Why you Should Wash your Face with Oil


Yes, you read that correctly.  I never use soap to wash my face, I use oil. 

I have been interested in natural beauty for a long time.  My interest peaked when I got pregnant because I didn’t want to use anything that had chemicals or additives while I was pregnant.  You might think I am a bit crazy but  actually make my own lotions at home and I’ve made many other personal care products myself as well.  I came across the Oil Cleansing Method of washing your face and when I gave it a try I loved it.  I will admit it sounded a bit strange when I first read about it but I gave it a whirl.  Cleansing products I used in the past were very drying.  The weird thing is they were drying my skin but also making it more oily.  My skin tends to be on the dry side but when I would use a regular soap cleanser it stripped my skin of the natural oils and then my body was overcompensating and producing more oil leaving an oily film on my skin.  I remember having to blot the oil off my face mid-day but still felt like my skin was dry and tight.  If you can relate to this, I would give the oil cleansing method a try.

How does it work?

Something I never knew was a little bit of chemistry that says oil dissolves oil.  Whether your skin is dry, normal or oily, there is a certain amount of oil on your skin.  Using the oil cleansing method dissolves the oil on your face and carries away any dirt that you don’t want on your face to clog up your pores and replaces it with clean oil from the cleanser to re-nourish your skin.  When you use harsh soaps on your face, or even soaps that aren’t as harsh it strips your skin of all the oils – even the good oils – and creates more dryness and more oil which is why many people have “combination skin.”

What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

The oil cleansing method involves two main ingredients – Castor oil and olive oil.  The caster oil is an extremely good cleanser. It will remove dirt and dead skin cells from your pores without stripping the natural oil balance of your skin.  The olive oil is a great skin nourishing oil that provides lots of anti-oxidants.

The amount of extra virgin olive oil and caster oil will depend on your skin type. Personaly, I use a ratio of 3:1 (3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of caster oil).  The first time I did it I used a ratio of 1:1 because I wasn’t sure about how much to use and I found my skin to be slightly dry so I switched it up to this ratio and it works great.  Here are the general rules for mixing the oil according to skin Type:

Skin Type Extra Virgin Olive Oil Caster Oil
Dry 3 tablespoons 1 tablespoon
Normal 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Oily 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons

You can also add other oils to the mixture for other healing properties like tea tree oil, lavender oil, rose hip seed oil, or any other essential oil.  I add a few drops of tea tree oil to my cleanser which is great if you have acne prone skin.

How to use the Oil Cleansing Method?

Once you have your oil mixed up you are all set to wash your face.  I keep mine in a small glass bottle with medicine dropper (shown in the photo) to dispense the cleanser neatly.  Here are the steps:

  1. Start with a dry face and put a a generous amount of the oil mix into the palm of your hand then gently massage it into the skin on your face and neck.
  2. Once you have massaged the oil onto your face, get a wash cloth and run it under hot water in the faucet.  Lay the cloth over your face as a bit of a steam treatment to let the olive oil soak into your skin.
  3. After a minute or so, use the cloth to wipe off the excess oil from your face.

That’s it!  You’re face is clean.  Some people feel they do not need any moisturizer after they do this cleansing method.  Personally, since my skin tends to be try I feel I do need a little moisturizer.  I use a moisturizer that I make myself at home which is also a mixture of a few different oils or sometimes I use my own homemade lavender lotion which smells awesome.

I started seeing a difference in my skin within a week of doing this cleansing method.  Some people do this every night and some people only do it 4-5 times a week.  I have been doing this most nights but if there is a night when I feel I don’t need to then I just use a warm wash cloth and gently wipe my face.

Trust me, I’m not the only weird one. Read more about using the oil cleansing method at these blogs:

Crunchy Betty

Sorta Crunchy

Keeper of the Home

High on Health

Simple Mom

If you use this method and love it, I would love to get your comments about it below.  If you think I’m nuts, I would love to hear your comments too!

Check out some of my homemade organic skin care products in my skin care shop or learn to make your own homemade skin care with my eBook  The Holistic Mama’s Guide to Homemade Skin Care.

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday and Things I Love Thursday


  1. Paula says

    I use it in the winter. My skin gets soooo dry in the winter, and this is just the ticket. In the summer, it’s not so bad as I’m not wearing make up for work and it’s very humid where I live, so my skin evens out.

    If you’re thinking this is weird, give it a try it really does work.

  2. says

    Hi Paula,
    Thanks for your comment! Just curious, what do you do in the summer instead of the oil cleansing method? I know some people just use plain water. I always like to know what other people do.

  3. Nicole Sanneman via Facebook says

    I do castor/jojoba oils. I just love this too. I have less problem days with my skin. I read about it at angry chicken and crunchy Betty.

  4. sydra says

    I do this. I was using 1:1 but will try the 3:1 since my face has been feeling dry. This along with your anti aging serum, I should be in good shape!

    • says

      That’s exactly what I do, I use the oil cleansing method and then follow with the serum! It really works well. I can’t believe I used to use such harsh products that never gave me anywhere near the results I get from this method!

  5. Lisa says

    I’ve been using pressed coconut oil as a face wash for about 6 months (It’s great to get off make up). . .I think I might try this for a bit to see which I like better.

  6. Kylee says

    Do you have any thoughts on grapeseed oil? I use it on my baby for diaper solution and was thinking about using it or my cleanser, since it has lots of great qualities for the skin.

  7. Wendy says

    I am so excited to try this! I wear make-up every day, so I’m curious what you ladies use to remove eye make-up? I currently use cetaphyl.

  8. Lisa says

    Does it matter much what kind of oils you use? I don’t have castor oil but I have coconut, almond, and olive oils. Could I use some combination of those? Coconut oil tends to make my face dry.

    • says

      Castor oil seems to work very well because it carries the dirt or makeup off of your skin. I have used castor oil in combination with a few different oils and it seems to work well with any liquid oil. You can try it without the castor oil and see how it works – I’ve never done it without the castor oil. It might work just fine without it. Coconut oil is great for the skin I often use it as a moisturizer on its own.

  9. Nicole says

    Just wanted to chime in that I have been using oils to remove makeup for over a decade- it’s the BEST way! I currently use grapeseed oil and it takes the mascara right off. Added bonus all that vitamin e for my eye area! I haven’t tried the oil cleansing method for my entire face yet. I am currently pregnant and was concerned about the safety of using castor oil topically during pregnancy? Do you know about this?

  10. Kelly says

    I have been using acne medication on my acne prone skin for years. I am trying to get away from all of these chemical laden products. I was just curious if anyone has used this oil washing method while using acne medication and what the results were. Thanks!

  11. Julie says

    I have been doing this as well for about 6 months. My skin had completely changed from the hormonal looking acne and rash-type looking acne mixed with dryness, oiliness and premature aging. I do 3:1 ratio too. I will say I do this first everyday and the rest of my Aveda skincare regimen of outer peace cleanser, green science eye cream, and tourmaline hydrating cream. It’s just the magic “mix” for me. Just the oil wasn’t enough before and I get compliments on my skin all the time now from people who I newly meet as well as old friends. I’m 34.
    Try it!

  12. SusanHH says

    I’ve been using olive oil to clean my face for years. I have extremely dry skin. Cleopatra did it. A doctor told me years ago that olive oil penetrates your skin whereas petroleum based products don’t. I use a warm wet face cloth to clean off surface dirt and open pores, then massage with olive oil. I wipe the oil off with the face cloth then use serum and a moisturizer……My skin makes me look much younger than I am. Love it……I do occasionally get white heads though, think it’s the moisturizer that I use though.

  13. Roxanne says

    Love it. Been using it now for several months. Works better than anything I’ve tried to get makeup off. Even waterproof mascara. The step where you steam your face for min or two is important for that. I follow with tiny bit of coconut oil as my moisturizer.

  14. Adafih A says

    I used to use St.Ives facial scrub and Neutrogena naturals as part of my daily facial cleansing regimen. Since I have been n this holistic journey, now I use 100 % pure African black soap, which tends to have my face a little dry but when mixed with any combination of essential oils, rose hip seed oil, olive oil, tea tree oil etc tends to have my face feeling clean and moisturized. The black soap gets rid of my acne scars and I have been experiencing less breakouts. I will try your oil cleansing method but since I have acne prone skin, tea tree oil tends to upset me. For some reason I can’t stomach the smell, it makes me nauseous. Do you have another alternative?

    • says

      That’s great that the African black soap works for you! Oil cleansing is good for acne prone skin too but if you have already found what works for you, that’s great! You can easily omit the tea tree oil and use lavender or even frankensense it its place

      • Adafih A says

        Thank you.. Roxanne..you are such a great help and I am so lucky to have found you..giggles..I heard Castor oil clogs your pores and is harsh for your face..so I have always been afraid to try it but since there are so many great reviews on it..will def be giving it a try..and lavender/frankincense is good for acne too?

        P.s. Please be patient with me..I know I ask a lot of questions..I just want to be safe cause my face so sensitive..and its hard to find a natural facial care line that agrees with my face esp. since I am going holistic now..

        Thank you..I know I keep saying that but I really can’t thank you enough!

        • says

          Don’t worry about the questions! I love getting questions/comments on this blog! I understand your concern, for some reason since you are wiping a lot of the castor oil off your face it seems to work well to dissolve dirt and oil on the skin. Lavender is just good overall for skin since its anti inflammatory and frankincense is an antimicrobial which is always good for acne.

  15. Joleena Mikolazyk says

    Just made my first batch with tea tree oil and my skin feels soft and amazing! The hot towel was such a luxury to my skin. Thank you!

  16. Crystal says

    Hi Roxanne, I came across your page and wanted to say that I’ve been dealing with acne for about 10 years now, in highschool I barely broke out and now that I’m 28 I’m constantly going through break outs. My self esteem is so low and Im stressed out because I’m worried I will never have nice skin. Well last November I saw a dermatologist and they put me on doxycycline I took that for 6 months and my skin got worse in the beginning but cleared up towards the end now that I’m not taking it anymore I will go through a week or two of decent looking skin and suddenly really bad acne flare-ups that look like a cluster of white heads all over my cheeks! Iwent to the dermatologist yesterday and he wants to put me back on medication he gave me topical creams including a steroid creamfor the inflammation I expressed to him that I would like to go more natural route and I think he got defensive he quickly stated that doesn’t work and it won’t help me I need something stronger. I have been using Cetaphil antibacterial soap witch hazel every other night and benzoyl peroxide every other night. What do you think I should try that can help eliminate my acne? Is their hope?


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