If you haven’t already heard of the oil cleansing method, or OCM, this is the post for you- and you are probably thinking, oil? To clean my face?
The most popular skin cleansers are labeled as “Oil-Free”to target those with acne and oily skin. These cleansers and astringents leave your face feeling tight, clean and oil free. AMAZING, right? Nope.
Think of your skin as a sponge. These oil-free cleansers and alcohol strip your skin of all the natural oils that have been produced which leaves your skin, supah thirsty. The body then tries to make more oil to compensate for that drought you just caused. So the vicious cycle continues.
Until you fight oil with…oil. We all learned in school that “like dissolves like”. I am about to throw some science in here because science. It’s important. Oil is a non-polar solvent that cannot dissolve in a polar solvent, aka water. However, oil can dissolve in non-polar substances, aka oil.
What is the OCM?
A unique blend of quality oils are massaged into your face to remove makeup, oil and dirt on the surface and deep crevices of your skin. The oil blend removes all impurities (by dissolving them) but also provides natural lubrication, vitamins, amino acids and anti-oxidants along with anti-inflammatory, soothing and anti-bacterial properties.
After the oils are gently massaged into your skin, a hot washcloth is applied to your face to remove the oils, dirt and makeup. It’s like a nice spa treatment every night.
What oils should you use?
This is a loaded question and I wish I could say buy oil X, oil Y, and oil Z. Of course we are talking about skin, which we all know that everyone’s skin is different.
The OCM is more trial and error than it is straightforward. However, the OCM is not breaking news. There are tons of sources out there that provide information about the benefits of the hundreds of different plant oils.
It is important to remember that just as with over the counter products, your skin can get angry with even the most natural of ingredients. The OCM is not perfect and most likely will take some time to get it right, but suffering from breakouts for over 16 years gives me the motivation to give this method a try. Or a few tries.
Before you read any further, please be sure to buy oils that are non-GMO, unrefined, cold-pressed, organic and free of fragrances, parabens or additives.
The basic OCM involves two oils: a base and a carrier. Most commonly, the base oil is castor oil. A thick, nurturing cleanser that also has a drying effect so a carrier oil is needed to add the moisture back to the skin. I could write a whole post just on castor oil but I will highlight what benefit is most pertinent to the OCM.
“Castor oil has excellent antibacterial (a rich source of ricinoleic acid, which helps fight off acne-causing bacteria), antifungal, and antiviral properties that help prevent breakouts. Its high fatty acid content also helps fade blemishes by penetrating the scar tissue and encouraging the growth of healthy tissues. Excessive oil production is one of the biggest causes of acne. This oil also contains essential fatty acids that help moisturize your skin, keeping it from producing excessive oil.”
The second (or third or fourth) oil is entirely up to you and your skin. The most common carrier oil is jojoba oil. Again, there are TONS of sources out there.
“Jojoba Oil is extremely light, and the nearest in molecular structure to our own natural sebum,” says cosmetic doctor and GP Rabia Malik.” Nikki Lewin, head trainer at AromaWorks, adds “it is the perfect carrier oil for oily skins, as it tricks the skin into stopping the overproduction of its own oils. Active essential oils cannot penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin so should always be contained in a carrier oil like jojoba.”
Here are just a few oils for each skin type.
Oils for Normal Skin
- Sandalwood Oil
- Jojoba Oil
Oils for Dry Skin
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Argan Oil
- Avocado Oil
Oils for Combination Skin
- Jojoba Oil
- Rosehip Oil
- Neem Oil*
Oils for Oily/Acne-Prone Skin
- Hazelnut oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Hempseed Oil
- Apricot Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Rosehip Oil
Oils for Sensitive Skin
- Chia Seed Oil
- Seabuckthorn Oil
*Neem oil is not one to make your carrier oil since it is hella smelly and can be expensive. I only added one to two drops to get the benefits.
“Neem Oil contains an aspirin-like compound that helps with acne conditions by ridding the skin of acne-causing bacteria. It also helps reduce redness and inflammation. The high fatty-acid content in Neem Oil is said to prevent and treat scars from acne and is non-comedogenic.”
Now that we know just a little bit about these oils, now what?
How to Make Your Own Oil Cleanser
When starting the OCM, it is best to make 1-2 ounces since you will most likely have to make a few changes to your “recipe”. I made about 1 ounce in an old glass bottle. Castor oil is great but it is potent so when starting out at MOST make the mixture 2 parts carrier oil to 1 part castor oil. If you have dry skin, I would even do 4 to 1.
Here are the oils that I started out with for my combination skin.
- 4 tsp Jojoba Oil
- 1 tsp Castor Oil
- 1-2 drops Neem Oil
- 2-3 drops Lavender Oil (acts as a disinfectant, calming agent and smells SO good)
- 1 drop Chamomile Oil (calms irritation and redness)
- a small glass bottle and stir together
- Add some of your mixture to your fingertips and rub until the oil warms slightly. Begin to massage your whole face. After about 2 minutes, move to your eyes (if you have eye makeup on) and continue to massage gently.
- When ready, run a washcloth under hot tap water- wring it out a bit. Lay the towel on your face and let the steam do its thing. Gently press the towel into your face. Once the towel starts to cool down, gently wipe away all the oil and crud off of your face.
- If you find that your skin feels dry after a few cleanings or your skin is naturally dry, add a few drops of jojoba with 1 drop of lavender and massage into your skin as a moisturizer.
Sidenote: It will feel very weird to rub all your makeup all over your face, especially with mascara and eyeliner but just keep going. It will all come off. You will kind of look like a monster. Just keep your eyes closed and continue to massage your face. Enjoy the ride.
I am excited to start this new method and I hope my skin responds well. Here goes nothin!