The Oil Cleansing Method: The Only Facial Cleanser You’ll Ever Need

Oil Cleansing Method

UPDATE, 1/8/15:  I’m still using the Oil Cleansing Method. It’s been TWO years. And the ONLY time my face has broken out — the ONLY time — is when I’ve used  another, commercial cleanser.  I’m sticking to the oil cleansing method, because I constantly get compliments on my skin!

For the past year, I’ve been using an amazing organic facial cleanser that I just love, except for one small detail.

The price: the brand I use costs over $10 per ounce. Yikes. Not very frugal.

But I can’t bring myself to use a cheaper commercial cleanser either. I had heard about something called the Oil Cleansing Method from some friends, but was dubious.

You want me to wash my face with OIL? Um, no thanks.

However, when faced with an empty bottle of my pricey cleanser, I skeptically decided to give it a try.  Guess what?

This shiz works.  My skin is actually the best it’s ever been since I started washing my face with oil.

Here is what you need to get started with the Oil Cleansing Method (or OCM):

1. Castor Oil. Not only is it antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, it helps dissolve the dirt and oils on your face WITHOUT stripping. Castor Oil is for external use only, unless you want to experience painful cramps, fecal incontinence and explosive diarrhea (thanks, Wikipedia!).

2. Carrier Oil. Unless your skin is an oil slick, just plain castor oil is much too drying to use alone. There are many carrier oils you can use, such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or even olive oil.  You’ll have to experiment to see what combination is right for you. My skin is combination/dry, so I use 1/3 Castor Oil to 2/3 Jojoba oil. That works well for me. Basically what that means, is that I take my refillable container, and fill it up about 2/3 of the way with Castor Oil. Then I top it off with Jojoba oil. Very scientific, I know.  The process is very forgiving!

Also, in the winter time, I do a 50-50 split of Castor oil to carrier oil. My skin benefits from a bit more moisture in the dry winter months.

3. Hot Water/Washcloth. You’ll need to use hotter water than you may be used to. This will help dissolve the oil and leave your skin cleansed and moisturized. After you massage the oil in and let it sit for a few seconds, place the steaming hot washcloth over your face then gently massage the oil away. This may take a few seconds longer than you’re used to spending on your face, but it’s so worth it.

Many people report that, just like going “no-poo,” it takes a while for their skin to get used to an oil cleanser. So if it doesn’t work right away, keep at it for no less than 2 weeks to really start to see a difference.

Try different add-ons. Lavender oil, fresh aloe gel, and tea tree oil are all good additives depending on your skin care needs. Use these sparingly, though – just 1 drop per wash. Here are some ideas:

  • Aloe Gel: use if you’ve gotten too much sun, or if your skin is red and inflamed
  • Tea Tree Oil: Great for breakout days – TTO will dry the excess oil naturally to clear up your skin
  • Lavender Oil: a few drops of lavender oil will calm irritated skin

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You can find Castor Oil here, and Jojoba Oil here. The total cost for both products is about $15, and it will last 1-2 months, depending on how often you wash. My bottles are still going strong after 10 months.

You may find you need to use less moisturizer when you do the OCM. I personally skip moisturizer now at night (after I wash). In the morning, I just rinse my face with water and use an SPF moisturizer.

Love Natural Beauty? Try my DIY Coconut Oil Moisturizing/Strengthening Hair Mask

I don’t know if it’s because I was already using an all-natural, organic cleanser, but I didn’t have any period of adjustment when I started using OCM.  I love it. I’m saving money, which is great, but my skin is GLOWING without having to resort to paraben- or sulfite-filled commercial cleansers.

See? The only thing between this picture and a full face of makeup was OIL.

my face

Update: Here’s a recent No Makeup Selfie with my son: I’m going 3 years strong with the Oil Cleansing Method, and haven’t purchased commercial face cleanser in years.


Do you think you’ll give the Oil Cleansing Method a try? I’d love to hear your experiences.

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  1. It sounds good but my face is extremely sensitive so I am not sure how it would work for me.

    • Pam, it might even work better than commercial cleansers because there are no harmful additives.

    • Molly K says:

      I’ve been using this method for some months now but had misplaced the recipe…..I use a combination of Castor Oil and Sesame Oil (supposedly absorbs easily into skin) to cleanse, then put a very hot washcloth over my face. I never need a night cream and in the a.m.,
      rinse my face with cold water washcloth and apply day time lotion (Aveeno)—–I’m over 70
      and I’m so pleased that my skin feels dewy all day after this treatment!

  2. Like you, I am very skeptical about washing my face with Castor Oil, lol. I might give it a try since you said it worked though. :)


  3. I’ve used this method for almost a year, and I really like it. I’ve never added any scented essential oils. I used to swear by Mary Kay makeup remover, but the olive oil wash takes off my makeup and is a lot cheaper! My only warning: olive oil will stain your clothes, so make sure you are wearing your pajamas when you wash!

    • I just started using EVOO for cleansing. I didn’t bother with essential oils because I have sensitive skin and can’t afford to buy a couple three to try and see if I am allergic to them so.. straight up EVOO. Been 2 weeks and so far so good. I love my skin feeling dewy all day and I don’t have to buy a make up remover and cleanser anymore. Money saved on those 2 :) I just have to invest in more face cloths :)

  4. What’s the purpose of the essential oils? You mentioned using different ones based on son are needs; can you elaborate more?

  5. I’m going to have to try this out! I’ve now read several posts on it and I’m intrigued. Thanks for sharing it on the Wellness Wednesday link-up.

  6. You have once again inspired me to try something new. The dry air in CO plus my naturally dry skin has been a constant issue (got any tips on a good lip balm??) A few days of trying oil cleansing (I’m using Castor and Grapeseed) and I already see healthier skin. Thanks for sharing!

    • Claire, I’m so glad it is working for you! I’ve been hearing about the oil cleansing method for a while but didn’t have the guts to try it. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back.

  7. Thanks for adding this to Pinteresting! I made a Coconut Honey Scrub which I LOVE too!

  8. What size Castor oil do you order? I am really interested in trying this but don’t want to buy a huge bottle of it and it doesn’t work for me. Also, what do you store your castor oil/jojoba oil in?

    • I just keep the original container of oil and decant them into a small glass jar I keep in the shower.

  9. Hi Sarah,

    I’ve been wanting to try this for a while. Do you mix the two oils first, and if so, what proportions?


  10. Mary Howard says:

    I have been using tea tree oil on whiteheads and it works great. I was wondering about the recipe or amount, is 1/3 castor oil and jojoba oil measured in drops or teaspoons. This wasn’t clear.

  11. I have been using this for a few months now and I absolutely love it. My face has never been softer or clearer. I do use a little moisturizer at night and in the morning only use homemade toner and a little moisturizer. I like the moisturizer as it helps my makeup go on easier.

  12. What do you mean by add ons?

    • Sometimes if I have a pimple (which I usually don’t get unless I go to sleep with my makeup on), I’ll add a drop of Tea Tree Oil to clear my skin up.

      • Does it apply to sensitive skin?and what about castor oil and its tendency for hair growth ?

        • This is great for sensitive skin. Just use more jojoba or almond oil and less castor oil in your mixture. I haven’t had any extra hair growth, and I’m on year 3? of using the OCM.

  13. Hy

    Your skin looking great!
    I mean , not great….AMAZING!!!
    I have oily skin. What should be mixing for oil cleansing method?
    I already read on the internet, but I want to have your opinion also!
    Thank you!

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    be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some
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