Getting Started with the Oil Cleansing Method

olive oil

Want to try the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) but unsure how to choose an oil that’s best for you? Wash your face effectively with the right oil for your skin type. I’ve written the guide for you. 

The OCM can sound a little overwhelming at first. Slathering your face with oil in order to clean it sounds a little odd, right? But it is surprisingly simple and yet so effective.

If you’ve willing to try it but don’t know where to start, I’ve compiled an easy guide to assist you finding your perfect match.

Consider though, everyone has different skin and body’s, so there’s no one fit for everyone. Like Brooke finding her perfect man on Bold & the Beautiful, sometimes it’s a matter of testing them all till you choose your favourite or mixing it up week by week. Whatever works!

Step 1: Know your skin type

Do you know your skin type? Today we will stick with the 4 main types:

  1. Normal: not too dry and not too oily.
    • It has no or few imperfections
    • No severe sensitivity
    • Barely visible pores
  2. Dry:
    • Almost invisible pores
    • Dull, rough complexion
    • Red patches
    • Less elasticity
    • More visible lines
  3. Oily: 
    • Enlarged pores
    • Dull or shiny, thick complexion
    • Blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes
  4. Combination: A combination skin type can be dry or normal in some areas and oily in others, such as the T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin).

Step 2: Choose an oil to suit

  • Oily to Normal Skin: Sunflower, grapeseed, or sweet almond oil
  • Normal to Dry Skin: Jojoba, grapeseed, olive, sesame or apricot kernel oil
  • Dry Skin: Avocado, almond, olive or apricot kernel oil
  • Acne: Non comedogenic oils are best, you don’t want anything further clogging up your pores! Hazelnut, rosehip, and hemp seed oils are great. Check out my post about the best oils for acne & oily skin.

I’ve sorted oils by least comedogenic (clogging) to most. The best ones are in bold:


  • Almond Oil (Sweet Almond)
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Emu Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Grapeseed
  • Hazelnut Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil (one of the lowest comedogenic oils available)
  • Jojoba
  • Neem Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Rosehip Oil 
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Sunflower Oil


  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Wheat Germ Oil

I’ve found my skin to be far less irritated and dry since starting with the OCM. I’ve used olive oil for a few months, as I have dry skin, but recently I’ve switched to a macadamia nut oil blend which is also amazing for dry skin but better for acne. Since swapping oils though my big sore cystic pimples seem to have settled down as well (fingers crossed it stays that way!) so I think I may have found a winner. *See my update below

You may need to experiment with the same trial and error process I’ve gone through. Some oils you’ll love, others you’ll hate. Fortunately you don’t need to fork out the big bucks buying new products and then letting them go to waste.

Look in your pantry, why not try with what you’ve already got? And if you do choose to buy a special oil and you don’t love it, eat it instead or use it as a body moisteriser. How many products do you have currently sitting in the back of your bathroom cabinet that you’ve tried and discarded halfway through? OCM is a fairly risk free option comparatively.

Note: Never use Mineral Oil. It’s nasty, toxic stuff.

Step 3: Blend your carrier oil with Castor Oil

A little about Castor Oil

Castor Oil has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it ideal for breakout-prone skin. It is high in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins, and minerals. In addition to helping reduce acne-causing bacteria and inflammation associated with breakouts, it can help heal discoloration and scars from acne.. And according to, castor oil is a brilliant cleansing oil, when combined with your chosen carrier.

A little bit of Castor Oil goes a long way and too much will leave you, surprisingly, with dry skin. Castor oil is a humectant, like glycerin, and like glycerin when used in its pure form (and in high amounts) can begin to absorb water from the surface layer of skin—resulting in the dry, dehydrated sensation that some report when using oil cleansing. But if you combine it with another carrier oil you end up with a brilliantly effective cleanser.

To create your blend of deep cleansing oil:

  • Oily & Combination Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% preferred carrier
  • Normal Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% preferred carrier oil.
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% preferred carrier oil
  • Acne: choose a blend that suits your skin type, you may also want to add a little tea tree or neem oil to up the antibacterial properties.

Having problems?

Like all products, they seem to work differently for different people. If things worked the same for everyone life would be soooo much simpler! And also much less fun. Some people swear by OCM, others hate it. Don’t blame the methodology, it’s most likely the oil you’re using or how you’re wiping it off.

Getting Pimples

Remember, wipe your face off well with a wet washcloth. This part is equally as important as the oil part. If you don’t wipe off well, you leave all your makeup and gunk behind. What a waste!

You can tell if it’s not wiped off – you’re face will feel oily! Your face should only feel fresh, soft and clean.

Try switching oils. I’ve read that olive and coconut oils should be avoided if you have acne, then others say it was a godsend for them. As they’re both comedogenic (it may clog your pores) I would steer clear of them initially if your prone to pimples.

If you are reacting, try swapping your oil for something less comedogenic.


Oil cleansing is well known for being fantastic for cleansing your skin effectively, without over drying. The last thing you want to do is dry out your skin. If you do, it’ll kick your sebaceous glands into overdrive making it even more oily. But some people find the whole OCM terrible. And it can be terrible if you’re using the wrong oil. I’ve found some oils do cause more damage than good for my skin.

When I started with the OCM I begun with an olive oil blend as I have dry skin underneath the acne. It made my skin feel so soft and supple, yet my acne remained as bad as it ever was. So I switched it up with macadamia oil, which I read is also great for dry skin but with a little more omega 6 & 9 to help with the acne. My skin started to get a little better (when I first posted this article), but it still wasn’t great.

Most recently I’ve switched to hemp oil, and wow what a difference! The big hormonal, cystic pimples (you know those sore, blind pimples that linger around and there isn’t squat you can do about them?) have finally settled down! I’m still getting your regular pimples, but gradually less and less of them. It’s early days still, but things look promising. I’ll report back after the 28 days is up.

So why are some oils better than others, despite them all being low comedogenic? Turns out there’s so much more to what makes up a good or bad oil for acne or oily skin. Read my post on linoleic and oleic acids and the role they play on your skin. 

It’s drying your skin out

If you find it too drying, try reducing or cutting out the castor oil.

Share your reviews

Give it a try yourself today. No doubt you have a bottle of olive oil already in your pantry ready to go. Have you tried the OCM? Share your thoughts below.

If you love this post or found it helpful, please share it with your friends x

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