The Oil Cleansing Method: A How-To Guide for Clear, Radiant Skin

The Oil Cleansing Method: A How-To Guide for Clear, Radiant Skin

A Note From Mommypotamus: Today’s guest post comes from Jennifer Nervo of 20 Something Allergies And Counting . . . Down. Thank you, Jennifer! (And psst, if you’re looking to simplify your body care ingredients, too, check out this pure coconut oil soap made from just three ingredients.)

The Oil Cleansing Method for acne (OCM) is the most ah-mazing way to clean your face. It rocks my sensitive, acne-prone, dry, flaky, and yet somehow oily face’s world. Does that sound a wee bit insane? It’s probably up there with slathering your skin in beef fat…wait, I do that too thanks to Mommypotamus.

Like animal fat emollients for the skin, oil cleansing is another remedy dredged up by some free-spirited souls looking for a more natural method of cleansing their bodies.
Bless their crunchy little hearts.

The Key to Great Skin

The #1 key to better skin is diet. A nutrient-rich diet that focuses on whole foods and steers clear of processed and chemical-rich foods can heal most cases of the skin crazies. Add in the oil cleansing method, and you have a recipe for near perfect skin.

That said, many of us will sneak a slice of pizza even if it causes us to blow up like a Macy’s Parade blimp and break out like a hormonal teenager. Or is that just me?


This is what I used to look like.


Oh Myyyyyy

We are about 1 1/2 years into a healing protocol, and I can safely go out without makeup or covering my face whenever possible. We are also well on our way to healing all of our food allergies, hubby’s gluten intolerance and diabetes, and my 4 year old daughter’s severe tooth decay.

The protocol is a hybrid of concepts from the GAPS Diet, The Primal Blueprint, Traditional Chinese Medicine, a tooth healing protocol, and food rotation in case you’re wondering what is working for us. I talk more about it on my site.

My skin cleared up just a few months into the diet changes, and acne was a thing of the past as long as I stuck to the protocol. I also lost 45 lbs and was feeling pretty good.

Then I noticed my skin was getting dry, and a little wrinkly, and kinda saggy. ACK!


Enter the oil cleansing method. I think many of us who try oil cleansing for the first time are either of the crunchy adventurous variety or desperate for a skin fix. Or both.

So move over special cleansers, makeup removers, overnight moisturizers, toners, and night lotions. Oil cleansing covers it all. I certainly don’t need more things to spend my money on or that clutter up my cabinets.

The Oil Cleansing Method For Acne & Sensitive Skin

(Heather’s note: Though it sounds counter-intuitive, certain blends of oil are great for acne because they help break down grime on our skin without stripping it. This prevents the skin from overreacting and producing more oil. It’s also thought that the avoidance of harsh drying soaps can prevent premature aging.)

The Method

  1. Get your oil mixture, washcloth, and a hand towel.
  2. Wet face with warm water.
  3. Pour about 1/2 teaspoon of oil (quarter size amount) into your palm and rub hands together.
  4. Rub fingers gently over your face in small circles for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate. Concentrate on areas with blocked pores.
  5. Wet hand towel with just below scalding water, wring out, and fold up to keep the heat in.
  6. Quickly wet the washcloth with super-hot-but-doesn’t-burn-your-face-off water, wring it out, and spread it over your face.
  7. Cover the washcloth with the towel to seal in the steam and to keep the washcloth from cooling right away. This is key.
  8. Leave on until the towel and washcloth have cooled to about room temperature and then wipe your face with the washcloth.
  9. Repeat 1-2 more times, but use the clean towel to wipe your face the second and optional third time.
  10. Voila! You have oil cleansed. There should be a thin layer of oil still on your skin to balance and protect.
  11. If skin feels tight after, it is recommended to rub a small amount of the cleansing oil in. I prefer to use a food-grade skin balm or hydrating oil.
The Oil Cleansing Method: A How-To Guide for Clear, Radiant Skin

Formulas & Recipes

These formulas and recipes are meant as a guide. You will most likely need to make a few adjustments until you reach your recipe sweet spot.

If your mix is too drying, add extra hydrating/conditioning oils. Likewise, if it’s too greasy or causing you to break out long-term, then add more astringent oils and therapeutic-grade essential oils like tea tree or rosemary. Play with it until you are your most beautimous self!


Oily Skin

1:3 Ratio (1 part astringent oil to 3 parts conditioning oil)

Combination Skin

1:4 Ratio (1 part astringent oil to 4 parts conditioning oil)

Dry Skin

1:10 (1 part astringent oil to 10 parts conditioning oil)


The ‘Standard’

1:3 – 1:10 Ratio of Castor Oil* to Olive Oil

A Sweet Treat (combination skin)

1 part Hazelnut Oil : 1 part Sweet Almond Oil : 2 parts Avocado Oil

No More Pizza Face (acne-prone skin)

1 part Borage Seed Oil : 2 parts Grapeseed Oil : 1 part Hazelnut Oil : 1 part Hemp Seed Oil

  • experiment with adding therapeutic-grade essential oils – rosemary, tea tree, lavender, geranium are some good choices


Almond Oil (sweet)

  • softens, soothes and reconditions

Avocado Oil

  • rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) and Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E
  • good for those with psoriasis, eczema

Borage Seed Oil

  • reduces inflammation and calms skin
  • promotes blood flow
  • good for eczema, acne, rosacea

Grapeseed Oil

  • well absorbed
  • non-allergenic so good for skin sensitivites

Hazelnut Oil

  • astringent
  • good for oily skin

Hemp Seed Oil

  • nutrition for your skin – antioxident, protein, mineral-rich
  • contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E
  • high amounts of chlorophyll
  • good for eczema, psoriasis, acne, and dry skin

*A Note on Castor Oil

Castor oil is in just about every tutorial for the oil cleansing method out there. I have been using it too but am happy to say that it is too harsh on my sensitive skin no matter the ratio. Why happy?

Castor oil is highly toxic.

Thanks to our dear friend Mommypotamus, I looked further into this little seed and found out that safe harvesting practices are pretty non-existent…as in I haven’t found a sustainable one yet.

There are a plethora of health benefits associated with it, but I can’t promote using it when its main toxin, ricin, causes severe allergic reactions and permanent nerve damage to many of the workers who harvest the seeds to make it. Bad business Big Ag.

Ricin is removed during processing, so the oil we use is deemed safe. There’s no need to run around chucking your supply into the trash. I would however consider looking to other sources when replacing it.

Are you game to try the oil cleansing method? It may just rock your world too.

About Jennifer: Jennifer Nervo is a blogger, homeschooling mama, research fanatic, and has been fondly dubbed ‘the witch doctor’ by her hubby though she prefers the title voodoo practitioner. It sounds so much more professional. On a typical day, you can find her brewing up potions, lotions, and concoctions while learning to practice sustainability with her 4 year old daughter and very tolerant husband. She loves the ancient practices that comes with traditional foods and medicines but is also very fond of her modern conveniences.

Jennifer blogs over at 20 something allergies and counting…down about a range of topics mainly focused on healing food allergies and other chronic illnesses, eating an allergen- and grain-free diet, and teaching about rotation diets for optimal healing.


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