What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

oil cleansing method

Cats can clean their faces with their tongues, but us women have to use other methods!

Sometimes you just don’t feel like washing your face with soap (or cleanser) and water and this is where the oil cleansing method comes in! What is the oil cleansing method (or OCM) you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya! At first, it might sound a bit messy and you may be wondering, why on earth would I clean my face with oil?

The key here is choosing the correct oil.

Never use a low quality oil, such as baby oil. Baby oil is nothing but mineral oil, which is not good for the skin at all. I know, it’s supposed to be safe because it’s for babies, but it’s just not. I’ll discuss which oil you should choose in a few. This method is great for makeup removal or for cleansing in the morning.

The OCM has a few steps you need to follow for it to be successful, but don’t worry, it’s extremely easy and will leave your face cleansed, soft, and moisturized.


Oil Cleansing Method Steps


1. Choose a skin healthy oil which will not clog your pores. My favorite oil to use for the OCM is organic coconut oil. You can also use olive oil or castor oil. Like I mentioned earlier, never use baby oil. In addition, steer clear of using conventional vegetable oils such as canola, which is most likely a GMO product.


2. Apply the oil all over your face, massaging lightly. If I am using the oil to remove my eye makeup too, I usually wait to rub a little bit on my eyes (while my eyes are closed) last.


3. Wet a washcloth with warm water (be careful not to make it too hot or you’ll burn your face!) and lay the wash cloth gently over your face.


4. If you need to remoisten the cloth, do so and gently wipe the oil off your face (don’t rub hard!)


5. Your skin will be very smooth and clean. When I use this method, I usually skip the moisturizer since the coconut oil leaves some moisture on my skin. However, if you have very dry skin, I would follow with moisturizer.

 Why use the OCM when cleanser and water is pretty easy to use?

That’s all there is to it! So why would you want to use the oil cleansing method as opposed to just using normal cleanser and water? For me, sometimes I just don’t feel like wetting my entire face, especially when I get home late after a night out. It’s so easy to rub oil on your face and that warm towel feels so good! It removes eye makeup really well too.

How often can I use the OCM?

You can do this two times a day, or just at night to remove your makeup. I usually do it 4-5 times per week. It’s a natural way to cleanse your face and also helps you conserve your liquid cleanser since you won’t be using it as much. I want to thank Sheila Hansen of If a Goddess Wore Makeup for asking me about this and reminding me that I wanted to write about it!


So now it’s your turn!


Have you used the OCM before and how did you like it?


What is your favorite oil to use?


Share your comments below.


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Stay natural…stay beautiful…go green!


Robin started her career as an educator of children and has now become an educator for adults everywhere who want to know the truth about what they put into their bodies through the skin. She is passionate about educating people to make better health and beauty choices.
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  • http://floraesthetics.blogspot.com Rocio

    I have been playing with the OCM for a couple months now. I created my own using grapeseed, jojoba and argan oils. It’s really thick and does not emulsify as well as I’d hoped with water, but it works!

    I apply less than a dime size to damp skin in the shower. I go about cleaning my body and then I rinse it with warm water. As my homemade version is viscous, I use an oatmeal cleanser following the OCM.

    This absorbs tons of excess oils but does not strip my skin. The OCM leaves my skin feeling plump and nourished. The feeling lasts all day too!
    Rocio´s last blog post ..Trends & Techniques: Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System

  • http://blog.charlestonnaturally.com Amber_Charleston Naturally

    The oil cleansing method seemed strange to me at first as well, but I have used the Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil and it works great for cleaning and soothing my face!
    Amber_Charleston Naturally´s last blog post ..Special Promotions Now: Dr. Hauschka

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Thanks for your comment, Amber!

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Rocio,

    Thanks for all the details! Do you use the OCM for your whole body or just your face? I never thought about doing it for the whole body, but now you got me thinking….


  • http://quantumperformanceusa.com/ George

    Hi, this looks like a natural thing to do – what about a man doing this? Probably work just the same, eh? I think I’ll tell my wife about this and see how it works for her. Interesting, thanks.
    George´s last blog post ..Titanium Necklace

  • Cynthia

    I’ve used my own version of OCM for a few years. I switched from Olive to Hemp oil in March 2011 and my skin became perfect in about 5 days and has stayed that way all the way up to now (luckily my wedding was in May 2011!). This is a minor miracle in that I had Rosacea and now I don’t. I also would break out right before my period without fail and now I don’t.

    I massage a tablespoon of Hemp oil on my dry face first in a circular motion then I do Tanaka Massage. I wash my hands and dry them. I then spray room temperature spring drinking water (just bottled water of any type) on 3 cotton pads and remove the oil in gentle outward and upward strokes. I then mist with the water and apply about 6-7 drops of the Hemp oil as moisturiser. I do this morning and night (in the morning I do the massage before getting in the shower where I wash my hands off, then I wipe the oil off, etc. when I get out). My skin is flawless and soft (I’m not being conceited here, I want everyone to have great skin and be as happy as I am).

    =) Cynthia

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics


    What a wonderful and detailed description you give! You’ve made me very curious about using hemp oil! Thanks for sharing. :-)


  • http://chrisellesy.com/blog/ Chriselle Sy

    I do use the OCM! I use it once in a while when I feel like my skin needs it. My favorite is either jojoba oil or olive oil!
    Chriselle Sy´s last blog post ..On Fake MAC Cosmetics and Counterfeit Makeup in General

  • http://www.leandefinition.com/ Robert

    I’m a huge fan of coconut oil and always have at least one jar around. I’ve been reading a lot of information about using coconut oil as a moisturizer and cleanser, but I haven’t really experimented much myself. However, I think I’m going to try experimenting with it and the OCM for a week. I’ll be sure to post the results here.
    Robert´s last blog post ..The Definitive Guide: Losing Weight

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Robert,

    I am also a fan of coconut oil. I eat about 3-4 tablespoons a day! In addition to using it for the OCM, it’s also a wonderful skin moisturizer. my boyfriend swears by it!

    Robin :)

  • Lauren

    I tend to have pretty normal skin with dryness at times. I started using the OCM with a 75% EVOO/25% Castor Oil blend. It dried me out terribly! I have been increasing the EVOO, and now I’m using almost pure EVOO. My face (especially my cheeks) are still very dry, so much that it feels like I’m wearing a mask of dry skin. I really want to use a natural cleanser, but my face feels horrible. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Lauren,

    I would suggest switching to coconut oil…after you are done with the OCM, since you are experiencing very dry skin, you may also want to apply more coconut oil as moisturizer. Are you drinking enough water? Our bodies are made up primarily of water and you may be dehydrated. Read this post I wrote about How Much Water to Drink a Day. Let me know how things work out for you!


  • kerri

    hi…. ive just started the whole OCM and was wondering about a few things… right now i just do it in the evenings and normally tone after and then put clarin’s lotus oil on is that ok? also i dont really want to do it in the mornings as it might be too much, so can i still use my normal face cleanser, toner and moisturiser routine for the mornings or will it have an affect on the evening oil cleansing from making any difference?
    thanks :)

  • Cynthia

    Hi Lauren and Robin,

    If I can just chime in on the dry skin problem. It might be that you can’t use the hot tap water and washcloth method – I can’t because it dried out my skin. I switched to room temp spring water, so I had to find an oil that came off more readily while still cleaning well. I use Hemp oil because it’s higher in linoleic acid than oleic acid, whereas Olive oil is the reverse. I also suspect Hemp oil has other properties such as B-vitamins, which make it an ideal oil for the face. As I wrote above, I use my method twice daily and my skin is very soft. I also second the drinking enough water. An easy way to get more water is to drink an array of herbal teas to keep things interesting, because plain water can get boring. Another easy way to enjoy water is just squeeze a wedge of lemon in it – it tastes more refreshing and it’s great if you’re sticking to the Alkaline diet.

    =) Cynthia

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics


    Thanks for chiming in! When you’re using the OCM, the tap water, especially if it’s hot, can be a problem. Most tap water is full of chlorine, which can really dry your skin out. I remember before I got a shower filter how dry and cracked my entire body would feel after I showered. That’s a great idea to use some spring water or you can use filtered water. I’ve never used hemp oil but now I am a bit intrigued about it and I absolutely love lemon. I always squeeze it into my water. Lemon is acidic but actually aids the body in being alkaline…and disease cannot exist in an alkaline body!

    Also, I was thinking about Lauren’s question some more and I began to suspect she may have some inner problems that are manifesting as an outer problem. Sometimes dry skin is a result of hormonal imbalance, so I urge Lauren to get her hormone levels checked.

    Thanks for reading the blog and commenting!

    -Robin :-)

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics


    Thanks for the question. I would be wary of cleansing your skin twice a day, except if you have oily skin. As we age, we need to cleanse less because over cleansing can dry your skin out. I only cleanse in the evenings to remove the day’s dirt and makeup. In the morning, I spritz a bit of spring water on my face, pat it dry, and apply moisturizer. Do you think you’d be comfortable doing this?


  • Lauren

    Thank you so much for the feedback. I tried coconut oil last night as my cleanser and moisturizer. My face feels much better today. In regards to dehydration…it’s highly possible. I struggle to drink enough water, but I’m working on it. As far as hormones go, I have an appointment next week to have my hormones (in fact, all my levels) checked for any imbalances.

    I will try the room temperature water tonight and see if that makes a difference.

    Here’s another thing I have noticed (and maybe I need to change my process): I have been using the OCM at night. I then take a shower in the morning, and I do not wash my face. The only “cleansing” that happens is the water that runs onto my face. After the shower, I have been applying a thin layer of oil as a moisturizer. My skin is very sensitive and turns bright red after the shower. I’ve never had this problem before using OCM, except when I have had an allergic reaction to a skincare product. I know I’m not allergic to any of the oils I have tried. They are as follows: Sweet Almond Oil (skin very dry), Evening Primrose Oil (skin very dry), Olive Oil (the worst–BRIGHT red and very sensitive), and then Coconut Oil today (definitely better, but still irritated). Should I be doing something different in the mornings? If so, what products do you recommend?

    I really appreciate everyone chiming in to help me!


  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics


    I think those are all really good things you’re doing and I’m glad the coconut oil gave you some relief…but sorry to hear how you’re still experiencing irritation. Have you considered food allergies? I was getting extremely itchy and dry skin for no reason until I completely deleted dairy, wheat, rice and oats from my diet. Maybe when you see the doctor, you can also request a food allergy test (I need to formally do that too!) I have a bit of sensitive skin as well on my face and I do very well with Aubrey Organics Rosa Mosqueta moisturizer.

    Most importantly when choosing a moisturizer, you need to make sure it’s completely chemical free.

    Another line I use religiously is Amber’s Organics. She hand makes all her products and she has some especially for sensitive skin. I also love her products because she is a wonderful soul! Check out her site: http://gardenofcures.com and on Facebook as well: http://facebook.com/ambersorganics

    Hope this helps and anyone else feel free to chime in!


  • http://, kerri

    Hi Robin,

    Thanx for your reply… ye i think i could try that, im just so used to washing my face with my normal cleanser in the mornings it just feels weird not cleaning it. This morning i only splashed some warm water over my face and then some cold, then toned and then moisturised with some olive oil, is that too much? currently im only using olive oil as im waiting for my caster oil to arrive, ive been using olive oil for about a week now, but for some reason my nose and cheeks have dried and started flaking, is this because my skin is trying to adjust and will it go away? I also thought it might be the lotus oil as it smells really strong… The olive oil has done wonders for the rest of my face and has been really soft but just my nose and cheeks that have become dry :/ also, is toning necessary after washing with oil ectc, i feel comfortable toning, but i tend to feel a bit dry after, does the toning contribute to the drying?
    So sorry for all the questions, just want to get this right so i dont have to stop using the oil cleansing.
    Thanks again :)

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics


    I went on a bit of a toner fix for a while and noticed my skin felt dryer than normal. I only tone a few times a week now….you may be stripping your skin of the natural oils it needs. I don’t think toning is necessary after washing with oils because you’re removing the moisture from your face. I don’t use olive oil except to remove eye makeup. I think coconut oil is the best oil to use for the OCM and as moisturizer. Have you ever done an avocado mask? It leaves your skin so soft you won’t even believe it. I try to do it at least once a week and I put it in my hair too- AMAZING! Check out my You Tube vid if you haven’t yet: Avocado Mask.

    Don’t even worry about asking questions- I am here to help!

    -Robin :-)

  • http://, kerri

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks again for all the help, will def give the avocado mask a try thank you…. I heard that coconut oil doesnt really get as deep as the olive oil on your face and might cause blockages :/ olive oil is doing wonders for me so far so i might have to stick to that.

    Thanks again for all the help :)


  • Lina

    Can I use only extra-virgin olive oil for OCM?

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Lina,

    Sure, you can use EVOO for the OCM…but just see it treats your skin. Many gals have left comments that it left their skin feeling dried out. I’ve NEVER had that problem using virgin coconut oil.


  • Roxana

    I am wondering, if you are not really supposed to moisturize in the morning, what does one do in terms of SPF protection?

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics


    I admit I am guilty of not using spf all the time but I do recommend using a safe spf lotion or cream, such as Keys Solar Rx, which is a great non-chemical spf.


  • szumerspirit

    Hello, I have just come across OCM and am praying it might help. I have Hidradenitis Supperativa which cause cysts and lesions all over my skin. I have had to have radical z-plasty removing all og my axillary glands and about 200 excisions because there is no cure. I generally have 50-100 cysts at all times. About 80% of them begin from clogged pores or hair follicles. Trying to catch and remove the clogs before they get infected often times causes substantial damage (lose-lose situation) however, I was extremely excited to run across OCM. I am trying to find out if this would be safe to try all over my body. All the information I have found so far refers only to the face. I noted that someone had a similar question in the comments above but didnt see a response. If anyone could provide me with any guidance I would be tremendously greatful! Thanks

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com/about?rel=author Natural Organics

    Hello szumerspirit,

    I am so sorry you’re suffering from this condition! Unfortunately, your question is a bit beyond my expertise. I did post it on the Facebook page for anyone else to chime in, so I invite you to join me there and check back if anyone answers. Thanks!


  • http://www.curehidradenitis.com Otilia

    Hi szumerspirit,
    Organic coconut oil is very effective for treating eczema on skin for helping maintain the skin barrier. Some natural organic herbal remedies that would be more appropriate for hidradenitis suppurativa are aloe vera applied directly on skin, lemon juice, tea tree oil or turmeric paste. Hope this helps