The Oil Cleansing Method

The Oil Cleansing Method
February 20, 2013 The Mod Cabin Writer

The Mod Cabin Cleansing Oils - Our cleansing oils are formulated for use by both men and women. Kismet Cleansing Oil is a cleanser, moisturizer, and makeup remover all in one. This all-natural cleanser is formulated based on the principles of the Oil Cleansing Method, a practice as old as the hills. This gentle, non-soap formula will not strip your skin of it’s natural layer of lipids like other harsh cleansers will. Kismet Cleansing Oil wipes away dirt and grime and leaves your face fresh and dewy, without leaving your face feeling greasy.

It’s nice when we are able to cut through all the misinformation and reconnect with a simple truth. Here we go. Are you ready? Oil is not bad for your skin. No, seriously! I’ll even take it a step further. After all the products labelled oil free, and all the advertising and marketing meant to teach us that oil causes breakouts, we are (re)learning quite the opposite.

The oil cleansing method (OCM) has regained popularity very quickly. I know, I know! “Oil cleansing” may sound like a contradiction to a lot of us, but the truth is that most of the cleansers that are on the market today effectually strip the protective layer of lipids, the natural oils that create a protective barrier to hold moisture in, from your face. What does the skin do when we strip away the natural oils? It produces more sebum to compensate. Excess dryness, and the over-production of sebum can lead to irritation and breakouts. I don’t know about you, but it was a little frustrating for me to learn that everything I did to control my breakouts was at best worsening them, and at worst causing them.

So how do you use the oil cleansing method? Well, it’s a very lengthy, detailed process, so grab a pen and paper and get ready to take some notes. Here we go. First, grab a bottle of oil from your kitchen. Next, rub it all over your face. Finally, wet a washcloth with very warm water. Lay the cloth over your face for 30 seconds to open your pores, then gently wipe the oil off. I tricked you! That’s it! That’s all there is to getting your skin clean and beautiful.

I have a feeling you’re not convinced. So HOW does the oil cleansing method work? Essentially there is a chemical process occurring, solubility, in which like dissolves like. A solute will dissolve best in a solvent that has a similar chemical structure to itself. The oil that you are applying is dissolving the old, dirty oils on your face, and gently washing them away. The oils that are left behind are clean and moisturizing. Your skin hasn’t been stripped of it’s natural layer of lipids, which leads to less irritation. And the best part is that oil dissolves eye makeup, too. It’s your makeup remover and cleanser all in one, inexpensive bottle! You may not even need to moisturize afterward.

So, let’s talk about what oils you should use. There is one oil that is more cleansing than the others – castor oil. You can grab a bottle of this at your local health food store. The last bottle I bought was 32oz for $12. I won’t need another bottle for quite a while! Castor oil is also very anti-bacterial, which is excellent to help control breakouts. It is also more drying than other oils, so use less or more of it depending on your personal skin issues, along with a second oil.

Choose your second oil based on your skin type. Here are just a few:

  • Jojoba – this oil is closest to our body’s natural oil sebum, which makes it great for all skin types, especially acne prone skin.
  • Grapeseed – excellent for all skin types, especially oily skin since this is such a light oil. It’s also very inexpensive, and can be found with the cooking oils.
  • Avocado – great for dry and aging skin.
  • Olive – excellent for all skin types, and you probably already have it in your kitchen.
  • Apricot Kernel – wonderful for dry, aging, and normal skin.
  • Argan – great for all skin types, especially aging skin. This is much pricier than the other oils, but packs quite a moisturizing punch.

You can also choose an essential oil to add. You can choose an oil based on it’s scent, but remember that essential oils have beneficial healing properties that vary from oil to oil. Rosemary cuts excess oil and is excellent for acne prone skin. Sandalwood is moisturizing. (Unfortunately, unsustainable harvesting practices have lead to the near extinction of the Sandalwood tree in India. However, Australian Sandalwood is a great alternative. The Australian government has very strict sustainable harvesting practices in place.) Lavender essential oil is great for any skin type, and works like a little miracle spot treatment. Dab a tiny drop on blemish and see results fast! Whatever essential oil you choose, you will only need to add a few drops to your cleansing oil since it is highly concentrated. A good rule of thumb is 1-2% of essential oil for your cleansing oil mixture. is a great resource for information about essential oils and their benefits.

You can mix the ingredients together in another bottle, but until you’re sure which oils work best for your skin, and the ratio that’s right for you, I suggest mixing them in your hand at the time of use.

Keep in mind that it may take your skin a week or two of using the oil cleansing method before it finds a balance. I don’t recommend switching back and forth from your old sulfate containing cleanser to oil cleansing, as this will throw your skin further out of whack, and there’s already enough whack in this world! If you’re used to your skin being super squeaky clean after cleansing then the oil cleansing method may feel strange at first. Remind yourself what that super squeaky clean feeling meant – that you were stripping your skin of it’s healthy layer of lipids, which keeps your skin hydrated and fresh looking, and you’ll soon start to love the new feeling of cleansing with oil. If your face still feels tight and dry afterward, and you feel like you do need to moisturize, steer clear of waxy lotions and creams and apply a light layer of jojoba oil, or other moisturizing oil, and let is soak in. No, your face won’t look like an oil slick, but it WILL look dewy and radiant!

If you’re not the type to make your own cleansing oil, we offer Kismet Cleansing Oil and Alchemy Cleansing Oil for all skin types in The Mod Cabin store.

The Mod Cabin Cleansing Oils - Our cleansing oils are formulated for use by both men and women. Kismet Cleansing Oil is a cleanser, moisturizer, and makeup remover all in one. This all-natural cleanser is formulated based on the principles of the Oil Cleansing Method, a practice as old as the hills. This gentle, non-soap formula will not strip your skin of it’s natural layer of lipids like other harsh cleansers will. Kismet Cleansing Oil wipes away dirt and grime and leaves your face fresh and dewy, without leaving your face feeling greasy.

Do any of you currently use the OCM?? We’d love to hear your stories!

Comments (15)

  1. Olivia 9 years ago

    I have tried this off-and-on for the past few years. I’ve had varying results. I know it works wonders for a lot of people and I did notice a lot of improvement much of the time I was using it. But I have spent a lot of time thinking back and I think at least for me it may have triggered some cystic acne. Or it could have been caused by hormones, but I haven’t seen a doctor yet so I don’t know for sure. I found it was very good at doing deep cleanings every so often, and it sure does help with keeping skin moisturized and glowy! I think I’ll go do a oil-cleansing face wash now, with jojoba oil. 🙂

    • The Mod Cabin 9 years ago

      Olivia, thanks for sharing your experience with us! My acne was a hormonal issue, triggered by high blood sugar. When Chris and I began eating organic produce, and all-natural meats I noticed a huge difference. The negative side effects of fast food diets are discussed frequently, but I don’t think there’s enough said about the problems for people who are trying to eat a healthy diet with the conventionally grown produce (full of pesticides and chemicals) and feedlot meat (pumped full of steroids and hormones, and fed a corn diet) found at your local grocery store. I just cringe when I think back to when I was having issues with my skin, and how the cleansers I used were just exacerbating the problem.

  2. Melissa 9 years ago

    Thanks for your post! I’ve recently read great things about coconut oil… is this something that would also work for the OCM?

    • The Mod Cabin 9 years ago

      That’s a great question, Melissa! The jury is still out on this one. There are accounts all over the internet of coconut oil working wonderfully for a lot of people as a facial moisturizer. We use it in our grooming oil, as a pre-shave and moisturizing oil, with much success. The beneficial properties of coconut oil on skin and hair can’t be denied. However the comedogenic rating, which rates the tendency of a product to produce acne, of coconut oil is among the higher of the carrier oils. My suggestion is that if you have issues with breakouts you may want to avoid using coconut oil on your face, or use it with caution and pay very close attention to any reaction from your skin for the first few weeks. I hope that helps!

    • The Mod Cabin 9 years ago
  3. Nicole 9 years ago

    Hi, I have been seeing this a lot lately and really want to try it. My question is, I keep seeing that you are supposed to do it once a day at night. I often go to the gym in the morning, so what would you suggest for cleansing my face after the gym? I feel like it might be a lot to do it twice in a day, even just considering the time. Would you have any suggestions?

    • The Mod Cabin 9 years ago

      Hi, Nicole! For some reason your post went to our spam box, and I didn’t see it until just now. I think doing it once after the gym would be just fine, and I agree with you that twice a day could be too often. If I wash my face too often it can get irritated. The important thing is to listen to what your skin is telling you, which it sounds like you are. Let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck!


  4. Regan 8 years ago

    i tried the OCM for a few weeks with castor oil and EVOO and was a little disappointed with the results. my face still felt greasy and i was still experiencing breakouts, especially around my temples and jawline. i didn’t want to give up completely as i know regular cleaners/soaps are very drying and harsh on my sensitive skin, so i went to a health food store and picked up some grapeseed oil. i mixed about 70% grapeseed oil with 30% castor oil (i have combination skin and often suffer from dryness on my face). my skin has never looked better. my face is clean, acne free, and is so calm now. i will be using this method until the day that i die. i also made a toner of about 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water- i use the OCM at night and follow with the toner, and in the morning i skip the OCM and just refresh with the toner instead- it’s really easy and fast and my face is in better shape than it’s been in a decade! i’m so happy with OCM 🙂

  5. Karishma 7 years ago

    Hi there! I’ve heard so much about the oil cleansing method and I even tried it for a month. The first time I did it, it didnt quite help me out. Probably because I used the wrong proportion. I did some research and found out that different websites have different proportions given. Can you suggest me what could be best for me? I have oily acne prone skin which means I should try and use jojoba or grapeseed with a little rosemary oil and castor oil. So should the proportions be 3 parts of jojoba and 1 part castor?
    Thanks for such a wonderful post!

    • The Mod Cabin 7 years ago

      Hi, Karishma! That’s the ratio I’d begin with. If you notice your skin becoming too dry lessen the castor oil a bit. There are actually a few ways to use the Oil Cleansing Method. Not everyone needs the washcloth method as it removes more oil than neccessary for some people. You can read about the other two ways to use your cleansing oil here. Thanks for your question!

  6. Abhishek Tyagi 6 years ago

    Will u recommend using oil cleansing method after using facewash?

    • The Mod Cabin 6 years ago

      Everyone’s skin has different needs, but as a general rule I would not suggest that. The cleansing oil itself becomes your facewash and moisturizer in one. Using a conventional facewash first adds an additional step which strips your skin of it’s natural layer of lipids, and can be too harsh on your skin. Your skin should acclimate to being cleansed with oil after a couple of weeks, and that should be enough.

  7. Ebony 5 years ago

    I used to have great radiant, no acne probed skin. Now, I have the opposite, acne and very dry skin. I stripped my face of its natural oils. I went to the dermatologist and she recommended I wash my face twice a day and add a moisturizer. I was also prescribed a medication for my acne. If I try this method when do you recommended I apply the topical medicine?

    • The Mod Cabin 5 years ago

      Hello, Ebony!

      It’s important that I make it clear that I am in no way a doctor or dermatologist. My concern with what your dermatologist has prescribed however, is that for many people washing your face so often can actually exacerbate skin issues. If you choose to use cleansing oil, I would recommend only washing your face once a day, and using the topical medication as prescribed.

      Again, I am not a doctor, so please consider that when weighing your options. Best of luck!

      Cori Gray // Co-Founder

  8. Ian 4 years ago

    “Oil is not bad for your skin”
    Unless you have a condition induced by the Malassezia fungus (seborrheic dermatitis, pityrosporum folliculitis). The Malassezia fungus has been proven in studies to feed on plant oils, and so applying oil to your face only exacerbates these conditions because it causes the fungal colonies to grow and spread. “Beard dandruff” is an example of such a fungal condition.
    The only exceptions are mineral oil, which is inert, and caprylic/capric triglycerides, a fractionated oil that doesn’t contain the fatty acids that Malassezia can metabolise. ALL other plant oils need to be avoided if you have any Malassezia-induced condition.

    So a word of caution that plant oils aren’t great in all circumstances.

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