Wash Your Face... With Oil!??!?




i am 41 years old, abundantly curvy, intensely sensual, pansexual, masochistic, and submissive. i...

On a fairly regular basis, particularly when someone learns my age, I am asked how I keep my skin so young and healthy-looking. What's my secret, what products do I use?

Since 2003, I have not put any soap, cleanser, or moisturizer on my face. The only thing I do put on it is pure, organic plant oils. If I wear makeup, which is rare these days, I use the oil as a makeup remover.

My skin has never been softer. It is neither dry nor oily, and before it was both. While I still have the occasional mild acne breakout at specific points in my menstrual cycle, it tends to be fairly mild and heals quickly. And I am regularly mistaken for 15 or more years younger than I actually am. (I'm 41.)

Ready to re-think everything you know about cleaning your skin?

The thing is, when you use soap or cleanser on your skin, you are stripping your skin of its natural oils. But those oils have a purpose - they make your skin softer and more supple and they provide a protective layer to keep dirt out of your pores. When you strip the natural oils off your skin, your skin responds in the only fashion it can: it produces more oil. So a few hours after you've stripped your skin down to [what feels like] super-clean, it's an oil slick again. You probably either re-"clean" it, blot the oil, or cake the oil with powder to absorb it. And the process begins again.

In reality, when your skin has that "super-clean" feeling, it is unprotected and vulnerable. After a while, you will learn to feel comfortable with a natural amount of oil on your face... it will not be nearly as oily as the bounce-back oiliness you probably have now.

According to instructables user @tigator, "...I used to have rosacea, and not even those prescription creams helped.   However (and you rosacea sufferers may be happy to hear this), since doing oil cleansing my rosacea is GONE - completely.  :)  I highly recommend those with mild to moderate rosacea to give this a try.  I'm not promising it will work for you, but it certainly took my rosacea away."

DISCLAIMER: The information shared here is based on the experiences and research of the author and other healers known to her. This information is shared with the understanding that you accept complete responsibility for your own health and well-being. You have a unique body, the action of each remedy is unique, and health care is full of variables. The results of any treatment suggested herein cannot always be anticipated and never guaranteed. The author is not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any remedies, procedures, or preparations included here. Consult your inner guidance, knowledgeable friends, and trained healers in addition to the words written here.

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Step 1: Choosing Your Oil

Most instructions I've seen for this method suggest using either pure extra-virgin olive oil ("EVOO") or a mixture of EVOO and castor oil. I recommend starting with a lighter oil like sesame, almond, or avocado.

I do recommend using organic plant oils only. Don't use mineral oil, and avoid non-organic oils if you can.

Many people have asked me about using a variety of oils. I'm including this information on comedogenic (pore clogging) and non-comedogenic (non pore clogging) oils, which is copied from a page on www.soapnuts.com since that site seems to have gone down. Please note that I have only tried a few of these oils myself. Do your own research and experimentation to find the oil or combination of oils that works best for your skin. Unless you're having a bad reaction, like an allergy, I recommend choosing an oil to start with and using it for at least a month before you switch to something else.

Low Pore Clogging Probability:
Almond (Sweet Almond) oil
Anhydrous Lanolin
Apricot Kernal Oil
Avocado Oil
Castor Oil
Emu Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Jojoba Oil
Olive Oil
Peanut Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil

Medium Pore-Clogging Probability:
Corn Oil
Cottonseed Oil
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Mink Oil
Soybean Oil
Sulfonated Castor Oil

High Pore-Clogging Probability:
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Oil
Wheat Germ Oil

Using a small funnel, fill a small container (I use an empty 1-ounce dropper bottle) with your chosen oil. Be sure the bottle is clean and dry. Moisture inside the bottle can cause the oil to mold or go rancid. You can buy these dropper bottles for around $0.75 to $2.00 each.

I like to add a bit of tea tree oil to my basic oil because I feel like its germ-killing properties help avoid acne breakouts. Some folks use lavender. Just be sure you only add a very small amount - in a little 1-ounce dropper bottle I add 1 or 2 drops of essential oil.

Step 2: Time to "Wash"!

Okay, this is it. This is where you do this thing that, if you're like the vast majority of people who've heard makeup and facial cleanser commercials your whole life, you're sure is totally and completely backwards. Adding oil to your face probably feels counterproductive to you.

My challenge to you: Try this for one month. Your skin is going to feel oilier at first because it is so habituated to overproducing oil that it will take a little while for it to settle down to a natural level. Your skin may also have more acne than usual during this adjustment period. This isn't because the extra oil is clogging your pores (the light plant oils we're using here are noncomedogenic) but because your skin is cleansing and detoxifying itself. Give it the month and see what you think of your new skin.

Start by running your tap water until it is at about the hottest temperature you can reasonably withstand on your face. It will cool quickly, but you don't want to burn your skin! Wet a washcloth in this hot water and drape it over your face. I like to press the cloth against my face a bit with my hands. What you're doing here is letting the warmth and steam soften the oils currently on your skin and loosen any dirt that's on your skin.

Step 3: Apply the Oil & Massage

While your face is still warm and moist, put a dropperful of your oil in the palm of your hand. Apply it evenly to your fingertips and palms. Lay your hands over your face to begin applying the oil. Lightly apply oil to your entire face - forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, lips, eyelids. (Careful around the eyes if you've put an essential oil in there!) If you have mascara on, be sure you carefully coat your lashes with oil, too.

Now massage your entire face using small circular motions of your fingertips. Slow down, relax a minute, and take your time. Make this a nice, enjoyable part of your daily routine.

When you're done massaging it in, let the oil sit on your skin for 1-5 minutes. I usually do my face cleansing in the shower, so while the oil is sitting on my face I do other shower stuff. Some people recommend covering your face with the hot wet cloth here.

Step 4: Remove the Oil (and Dead Skin Cells and Dirt!)

Heat your water up again and soak your washcloth in it just as you did earlier. Using circular motions again, gently exfoliate your entire face, which will remove the oil, dead skin cells that have accumulated on your face, and any dirt on your face. Be sure to do your lips too - this leaves them very smooth and soft.

Step 5: Rinse

Next you want to run your tap water so it's nice and cold. Scoop it up in your hands and splash it on your face. This gives a bit of rinsing and also tightens up your pores.

Pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

Once your face is dry, if your skin feels a bit tight, take just one drop of your face oil, spread it on your fingertips and pat it onto your face where it feels tight. Once your face is accustomed to this new method, you probably won't have to do this step.

Step 6: Glow!

Your face will glow with healthy skin.

I recommend beginning with doing this cleansing method every day for one month. After that you may find that doing it less often works better for you. At this point, after years of treating my skin with oil, I only apply oil to my face once every few days or so. On the days in between, I do the rest of the method (steam, massage, exfoliate, rinse, dry) without adding any oil.

Laundry Tip: Do not wash the washcloths you use for this with any other laundry, whether clothing or towels. The oil will spread through the entire washload and after a while all of your laundry will smell like old oil. I hang my face cloths to dry after using them and keep the dry waiting-to-be-washed cloths together separately from the rest of my laundry. When I have enough to wash, I run them with the hottest possible water in both the wash and the rinse cycle. I add a few drops of orange or lemon essential oil (which cut the oil nicely) and a tiny amount (1 teaspoon to a full load) of liquid dish soap. You can also buy a detergent sold for massage therapists called "Oil Be Gone". It's kind of expensive, but used only on your face cloths, it will last forever. Buy the powdered type, it seems to work better than the liquid.

Have fun!

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    109 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I tried the OCM for a while, seven months to be exact, and it just didn't work. My normally dry, peeling skin with few breakouts and the occasional blackhead turned in to a problematic, oily mess. I used EVOO and castor and together they just didn't work at all. I did a ratio of 1 part castor to 10 parts EVOO and then switched to 1:9, 1:8, 1:5 1:3 and 1:1. They all failed. It didn't work for me at all, and I've switched back to my Dr Bronners and glycerine technique with little or no breakouts ever. It isn't for everybody and if someone could tell me what I did 'wrong' I'd love to know.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 months ago

    I have started this a few weeks ago, from what I read there are oils that don’t sit well with some people: olive oil and coconut being the ones that cause more problems. Maybe try different oils. I am starting with jojoba + tea tree oil.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Loads of people swear by the EVOO but I can't use it either. I use a mix of castor oil and hazelnut oil or sunflower oil, around 5 parts hazelnut to 1 part castor for cleansing, then a mix of aloe oil and hazelnut oil if any areas are dry or tight after wiping off the oils.

    If you have heavy scarring, (stretch marks, acne scars, etc) flax oil or macadamia oil can help with that (warning ! They are VERY viscous (thick and sticky) oils, so they are best used at a ratio of around 5 to 10 drops per 1 oz bottle. More make it harder to get off and you don't want to leave too much of them on your skin.)

    I don't steam at all tho, or use "hot" cloths, they can lead to broken capillaries (red spiderlike veins that don't go away). I generally use a soft cloth soaked in lukewarm water instead.

    I haven't had a breakout in a couple of years, except the ONE time I tried using my nieces face wash. It smelled great but within a day I had broken out and my skin felt like greasy sandpaper.

    Nancy curtis

    7 months ago on Step 6

    When you said that you only use the oil on your face 2 to 3 days now what do you use on a the other days I have so many products from Korea I'm about to lose my mind. So I steam it first then clean it then wipe off the oil


    3 years ago

    I just rub my face for 5-10 minutes a day with Essence of Argan's argan oil. It removes all the dirt and dead skin pretty fast. My skin quality is through the roof now. http://essenceofargan.com/


    4 years ago

    Added this to my favorites. A couple months ago I wanted to get into using pomade on my hair, until I realized most are made with petroleum and other chemicals. I ended up trying a hair cream that had few ingredients, and loved how it worked but after a couple weeks my lip and eyelid started swelling. After that I started putting just a tiny bit of coconut oil in my hair and it has never felt better. Now I usually don't even use any kind of product in it to style, I just get it wet and comb. Now I'll try some other oils for my face. Thanks


    4 years ago

    Thank you for this! My skin looks really good now. I use castor oil to clean it and argan oil as moisturizer. 2 months after I started, my face is clean.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for this info. I had stopped using most products on my face, because they seemed to make my rosacea flare up badly. Mineral makeup had improved the breakouts, but cleanser and moisturizers have typically been problematic—so now my face has been dry and even a little scaly. This was just the endorsement I needed to give this method a try. I tried using some coconut oil on it last night, and it felt better immediately. I can't wait to see what a few weeks will do. Cheers!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I've been using olive oil on my lashes to make them grow thicker. I apply with old mascara brush every night, and it works like a charm. Everyone asks me where i get my oh so effective mascara, and severly doubt the fact I'm not using any. However, I get a large amount in my eye every night. Is this bad for me?

    hello! I know this is a bit late but I was wondering if you should do this twice a day or just once? I read that you usually did this in the shower, do you take a shower at night or during the day? I take a shower at night and usually wake up with oil all over my face, what do you do with the oil on your face in the morning? Please let me know, thanks!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    recently i've been using ultrabland from lush, and i was so paranoid about using oil to clean oily skin, but i am a convert. i wish more people understood that sterilizing your face with soap does nothing but aggravate your skin and make it worse.

    Hey Makalove! I found your instrucable 3 years ago and I've been washing my face with oil ever since. 1) I want to thank you for posting about this!! 2) my skin is awesome. my skin used to be really blotchy and oily with lots of bad acne, and now my skin tone is even, i don't have any fine lines and its so smooth and clear looking.
    I'll never stop using the oil and I tell all my friends about. This method seriously changed my skin

    1 reply

    oh, i wanted to let you know th mixture I use: sesame seed with tea tree oil and carrot seed old, and then i put on lavender on problem spots when i get them.
    I also now use oils in my hair to keep it soft and shiny and it works great!


    6 years ago

    Thanks for step by step. It actually makes sense. People think "tight" skin means clean. But it actually is very dry! We only have one face...gotta take care of it! :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I did the 30 day challenge and I created a blog to document my process from start to finish. I have decided to continue using the oil cleansing method. I have been using apricot kernel oil/castor oil mix.



    7 years ago on Introduction

    So excited to give this a try. My skin went a little crazy after I became a mom and its super sensitive, so I can't use most cleansers. I can't wait to see the results.

    Thank you for sharing. :-)


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Thank you so much for your step-by-step on the oil cleanse method! I just tried this for the first time this morning and have several questions for you.

    1) How often do you wash your face like this? I'm tempted to wash twice a day due to habit, but don't want to overdo it with this new method. I've read SO many different ways of using the OCM and would like to hear from you on this. Do you wash morning and evening, or just at night to get the day off your face? If you only do this once a day, what do you do in the morning (assuming you oil cleanse at night)?

    2) What do you use for sunscreen? I'm used to using an SPF moisturizer, but obviously trying to get away from that. My makeup has SPF 15, but that's not much protection, and I don't always want to wear makeup.

    3) It seems like your instructions promote using just one oil (and adding a tiny bit of essential oil if you want). I've read many other accounts of OCM and the vast majority recommend mixing another oil, such as castor oil, with those you list. I've also read that many folks believe castor oil to be the culprit in breaking out from this method, so I am NOT gonna try it! At the moment, all I have around is jojoba oil, which is a great one for my skin's needs. Is that all I need to be successful with this method? I eventually intend to get some essential oils in the mix, but don't know if I also need to mix the jojoba with something else as a percentage of the oil I use (as so many recommend).

    4) What about natural toner? I use pure witch hazel toner. Many reviews of OCM seem to conclude that people break out because they don't get all the oil off their face. I'm a bit paranoid about this and think using the toner afterward would ensure that all the dirty oil is washed off (and anti-microbial properties of witch hazel seem good for this), but would it defeat the purpose? I did this when I tried OCM today and it felt fine. I just added a little bit of oil afterward to prevent any dryness. Just want to make sure it wouldn't interfere. This will be the hardest part of my routine to give up!

    Those are all the questions I can remember right now. Thanks for any additional direction on this!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    1) As i mention in the instructable, i'm now only adding oil to my skin once every few days. i recommend starting with once a day - your face is going to seem like it's producing tons more oil when you stop stripping the oil off - and once your face has adjusted (give it a month) you'll have a better idea of whether your skin needs a second daily treatment. i don't ever wear makeup, and i generally clean my face in the morning while i'm in the shower. If i feel my face needs cleaning before bed, i'll do that, but it's pretty unusual.

    2) i don't wear sunscreen on an everyday basis; i simply don't spend time outdoors every day, so i just wear an all-natural brand picked up at my local natural foods store on days that i need it. i DO properly oil-cleanse my face after wearing sunscreen, though - it feels gnarly on my skin, even the natural stuff... but i guess anything does after so many years of keeping my skin clean and clear of products.

    3) these days i'm using coconut oil, although i . Feel free to play around with oils and blends all you like, although as i mentioned above, i do think you should give your skin a few weeks to adjust to any new routine. Which oil to use is very individual. You might find help choosing an oil from this article.

    4) i do NOT think that people break out because they don't get all the oil off their face. i think some people may break out more than they are used to within the first few weeks using this method, not because they didn't get all the oil off, but because their skin is detoxing and adjusting. Be patient if your skin breaks out more than usual. DON'T SQUEEZE ZITS! i don't recommend toner or anything else that strips off oil. If you feel too much oil is left on your skin, use a plain wet or dry washcloth and blot/gently rub. i know it may be hard, but try - your skin will start to feel healthy and normal to you without toner. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    really impressed by this post i haven't come across anyone who understands the benefits of putting oil on the face to keep it at its best.

    Thanks so much for posting your story. I had beautiful skin until about 4 years ago (i'm 42 now). Now I have spots, break out, bags, it's the worst. Your skin looks awesome for 41 for any age for that matter.

    what is the best oils to use for dry skin that breaks out. Will it also help with the lines and sagging around my eyes? Also, I have to wear mineral makeup during the day b/c I have a rare skin disorder that make me photosensitive to any type of light - indoor/outdoor. I can't use any sunscreen (except for titanium diioxide in mineral makeup, which makes me even drier.

    last month I stopped using cetaphil - which I thought was mild - but after years it dried me out and aged me big time.

    what do you recommend for me? thanks!!!!

    I'm desperate to heal my skin. I shouldn't have aged this much is four years. I never go in the sun and eat healthy.