The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

It doesn’t make sense; I have been taught my whole life that oil and my face are mortal enemies, and believe me when I tell you that I have tried ev-er-y-thing to rid my face of the blemishes that have plagued me since puberty. Every line of product you can buy off the shelf, or order, you name it: I have tried it (except for the oral medications… Those freak me right out)! All the while thinking “Why, God, did you curse me with this wretched oily skin? Whyyyyyyy?!”


Imagine the feelings of betrayal I felt when I discovered that they are, in fact, not mortal enemies, but long lost lovers destined to be together and fulfill all each other’s my hopes and dreams! But instead of dwelling on the lies and the deceit from and the thousands of dollars wasted, in vain, to “Big Beauty,” I decided to dry my tears (see above picture) and move forward.

Enter: The Oil Cleansing Method.


Your skin needs oil to seal moisture onto it and stay healthy, supple, and -you guessed it- moist. Over the counter face washes, scrubs and “medications” -don’t even get me started on Proactive!- have a ton of negative affects. They
•strip your skin of much needed oil (sebum)
•over exfoliate, leaving skin dry and red and exposed to harmful UV rays
•and throw off your natural oil balance.

Most of the time your face will overcompensate this barrage of abuse with a crazy overproduction of oil. Which can lead to blackheads and acne. Super not hot.

The theory behind the oil cleansing method is, first of all, that oil begets oil, so the oil that you put on your face will basically stick to the dirty oil that is already there and take it with it when you wipe it off, and, secondly, that it replaces that dirty oil with clean oil to keep your skin moisturized and protected.


You will need:
•oil (see below)
•hot water (like, stupid hot)

So, first, you need to figure out your proportions based on your skin type. I’ve seen plenty of blogs that go into percentages and ratios of castor oil to olive oil, but who’s gonna take the time to measure out “30% such-n-such to 70% blah blah blah…”? Not me.

I have heard it told that castor oil is a very cleansing oil, and that the oilier your skin, the more you should use. On the flip side, it can be drying and you should be careful using too much if you already have dry skin.

I have also heard that olive oil and coconut oil can be comedogenic. I, personally, have pretty oily skin and have been using straight coconut oil and I have not had a problem. I have also heard of people using straight olive oil, blends of macadamia, sweet almond, avocado, apricot kernel, hazelnut, sunflower, and wheat germ oils to name a few.

I suffer from acute chronic laziness, and the thought of leaving my fortress of solitude and venturing out into the big bright world to search for some special little “new age” shop that smells like nag champa and/or patchouli just to pay $30 an ounce for some special oil simply did not sound like a grand ol’ time. But that’s just me. So… I figured I’d start in my kitchen and go from there.

You just have to find the right mixture for you. We are, after all, our own unique individuals!

Once you have figured out your blend (or not) of oil, celebrate your specialness and then slap it on!

Massage oil into your face in circles, upward and outward (the rumor is that this “upward and outward” motion fights gravity. While I don’t know if this is true… and I sort of feel like 1 minute of massaging per day vs. an entire lifetime of gravity will do little to no good… I have been wrong before. But I do know that “upward and outward” gets deeper into the pores and scrubs them out. And that is good. So, do that), from your neck up to your hairline. Massage for about a minute. Enjoy the self pampering for a minute and relax!

Aaaaaahh… So luxurious….

While you are treating your face to this at-home spa experience, make sure your hot water is running so its nice and scalding when you’re ready for it.

Once you’re done with the rub down, take your washcloth and soak it with the boiling-lava-hot water. Wring it out. Don’t be too worried about the temperature, it will cool down on it’s journey from the sink to your face. Cover your face and as much of your neck as possible with the washcloth.

I find this part especially relaxing…

Let it sit until it cools down, and then remove it with a downward wiping motion, starting at your hairline and wiping down to your neck, removing as much of the oil as you can as you go.


If you need to, rewet and wipe again until you’ve removed all of the oil.



Yeah. It’s that simple.

I only do this once a day before bed. In the morning I just splash, first, hot water(opens and cleans out pores), and then cold water (closes pores) and towel dry.


•If your face feels dry take a small amount of the oil and massage it into your skin, just until it no longer feels tight. No need to slather it back on there.

•You still need to exfoliate! Otherwise, dead skin can build up. Dead skin+oil=blackheads and acne! To exfoliate without totally ruining your regimen, use about a teaspoon of baking soda. Rub it into already wet hands to make a paste, and massage into face (remember our upward and outward discussion?). Rinse first with hot water, then with cold water. If needed, apply a little oil to moisturize. Don’t -!- do this every day. You will destroy your protective barrier. It’s protective. You need it. Try, like, once a week… twice if you reeeeeaally need it.

•Remember how I said that oil holds moisture onto your skin, and not that it is the moisture? For this to work, there needs to be moisture to hold. SO… Drink your eight glasses of water a day. At least. You know you should. Just do it. Hydrate from the inside out. Also, when you add the clean oil to your face for ‘moisture’ make sure you do it within 5 minutes of wetting your face with that washcloth. Grab that sacred H2O before it evaporates!

•Don’t give up! Your skin has to go through a transition/rebalancing phase. Your face might panic and throw some little freak out blemishes at you. But soon it will realize this is a good thing and it’ll even out. Give it at least a week or two and if you’re breaking out like crazy… Try changing up your proportions or try a different oil. I had some minor breakouts in the beginning, but they gradually got less and less and now I rarely get even one. I don’t even have to do this every day now. In fact, I rarely cleanse with the oil now unless I need to remove makeup or excessive dirt (or if I need example pictures for a blog). Usually I just splash with hot and cold water in the morning and before bed and I’m good. My oil-production is well balanced and I hardly ever get a breakout!

This method also dramatically improved the evenness of my skin tone and lightened the dark spots I had from previous large breakouts.


I feel like its probably a blog faux pas or something, but since I wrote this blog after my OCM experience and I’m not in the habit of taking or keeping pictures of my face with terrible breakouts punctuating it… I have no ‘before’ pictures for comparison. Guess you’ll just have to trust me! 😉

As far as I’m concerned, this experiment is a huge success and I will never purchase another “face wash” or acne product again.

Try it out! What’ve you got to lose?