Saturday, January 26, 2013

What's on my face: The Oil Cleansing Method, Revealed

A while ago, I posted this picture on Instagram (sans text) to show my friend what my skin looks like after oil cleansing (she was exploring new options for her skin care)

This was taken immediately after cleaning my face using the Oil Cleansing Method, or "OCM" in the crunchy community. No irritation. No redness. No moisturizer needed.

The following are a few of the comments I received:
"Your skin is gorgeous"
"Teach me!!!!!"
"Tell me more!!"
"Wow that's awesome!"

...and here I was nervous about plastering my bare face on instagram with hashtags...! Okay. So here it is! The promised blog post all about the Oil Cleansing Method and how it has changed my skin (and my life!) for the better.

Most of us are conditioned to believe that oil is EVIL and should be removed and avoided if we want blemish-free skin. The first step into the OCM world is to shed that belief. Oil is just fine. The oil (or "sebum") that your skin secretes is actually GOOD for it! And what have we been doing? Stripping it from our what now? NOW your skin reacts by going into overdrive and creating MORE oil. Or for those with dry skin, your condition is exacerbated because now you've stripped your skin of the little oil it had and it's not producing now your skin is even more dry. And irritated.

Can I just blow your mind real quick? Here goes:

You can clean your face with oil.

Yup. You read it right. If you remember the basics of chemistry, you'll recall that like dissolves like. Oil dissolves oil. If you were paying attention above, you now know that we most definitely do NOT want to strip our faces of oil. We just want to gently remove the dirty oil and replace it with glorious, nourishing, healing, clean oil.

Enter the Oil Cleansing Method.

It's so easy. Here's what you do:

1- Start with a dry face. Pour about a quarter-size amount of your oil mixture (we'll get to that) into your hand and rub your hands together to warm the oil.

2- Massage the oil into your face for 30-60 seconds (or longer, if you like)

3- Wet a washcloth with hot water--as hot as you can stand--and lay the washcloth on your face. Leave it there, steaming your pores, until it cools to room temperature.

4- GENTLY wipe the excess oil off your face with the wet washcloth.

5- Admire your beautiful face and watch over the next little while as it thanks you for being awesome.

A lot of people have asked me about this and looked at me, bewildered, like I am some sort of freak for intentionally rubbing oil into my face on a regular basis. I, too, thought it sounded ridiculous the first 20 or so times I saw/read about it. "I'm not THAT crunchy." was a common thought. But the idea eventually grew on me until I decided I was brave enough to try it, and I'm so glad I did!!

So here's what you need:

*Castor oil- this is the oil that does all of the lovely cleaning/dissolving work. It is antibacterial. It can also be drying, so keep that in mind when you're concocting.

*Carrier oil- There are several choices here, and we'll go over a few of them. This is the oil that is going to dilute and thin out the castor oil and provide moisture and other nutrients and benefits (depending on the oil you choose)

  • Olive Oil- This is probably the most popular (maybe because it is easiest to find?) and is the oil I use. Olive oil has the same pH as human skin and is generally great for all skin types. (It is the oil of choice for many with dry or mature skin) It is antibacterial and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Almond Oil- Another popular choice. This one is a great all-around oil as well. Almond oil is very soothing and has some great healing properties. (This is my oil of choice for various home made skin care products)
  • Grapeseed Oil- This one is great for oily or combination skin. A powerful antioxidant--fantastic for removing toxins
  • Avocado Oil- Great for sensitive, dry, and/or mature skin. VERY moisturizing. This one is also antibacterial and is great for treating/preventing wrinkles, as it can stimulate production of collagen
There are several oils to choose from--do some homework and find one that you think will work best for you! The most important thing to keep in mind is that you get out of something what you put into it. You want to find a good quality oil, whichever your choice. The olive oil I use is organic, cold-pressed, and extra virgin. I love it.

   - A bottle to keep your mixture in
   - Essential oils

Now, when you're first starting to figure all of this out, you'll want to try different oils/ratios in small amounts until you find what works best for your skin. Here are a few things to help get you started:

  • For oily or acne-prone skin, use 2 parts castor oil to 1 part carrier
  • For normal/combination skin, use 1 part castor oil to 1 part carrier (this is what I use)
  • For dry skin, use 1 part castor oil to 2 parts carrier
Play around with it. If your skin is coming out a little dry, use less castor oil and more carrier. If your skin is coming out oily, use more castor and less carrier.

As mentioned above, another option is to use some essential oils. There are SEVERAL options, and each come with their own set of benefits. Some good all-around EOs for skin are Geranium, Lavender, Ylang ylang, Chamomile, and Melaleuca ("Tea Tree"). But seriously--google it. There is so much great information out there! Find one that works for your skin type and issues you deal with (wrinkles, acne, blackheads, large pores, etc.) I use melaleuca and lavender, but in my next batch I think I'll dry some Myrrh and maybe Lemongrass. As always--find some GOOD QUALITY essential oils! Your best bet? doTERRA, in my humble opinion. But that's another post. (Soon, I promise.)

And there you have it! Just know this--I have heard back from many people saying it took a hot minute (some days, some weeks) for their skin to balance out and start looking and feeling fantastic. Remember--your skin is probably used to harsh chemicals, scents, dyes, etc. If you start breaking out when using this method, it is most likely JUNK working its way out of your skin. I didn't have many problems  - I noticed an immediate change in my skin. It was brighter, more supple, and much smoother. After doing this for a few days (by the way--some people choose to do this once a day, others do it a few times a week. Find out what works best for you!) there was a noticeable reduction in the size of the pores on my face. My mom noticed--"Ashley, what have you been doing?! Your skin looks awesome!" ALSO--most people don't need to moisturize after cleaning their face with this method. If you do feel the need to moisturize, I would recommend trying coconut oil. I use it for everything.

Please read the Crunchy Mamma Disclaimer
Other great OCM resources:


  1. Your skin really does look amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! Let me know if you try it/if it works for you!

  2. i am ALL over this. you are amazing ashley girl.

  3. Yep, I've got to try this. My face looks like a war zone right now. No bueno. :(

    1. It a spa treatment....massaging warm oil into your skin, steaming your pores, no irritation. I love it!