oil cleansing method tips and recipes for different skin types

Oil cleansing method? Say what?!

I can’t believe people cleanse their skin with oils now. That’s nuts. Like, my t-zone is already as shiny as a frying pan, and you want me to add even more oil?!

To say that I was sceptical about the oil cleansing method would be an understatement. But when I summoned enough courage to try it, something unexpected happened.

My skin started glowing. It became silky soft to the touch. And, nope there was not a single pimple in sight. 

Instant convert right there. The oil cleansing method IS a game changer. If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, here’s what you should make the switch right now:

What Is The Oil Cleansing Method, And How Does It Work?

The oil cleansing method (OCM) uses natural oils to cleanse your skin.

It works because like attracts like. Basically, your makeup has oil. Your face produces oil. The impurities comfortably lodged in your pores are oily. Castor oil and co act like a magnet, attracting all that oil-based gunk and taking it on a journey down the drain.

FYI, oil cleansing ain’t nothing new. If you take a quick look at your fave cleanser, chances are a few oils have sneaked their way in there. That’s what makes them work so well.

In these cleansers, oils are joined by surfactants, a group of ingredients that helps them mix with water to remove those impurities faster. Surfactants are also the reason these cleansers (unlike natural oils) leave no greasy residue behind.

If you’re already using an oil-based cleanser, you’re already on the oil cleansing method bandwagon. Feel free to stick with it. But if you want to go down the natural route or make your own DIY cleanser, keep reading on. I’ll show you how to do it:

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How Does The Oil Cleansing Method Benefits Skin?

Several ways:

  1. It removes even the most stubborn of makeup effortlessly: That’s oil-based, and like attracts like, remember?
  2. It doesn’t dry out the skin: You’re replenishing oil as you’re stripping it away.
  3. Oils are moisturizing: They leave your skin so soft, and you may find, you don’t need a moisturizer afterwards.

What Do You Need To Do The Oil Cleansing Method?

Not much:

  • Some oils.
  • Warm towel or washcloth.

That’s it, really.

oil cleansing method guide for beginners

What Are The Best Oils For The Oil Cleansing Method?

I know, there are so many to choose from! And they all have different properties. Some cleanse better than others. A few are comedogenic, others aren’t. Some can even irritate your skin, while others are gentle enough for the most sensitive of skin types.

The trick is to figure out what the best combination for your skin type is. But how the heck do you do that?! Experiment. Try a few combinations and see what your skin likes best.

Related: How To Determine Your Skin Type + Free Test

Here are a few oils that are good for the oil cleansing method:

Argan Oil


  • Cleanses skin well.
  • Moisturizing.
  • Works well for all skin types.


  • Expensive.

Castor Oil


  • It cleanses skin very well – it can remove anything!
  • It is rich in ricinoleic acid, which is very moisturizing.
  • It has antibacterial properties, so can help treat the symptoms of acne (but not the cause – it can’t kill P. acnes).
  • Works for all skin types.


  • Castor oil can be drying, so it needs to be diluted with other oils.

Coconut Oil


  • Cleanses skin well.
  • Very moisturizing.
  • Works well for dry skin.


  • Can cause breakouts.

Jojoba Oil


  • Cleanses skin well.
  • Moisturizing.
  • Works for all skin types, especially oily.


  • It contains wax esters, which make it feel a lot like sebum – some people just don’t like that feeling.

Mineral Oil


  • It cleanses skin very well – it can remove anything!
  • It is very moisturizing.
  • It’s very gentle, and doesn’t cause irritations.
  • Works best for sensitive and dry skin types.


  • It’s very occlusive, so it can create a barrier that prevents the skincare products you use next to penetrate the skin well.
  • If you’re acne-prone, it may cause breakouts.
  • Doesn’t have any antioxidants that can nourish skin.

Olive Oil


  • Cleanses skin well.
  • Very moisturizing.
  • Works best for dry skin.


  • May cause breakouts in some people.
  • Most types of olive oil on the market aren’t pure, and the extra stuff can cause irritations. Choose yours wisely!

Sunflower Oil


  • Cleanses skin well.
  • It’s very lightweight and less occlusive than other oils.
  • It’s moisturizing.
  • Works well for all skin types.


  • I have no complaints re this one.

Sweet Almond Oil


  • Cleanses skin well.
  • Moisturizing.
  • Works well for all skin types, especially oily.


  • I have no complaints about this one, either.

PRO TIP: Don’t even think of buying your cleansing oil at the supermarket. The oils you use to cook won’t do. They usually contain extra stuff that you don’t want on your face. Instead, get yourself to a trusted natural shop and purchase the pure, organic, cold-pressed, kind of oil. If you’re going for olive oil, make sure it’s the extra virgin kind. If any oil is not cold-pressed or extra virgin, it means it’s been refined and has lost all its antioxidants and good nutrients.

So you’re read the list but don’t have the faintest idea where to start to create your own oil cleanser? I’ve got you covered:

best oil cleansing method recipes for beginners

The Best Oil Cleansing Method Recipes For Beginners

As a good Italian, I’m going to recommend you start experimenting with olive oil. I use it for everything and can’t sing its praises enough. I usually mix it with castor oil. It’s so versatile.

Now you’ve got your oils, let’s talk ratios. They vary depending on your skin type:

Oil Cleansing Recipe For Oily Skin:

  • 30% Castor Oil
  • 70% Sunflower Oil or Safflower Oil

Sunflower oil and safflower oil are rich in linoleic acid, a fatty acid that can reduce clogged pores.

Oil Cleansing Recipe For Acne-Prone Skin:

  • 20% Castor Oil
  • 40% Sunflower Oil or Safflower Oil
  • 40% Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe the redness associated with acne.

Oil Cleansing Recipe For Dry Skin:

  • 10% Castor Oil
  • 30% Sunflower Oil
  • 60% Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a rich source of moisturizing fatty acids and antioxidants that can help repair skin.

Oil Cleansing Recipe For Combination Skin:

  • 30% Castor Oil
  • 30% Olive Oil
  • 40% Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil is moisturizing, packed with antioxidants and can help you keep oil production under control, too.

Oil Cleansing Recipe For Normal Skin:

  • 20% Castor Oil
  • 80% Sunflower Oil

Castor oil is the perfect carrier oil to deliver other oils into the skin and is very moisturizing, too.

Oil Cleansing Recipe For Sensitive Skin:

  • 5% Castor Oil
  • 50% Rose Hip Seed Oil
  • 45% Tamanu Oil

Rosehip seed oil and tamanu oil are very gentle and soothing. But, always do a patch test before putting them on your skin!

This is just the most basic recipe to get you started. You can follow it to a T. Or add a third oil to the mix. Or use completely different oils.

Start with the basics. When you’re comfortable, you can experiment with other oils and find out the best combination for your skin.

How Do You Use The Oil Cleansing Method?

This may be obvious, but you don’t need to use the oil cleansing method in the morning. Unless you went to sleep with your makeup on. *tut tut*.

The oil cleansing method works best for removing stubborn makeup and sunscreen, not the few impurities that have settled on your skin during the night. Don’t waste your oils!

So, how do you do it?

Step 1: Mix the oils together, either in the palm of your hand or in a small bottle.
Step 2: Massage the mixture on your dry face for a few minutes to remove makeup and other impurities.
Step 3: Wet a washcloth with warm water and gently wipe your face with it.
Step 4: Repeat step 3 until you’ve wiped all the excess oil from your skin.
Step 5 (optional): Follow up with your regular cleanser to remove the oily residue left behind by the oil.

That’s it. Easy peasy, right?

PRO TIP: Wash your washcloth between uses. You don’t want to cleanse your skin with a dirty washcloth. You’ll just put all that crap back onto your face. Oh, and let the washcloth dry properly after every use. Humid washcloths are playgrounds for bacteria.

Is The Oil Cleansing Method Safe For Acne And All Other Skin Types?

Well, there are a couple of side effects…

  • It can take time to find the right combination (and ratio) of oils for your skin type. Until you do, you may experience breakouts and, if your skin is sensitive, even irritation.
  • It’s more time-consuming than regular cleansing (but, also more effective).
  • You have to wash your washcloth often – that’s the boring part.

But, when you finally get the right combination of oils, all the hassle is more than worth it. Trust me on this one.

The Bottom Line

The oil cleansing method is time-consuming, but it’s a total game changer. It cleanses skin, it moisturizes it, and even makes it glow. Go on, give it a try.