Oil Cleansing Method For Clear And Radiant Skin

Medically reviewed by Dr. Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD
by Ramona Sinha

The idea of cleaning your face with oils sounds crazy, right? But, that’s actually what your skin needs! Oil cleansing technique is an essential part of the K-beauty regimen, and it is the most natural way to cleanse your face. If you are concerned about the oil clogging your pores and making your skin greasy, don’t worry. It sounded scary to me too at first (as I have extremely oily skin), but after trying it out for a few weeks, I am hooked. Read on to find out more about this ah-mazing way to take care of your skin.

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What Is The Oil Cleansing Method?

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It’s as simple as it sounds. The basic idea is to use oils for cleansing your skin. Oil cleansing is a deep cleansing method that does not strip the natural oils of your skin. Many reputed skin care brands have also come out with oil-based cleansers (such as micellar water). However, these products still have some chemicals in them.

People who avoid putting chemical-based products on their face usually use a natural oil for cleaning. You can use it to remove makeup (even waterproof makeup), soothe your irritated skin, and tame breakouts. This is because cleansing oils contain soothing and hydrating ingredients that don’t irritate your skin.

The best thing about oil cleansing is that, unlike soap, it will not harm the layer of natural lipids on your skin or disturb the skin-friendly bacteria living and thriving on it.

You must be curious to know how exactly oil cleansing works. Find out in the next section!

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How Does Oil Cleansing Work?

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Like dissolves like. This is one of the most fundamental things that we learned in Chemistry at school. Only a non-polar solvent can dissolve another non-polar solvent, such as sebum and oil. When you use the right oil on your face, you replace the dirty oil and sebum accumulated on your face with one that benefits your skin.

Oils are botanical extracts that have healing properties. They nourish and protect your skin. By following the oil cleansing method properly, you can treat skin issues, such as dry skin, blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. Moreover, these oils will moisturize your skin.

Massaging your face with an oil removes excess sebum, traces of makeup, dirt, and dead skin cells. It locks in the moisture and keeps your skin hydrated.

Here’s the big question: how do you know which oil is the best for your skin?

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Pick The Right Oil For Cleansing

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There are two things you can do:

  • Buy a branded pre-mixed oil cleanser.
  • Make your own cleansing oil by mixing different types of oils.

Pre-mixed oils are easier to find. You can find them online or in the makeup aisle of any supermarket or beauty store. When buying one of these oils, make sure that it is formulated for your skin type and non-comedogenic.

However, if you like going the DIY way, pick your oils and make your own version of a cleansing oil. Oils that are usually good for oil cleansing include:

  • Jojoba oil (good for oily and acne-prone skin)
  • Sweet almond oil (suits all skin types, especially oily skin)
  • Avocado oil (best for dry and aging skin)
  • Sunflower oil (suits all skin types)
  • Grapeseed oil (suits all skin types, especially oily skin)
  • Argan oil (a bit expensive, but it suits all skin types, especially dry and aging skin)
  • Apricot kernel oil (suitable for normal, dry and aging skin)
  • Castor oil (the best one for OCM and suits all skin types, though it can be a bit drying)
  • Olive oil (suitable for all skin types)

Choose oils according to your skin type. For instance, if you have dry skin, use argan and olive oils. Even avocado oil is good for dry skin as it keeps your skin moisturized. However, if you have oily skin, jojoba oil is the best option for you. You can even use pure oils (essential oils) for oil cleansing. Make sure that you mix the essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your face. Peppermint oil suits oily skin as it has astringent properties. If your skin is extremely oily and gets greasy quite easily, you can even go for rosehip seed oil. In case you are using olive oil, make sure that it’s the cold-pressed variety.

Once you have picked the right oil for your skin, it’s time to get to work. In the next section, there’s a detailed step-by-step tutorial of how to do oil cleansing at home.

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How To Do Oil Cleansing

There are two ways of doing the OCM (Oil Cleansing Method). Both are easy, and you can follow any of them. Before you start, remember to do a patch test on your skin to make sure you are not allergic to the oils.

You also need to know what ratios of oil(s) you need to use for your skin. You may use just one oil or mix two or three oils. Here are the Oil Cleansing Ratios you should follow:

For Oily Skin

Mix ½ teaspoon jojoba oil with ½ teaspoon castor oil.

(Measure 1 teaspoon carrier oil and 2 teaspoons castor oil, and mix both).

For Normal Skin

Mix equal parts of carrier oil and castor oil.

For Dry Skin

Mix ½ teaspoon castor oil and ½ teaspoon carrier oil.

Now that you have mixed the oils, here’s how you can use them.

Basic Oil Cleansing Method

Step 1

Apply the oil all over your face and massage it in gently. Use your fingertips to spread it properly. Massage for a minute or two to remove all traces of makeup and dirt.

Step 2

Dampen a washcloth in warm water. Wipe your face gently with it. Do not rub too hard because friction can irritate your skin and cause breakouts. You can also use cotton pads instead of a washcloth. Rinse your face with warm water.

Step 3

Pat your face dry with a towel. You can follow up with a moisturizer if you want.

Oil Cleansing Method (The Korean Way)

Step 1

Follow the three-step basic oil cleansing method mentioned above.

Step 2

Use a mild, soap-free cleanser to cleanse your face.

Step 3

Pat your face dry with a towel. You can apply moisturizer if you want.

This method is best for people with oily and acne-prone skin. Oil cleansing method should NOT be done more than once a day. It’s best to do it at night before going to bed. There are multiple benefits of following this method. Let’s take a look at them.

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Benefits Of The Oil Cleansing Method

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1. It Balances Oil Production

When you apply oil to your face, it replaces the dirt and excess sebum that clog your skin pores. Your skin ends up absorbing the good oils, which then helps regulate sebum production.

2. It Cleanses Your Skin

Oil cleansing helps your skin get rid of the excess dirt, sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells that are clogging your skin pores and causing acne and breakouts.

3. It Is Non-Toxic

It’s a no-brainer. Compared to the chemical-based cleansers, plant-based ingredients are natural and do not cause any side effects. They provide additional nutrients and antioxidants that neutralize harmful free radicals to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

4. It Keeps Your Skin Hydrated

Plant oils are rich in fatty acids that lock in moisture to keep your skin hydrated and plump. Therefore, you do not need to apply another moisturizer on your face.

You don’t need to dread oils anymore. When you know how your skin works, you understand what it needs and what can get you the results you want. If you are determined about taking care of your skin in the most natural way, this is where you need to start.

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I believe this is the best thing that has happened to my skin. My skin hasn’t broken out even once in the three months that I have been oil cleansing. Go ahead, embrace the oils and watch them work wonders for your skin. Let me know your ideas, thoughts, and feedback about this unique cleansing method in the comments section below.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona has a Master's degree in English Literature. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps readers select products and ingredients specific to their skin type and gives out tips to keep their skin healthy in a natural way. When Ramona is not working or experimenting with a new skin care product or ingredient, her books and a passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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