Oil Cleansing – Why and How

Was chatting with my cousin a few days ago and  telling her how I stopped washing my face with soap over a year ago (didn’t realize myself it was that long ago!) She was surprised and asked how I cleanse my face, to which I replied I use Oil! 🙂


The thought of applying oil to the face at first sounds quite odd. Especially seeing as we have been told all our lives that oil on the face is an enemy, one that we must get rid of. However the principles behind oil cleansing are sound and many have and are still benefiting from this approach.

So how does it work? Oil cleansing is  rooted in the principle that oil dissolves oil. Our skin produces natural oils for our benefit, these oils mix with dirt, makeup and other impurities thereby clogging up the pores. By massaging oil into the face, the oils go into the pores to dissolve the oil-dirt mixture that have clogged up the pores. The cleansing is then followed by placing a steamy washcloth over the face,  helping to open up the pores and dislodge the impurities.

The great thing with this method is that it doesn’t leave the face feeling dry. This is because unlike certain soap based or alcohol based cleansers it doesn’t strip the face of its natural oils. Stripping the face off of its natural oils can sometimes be at the root of a number of facial skin issues. The natural oils produces by the skin help to heal, protect and moisturise the skin so that it can function properly. Stripping off natural oils can lead to an imbalance as the skin begins to produce more oil in order to compensate for the loss.

Properly functioning skin is beautiful, clear, and glowing. Learning to work with our skin, not against it, will save us tremendously.

So how do you cleanse with oil? 

First you need a blend of oils, suggested blends from the Oil Cleansing Method website include:

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

Others have reported using other oils such as coconut oil, olive oil etc.

Now that you have your oil blend you want to:

1) Pour some hot water (you need only the steam) into a bowl and place your wash cloth into the water.

2) Pour a generous amount of your oil blend into the palm and rub together to help warm the oil, then apply all over the face. Massage oil into skin in circular and upward motions, focusing on troubled areas. Oil cleansing will  remove foundation and eye-makeup so no need to use makeup removers before oil cleansing.

3) Once you are happy that your pores are sufficiently saturated, take the wash cloth out of the water, squeeze off any excess water and place over the face. The steam will open up the pores, helping to dislodge impurities.

4) Once cloth is cool, wipe face gently and repeat steaming and wiping process. You can do this twice or thrice.

5) Gently massage any oil residue on the surface into the skin. Your face should feel really soft and look radiant. 🙂

A few notes on Oil Cleansing Method

1) Finding the right blend for your skin might involve some trial and error. Do a bit of research, for instance some suggest that for acne prone skin you are best using oils which have a higher linoleic to Oleic fatty acid ratio.

2) Some people are allergic to castor oil, so although many DIY recipes say it is an essential component of your oil blend, do test before using on your face.

3) A few people report having what is known as the ‘purging’ state of oil cleansing. This is a period where the skin will expel impurities that have been buried for a long time, making the skin look worse before it gets better. The temptation here is to quit but its best to wait it out, let your skin go through the ‘detox’. Personally I didn’t experience this, but it is worth mentioning.

4) Ensure that your face cloth is washed after each use and a clean one used daily. Bacteria thrive in moist environment and using an unwashed face cloth can spread bacteria onto the face.

Have you tried oil cleansing before? Can you share your experiences?


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