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What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

Published: March 3, 2022.


Think about the skin’s daily duties - protecting you against the elements, regulating your internal temperature, and alerting you to sensations, both good and bad. It’s no wonder that the body’s largest organ needs oil to work properly. Natural oil keeps it hydrated and provides a protective barrier so the skin can do its jobs better. 

To achieve the appearance of youthful skin, and a healthy, supple feel, oil is necessary. It provides a barrier that keeps healthful bacteria thriving on the skin biome while helping the skin heal from injuries. Many skin care tactics talk about oil as the root cause of all our skin issues, like cystic acne, pimples, and whiteheads. However, it’s usually an unbalanced pH that causes an overproduction of oil, which then leads to a host of skin problems. 

Instead of thinking about stripping oil away, oil cleansing allows us to reintroduce healthy, natural oils back to the skin’s microbiome. Here’s what to know about this increasingly popular method.

"Often, the materials that we are trying to remove from the skin, such as sebum, SPF, or makeup, are themselves lipophilic, meaning that they are attracted to and bind to oils. This makes oil-based cleansers very effective. They are an important part of a double-cleansing ritual which leaves the skin deeply cleansed without overly stripping the skin of the hydration needed to maintain the barrier function." - Christine Lee,  

Board Certified Esthetician and [ comfort zone ] Master Educator

woman using an oil to hydrate her skin


The oil cleansing method, often abbreviated to OCM, uses natural oils instead of a soap based foaming facial cleanser to wash away dirt, grime, and makeup. The basic idea is that oil dissolves oil, so by replacing the dirty oil left on your face after a long day at work with a clean, refreshing oil, you are still gaining clean skin but without dehydrating it in the process. 

/skin regimen/ Ginger Cleansing Oil. This gentle oil to milk cleanser is infused with ginger to invigorate and refresh sensitive skin. Wash away makeup, environmental pollutants, and sunscreen with skin-compatible oils that moisturize sensitive skin.

Remedy Cream-To-Oil Cleanser. This nourishing face wash helps you easily introduce the oil cleansing method to your skincare routine. Silky cream quickly transforms to a hydrating, supple oil as it removes impurities and leaves behind soft, clean skin. It can be used on its own or as part of a double cleansing routine. 

Essential Biphasic Makeup Remover. Water-resistant makeup users, take note. This oil-based cleanser can remove even the most stubborn makeup and thick sunscreens. The fragrance free formula is delicate for use around the eyes and lips. 

Sacred Nature Cleansing Balm. Doubling as a make-up remover and face cleanser, this Buriti oil balm goes on easily and ferries away greasy, pore-clogging make-up with it. Use it as the first step in a double-cleansing routine or on its own.


The OCM method does work for all skin types, from dry to oily and anything in between. It is important to note that different skin types will have varying requirements and considerations. 

Wear sunscreen

Those with oily skin should consider using certain base oils that contain astringent ingredients like tea tree, rosehip, or peppermint oil. Diluted castor oil is great for this skin type as well. 

Consult with a dermatologist or esthetician before embarking on your own OCM. Since combination skin can be both oily and dry at the same time or at different times, it takes extra caution to treat. Sunflower oil can be a wonderful tool in your skincare kit. 

Normal skin

If you’re one of the lucky few with normal skin, then you can potentially opt for any oil that feels great on your skin. Think about the conditions you do experience from time to time, and choose a base oil that way. 

Dry skin

Oil cleansing products work well with this skin type, especially for those in cold, arid climates. Skin is usually in desperate need of additional hydrating so using an ultra-moisturizing oil like sesame oil or black currant oil. 

Sensitive skin

Olive oil can work really well for sensitive skin as it's thick, hydrating and easy to come by

Often, our skin doesn’t just occupy one category. It changes along with the seasons, meaning that you can switch up your oil cleanser as well. During the summer months, you may want to opt for a lighter-weight oil whereas winter weather requires a thicker, more nourishing oil. 

woman using the oil cleansing method and looking at her skin in the mirror
woman looking in the mirror smiling after cleansing her face with the oil method


Oil cleansing works similarly to regular washing but with a few key differences. 

  • Use a clean washcloth or clean fingertips. It’s important to start with clean tools - be them a cloth or your hands. The clean oil you are about to apply to your face will absorb impurities from whatever it contacts. Using an unclean washcloth just defeats the purpose.
  • Choose organic, pure oils. Don’t scrimp on this
  • Use any of the products mentioned above or make your own mix with one of the following base oils, depending on your skin type: Jojoba Oil, Apricot Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Castor Oil, Argan Oil, Olive oil ,Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Essential Oils.
  • When going the DIY route to mix your own oil, don’t simply use essential oils. These are potent and irritating so they must be mixed with a carrier oil. Certain essential oils, like vitamin E, have healing properties but should be used in very small doses (a few drops) when mixed with any of the base oils mentioned above. You’re not cleansing with essential oils, you’re cleansing with a base oil.
  • Don’t wet the skin as you normally would when cleansing. 
  • Pour a half a tablespoon to a tablespoon of oil into your hands and massage oil onto the skin with fingertips. 
  • Use the clean, warm washcloth to wipe oil away, gently. Avoid hot water as it can scald skin, instead opting for warm water. 
  • Pat dry with another washcloth and feel free to moisturize depending on your skin type.


The benefits of oil cleansing are numerous and many beauty experts are opting to switch up their traditional cleansing methods for the OCM. The most important thing is to choose what works best for you. You can oil cleanse every day or when your skin feels extra dry. Some of the key benefits of oil cleansing are:

It's naturally hydrating

While you still can apply a moisturizer afterwards, your skin won’t feel dry, tight, or irritated like it so often can after using over-the-counter cleansers made with bottom-rung ingredients. 

It's a great tool to remove makeup on a daily basis

Some makeup removers are comedogenic, meaning they clog pores by using cheap oils like mineral oil. 

It doesn't use harsh chemicals

Those struggling with acne may balk at the idea of introducing more oil to their already oily skin, however, balancing the skin’s pH may be the best step in combating stubborn acne. 

It doesn't strip the skin of its oils

Poorly concocted foaming face washes that use alcohol, synthetic fragrances, and sodium lauryl sulfate degrade the skin’s natural oil barrier, creating holes in your natural armor

For sensitive skin types, it's non-aggravating

Many cleansers on the market today can exacerbate sensitive skin issues like rosacea, eczema, or even hormonal breakouts. They operate with one mission - to remove oil. The OCM method promotes nourishment and hydration while cleansing so sensitive skin isn’t bombarded each morning and night by harsh irritants. 


Clear, glowing skin usually takes a multi-step approach, unless you’re just blessed with extremely great genes. If you’d like to try oil cleansing, you can still use other products to help with breakouts, blemishes, and signs of aging

Hydramemory Serum. This hydrating serum can be applied after cleansing to increase the efficacy of other products like moisturizers. HA molecules attract and hold a great deal of water, leading to a dewy complexion. 

Active Pureness Clay Face Mask. Acne-prone skin and those suffering from hormonal breakouts or clogged pores may consider introducing this purifying face mask into a monthly or weekly routine. Clay extracts toxins deep out of the skin, removing blackheads and excess oil. 

/skin regimen/ Lift Eye Cream. Harness the power of caffeine with this ultra-effective eye cream. The smooth cream lifts and plumps the delicate under eye skin, making it look like you never miss out on a full night’s sleep.


Choosing high quality products is essential to creating a healthy, glowing complexion, no matter the cleansing regimen one intends to implement. 

[ comfort zone ] products choose high quality ingredients because we prioritize your skin’s overall health and wellbeing. We’re not just here to sell you a product but rather, provide the insight you need to make the best possible skin care decisions for your body. 

drop of a water on a grey background


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