover the scars) i’m gonna see if my complexion becomes clearer after i use it for months or so. just like u i have hormonal acnes too
    i only use olive oil though, not a mixture of castor and olive oil. and i just apply it on my face on the evening and leave it overnight.

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  • Dawn M

    Im 41 yrs old and started getting bad cystic acne about 9 yrs ago. I have tried everything and nothing has really helped. I came across OCM the other day and said WTH I’ll try it. I used a mixture of EVOO & cold pressed castro oil. While my skin feels wonderful, I’m broken out EVERYWHERE even places I never got pimples before. They’re big red and even sore OMG I look horrid!! I’m wondering if maybe I’m having a reaction to the Castro oil? Can someone suggest any other oil mixture or has had a similar thing happen to them? My skin isn’t as oily as before and feels good but holy crap my face has erupted like a volcano lol

  • Bianca Bruce

    I have combo skin..not too oily not too dry somewhere in the middle. I don’t have breakouts very often unless I am intentionally drinking a lot of soda, however lately along my jaw line my face has been breaking out ( I think from work-I work at a high school and am answering a phone all day long). I am not one to pick at my pimples when they arise, I leave them alone. However, my skin is sensitive in that it scars really easy. How does the OCM work with fading scars and evening out skin tone?

  • Sally

    I’m hoping to try this out. I have extremely sensitive skin. I can’t use anything on my skin without getting hives after washing it with that product. My skin sometimes reacts to honey as well! I recently used Simple skin care products on my face hoping that I would get clearer skin but on the third day of using it my entire face had dry and red patches. I’m still on the search for a product that will make my face look clean and free of spots and blemishes.

    Do you think my skin would react the way it usually does with this OCM?

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sally

      I honestly don’t know, my dear. This method works for many skin types, but not all. You might want to consult a dermatologist first.

  • Kaitlin

    I’ve never had any problems with getting pimples but I just started using the oil cleansing method a little less than a week ago and have started breaking out. Do you know if there is typically an adjustment period where skin gets worse before it returns to normal? Or would you recommend that I ditch OCM and go back to what I was using before?

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sally

      Kaitlin there can definitely be an adjustment period, but I’d say if your skin doesn’t clear in four weeks, go back to what you were using before or consult someone about creating a different mixture of oils.