I Wash My Face With Oil. {Explaining The Oil Cleansing Method}

The Oil Cleansing Method Explained | Blair Blogs There. I said it. I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now, but haven’t known how best to approach it. You see, it’s not something you hear everyday. People usually wash their faces to get rid of the oil. So washing your face with oil is counterintuitive, right? Strap on your seat belts, folks, because I’m about to prove you wrong. Let me start at the beginning.

My Story:

As I’ve mentioned before, I have extremely dry skin. So when I went to get a facial last summer, I was totally unsurprised when the esthetician began her familiar questioning. “What do you use to wash your face?” “What kind of moisturizer do you use?” “Do you take any vitamins?”

Although I answered politely, in my head, I’m like girlfriend, I’ve had ridiculously dry skin my entire life. I wash my face with a gentle cleanser, and I use a thick night cream twice a day. I take a multi-vitamin and Biotin. What do you want from me? It’s still dry.

But then homegirl said something that caught my attention. “I know good face creams are expensive. The secret ingredient is olive oil. Save your money and rub a little oil on your face before you go to bed…you won’t believe the difference!”

Partially confused at the prospect of rubbing oil on my face (my face!) and partially comatose because, well, I was getting a facial, I stuffed her oil tip into my metaphorical skin care folder in my head. In all honesty I didn’t think about her advice for months, until the weather began to get chillier and my skin–yup! you guessed it–got drier. and drier. and drier.

One particular Fall afternoon, I was reading One Good Thing when I came across Jill’s post on the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). Curiosity got the best of me and I began searching and clicking and getting to the bottom of this whole wash-your-face-with-oil phenomenon.

The Science Behind It:

Our bodies produce oil to help protect our largest organ–the skin! The oil helps to lubricate, heal, and moisturize. Acne is not caused by oil! Bacteria, dirt and hormones can cause acne. Oil does not. (source)

Why Our Skin Has Issues:

Because we’ve been washing our faces with crap for too many years. The face washes we use are harsh, full of chemicals and toxins, unnaturally fragranced, and just plain rough on our skin.

These products strip our skin of all the natural oils it has produced. So our skin is tight and dry at first, and then it is suddenly full with grease and oil. That’s because our body is overproducing it since we’re taking it away so frequently (and harshly!).

It’s a vicious cycle. Dirty, oily skin gets washed. Now it’s tight and dry. Give it a few minutes and it’s greasy and oily. Then it gets dirty again. Time to be washed! Sound familiar?

This cycle results in skin that’s dry but greasy, clean but red and patchy, washed but spotted by acne…? And yet, that’s the way I’ve dealt with cleansing my face forever? Something just doesn’t seem right about that business!

Why The Oil Cleansing Method Works:

Because like dissolves like. Oil dissolves oil.

By using oil to get rid of the excess oil on your face, you will balance your skin instead of harshly scrubbing it raw. (source) The OCM is about working with our skin, not against it! (Amen to that!)

Creating Your Personal Oil Blend:

Based on your blend (see below), you may need:

  • Olive Oil or Sunflower Seed Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Lavender EO (optional)

The Oil Cleansing Method Website (yes, there’s an entire website based on this concept!) suggests the following three blends of oil based on your skin type:

  • Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% Sunflower Seed or Olive Oil.
  • Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% Sunflower Seed or Olive Oil.
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% Sunflower Seed or Olive Oil.

The Oil Cleansing Method Explained | Blair BlogsBecause my skin is remarkably dry, I have been using 100% Olive Oil for my face wash! I also added a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil for a light, relaxing smell before I go to bed. I encourage you to try a blend and see how it works!

The OCM Face Washing Technique:

What You’ll Need:

  • Washcloth
  • Hot Water
  • Your Oil Blend

What To Do:

  1. Pour about a quarter-sized amount of oil into your palm. (I use a bit more!)
  2. Massage the oil into your skin for about a minute.
  3. Soak your washcloth in hot water.
  4. Lay the saturated washcloth over your face for 10-20 seconds. This will open up your pores and steam clean your face. It will also help remove excess oil. Repeat 2-3 times if desired. (It feels amazing :))
  5.  Gently run the warm washcloth over your face. Do not scrub!
  6. Pat your face dry. You’re done! If your skin feels tight or dry, chances are you probably scrubbed in step 5. Take a tiny bit of your oil blend and sweep it over the dry patches. There’s no need for any commercial moisturizers.

Why I Absolutely Love It:

  1. It’s so easy. No toner, no cotton balls, no moisturizer. Just one and done. Love that.
  2. Not only does it remove all of my makeup (yes, all of it, including waterproof mascara!), it also removes all the dirt and grime from my day.
  3. My skin has never felt softer or cleaner.
  4. I haven’t had a break out since I started using the OCM. (I actually stopped using it over Christmas break when I was home, and my face broke out like crazy. My skin’s not used to harsh commercial cleansers anymore! As soon as I got back on my OCM regime, my skin cleared up again!)
  5. People have noticed. My boyfriend and multiple friends have commented on how great my skin has been looking lately! I have to agree, it’s moisturized, clean, and clear!
  6. It’s really relaxing. I especially love the smell of the lavender essential oil I added to my blend, but the oil massage and steam feel wonderful too.
  7. It’s cheap! It’s only oil. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Here’s my challenge to you: TRY IT. For 2 weeks. If your skin isn’t clearer, softer, cleaner, and overall happier, go back to whatever skincare regime you’ve been using. But I can bet you’ll fall in love.

(This checks off part of my New Years Resolution to phase in natural beauty products! Soft skin and two checks on the resolution list–yes please!)

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Howdy! I'm Blair, and I write on this lovely little slice of the interwebs. Thank you for stopping by! I'm a lover of: daisies, coffee, sunsets, Jesus, laughter, New Girl, candles, and warm towels. I don't care for: pessimism, sunburn, seafood, accounting, or the color red. Please comment or email me at blair@blairblogs.com if you'd like to chat!


  1. Kelly Menzel says:

    Very cool! I too have exceedingly dry skin ( wonder where you got yours!) and would love to try this. Thanks for sharing!

    • As we always say, we’re not sure if the apple even fell from the tree. You should try it! And apparently dry skin causes fine lines and wrinkles, so the more moisturized it is, the better!


  2. Suzanne Porter says:

    I am brand new to the OCM. I have melasma and I have heard that OCM can heal it, specifically rosehip oil. I am trying to figure out a regimen. I am thinking I should cleanse with an olive oil and castor oil blend and then follow with rosehip oil as a serum at night. Any thoughts/suggestions? Am I on the right track?

    • I’m no dermatologist…but I think your plan sounds like a darn good one! Be sure to follow the instructions to a T (steam your face with a washcloth, massage oils for several minutes, etc.) in order to achieve your desired outcome.

      I’m not familiar with melasma, but if you feel as though you need a toner in your regime as well, use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s gentle and great for skin!

      Let me know how it goes!


  3. I started using the OCM this week and so far I’m loving it, I’m just wondering what you do when you wash your face not using the method, for instance after a workout when you’ve been sweating a lot or after a shower during the day?
    Thanks so much for posting about the method, my skin has already started to look and feel healthier!

  4. Should the oils be organic or just regular ones from the grocery store?

    • If I were you, I’d try to find the highest quality oil you can. A lot of grocery stores have organic essential oils, or you can easily find them online!


  5. I use organic coconut oil. Works great.

  6. I loved reading this! Thank you for the information. How many drops of Lavender EO do you use per how many mL of oil in that little spray bottle of yours?

  7. Totally trying this! I wash with a bit of oil when I run out of face wash but I’ve never thought to make it a regular routine. Will try the lavender EO bit too. Smells soo good!



  8. ayu moore says:

    Hi Blair, thanks for sharing the info. Very interesting and i want to try it asap. Am a newbie so would like to ask how to blend the castor oil & olive oil 30:70. I think i have oily skin. Do we have to use special tools to blend the oils according to the percentage?


  1. […] up- I’m sorry I cannot provide a better link- you can try to navigate the site.). Here is a truly fantastic article on the OCM. Or, if you prefer to use minimal oil, another DIY method may be in the cards for […]

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