The oil cleansing method

The oil cleansing method

Published by Marissa Masterson on Mar 9th 2017

Cleansing oil, it's so much better than you think.

Even though the oil cleansing method has been becoming more mainstream over the past few years, it's still not the popular thing to do, and I can understand why. Oil on your skin? Breakout city, right? Nope! If you use the correct oils, your skin can be more glowy and clear than you ever imagined. Read on to find out how!

Why the oil cleansing method works

Like dissolves like. Meaning similar molecules help to break up and disperse each other. Trying to get mud off your car? Use water. Trying to get oil unclogged from your pores? Use oil. We all know oil and water don't mix, so washing your oily face with something water based means you're not going to dislodge as many impurities. A proper oil based cleanser can loosen and dissolve sebum, dirt and toxins trapped in your skin. Its pollution, dirt, and hormones that are usually to blame for breakouts, inflammation and wrinkles. Believe it or not, oil is actually important to skin health, you don't want to strip your skin completely of it's natural oils which are needed to moisturize, heal and protect skin. 

the oil cleansing method

Which cleansing oils to use

This is a crucial part of the oil cleansing method. You don't want to just slather any old oil onto your precious complexion. I've heard of people using olive oil and coconut oil, but they wouldn't be my first choice as they are somewhat comedogenic, meaning they're more likely to clog pores. You want to chose a cleansing oil that has a very low comedogenic rating, such as argan oil, marula oil, rosehip seed oil or castor oil. In addition, you always want to make sure your using clean oils, meaning they are certified organic, wildcrafted or at least non-gmo. If you have acne issues,( read our blog about the best oils for acne) you not only want to stick with non-comedogenic oils, but choose oils that have a high linoleic acid content like hemp seed oil, my personal favorite acne-fighter. Castor oil is also a really popular skin cleansing oil due to it's anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and healing properties. If acne isn't an issue for you but you have dry skin, I suggest skipping the castor oil which can be somewhat drying and stripping. Try Rosehip seed oil, grape seed oil or tamanu which still have relatively low comedogenic ratings but will give your skin a bit of extra moisture. Ultimately, the cleansing oil you choose is up to you and you and your skin.


This is going to be a little different for everyone and it's best to pay close attention to your skin and use your intuition. Oil cleansing is very deep and detoxifying, but also very nourishing and moisturizing. Having said that, not everyone needs to cleanse like this every day. If your skin is feeling particularly grimy, dry, dull or clogged, I recommend doing an oil cleanse. However, if your skin feels fairly balanced and fresh, you can get away with just a steamy washcloth and water... or the natural cleanser of your choice. I suggest trying every other day to every 2 days to find your sweet spot.

cleansing oil

How to do the oil cleansing method

Time for the fun part! The oil cleansing method is really simple and you'll find this relaxing ritual a welcomed change from the fast slather + rinse of conventional cleanser.

  • Start with your cleansing oil, a clean washcloth and hot water.
  • First pump a dime sized amount of cleansing oil into the palm of your hand, rub both hands together to warm the oil and apply to your face, massaging deep into your pores to dissolve impurities.
  • Focus on your problem areas and take your time, letting the cleansing oil work in deeply to loosen debris and hardened sebum.
  • Run your washcloth under hot water and wring it out letting it cool a bit but still steamy and warm.
  • Gently hold the washcloth over your face and let the warmth penetrate your pores before wiping and repeating 2-3 times. 

There's no need to scrub with this face cleansing method as the oil and steam do all the heavy lifting. Once you've finished, apply a tad more of your favorite serum or oil and enjoy the glow. This is a deep cleaning method and should be done only every few days to avoid drying. Your skin may start to show signs of detoxification with a breakout here or there, but after several sessions of oil cleansing, you should notice a huge difference. Your skin will feel less congested, brighter and less irritated.

A note about eyes: I personally avoid my eye area when oil cleansing. My eyes are very sensitive and I also wear contacts so I just prefer oils to keep their distance. If you DO choose to clean your eye makeup away with an oil cleanser, make sure you use one that doesn't contain any(or an extremely diluted amount of) essential oils so that your eyes don't become irritated. 

Fan Favorite Cleansing Oils

blue chamomile cleansing oil

Blue Chamomile Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover

lilac cleansing oil

Lilac Cleansing Oil & Toner


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are in no way intended to heal, prevent or treat any illness. Please consult your doctor if you are seeking medical advice.


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