Oil Cleansing Method (face washing with olive, coconut, and castor oil)


oil cleansing method olive oil coconut oil

The oil cleansing method is a method of washing your face with oil, not stripping it off with harsh cleansers.  You moms might relate, but I haven’t consistently washed my face at night since I was childless and had teenage acne.  When I do have makeup to take off (see homemade makeup remover here, but this oil cleansing method also takes it off) I’d usually just follow up with using my kids’ baby wash.  In the shower I normally washed my face with shampoo.  Yeah, I’m not on top of skin care over here.

As I’m approaching 30 (in July!) I thought I might want to consider taking care of my skin, and I’d heard of oil cleansing, so that’s what I tried.  I love it! It’s super simple, my skin feels great and glow-y afterward, and I started using items I already had at home: Just olive oil and coconut oil.

The oils dissolve the oils on your face and in the pores (remember? Like dissolves like? I love chemistry) and while dissolving them it takes away all the dirt and grime on your face as well.  The steamy washcloth opens the pores even more and loosens up any stuck in uck.  A light layer of healthy oil is left on for the skin to absorb.

Oil Cleansing Method Directions

1.  Mix your oils: I used half coconut and half olive. If you melt the coconut it will mix with the olive and stay liquid (again, like dissolves like- oils dissolve into other oils).

2.  Pour a quarter-sized amount of oil mixture or a small dollop of coconut oil in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then cover your face, working the oil in in small firm circular motions for a full minute or longer.

3.  Get a wash cloth wet with hot (but not burning) water.  Gently wring out until it’s not too drippy, and then place over your face.  Cover with another dry hand towel if desired to keep the heat in longer.

4.  Leave the hot wash cloth on your face for 30 seconds or until it’s cool.  Gently wipe away makeup and excess oil and pat dry.  Don’t take off all the oil, leave a small amount.

5.  (Optional) If your eyes feel heavy or greasy from the oil, you may want to swipe them clean with a dab of witch hazel on the corner of the hand towel.

Repeat each evening after the children go to bed.

Choosing Oils

Don’t let obsessing over the perfect oils or perfect ratio of oils prevent you from trying this cleansing method.  I started with half olive oil and half virgin coconut oil and then added in some castor oil (about 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup of my other oils).  Castor oil is  drying and very cleansing.  Grapeseed, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, sunflower, and hazelnut oils can all be used and may work better for your particular body chemistry than others.  Castor oil is very drying, so it should only be used with another oil, but any of the others can be used on their own.


High quality oils can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs.


See how Robin and Jennifer do it as well (here, here)!

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  1. Sarah says

    I have been doing oil cleansing for about 2 months now and it has completely improved my skin for the better! Note: Please do not leave out the castor oil, even though large amounts can be drying, it is the oil that draw impurities out of the skin… very important. Also, keep in mind, your skin has a 28 day life span, so you can expect to see full results after 4 weeks! Good luck!

  2. says

    Thank you for this post! I am excited to get this into my regime. It makes way more sense to do this then put on any cleanser organic, or otherwise. I make my own moisturizer for my face and body using a lot of the above mentioned oils… I can only imagine MUCH healthier skin as I use it to cleanse also!

    BTW , I am so grateful that you have posted your journey… I probably go on on your site 3 times a day (sometimes more!) Because of your well laid out blog, your sharing, your simple and approachable way of doing GAPS, we are in the Intro part of the diet and doing very well. You are a God send to this family! I pray that you are blessed in everything you do :) Thank you from the deepest parts of my soul :)

  3. Olgs says

    I am in my mid 40s i have mixed skin type and Ive been washing my face with oil since my early 40s. I eouldnt use anything else. Make up is gone, my face is not stripped but does not feel greasy. Wonderful

  4. April says

    I have tried the OCM multiple times with various oil combinations. The first few days I love it, but I usually end up breaking out after those first few days. Maybe I’m not sticking with it long enough or I haven’t found the right oil combination.

    • mel says

      April, a break out shows it’s working well for you. The breakout is all the impurities coming to the surface. Do give the OCM longer because the breakout will disappear just as quickly as it arrived.

  5. Holli says

    I have also tried cleansing with oils and found they left me with break-outs even when I follow up with an all over witch hazel wipe down. I’m willing to try different oils, but could someone point me in the direction of info on castor oil? I’ve always heard that it’s very emoillent and rather than drawing impurities out, it can draw things INTO the skin because it’s so molecularly tiny. I use it as a protective layer in the winter and have no problems with drying out.

  6. Chris says

    I really love the Oil Cleansing method. I used Kismet cleansing oil from the mod cabin. After a couple weeks everything balanced out and my face wasn’t dry anymore.

  7. Kimi says

    Hi! I tried this method last night and loved it. I used coconut oil with a dab of castor oil. I was wondering if this is something you do twice a day or just at night? If it is just a nightly thing what do you wash your face with in the morning? Thanks!

  8. Guemie says

    I heard of the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) several years ago but was fearful to try it. I really didn’t believe oil could cleanse my face. Having combination skin, I often have difficulty keeping it balanced and never want to look greasy! After doing some research and watching some YouTube videos, I decided to give OCM a try. It turns out that I love the method! Ironically oil actually dissolves oil (and sebum)! I’ve been using organic/unrefined castor oil from http://www.kreyolessence.com and I’m loving it !

  9. Jaci says

    Hello! I recently found your blog about using extra virgin olive oil and castor oil as your facewash! I have extremely dry skin so I have been using 2 parts castor oil to 3 parts extra virgin olive oil and on the bright side my skin has not been dry at all! But on the down side I am breaking out with pimples more than before, any suggestions?

    • says

      Start with a very small amount of castor oil. I got breakouts when I mixed too much castor oil and when I skipped the hot washcloth. I think castor oil, when left on skin, causes breakouts.

    • mel says

      My suggestion would be to keep going, the pimples will subside once your skin as adjusted and cleaned out the impurities. Breaking out is a good thing in this case!

  10. says

    I tried OCM before and I think using sunflower oil is the best. Its consistency is just right when mixed with castor oil and it is hypoallergenic as well.

  11. Beverly says

    In the past, I found my skin to absorb castor oil and to be moisturized by it when nothing else would work, rather than the usual of castor oil pulling out toxins and be “drying.” I want to mention this as it is unusual, and i think castor oil will behave differently when the skin “requires” it. I castor oil. It also make my curls super curl if i put it in my hair care. It is the cl

  12. says

    I’ve been washing my face this way with just coconut oil for about 6 months now and it’s been amazing. But lately, I’ve been adding a little baking soda to it a couple of times a week for a nice little scrub and it has changed my life!

  13. Janet says

    I have extremely dry skin due to a hypothyroidism and age. I am unable to use castr oil because it is very drying and then suddenly my face begins to burn and becomes very red. My skin begins to peel within an hour … even when using honey as a cleanser. I am unable to wear foundation because of this peeling skin on the nose, chin & brows.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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