Wash Your Face With Oil….I Dare You!

Let’s try this again…shall we? Despite being distracted by the couch-burning episode yesterday…I’m still excited to talk about Washing Your Face With Oil. 
(I have moved all couches out of the vicinity…just in case!)

So let’s see where were we?

Oh yes…washing your face with oil. Sounds like it makes about as much sense as brushing your teeth with sugar….or washing your hands with mud! But what I have come to realize over the years is sometimes the most counter-intuitive ideas turn out to be the BEST ideas!

For example: when my chef friend Heather told me to run my store-bought sourdough baguette under the kitchen faucet before putting it in the oven to warm up...I thought maybe she’d been sampling the cooking sherry. ;-) But sure enough…it came out perfectly.  Crispy and crunchy on the outside…warm and soft on the inside.

Oh Justin…you’re cute…but not
cute enough to make me buy
ProActiv anymore.

So when I first heard about this “Oil Cleansing Method” I tried to keep an open mind. It wasn’t too hard though…because it definitely appealed to my disdain of all things over-priced, over-packaged and over-filled with stuff we can’t pronounce and to my desire to put ProActiv out of business!  haha.  Just kidding.  Kinda.  I have spent a small fortune on their product over the years for my kids…and while I will admit it has been helpful…it is definitely not all those celebrity endorsers make it out to be. And it’s definitely not worth the price you pay for it. Even the facial stuff you buy at Walmart is ridiculously priced nowadays.

But despite my disgust over the high price of all the so-called skin “care” stuff we spend billions on annually on as a country…the more I read about this…the less hostile I felt and the more amazed I was. This stuff just makes sense!

I’ll try to save you all the research I did on the topic and attempt to put it in Reader’s Digest version:

Your skin NATURALLY produces oil for a reason. Oil helps lubricate, heal, protect, and moisturize your skin. Contrary to popular belief (and contrary to what the makers of acne products want you to believe), OIL does not cause acne. Hormones, bacteria, and dirt are to blame for that. So all these products we buy to get rid of the oil…cause our body to compensate by producing MORE oil. Oil that then pools up on skin that is already irritated and inflamed from the chemicals and fragrances in the soaps we are using…no WONDER breakouts occur! It’s a vicious cycle I tell ya!

So when you think about it…replacing the dirty oil on our faces with good quality oil is the perfect solution to so many of our skin problems…including acne.

That is the whole idea “in a nutshell”…but there is a lot more information available if you click here.

My daughter and I got into a spirited discussion about this the other day. Despite the fact that she still battles breakouts…she swears by the pricey ProActiv she’s been using for a couple of years now. For a soon-to-be senior in college, she sure can be dumb sometimes.  J/K Britta! ;-)   To her credit…she agreed that if I bought her the requisite oils to try this out…she would give it the “ol’ college try”. har har.

So we are both taking the challenge and I promise to report back in a few weeks.
(Do you think it’s unrealistic to think my skin 
will look like this by then??)  ;-)   

If you are interested in taking the challenge too….here is the “recipe” for making your own blend of deep cleansing oil from TheOilCleansingMethod.com.

Once again, I would direct you to TheOilCleansingMethod.com for DETAILED instructions on this “method”. (I feel I must warn you however, she gets a bit metaphysical about the whole experience. I found myself rolling my eyes a little…but you might like that sorta thing.  Just so ya know….)

Basically it boils down to 4 simple steps: (love simple steps!)

  1. Mix cleansing oils
  2. Rub/massage it in for about a minute (BONUS: it’s a great eye makeup remover too!)
  3. STEAM face with VERY warm washcloth until cloth cools.
  4. Wash/wipe off oil

So there you have it….all the information and How-To you need to get started.  Now go wash your face with some oil….I dare ya! :-)


update: january 6, 2012

I said I would update after 14 days…but I couldn’t wait! I will update again in another week…but today…just a little over a week after she started using it…my daughter was raving over this new oil cleansing method! I could hardly believe it! She said her face is already MUCH clearer and her face isn’t dry or oily…but just right.
I tried….I really, really TRIED not to say “I told you so!”…but I may have let one slip out. :-)  She was a good sport about it though.  She didn’t really care because she is so pleased with the results!
So there you have it.  Quick update half way through our 14 Day Challenge.  More in another week!

update: january 13, 2012

In my continuing research of this method…(which I am becoming more and more sold on!) I found a WEALTH of information HERE at acne.org on the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Oil Cleansing Method. I suggest you check it out if you want even MORE information.

The main thing I wanted to add to MY post about this was another alternative to the oil you can use.

          From acne.org:

The basic OCM blend is of castor oil and extra virgin olive oil. Castor oil is fantastic at drawing dirt, bacetria and other nasty stuff trapped in your pores, while healing your skin. Extra virgin olive oil works as a moisturizer and is fortified with antioxidants.
The ratio of castor oil to EVOO will vary depending on the person. The typical starting ratio is 50/50 castor oil to EVOO. For oily or acne-prone skin, a ratio of 75% castor oil to 25% EVOO will work better. For dry or flaky skin, a ratio 25% castor oil to 75% EVOO is good.
However, you should find the right blend for you. A lot of OCM users cut out the EVOO all together–especially those with oily or acne-prone skin, since it is a heavier oil and in rare cases has even caused people to break out. Many people replace it with other oils like Grapeseed oil, which is light, quick to absorb and is known for its astringent properties. Jojoba oil is another popular choice because it is a great natural moisturizer, is non-comedogetic and mimics the skin’s own natural sebum. Other popular oils are Avocado oil, Apricot Kernal oil and Evening Primrose oil–all have extremely low pore-clogging probabilities.
I use 60% castor oil, 20% grapeseed oil and 20% jojoba oil. I also add Tea Tree oil, which is a great antiseptic and is popularly used as treatment for acne. Another great oil to use for acne-prone/oily skin is Hazelnut oil, which I, personally, will be trying out next (swapping out the grapeseed for it).”

And that’s today’s….

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  1. Jill Nystul says

    Shannon…Thanks for the info on the olive oil or coconut oil. Good to know those are easy to find alternatives too. :-)

    Anony…I purchased my sunflower oil and castor oil at the grocery store. :-) The castor oil is in the pharmacy section.

    koryshar… she LOVES the stuff! Which is so funny…because I practically had to blackmail her to try it! lol. I will post about it in a few days when our "14 day challenge" is done. She was adamant that nothing could work as well as Proactiv (which wasn't actually working that well for her) but now she is sold on this.

    Anony…I use it every OTHER day. Believe it or not…it's too drying for me if I use it every day. Crazy huh? ;-) I can't believe this works…but it does! And I can't believe I don't have to buy face wash anymore! love it!

  2. SusieLee says

    I am going to try this. I can't wait to read your 14 day update. It seems logical. Currently I am using a face wash that is supposed to get rid of oil and also contains antibacterial ingredients and then I slather my face with an oil free moisturizer because somewhere along the way society demonized oil, both topically and dietary. I am trying to get out of that way of thinking and eat healty oils on purpose and this seems right along the same path. Thanks for the idea. And, btw, I LOVE your blog, just discovered it yesterday from Pinterest.

  3. Briana says

    I've been moisturizing and cleaning my face with oil every day for over two years and my skin has been amazing ever since. If I ever get a random zit, I put tea tree oil on it, twice a day, my skin looks amazing b/c of this. So, here is one proof that this words! My magic mixture is extra virgin olive oil, small bit of tea tree oil, and a small bit of vitamin e oil

  4. Jill Nystul says

    Briana…that is exactly what my daughter has been using during our "14 day challenge". The daughter I had to bribe to take the challenge in the first place. lol. And she is AMAZED at how well it's working. Time for an update soon! Stay tuned. And thanks for sharing!!! I am LOVING the oil cleansing thing. I'm shocked really.

  5. Jill Nystul says

    Jenny…good question. On the days I don't use the oil…I simple use a washcloth and warm water. (I still use the oil to take off eye make up though.)

    That being said….after further research…there is nothing wrong with using this every day if you aren't having any side effects. I suspect my oil ratios might be a bit "off" since if I use it every day it's too drying. I may have to experiment a bit. :-)

    Hope this helps! (fyi…I added an update to this post today. see above.)

    • Eden says

      If you have tried this, please let me know. I got my clarisonic brush about two weeks ago and I’m really impressed with it so far. But I do want to use the oil method and I would love to know how it works together!

      • says

        Hi there. i don’t have a brush, just my hands, but I absolutely love it. My face is so much softer & maybe it’s all in my “head” but I think some of my wrinkles have softened as well. Good Luck. What is this brush & where did you get it??

  6. Anonymous says

    Couldnt agree more. I switched to an oil based cleaser a few months ago and my skin feels better than ever. however, I am Considering trying the homemade stuff because tho the product i buy from origins is fabulous, it is awfully pricey!

  7. Anonymous says

    This is amazing! I am from Italian decent and my aunts would use evoo on their faces and the babies. I always thought they were NUTS! But now as I am hitting near 50…I have been using this remembering that even though they were 95 years old they had not one wrinkle!! So…my face GLOWS now and my kids and hubby comment how pretty my skin has been! NEVER going back to commercial stuff again! THANKS!

  8. Anonymous says

    I just started the OCM a few days ago too! My oily, sensitive, and congested skin is already a lot happier, and I've got some high hopes for eventually having a smoother face. I wanted to caution some people not to use coconut oil as a face cleanser, because it can be comedogenic. Not necessarily on everyone, but if you're prone to clogged pores you may want to try something else as your secondary oil. Most of all, I love how all this stuff is available in my grocery store! It's been right there, under my nose, the whole time!

  9. Anonymous says

    I use unrefined coconut oil (found in Health food stores). It is solid at temperatures below 76 degree F. I scoop out a "glob" ( a scientific term, I'm sure) and keep it in a dish in the shower. I use a very small amount (pea sized if solid) or dip my fingers in if melted and massage on wet face. I use a bath pouf on my face under the water stream to rinse away any excess and that's it.
    I also want to add VIRGIN or unrefined coconut oil is non-comedogenic and is recommended on many sites for acne control. Here is one particular link of a site http://www.ionehealth.com/nutrition-health/coconut-oil-for-acne.htm

  10. Anonymous says

    I use the oil cleansing method about once a week and it is amazing! I use sweet almond oil and olive oil. On the days that I don't do ocm, I wash my face with a little squirt of baby wash and a sprinkle of baking soda for exfoliation. If I find I need a moisturizer, I just use a TINY dab of oil and rub it in my hands to warm it up. (I just take the lid off and lightly tap my palm on it to get what was on the edge) My skin has never felt soooo soft and I don't even feel as though I need to use foundation anymore. If I do wear makeup, I use the mineral makeup and it doesn't take much.

  11. Anonymous says

    I have been using this method for about 6 weeks now and my skin has never been better. I started with 50-50 castrol oil to EVOO. I did have a minor breakout on my chin a few days into it but normally when I switch facial product I have a breakout. I kept using it and even with the monthly hormonal thing-none! No pimples. I am not prone to acne but do normally have oily skin and since I have been using this I have cut out facial powder and moisturizers. Adjust the ratio as your skin becomes accustomed to the. Changes. I now use about 10% caster oil to 90% EVOO. Make it in small batches so you can adjust the ratios as your skin changes without waste. The first thing I noticed was how much brighter my skin seemed. I have now recommnded it to a 17yo who has bad acne and waiting to hear back. I LOVE this and will never use anything else again!

  12. Aura says

    I love you! This totally helped me save face ;) for work yesterday. I bought the sunflower oil and castor oil a few weeks ago but hadn't gotten around to actually mixing it up. We are painting and I didn't know that if you roll the roller too fast the paint will splatter everywhere (lesson learned). I was using magnetic primer and it covered my face and hair! This was about 45 minutes before I had to be at work. The primer is black and it says to use xylene (whatever that is) for clean up. Obviously I didn't have any on hand and was afraid to put it on my face anyway, so I tried the plain sunflower oil and it all came right off! Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me to not look totally crazy! You're awesome.

    • Cassie says

      FYI……NEVER let xylene touch any part of your body!!! The fumes alone will fuse contacts to your eyeballs. I use xylene all the time (for biology related purposes) and it is very nasty stuff. I’m appalled that this dangerous chemical can be bought over the counter.

  13. Anonymous says

    So I took the challenge, and LOVED it. I made a huge batch and gave some to my best friend and each of her teenage daughters, one of which is fighting horrible acne. It worked wonders for my face, making it super smooth and blemise-free, but when I went to my best friend's house after a week of everyone trying the challenge, her youngest daughter (the 1 fighting horrible acne) looked great! Her face wasn'y COMPLETELY clear, but it looked better than her face did after 1 month of using Poractive. I will be making more and moer of this and giving it to friends and family. Works very well for people who are allergic to almost everything, like my mom is. lol

  14. Danielle says

    Jill can you do another update on this? Are you and Britta still using the system? Just curious since its now been over a month since you started this. Also can you go into more detail on how you actually clean your face with it (the steaming and washing off part) Do you use a different towel or just reuse the towel after you steam your face to clean off the excess oil?

  15. Gloria says

    OK there are so many comments on here i have one question (it might have already been answered not sure) because your using the oil does it smell yucky??? usually the cleansers have a nice smell to them and do you feel greasy afterwards?

  16. Anonymous says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! I've been following OCM for almost 60 days. I have soft, clear skin and enjoy everything about it. I'm almost 48, so my skin isn't perfect, but it's not too shabby. I didn't have bad skin before, but love that I'm using natural products on my skin. I'm still using moisturizer as I had in the past. I use 80% sunflower oil and 20% castor. I put in on my face and really rub it in… then get a wash cloth wet w/ hot water and let the steam take off my makeup and my stress. I have to use a little more vigor to get my eye make up off, but it's easier and one step less than using makeup remover. Thanks for the post… love it!

  17. Jill Nystul says

    Amber…I would definitely give it a try. And I think exfoliating is still a good idea…might not have to do it that often though. I've mixed sugar with oil as a body scrub before. Works great. Should be fine on your face as well. Not sure about the Clarisonic brush. Just using the washcloth has worked great for me.

    Flavia…I don't make the mixture daily. I mixed up my particular ratio of castor oil and sunflower oil and keep it in a little glass bottle on my bathroom counter. You can see a picture in this post:

    Anony….you are welcome! Thank YOU for sharing your experience with OCM!

  18. Mary says

    I'd love to try this, especially since my skin has been going through some changes lately, but I just don't think I could give up exfoliating and using my witch hazel. Any ideas if keeping these in my routine would ruin the benefits of the oil?

  19. says

    Amen sister!
    I too have a deep hatred for Proactive and all expensive cleansing systems that work on stripping the oil away. While oil cleansing hasn’t fixed my acne completely, it sure has made my skin a lot happier. I use a mix of castor, grapeseed and jojoba – although I then wash with an oil based cleanser because I’m not patient enough to steam my face :). Then I slather on jojoba to moisturize (yeah, I make this more complicated but it took awhile to find what worked for me).

  20. DEBRA Matott says

    You said in an earlier post that you couldn’t wash face everyday because it would get dry, I just read this on the OCM site:
    ‘”Though it may be our most important oil, we won’t be using it in the amounts that we will the other oil (or combination of oils for those who want to take this a step further). A little bit of Castor Oil goes a long way and too much will leave you, surprisingly, with dry skin.”
    Maybe you need to adjust your castor oil.

  21. Jessica says

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! I have been using this for the past 3 days, after being referred to your Blog (which I absolutely LOVE) from none other than PINTEREST…obessed! I just had a baby, and of course my skin went crazy with the hormonal changes, and i just couldnt seem to find anything to balance my skin out. I LOVE THIS! Yesterday, at our family Easter, everyone kept saying how great my skin was, and I actually went the whole day (in Arizona..HOT) without having to reapply or touch up my makeup…normally I would be greasy a couple hours in…

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • xein says

      hi Jessica…I ama preggy mom with these hormonal zits all over although some of it are gone since I always use manuka honey for mask but I still wanted to try this method. Does it cure or lessen you zits due to hormonal problems? I am so sad…since I never had this kind of situation before even under stress I never break out so badly. Acne are gone but scars and super dark spots on my forehead remains…thanks

  22. Shannon says

    I found this on pinterest a fewmonths ago and decided to try it as my Proactiv was so expensive AND ineffective. I LOVE it! I only do it at night and then use a warm wash cloth in the morning, but my skin feels great! I still get a couple of little break outs here and there, but I had them constantly with Proactiv anyway. The only thing I would change is that I’m using sunflower oil (because it was readily available in my grocery store) and I wish it smelled a little better. So I’m going to try my next batch with almond oil or something. My favorite part is that all the “ingredients” cost me about $15 and so far, I’ve used up about 1/4 of the oils. $15 for a years’ worth of skin cleaner is a beautiful thing and much better than $40 a month!

  23. says

    i’ve been using coconut oil for my face and body for a few months now and i really love it. i did a bit of research and was so surprised to find that it was great for acne, and WAY better than any chemical my skin was absorbing. i was also using proactive before i made the switch (although i dont have complicated acne) and i agree 100% with your post. plus i smell like coconuts all the time :)

    great post, people need to know how great oil is for skin!

  24. Anna says

    This seems like an awesome idea and I am hoping to try it tonight. However, I do have a few questions. Currently, I am using a Clearasil scrub morning and night and then putting a lighter lotion (Neutrogena) on in the morning under my makeup and a heavier night cream (Delon’s Vitamin E skin cream) before bed along with a Clearasil spot treatment for the problem pimples on my face. If the OCM works for me, will I still be able to use the lotions after I cleanse or is it unnecessary? I am skeptical not to use the lotions because my face may end up being dry, but I am not sure whether or not the combinations are good together. Also, what about using the Clearasil spot treatment after as well? I have heard Tea Tree Oil is a good spot treatment, but would I be able to keep it on over night after using the OCM?
    Sorry this is lengthy, I am just a teenager trying to cut back on using the harsh chemically induced products for healthy and all-natural ones that work even better. I would love to hear a response and thanks for your time!

  25. Amy says

    Have been using OCM for 7 days…loving it! Using a 10% Castor to 90% Sweet Almond mix…I struggle with very dry, rosacea prone skin; flare-ups have been reduced and my skin has never been softer and smoother; I thought I would need to exfoliate, too, but so far the Castor oil has swept all the flakiness away; I was paying $40+ per month for an oil free redness control cream from Clinique…good stuff, but wayyyyy too pricy. This works just as well and is quite inexpensive.

    • Alisa says

      Amy, just wondering if you are still using the OCM and how your rosacea is doing with the treatment?
      I have it too and would hate to do anything that makes it worse.


  26. says

    I love this idea. I have a few questions though.
    1. I use a homemade toner (water, lemon juice, and witch hazel). I LOVE IT! It has lightened my dark spots and my skin feels amazing. Can I still use this? and when?

    Last night was my first oil night. I used the oil treatment to take off my make up. I then washed my face good, used my toner, waited for it to dry and then put the oil on my skin like you instructed. This morning I woke up, took a shower, used my toner, did the oil treatment and then used my face lotion.

    Which brings me to question #2

    2. Do I still use lotion? I like to use sunscreen everyday.

    3. Am I doing this right? I figured I would do it like my normal face wash routine. Morning and night.

    • Heather says

      You don’t need to moisturize with OCM, thats the point. It is an all in one. I use to have extremely dry skin and slowly made the change to OCM and it has worked wonders for me, although I just had a recent breakout which is odd but could be stress (I am a senior in college applying to grad schools 0_o). Anyways, try to get organic oils that are unrefined to not clog your pores and I could recommend using it once a day but with no other moisturizers/lotions. Definitely use a toner :)

  27. Jennifer says

    I just watched something similiar on the doctor oz show the other day….Use Olive oil to cleanse your face no matter your skin type it has natural antioxidants and fighters in it….I was amazed and gonna try this to…

  28. Lauren says

    I just had to leave a comment to thank you for the challenge! Been using this one week and my skin has never been better, I’m 22 and have combination skin and this works so much better than anything else I’ve ever used! If you’re still considering using this, stop- just go for it! You won’t regret it!

  29. Norene says

    I have to jump in here to say that I have also been using expeller pressed coconut oil on my face. It is scentless and completely natural and WHAT a difference I have noticed in only 2 weeks! My 42 year old face glows and it has even reduced some fine lines and “crows feet” forming around my eyes. I use it on my hands and elbows and as a lip balm too. It feels luxurious and my complextion is radiant! Who knew??

  30. says

    Its been 4 months since your first post about this. Are you and your daughter still using oil to clean your face? post some before and after pictures for us. My sons are football players and have a lot of acne on thier bodies where their pads go. Do you think this method would work on back and shoulders too? But then there’s the problem of getting it on the back…

    Btw, I love the stuff you post about. I love your down to earth real opinions. I appreciated not being “sold a bag o’ goods” on the products you review.

  31. Cheri says

    I have acne prone skin and have tried every product. I am very curious about the oils! Do you use them morning and night? And what is the best combo for acne prone skin? I am eager to try it!

  32. Katie says

    I was excited to see this so had to write and tell you of my experience with OCM. Have been doing this for about 9 months and LOVE it! I use olive oil and castor. You can get a bottle of olive oil at dollar store for a buck! Make sure its listed as olive oil though-some dollar store brands list a different oil as main ingredient. I also use it everyday with no problems-I did adjust my ratio after it cleared face up of acne so it wasn’t so drying. But heres the amazing part. My 13 yo son! Started him on it and we all know the hormonal issues 13 yr old boys face!! Cleared his acne! not all gone, but his forehead is so much smoother and less inflamed with the terrible ones with nasty heads. We recently switched to no shampoo in our house-went to a great foaming body/hair wash product from Watkins (I’m a associate) they came out with-no soaps in it-just peppermint, rosemary, mint,fir leaf, geranium, etc oils in it. followed by a ACV rinse and we saw an even better response from his acne and oily hair problems. So not sure if it was the new cleanser or even the ACV but I have a much happier and cleaner 13 and 12 yr old sons. Now if we could only work on the smells and attitudes. Sorry for long post but wanted to share our success.

  33. Breanna says

    Im very excited to try this. But I’ve been reading and researching the OCM for a while, and I’ve noticed that many people can’t do it everyday because it is too drying. It makes sense to me to only do it a few times a week. Which brings me to my question… What do you do for the days that you don’t use OCM? Can I use my regular cleanser to remove my makeup?!??

    • katie says

      The castor oil is drying. In reading the method info it says to decrease it if its to drying. My son needs higher ratio for his acne while I don’t. Try that if its the case.

  34. jamie says

    After reading this my daughter and I decided to give it a try, and boy are we glad we did! I am 35 and have always had trouble with acne, my daughter is 13 and just beginning to have troubles. We have been using this method now for 3 weeks and can’t believe how great it works! We no longer have huge breakouts like before and if we do get a pimple we just put tea tree oil on it and it’s better by that night! Thank you so much for this wonderful idea!

  35. Amanda says

    I am looking forward to trying this. If it works as well for me as you’ve said, I’ll be over the moon! :) I do have one question though: you’ve said that it helps with acne, does it also help to reduce the appearance of acne scars? That would be beyond fantastic!

  36. Louise Niemer says

    I have been using olive oil for years for removing make-up. I follow-up with a mild facial soap and then face lotion. It hasn’t prevented the post-menopausal skin sag, etc. But the texture of my skin is great for my age – I attribute it to the use of olive oil vs. genes.

  37. Mariam says

    hi, I have been using this oil cleansing with olive oil only and my skin feels good. However, I use normail olive oil for face rather than extra virgin. I was just wondering why extra virgin will be good for skin when it is used for cooking and why not use the basic olive oil?


  1. [...] I could never find a facial cleanser that didn’t dry out my face. Then I happened upon how to clean my face using oil. Basically, you switch out the dirty oil from your face with clean oil. It’s like a mini facial every night! I made different ratios for both Mike and I since we have different skin. Mike added some rosemary from our garden to his. I got the recipe and idea from http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2011/12/wash-your-face-with-oili-dare-you.html [...]

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