When you become a pro at skin experimentation, at times you find yourself doing things you would be embarrassed to share with the outside world. When I started washing my face with honey, it took me months to admit it. On any given night, you're likely to find some kind of concoction slathered on my face. Doing a google search will reveal many interesting finds, but one of the most interesting I've encountered is the oil cleansing method (OCM).
In the oil cleansing method, traditional cleansers are abandoned, and you use a mixture of oils to clean your face. The idea is that massaging oil into your skin dissolves the oil that has mixed with impurities and the hardened oil in your pores. Once you steam your face and massage in the oil, it helps to dissolve the excess dirt and bacteria. When I first learned about this method, it wasn’t completely foreign to me. I’ve used coconut oil to clean eyeshadow off my eyes for years.
Your main tools with the OCM are your carrier oils and a washcloth. That’s it! Castor oil is usually recommended as your first oil, and you can select the second oil based on your preferences. There are many options out there, but choose another carrier oil that is non-comedogenic (meaning it will not clog pores) and not too heavy for your face. Some other carrier oils to consider:
- Sweet almond
- Sunflower Seed
- Apricot Kernel
- Argan (my favorite!)
Below are the steps to the oil cleansing method:
Step 1: Mix together your oils based on the percentage that works best for you, depending on your skin type. Play around with different combinations. Below are recommendations from the Oil Cleansing Method Website:
- Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% other carrier oil.
- Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% other carrier oil.
- Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% other carrier oil.
Step 2: Massage the oil into your face, being careful to massage into all areas of the face to get deep into your pores.
Step 3: Wet a washcloth in hot, steamy water. Ring it out and place on top of your face to steam. The cloth should not be scalding but hot enough to open up your pores. Once the washcloth cools off, use it to gently wipe the oil off your face. Repeat this step as many times as you need to remove the oil residue.
Notes: I’ve played around with the order of the steps and landed on steaming my face first, then massaging the oil into my face. Also, OCM is not recommended to use every day, though some people note that their skin is fine with doing this every day. Surprisingly, if you complete this method too often, your face may become dry. Castor oil has a tendency to be drying, which is defeating the purpose and will cause more blemishes. Just be careful about the cleansers you use in between the OCM so that it doesn’t create a vicious cycle of over drying your face.
Can you imagine what it’s like using oil to clean your face for the first time? The first time I tried it, I wanted to wash with a cleanser so bad! It makes you self-conscious and it makes you think you’ll walk around blotting oil from your face all day. Thankfully, that did not happen.
So what happened?
The first time I tried OCM it went well for the first week. I used a mixture of about 10% castor oil and 90% olive oil. All was fine until I developed a nasty cyst on my cheek. I have no idea if it was OCM that caused it or something else, but I gave up on it pretty soon after that. A couple of years later, I got up the nerve to try again, but created by own method Now at night, I steam my face, then use a mix of castor oil and aloe vera gel together and massage into my skin. Then I wash away the oil from my face and then splash with cold water to seal my pores. It has not made my skin extra oily or caused any weird reactions.
What I learned
Oil is not scary. Oil is naturally produced in the epidermis and is necessary for us to have soft and supple skin. Oil also provides the protective barrier we need. The problem comes when other factors cause an overproduction of oil and we don’t have the tools in place to deal with it when it builds up. But the bottom line is that oil is not bad. I moisturize with oil after I wash my face even though I have oily skin. I had to learn what works best for me; as with everything, it is trial and error. Currently castor oil is my go-to cleanser and argan oil is my moisturizer.
Check out this Crunchy Betty blog post for more info on the OCM.
What has been your experience with the OCM?
- July 01, 2015
- Tiffany A