Clean your face naturally with oil (yep, oil!)

About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

The skin of my adult years has been pretty problem-free. It’s neither too dry nor too oily, and I’ve been pretty content with my 15-year hiatus of using Cetaphil or its generic equivalent. But since I turned 30 a few years ago, I’ve noticed that my skin has become… blah. Kinda dull. Losing its vibrancy. A little cloudy. It’s also been dry and tight after washing, and even moisturizing wasn’t helping much.

I wasn’t overly concerned about it, until I read from some of my favorite blogs this summer about a face cleansing method I hadn’t yet tried. I had been going shampoo-free for a few weeks, so I was eager to try this out, too, since it requires no harsh soaps or man-made chemicals. I figured, what did I have to lose? I’ll try it out, and if I don’t like it, I’ll simply switch back to my tried-and-true method.

And so far, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I love my refreshed skin and its frugal cleaner.

How to wash your face with olive oil.

The Oil-Cleansing Method (OCM)

Alright, it might sound a little odd to clean your face with an oil, especially if you have oily skin. But contrary to popular belief, oil does not cause oily skin or acne. That culprit is usually a combination of hormones, trapped bacteria, and dirt.

Like your hair, the sebum that the skin secretes is actually good for your skin — it’s there to protect it from the outside environment, and to keep harmful things from seeping in. Since water doesn’t break up oil, most commercial cleansers are marketed with the “oil free” stamp of approval, making them easy to splash off.

When skin’s natural oils are removed, the body’s reaction is to compensate by producing more oil, much like shampoo does with our hair. Or if your skin is dry, it’s because all the oil has been stripped away, and your body doesn’t compensate by replenishing it (that was my case).

Here’s a direct quote from acne.org:

Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”

So in essence, good-quality oil is the perfect substance for cleaning sensitive skin, such as on our face, because it helps gently remove the dirty oil and replaces it with good, nourishing, healing oil.

Olive oil is one of nature's best skin products. Who knew?
Photo from chez loulou

How to get started

1. Make your cleaner

Simply mix the oils together in a small bottle, give it a little shake, and you’ve got yourself a homemade, frugal facial cleanser. The most popular blend of oils for this cleansing method is castor oil and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). The castor oil draws out dirt and other gunk from your pores. The EVOO is a brilliant moisturizer, helping heal and nourish the skin.

• For those with normal skin, you could start off with a one-to-one ratio of castor oil and EVOO.

• For those with acne-prone or oily skin, reduce the proportion of EVOO, and try three parts castor oil to one part EVOO.

• For those with drier skin, start off with one part castor oil to three parts EVOO. This is what I use.

Experiment, and find what ratio works for you. Just start off with a little bit, and then try it for a few days. I began with one teaspoon of castor oil and three teaspoons of EVOO in a little squeeze bottle.

2. Gently rub it in

Pour a quarter-sized amount into your palm, rub your hands together, and slowly massage your skin with your fingertips. Don’t splash your face with water first — apply it dry. Work the oil into your skin for about a minute, and enjoy the peaceful massage at work. Don’t scrub — just rub.

3. Steam your face

Next, wet a washcloth with hot water (but not scalding!), and put it over your face until it’s about room temperature. This is steaming out your pores, removing the impurities and the dead skin cells. It’ll take about a minute — enjoy the nearly-free facial.

4. Wipe off the oil

Take the washcloth, rinse and wring it, then gently wipe off the oil. Your skin will probably feel softer immediately.

Enjoy the benefits

girl at a window
Photo by Macarena Alejandra

• If you’re like me, your skin will feel softer and look a bit brighter. It won’t feel tight, but it won’t be greasy, either. Olive oil has the same pH as human skin, so it’s the perfect cleansing balancer.

The OCM also brilliantly removes makeup. It works better than the Clinique makeup remover I had been using. Much cheaper, too.

• You also probably won’t need to do this more than once per day. I do this at night, just before bed. In the morning, I simply splash my face with cold water to wake up. Every now and then, I’ll dab on a little bit of moisturizer, but I hardly need that anymore. I never thought I’d see that day.

Other beneficial oils

Castor oil and EVOO are carrier oils and work well, but other people have found great success with jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and flaxseed oil, especially if their skin is very oily. I haven’t tried these personally, though.

If your skin is on the dry side, almond oil and evening primrose oil are also good carrier oils.

Tea tree essential oil is a natural antiseptic, and is great for clearing up acne. Try a few drops into your OCM mixture. Only use a few drops — a little goes a long way.

Good resources

Have you tried the OCM? What’s your oil cleanser recipe? If you haven’t yet, do you think you’ll give it a shot?

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  1. I’ve been using the OCM for 10 days now and can really see a difference in my skin texture. I was just wondering if anyone can recommend a “natural” moisturizer to use afterwards.


  2. Thank you so much for this article – I did this for the first time today and my skin felt SO amazing! I have psoriasis and my skin has been feeling so tight and itchy – I had immediate relief the first time I did this. Going to keep on keeping on!

  3. I was pretty leery about trying the oil on my face. But after just one try, I was convinced! I couldn’t believe how soft my skin felt. I was also impressed with the fact that my face no longer gets greasy partway through the day.

  4. Is there any other oil to use as the cleansing agent other than Castor Oil? As a kid, my mother was told to give us a spoon-full of Castor Oil anytime we were sick as a “miracle cure”. Unfortunately, my mother isn’t so good at catching sarcasm and didn’t realize this was supposed to be a scare tactic to keep us from skipping school.
    I’m told that Castor Oil makes for a wonderful laxative, but my sister and I were never able to keep it down for more than a few seconds to tell. As a result, I can’t stand the smell of Castor Oil. If there is any substitute for this, please let me know.

    P.S. A few months after she began administering this remedy, my mother got sick and decided to take a dose of Castor Oil herself… we never had to take that wretched stuff again.

  5. avatar
    Hans de Zwart says:

    I read your blog about washing hair without shampoo.
    Great to see that ‘normal’ people too now see the overestimated value of shampoo, conditioners and sorts..
    I used to wash my hair with artificial stuff, but stopped using these soaps when I heard about the self-cleaning ability of our hair.
    Since having dreadlocks (this is why it says ‘normal’ people..) I even stopped using a comb.

  6. I’ve had acne since I was 11, and if someone told me I’d still have acne at 31, I would not have believed it. I tried different mixes of castor and olive oil, and if there was enough olive oil that it my skin didn’t feel dry, it made me break out. I did a bit of digging around online, and while I don’t have the reference, I found the mix that works incredibly well for me:
    60% castor oil (3 tablespoons)
    20% jojoba oil (1 tablespoon)
    20% grapeseed oil (1 tablespoon)

    I don’t use it every day- more like 3-4 times a week. I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Castille Soap (this is my regular body wash) on my face the other days. I don’t miss proactive at all. Now, to find an all natural sunscreen!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Mama Comforts =-.

  7. avatar
    Michelle says:

    I know this is an old post, but I felt compelled to comment! I finally ran out of my expensive cleanser and moisturizer, and I remembered this post. I have been using this method now for a couple weeks and my normally oily (but with flakes on top) skin looks and feels great ~ better than I can remember in my adult life! I have forwarded this post to all my friends and hope they all start saving money and saving their skin from all the chemicals and yucky-ness in most store bought cleansers. Thanks for the great advice Tsh! I’m wondering, are you still using this method? ~Michelle

    • avatar
      Michelle says:

      Almost a year later and I am still thrilled with this recipe. I’ll NEVER buy another cleanser! Thanks again.


    My mom and I have been trying this for about 2 months now and I’m absolutely loving it. I’ve had trouble with my skin for years and after trying anything and everything, I’ve finally met my skin care soul mate!

    We’ve been using the equal parts Castor oil and EVOO once daily. (I miss a day here and there, but no harm done.) Sometimes my skin gets a little dry after using it, but that’s a relief from its usual oily state. A little bit of Vitamin E oil fixes everything.

    Besides being great for my skin, I’ve found this routine has become a great soothing ritual in my everyday life. I used to wash my face between washing everything else in the shower, not paying much attention to everything. But taking 3 minutes out of my life to sit with a wet wash cloth over my face, sitting still, and breathing deep noticeably calms my body and mind.

    In conclusion, great post. I’m so glad I found it! Let the face care revolution begin!

  9. avatar
    Cate Stepto says:

    Hi all,
    I tried OCM and really really wanted it to work for all the reasons discussed above. I want to share my experience in case it might help someone else out. I do understand that this process involves tweaking, but there are some of us out there for whom this can cause some very ugly, worrisome and costly results. You might not know you are prone to these results until you try OCM, so hopefully you read this first.
    I tired OCM, and like some others who have posted, I noticed tiny red bumps, especially on my chin, like a cross between eczema and acne. I tried tweaking and using different oils or a bit of tea tree oil. By week two, I started to get bumps on the other side of my chin, so I decided to hold off on OCM and do a little research. At this point, I believe I have triggered PD or perioral dermatitis, a skin condition present in 1% of women ages 20-45. Generally PD is treated by oral or topical antibiotics. The causes are not agreed upon but guesses include flouride in toothpaste, use of cortisone on face, stress and not properly washing the face. Dermatologists consider it a bacterial infection. There are many forums on the web to read re: PD as it seems it is a devil to get rid of as it is like migraines or yeast infections: many factors are in play and managing the symptoms can be quite complex. According to the forums (including this one), OCM can trigger PD. I only write this because I know there are some of us out there with the best intentions looking for green, simple, cost-effective ways to look our best, the last thing we want is to have half our faces covered in a rashes. If you are at all prone to eczema or get tiny itchy pimples from time to time please be aware that OCM might trigger something for you.
    For those of you who are enjoying OCM, congrats! It does seem wonderful and I wish I could continue with you!

  10. I tried the Castor/Olive Oil mix. First I tried a 1:1, and when that was very drying, I tried 1:4 and it was still drying. I was surprised since I’ve always thought I had oily skin. Oh babies, you do change us, don’t you? I also ended up with the bumps on my forehead as some others mentioned. (For me, it never took off my lip color, but I’m using that Revlon ColorStay stuff. It doesn’t budge for anything except Mary Kay’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.)

    So, although I have a whole jar of my 1:4 OCM mix in my closet, I quit using it. I switched to washing with coconut oil. Then I found Dr Bronner’s liquid soap at Target, and I’ve been using that on my face and body and I’m very, very happy with it. A little really goes a loooong way, and surprisingly (for me), I like the lavender scent. Most importantly my skin feels great. I follow up with coconut oil as a moisturizer except on my face, and I’m good to go!

  11. I am still skeptical about the no-shampoo… I would have to try that… But I know exactly what you mean by OCM… I have lately started using coconut oil as a moisturizer ( and believe me it rocks !)…
    navya´s latest post: Project 333

  12. I find a teaspoon of sugar mixed with the oil helps with exfoliation – once a week is all that is needed

  13. Im new to this OCM and I cant wait to see how it works! I have acne-prone skin so I know its not going to be an easy task. Ive been dealing with acne all my life (Im 24 now) and this has got to be the first thing that my face appreciates!!!

    I have a quick question: I exercise a lot. Do I have to use a regular facial cleanser post work-out???

  14. I am a brown-skinned bella and I have been OCMing for almost 2 months and I love it! I never need moisturizer and skin feels perfect….balanced. I still get my one “monthly” pimple, but that is it. I use 80% apricot kernel oil & 20% castor oil. I think that I am going to try jojoba next…either adding it to my current mix or replacing the apricot kernel.

  15. Does the olive oil have to be extra virgin. Or is plain olive oil OK? Thanks.

  16. I’ve had acne my entire life, and have used everything: Proactive, Retin-A, Skin ID, SkinCeuticals, and all manner of cleansers, treatments, & moisturizers in between. Proactive would work great for about a year at a time. Then the break-outs would get bigger and come more frequently. I’d take breaks from the PA regime for several months at a time, so that I could start using it again, and it would work again for a while. I did that for years. Skin ID didn’t work very well, nor was it very enjoyable to use. All the layers made my skin feel really congested. It was too heavily fragranced for my taste. Oh, and I was as broke out as ever. Retin-A was good, in that it combatted the wrinkles and the acne. Bad in that I was red for the first month, and my skin literally hurt the whole time (no pain no gain, right?). I was looking good 6 weeks in, but it cost a mint! Seriously? Products, be they drug store, day spa, or dermatologist’s office, are mad pricey.

    I have been using the OCM for about two months now, and I love it. Truly. Love it. I cannot express how this has changed my entire self-care prospective. I started using the method during my most breaken-outenest time of the month, figuring if I’m gonna break out, I might as well go for it. Guess what: no break out. Seriously? None.

    I live in an extremely dry climate, so I use a moisturizer, as well. Feeling inspired, I read up on the interwebs and made my own: 1 part sweet almond oil, to 2 parts vitamin E oil (in a soybean oil base). I heard such good things about coconut oil, that I tried using that as moisturizer about 6 weeks in, but found that I began getting small white heads. I switched back to my old oil mix-up, and the white heads are gone. I cannot believe that I tortured my face and wallet for years. I’m converted. Next step? Poo-free.

    • Hey, my history with acne sounds a lot like yours. I am 22, no babies, etc. What mixture of oil do you use to cleanse your face? I am really excited to try this natural way of cleansing!

  17. Update: Have been using straight olive oil for face, elbows, and once per week an all-over application and my fair, freckly skin has never been better :)
    Ellie´s latest post: Coming home

  18. Hi, I’m wondering if this will work for me as I suffer from moderate acne and I live in Singapore, hot and humid weather all year. :( Look forward to your reply! ^^

  19. What about coconut oil?

  20. I just tried your olive oil moisturizing tip. It works great!! My skin feels so soft!! Ill never waist my money on expensive moisturizers again!! Thank you.

  21. I use organic safflower oil:
    – splash quite warm water on my face to open pores
    – close pores with 1/2 & 1/2 mixture of water and organic vinegar
    – if I need a “scrub,” I put a little sugar in my palm, add a little oil, gently scrub, then rinse, and pat dry.
    – if I don’t use scrub (most of the time), I just pat in a little safflower oil

    Safflower “scrub” works wonders all over my body, as well as just my face. I love to add a little amber or lavender oil to the safflower scrub. I also keep a jar of “scrub” in the tub (watch out for slipperiness). I do find, however, that my skin feels softer if I pat on the vinegar right before the oil.

  22. I have the mix ready to go, but now I’m fearful.

    Does anyone know if this can help clear-up cystic acne (which I suffer from pretty badly)?

    Thanks so much!

  23. Hello, new to this site, enjoy it. I live in a cold climate. I started to wake up in the morning and found my face skin to be blotchy and red on cheeks. I have thought of what could cause it. Well, I remembered I had always slept on satin or silk pillow cases. Seriously, I bought a set and found that I woke up with none of the above reactions. Try a set of satin or silk pillow cases, the pillow case is good for hair also. I no longer have the red or blotchy face when I wake up. Good for face and hair.

  24. I’ve been cleaning with coconut oil for years now, but never thought about using castor oil to draw out impurities. I’ll try it! Thanks, Tsh!
    Nenette´s latest post: almost wordless- mini in a red dress

  25. I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for over a year now, and I love it! I’m going to be writing a post about it for my own blog and I was hoping to track back to your excellent post for additional information/viewpoint. I hope that’s ok!

  26. Does it work for more “mature” skin too? You’re such a spring chicken. I am too, but I’m 54.

  27. My sister was just telling me about this! Her wedding is in 2 weeks and she made a risky move and dumped her Pro-active for the olive oil… and loves it!
    I will be starting this tonight.
    Thanks for the helpful info!
    Katie´s latest post: Decorative Cross – cheerful polka-dots pink rose – Easter basket filler

  28. I am very intrigued by this for my teen kids, especially. I actually began using olive oil years ago to help deal with eczema because anything over the counter or prescribed was irritating or had too many side effects. I have found olive oil to be wonderfully soothing, calming down my skin like nothing else. Because of this, I have been cautious about using soaps much, limiting it to every couple/few days and find my skin is much happier, so this all makes good sense to me!

  29. I’ve been doing oil cleansing for over a year now – and I love it! This was one of the posts that I read when deciding if I would try it. I just posted about it today on my blog – http://mommysmiddleground.blogspot.com/2011/04/frugal-luxuries-oil-cleansing-method.html

    Thank you for getting me into oil cleansing!
    Jessie´s latest post: A Week of Frugally Luxurious- Natural Solutions from the Neck Up!

  30. Does this method help minimize pores?

  31. I have very dry, acne prone, sensitive skin with bouts of eczema. I have been using the oil cleansing method every night for about 4 days. My current blend is 10% castor oil to 90% extra virgin olive oil with a few drops of tea tree oil. I am spot treating dry spots with olive oil after cleansing at night and using a wet wash cloth to rinse in the morning. So far I have to use olive oil all over in the morning because my skin still feels dry and I feel pretty dry by the end of the day. My acne is slowly clearing up, I have had fewer instances of eczema, I have very little flaking of the skin, and I love the way my skin feels after cleansing. But from what I read I shouldn’t go under 10% castor oil and I’m not sure what else I can do to make my skin feel moisturized throughout the day. Should I only use OCM a few times a week, or is my skin just adjusting?

  32. Thanks for these tips. I will definitely try this. Please give me some suggestion as my hairs are very dry & rough. Is their any solution to make my hairs silky and attractive.

  33. I use this method for my skin now for 2 weeks, and my skin has already improved and is balanced and I feel pretty again, thank you for sharing this method. I love it!
    I was wondering, do you know of anything that works for stretch marks? although they are genetically deniable (it seems) I have tried many products, and nothing works. I just love cleaner, simpler, easy to use products that are non-greasy and inexpensive and effective. I just can’t seem to find anything, so if you have any suggestions I would most apprecite it. Thanks Tsh, I love all your blogs and enjoy reading you each week!

  34. I just started trying the facial OCM with a 3:1 ratio.
    My skin doesn’t feel wonderfully soft, but tight, heavy & pasty. (I have “normal” skin).
    I’ve read the other comments about EVOO being too heavy, would that also cause the tight feeling? Or do I need to experiment with the ratio?
    I’m not sure my skin has a “natural glow” now, but it does look better, I just can’t put my finger on what’s different.
    Also, what about age spots?, lol… is there anything natural for reducing those? I’m just starting to notice them.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

  35. i have been using 2 parts castor oil to 1 part EVOO for about a month now and i love it. thanks for sharing this. i was really skeptical of putting oil on my face, but decided to give it a try. i’m sure i’ll use more EVOO in the winter months, but 1:2 ratio is perfect for me right now. thanks again!

  36. Hi…
    can i mix castor, olive oil and almond oil…
    n wht shuld be the ratio..
    my skin is mixed normal to oily…
    thnx ^_^

  37. So far I like the OCM but have just discovered that green tea and vinegar make a good toner for skin. My question is this…should I use a moisturizer after using the toner? I am 55 with combination skin and large pores on my nose, so I am hoping the toner will help with those but I don’t want to counteract the benefits of OCM. I’m confused.

  38. Just trying this and I’m thinking that I like it…it’s nice because my skin is usually so dry…hoping this does the trick!
    Charissa´s latest post: Mango Strawberry Protein Shake

  39. I have added some diatomaceous earth for a little extra exfoliation. It can be purchased from vet suppliers or pool suppliers and it’s much cheaper than if you buy it from cosmetic suppliers. You don’t need much, but it makes a great exfoliator and it’s better than salt or sugar.

    I have also used the sesame oil as it is very light and much cheaper than evoo.

  40. I think I commented on this post once before, but I had to come back and comment again. :) Today I mixed up a little bottle of 1/2 EVOO, 1/2 Castor Oil. I saw most recommendations were either 1/3 or 3/1 but since I have VERY dry patches on my face and I break out and get oily, I decided to try half and half first, and tweak it one way or the other if needed. All I can say after using it is WOW. My face feels so clean and so soft. I love it! I didn’t need to moisturize afterward, and put my mineral powder on straight away– no liquid makeup either. (I usually use lotion first, then liquid makeup, and the powder later in the day.) I think I’m really going to like this! Amazing. And all it cost me was half of a $2 bottle of castor oil. :)
    Dawn´s latest post: Are You Qualified?

  41. I use jojoba oil.

  42. Ok so I have to admit, I was really skeptical about trying this, but since the “shampoo free” article proved to b such a god send for me (as a severe dermatitis sufferer), I figured I’d give this a shot as well. I have always had very large pores, persistent blackheads, and frequent dermatitis “scales” on my face. I tried this for the first time tonight and WOW! All my blackheads disappeared, my pores are visibly smaller and the dermatitis isn’t flaky feeling (although it is still red and rough at this point). I have VERY high hopes for the future of my skin using the OCM.

    My daughter also suffers from bad acne breakouts, so I’m mixing some up for her as well and am hopeful we can get rid of all of the prescription strength cleansers she currently uses to no avail.

    Thank you soooooo much for sharing this information. You guys are great!

  43. I read some reviews on castor oil products on Amazon.com and someone mentioned that it promotes hair growth. Anyone who uses it on their face notice more hair on their face? I’d like to avoid that myself! Also, I’ve read about drinking castor oil to induce labor. I assume it’s okay to use on your face if you are pregnant since it’s just topical use???

  44. Cool, I just found this. I actually use EVOO as a eye makeup remover and I also use baking soda as a facial scrub (paste form). Natural is THE BEST! Cheers to great skin and saving oddles on expensive harsh chemically cleansers (that don’t work anyway)!
    Rebecca´s latest post: Unraveling the Day

    I’m looking forward to find an option that doesn’t use animal’s products.
    Thank you all for the nice ideas!

  46. I have been using coconut oil to remove my makeup and moisturize for sometime now. I havn’t tried the steaming method though. Can’t wait to start doing that.

  47. Just tried this for the first time tonight. I am AMAZED that already I can see a major difference in the black heads and clogged pores along my nose. Can I make a good amount of it and store it, or should i make it fresh every time I use it? I have been ‘poo free for a while due to thinning hair, and its looked better than it has in ages. Not to mention all the $$$ im saving!!

  48. I saw this method in a magazine a few months ago and I am hooked! I ALWAYS had menstrual breakouts around my mouth area and blah looking complexion. I know it seems so odd to wash with oil but honestly the first time I tried it I felt and saw a difference. I put equal parts of Castor oil and sunflower oil. Also, the honey mask a couple times a week. My skin has never felt so good =)

  49. I have bought a commercial cleaning oil for about 3 years now. It took me about a week to realize how good my skin felt after changing over to this. Now I would not give it up for anything. It feels wonderful at night to give myself a little face massage while cleaning my makeup off. Nothing cleans better than cleaning oil and my face feels great after. I am excited to try this homemade version!

  50. avatar
    Hailey Husted-Fink says:

    If you are wearing make up would you take the make up off before? Or would you just cleanse with the make up on? If you were to take of the make up what would you use?

  51. I once had acne prone skin. It was very upsetting to me and I never wanted to go out. It took years until I was able to find the right treatment for my skin. I eventually started using this cleanser for acne that was clearing my skin up tremendously. My self esteem sky rocketed and I was finally going out again and not worrying about my skin. It all depends on finding the right treatment for your acne in order to over come your issues with skin care.

  52. I have a question – I would definitely use this at night to remove my makeup. However, I run in the morning and shower after that and I would want to wash my face then as well. I’m thinking just water wouldn’t remove the sweat. Would it be better to use this again or use regular soap in the morning?

  53. Just tried this with half EVOO and half castor oil. Long term effects are yet to be seen, but right now my face feels just lovely! :) Thanks so much for the tip!!
    Meg´s latest post: Double leather wrap with natural Turquoise and antique silver elephant closure

  54. Great ideas on making your own shampoos & cleaning your face with oils! I thought your recipes to be so helpful that I shared them on my blog as well! Thanks and keep posting!
    Stacy´s latest post: DIY: Chemical Free Living

  55. I can add my vote for the oil cleansing method. I have been using it for the last few weeks, and I love it. I recently blogged about it if you are interested in my experiences: http://spinnergal.blogspot.com/2011/09/oil-cleansing-method.html

  56. are you supposed to wash your face normally first or do you rub the oil on top of the makeup and let it take it off your skin?

  57. i just wanna say i love this OCM, and i dont usually need to put moisturizing lotion on .. but what do people use for sunblock?

  58. I’ve been using the OCM for a couple of weeks now and love it! My skin looks better than it has in 20 years! I use straight EVOO in the morning with the steam cloth. In the evening, if I’ve worn makeup during the day, I gently scrub with honey and baking soda, followed with a “toner” of watered down apple cider vinegar and a drop of tea tree oil. I take off my eye make up with some olive oil and I’m ready for bed! My acne has all but disappeared and my rosacea has calmed down. My skin is even-toned and feels amazingly soft.

  59. avatar
    Carie Edson says:

    Although I haven’t tried oil as a cleanser, I’ve been using an EVOO cold cream for over a year now. It’s mostly EVOO, a little water, a couple Tbs. grated beeswax and a pinch of borax. Amazing! I too always thought oil would make more oil, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how oil lotion has worked for my face. Less acne, no more dry flaky skin… For a cleanser I’ve been using mostly honey with a little rose water and a couple Tbs. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. Works great! But I’ll definitely give the OCM a try. Thanks for the great info!

  60. I’ve been doing this method for a couple weeks now, and I love it! So far I’ve just been using EVOO with the warm wash cloth and then also using a bit of baking soda once a week (I have very dry skin – I have eczema on various parts of my body, including my face) and while I still (still!) sometimes feel the tight dryness on my face and still have to use a cream at night it’s been so, so much better. If I find my pores are starting to look clogged I’ll probably add some castor oil but for now I like the way my skin is starting to look!

    I’m just wondering if there’s a recipe or something for a great night face cream? Like I said, I still can’t go without moisturizer, and I’m only 26. I can’t imagine how it’s going to be when I get older.

  61. Great tutorial on the OCM! So many women are hesitant to put oil on their faces, but it could be the best thing they ever did! This is especially true for people with extremely oily skin. They usually scrub relentlessly and use harsh detergents that strip every drop of oil from their skin. But the problem with that is this- your skin needs oil! So, your body then goes into overdrive producing more oil to make up for what was stripped away. This is a vicious cycle, but using natural moisturizers and methods like the OCM can stabilize chronic oily skin.

    Thanks for putting this beneficial information out there!

  62. I am making this today. I am a huge fan of DHC’s Deep Cleaning Oil, but at the moment, I don’t have the cash to stock all of my favorite premium products. If I see similar results, I will be elated!

  63. I’ve been trying this method for a month now. Pretty good so far! I shared it on my blog today :)

    Jeanee´s latest post: 36 – THE DIRTY

  64. Oh my goodness! I am so excited to try this! I just experimented making my own deodorant and facial moisturizer yesterday and tonight I will try this! WOohoo… so excited to have been introduced to your blog. Thank you!

  65. avatar
    Alicia Almaguer says:

    What about using avocado oil?? I found your blog through a google search on “oil-cleansing”. I was searching after a friend who was tellling me about “larenim” makeup products also said that it is better to cleanse with oil…he said that avocado oil can be a better option to olive oil as it is slightly less heavy? Have you tried avocado oil as cleanser? Would you consider it a good option? Thanks and love your blogging already! I am having “Love at first glance” for your blog!!

  66. avatar
    Alicia Almaguer says:

    Also do you have tips on exfoliation? I was thinking of using the larenim one, but it is $26. I thought I might could make a simpler one on my own.

  67. I am so excited to try this! I’ve been no-’poo for about 6 weeks now and I’m loving the results. I’ve actually been searching for some sort of all-natural facial cleanser. Thanks so much!

  68. Really considering trying this out. You had me when you said it removed make up! Where can I find castor oil in the store?
    Julie´s latest post: Homemade shampoo – a cop-out

  69. Tried this this morning…so far so good.
    Gretchen´s latest post: Autumn, the Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile

  70. well I’m almost 50 and I’ve been using the olive and caster oil treatment and it sure does work on my dry skin,and it seems to be helping with the age spots to…

    Thanks Tsh…ps i love this site

  71. avatar
    Adriana Leyva says:

    I found this website today and I am in love! I’m newly married and anything that can help us save money as we’re starting out is good in my book! Just tried this method and my face feels a little dry, I’m going to try adding a little more EVOO. Wish me luck!

  72. I LOVE the OCM. Instead of EVOO, I use sunflower oil, and love it. I forgot my oil on a trip and went back to using acne cleanser for about 2 weeks. It broke my face out worse than it had been before. I am 100% in love with the OCM.

  73. What a great idea! Has anyone worked with the OCM on your full body? My back tends to get very oily, so I am wondering if it would be safe to use it in that extent as well. Thanks!

  74. I usually use witch hazel as a toner after I clean my face. Do you think the witch hazel toner will have any negative effect if I use it after the OCM?

  75. How do you get that color effect in the bottle? Or is that just a picture you found?

  76. So this question has probably been answered already but does the oil work to remove makeup? Do I need to add an additional cleanse with the oils to remove makeup or does just the one time take it all off? Thanks!

  77. I have a question – if a person were to try the grapeseed oil, would you replace the olive oil with the grapeseed oil or use the grapeseed oil in addition to the olive oil with the castor oil?

  78. I have had skin problems since I was a teenager and none of the o.t.c. products have worked. I just made my mixture and will try it tonight for the first time…I’ll post again in a week and tell you my results!

  79. Wow… can’t thank you enough for both this article and your “poo free” stories. I have combination skin (oily and dry) and this method works wonders for me, my husband has been so impressed. Great website, thanks for the time, love and energy your pour into it!

  80. I have been using this for a week now and so far, so good! l I am using a mixture of grape seed oil and castor oil. I am 27 years old and have always had somewhat acne prone skin. Lately, I have been really breaking out (possibly too many at-home microdermabrasion facials..yikes!)
    This mixture has cleared up the blackheads on my nose and has been clearing my breakout area quicker than my usual regimen (wash, salicylic acid treatment, no make-up for two weeks). I also use the mix to take off my make-up too. I still feel so weird rubbing oil on my face, but it really is working wonderfully for my skin.
    Additionally, today we had family photos taken and my skin looked radiant in the photos!

  81. avatar
    Amy Blankenship says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I just began using the oil method this past weekend. I have had fantastic results already! I love it, and I love how my face feels. Coupled with that, I have cooled down my shower water ~ wow is it hard ~ but my skin was so incredibly dry! You can tell a difference in just a few days. Thanks Tsh for all of the quality stuff on this site! :)

  82. I’m so excited to try this out. I really hope it works! Found you through Pinterest :)
    Girlfriends Are Like Shoes
    Ruby´s latest post: Single During the Holidays

  83. I’m so excited to try this out, found you through Pinterest! :)
    Ruby´s latest post: Single During the Holidays

  84. Hi I am so glad you posted this!!!!!! I have been using olive oil to cleanse my face at night for a couple of years! Only I was buying a product. I know it sounds crazy to use oil but it works. Now I don’t have to buy this anymore thanks to you………….I can make it!!!!! what a savings. Now if I could figure out how to make the moisturizer. lol I use olive oil for my moisturizer also. I buy it and its not real cheap. I tried using Argan oil…….its a little heavy for me.
    thank you so much for this recipe!!!!!!

  85. I was wondering do you still moisturize after using this cleansing method, or does it double as moisturiser?

  86. This isn’t working for me. It has been three weeks. I have super dry skin, so I cut back the castor oil and now do 4 parts OO and 1 part CO and I still have to slather on Cetaphil right after the shower. What should I do?

  87. I’d be interested in seeing some before and after pictures of what everyone’s skin looked/looks like.

    I have cystic pimples on my chin and jaw line that are painful and nothing works on them, but I am so willing to give this a try and see what difference it makes. Will be taking a before picture and then one again in a month to see the difference.

  88. avatar
    Janice Salomon says:

    I started using the olive oil method for cleaning my face because I have rosacea and years ago on the internet, a dermatologist used to sell oil for cleaning rosacea prone skin. Some people with roseacea also break out, in fact that’s a very common symptom. I don’t use castor oil just because I didn’t have any and wanted to try this right away. Well, 3 years later, still no castor oil, this is the BEST cleanser I’ve ever used and I’m over 60, have always been a skin care junkie, so when I say I’ve tried everything, you can believe it. Like a couple of others mentioned, this is actually not moisturing enough for me in the winter but purrrrfect in the summer when it’s more humid out. I mix my oil with water and a little lavender oil. I would say, 1 pt oil to 4 parts water plus about 12 drops of lavender oil. I use an old Aveda spray bottle that’s brown. When I succumb to using another cleanser, my skin just does not look as good and I always end up breaking out, even if it’s just a little. I still use a moisturizer over it and a sunscreen in the summer. The olive oil combo is a great makeup remover (eyes also), an astringent, a great cleanser and a moisturizer. I tend to use the hot washcloth/steam method for removing it. Love, love. Also use it on my hair. Also use the baking soda deodorant which does work better than anythng I’ve ever tried, the only problem I had was it was too drying for my skin, but I see someone gave a recipe which includes coconut oil, so I’m going to try that. There is NO smell under your arms with this…I mean none, not after two days and I tend to get smelly. Amazing. Don’t be afraid to try and experiment. Nothing is permanent. You may just find you get better results for a lot less money by being curious enough to figure out what works. You’ve really got a lot less to lose by trying products you probably already have in your kitchen than when you buy something OTC.

  89. I am 26. I heard about OCM two months ago and decided to try it… without the castor oil. Instead, I just wash my face with EVOO. (Tip: The standards for labeling olive oil as extra virgin are pretty low in the US. True EVOO should have a greenish tint and smell a bit like olives. I buy mine for cheap at Arab grocery stores.) Before starting this, I had mild acne with occasional large, painful cysts on my chin. In the last two months 95% of my acne has disappeared. And instead of the three or four painful cysts, I’ve only gotten one, which was barely visible and lasted two days instead of the usual two weeks.

  90. Great tips! My mother still uses EVOO to cleanse her skin and I can assure you she’s got an enviable youth and bright looking skin!!!! At 70 years!!!!!

  91. Hey all,
    I just wanted to clarify and let some of you who are scared to use oil on the face know that it’s perfectly fine and better then the over the counter face wash you are buying. I’m an Esthetician and these over the counter lines are stripping our skin from natural oils. This is why we all have so many issues with our skin. Also too much washing can cause excess oil on your face because it strips the natural sebum and causes irritation then causes you to over produce oil to compensate.
    The oil method can actually cure your acne( not all acne. cystic and hormonal are a bigger issue) and oil production. Castor oil mimics our own natural oil and WILL NOT CLOG pores. Do the oil method for a few weeks and you will see a difference in your skin. I would use this method 2-3 x a week. You will have to play around with it as all skin types are different. Too much of the oil method can dry your skin out so play around for the right ratio. Make sure you really massage the OCM in your T-zone.
    Also Lavender and tea tree oils will be a great addition to this routine. Make sure they are certified organic pure essential oils.

    Happy OCM!!!

  92. I have question for you…. My mother and I have been using evoo for facial clensing, off-and-on, and have found that when we first start using it, our eyes feel very week and tired. Any idea why this is?

  93. Cleanse your face with natural skin product like aloe vera, it helps your skin be moisturized and ex foliate. So many natural plants that can be used in cleansing your face. This would be more effective than the other chemical brands in the market.
    Cynthia´s latest post: stretch mark removal

  94. I was intrigued but very skeptical about trying this! I have had mild-moderate acne since a teen and at 26 still battling with it. I thought I had tried everything! Well tried it last night, I am at a loss for words! For the last couple weeks I have been experiencing a bad breakout. Tried this last night and wow! WOW WOW WOW!!!! my flare up is completely calmed down!!! Definitely keeping up with this method. However I do have one question, how often do u use it? Some sites say not every day. So what is used on the days in between?

  95. On a hunch I started using pure olive oil to wash my face with… but have now been directed to this recipe! fantastic… hoping to wave bye to my tight itchy skin that has come with being closer to 40 than 30!
    Jo@simplybeingmum´s latest post: No Waste Tastes Great / My 2012 Routine

  96. avatar
    Veronica Rodriguez says:

    i started using OCM for about a few day ago and am SO glad i am doing it. My face has been clearing like magic! im totally loving it!
    i am only using castor oil 80% and tea tree oil 20% ….. I began using the tea tree oil alone since i was having a hard time finding the castor oil. my face felt good, i guess it is because i have extra oily skin =S but my eyes were burning so i used it on affected areas…
    does anyone else use it with sunblock?

  97. I was using this method for about 1.5 years when I started to develop an allergic reaction around my eyes to one of the oils…possibly the castor oil? I stopped using the oil mixture and went to Cerave, cleared up the reaction, then tried the oil again. Yep, within a day I started to develop a reaction around my eyes again. Before that, I really liked how my skin was on the OCM.

  98. My mom uses sesame oil (the clear organic one that you buy in health stores). This oil is well absorbed by the skin, so she uses it as a moisturizer and her skin looks much younger than mine! The benefits and uses of sesame oil are endless, I encourage everyone to learn more about it, I did.
    I will try the OCM to clean my face, but I wonder if I can still use the sesame oil as moisturizer?

  99. I haven’t tried OCM, but for those of you who say it doesn’t work, can I recommend Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato soap? It’s all-natural and it’s the only thing I’ve found that cleanses my skin without being too harsh. I have very sensitive, acne-prone skin and can’t use many chemicals because they dry my skin out or burn and itch. The ph is tomatoes is great–funny thing is, I can’t eat them because of an allergy, but they make my face so clean.

  100. I’m on day three. I didn’t have castor oil on hand, but my kitchen is well stocked with EVOO. I’d heard that honey is a natural antiseptic, so I mixed a bit of honey with a bit of the oil and I’m amazed by the way my face feels. You’re right about it being an excellent makeup remover. No more scrubbing at that delicate under-eye skin.
    eden´s latest post: Novedades


  1. [...] dama har denne posten om å rense huden med olje, som jeg også definitivt skal [...]

  2. [...] to prescription creams. And you know what, none of them worked 100%. So a few weeks ago, I began Oil Cleansing. And you know what, my skin is doing way better than when I used harsh acne products. I’m [...]

  3. [...] the process of this bathroom redo, I decided to try out Simple Mom’s Oil Cleansing Method. Yes, really. It took me awhile to remember to buy castor oil at the store. And another while to [...]

  4. [...] that brings us to the Oil Cleanse Method. There are a ton of online sources like this and this and this that explain all of the details of how it works, but I’ll [...]

  5. [...] am thinking of trying the Oil Cleansing Method for my face. I have very dry skin and the science behind it seems sound. I know a few who have [...]

  6. [...] amazing idea that I came across is called the oil cleansing method as described on this blog. I won’t go into a huge amout of detail about the method (you should check out the original [...]

  7. [...] condition.There is actually a "oil-cleansing method"(http://theartofsimple.net/oil-cleansing-metho ) that can be researched.Beauty Brains [...]

  8. [...] roll] because he doesn’t do it anymore. But it’s really got me thinking. And I found this on Pinterest [oh, so useful for distraction] – all this time I’ve been using [...]

  9. [...] The Oil cleansing Method If it is good enough for Simple Mom it’s good enough for me! [...]

  10. [...] What do you think of this facial-cleansing method? [...]

  11. [...] I started washing my face with oil. (Whaaa?) My friend Jill started doing it (inspired by Tsh at Simple Mom), and with her encouragement, I made the switch. Since my skin is dry (but I still get acne — [...]

  12. [...] recipes for deodorant, lotion, and lip balm.  For several months now I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for my evening face wash.  I read about it in Tsh’s book Organized Simplicity, but obviously [...]

  13. [...] few days ago, I washed my face using this recipe for an oil face wash.  It was … ok.  Personally, I like the honey wash better.  The oil [...]

  14. [...] Worried about applying oil to your skin? Here’s a reason not to be: “Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.” [source] [...]

  15. [...] note, if you moisturize too much it will have the same effect. Good luck!Powered by Yahoo! AnswersHelen asks…HOMEMADE acne tips!!!!!!!!!!!!?I just need some tips to get rid of acne! Chest, and bac… acne tips!!!!!!!!!!!!?I just need some tips to get rid of acne! Chest, and back, and face! HOMEMADE [...]

  16. [...] moisturizers and nothing made a difference. Then I learned about an all natural cleanser from Simple Mom via Pinterest that uses oil to clean your face. Sounded odd, but I was [...]

  17. [...] the Oil Cleansing Method works:  Well, others have explained it sooo well (Crunchy Betty and Simple Mom), that I don’t think I could do better, but essentially, Oils clean oils.. the Oils in [...]

  18. [...] to use olive oil as a treatment and moisturizer. Many others provide simpler instructions. I like The Simple Mom's Tsh Oxenreider’s, in [...]

  19. [...] to the Oil-Cleansing Methodonce I use up all my existing facial [...]

  20. [...] Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) - Use olive oil or sunflower oil with castor oil to make a face cleansing oil.  Click link to find out why this works so well and then try it for yourself. [...]

  21. [...] originally decided to try this cleansing method after reading this piece on Simplemom’s blog. She gives several recipes for how to go about washing one’s face using the [...]

  22. [...] read http://theartofsimple.net/oil-cleansing-method/ about all the organic benefits of the OCM and did a ton of research beforehand. There were some [...]

  23. [...] there, and I was hooked on this lady’s pretty little pages. Then one day I stumbled across this post about cleaning your face naturally, which gives an incredibly comprehensive teaching on how to clean your face with [...]

  24. [...] and all that is needed is a tiny bit of help from coconut oil for our skin to be radiant.  See this post from Simple Mom.  She breaks it down a lot better than I can. Written by amy Posted in [...]

  25. [...] Oil Cleansing Method for Skin: Using the proper ratio of castor oil to olive oil, and 3 drops of tea tree oil, I clean my skin using the ‘like dissolves like’ principle. I have struggled with acne all my life, and this method has given me some good results. I break out from the slightest irritation. I also know now that I have some food triggers that affect oil production in my skin, as well as hormonal cues that affect me. Both subjects of other posts. You can check out the post that got me going on this method at this site, right here: http://theartofsimple.net/oil-cleansing-method/ [...]

  26. [...] Olive oil facial cleanser. I’ve used everything, and I mean everything on the market, and found this to be just as good [...]

  27. [...] and purifying as many claim. My testing period does not involve a combination of natural oils (like Simple Mom explains) but an over-the-counter cleansing oil product. Let me tell you why I started in the first [...]

  28. [...] more on cleansing with olive oil, check out The Oil-Cleansing Method. (Note: I don’t mix oils as this author recommends–> I only use olive [...]

  29. [...] The castor oil draws out dirt and other gunk from your pores. The EVOO is a brilliant moisturizer, helping heal and nourish the skin. Also, the tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and helps clear up acne.  (source) [...]

  30. [...] cleansing method. Many people – including Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom – have success with this routine, but I couldn’t get it to work for me. I tried a [...]

  31. [...] be easy to make and work well. I did find one that was intriguing…if not a bit odd. The Oil Cleansing Method seemed ineffective but there are tons of rave reviews from people who swear by its cleaning [...]

  32. [...] first read about cleaning your face with oil from Simple Mom. You massage a blend of olive oil and castor oil into your skin, and then steam it out with a hot [...]

  33. [...] I use the oil cleansing method (OCM) on my skin. For the past 3 years I have only cleansed my skin with olive and castor oil; no soap or toner. It turns out when I stopped using soap, my skin stopped breaking out; it cured my cystic acne and gave me skin I didn’t have to cover with foundation like I had to for almost 20 years…here’s more info on the method [...]

  34. [...] Mom also has some great pointers from her personal experience with this [...]

  35. [...] to Tsh at Simple Living for the idea on How to Clean Your Face Naturally Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in family, Fun Stuff, Just Relaxing, Kids. Leave a [...]

  36. [...] found out about oil cleansing when my wee sister sent me this article on Facebook. I vetted it with some Reddit amigas and am going to give it a [...]

  37. [...] what I hear, it can actually improve the look of your skin.  Tsh at Simple Mom says it makes her skin softer and brighter.  [...]

  38. [...] things!  I’ve started making deodorant (for myself), toothpaste, lip balm, foaming hand soap, oil cleansing method (for cleaning my own face), and a whole list of other projects that I want to [...]

  39. [...] is fantastic on dry skin anywhere on your body and also can be used as a diaper rash cream)   oil-cleansing method…an awesome way to wash and moisturize your face. all at once. for cheap. (takes off everything, even water-proof mascara) I wash my hair with baking soda (but if [...]

  40. [...] Face Wash (bottom left): Pure coconut oil. Lots of people suggest it, but here’s one link for the oil cleansing method. I used a few different oils and decided I preferred coconut. Lotion (bottom right): A Sonoma [...]

  41. [...] ½ TBSP olive oil (celebrated as a healthy facial moisturizer and cleanser) [...]

  42. [...] First, I picked up some shampoo and conditioner free of sulfates, preservatives, parabens, and other dangerous chemicals. Mine are the Whole Foods brand, which (despite being from Whole Foods!) are actually really affordable. Instead of moisturizer, I’m using coconut oil. (Even on my face. It’s so great.) And instead of face wash, I’ve started washing my face with oils*. [...]

  43. [...] good green energy solution to replace cleaning products in your home is to use olive oil. By using olive to clean certain things around the home, you are avoiding the synthetic chemicals, [...]

  44. [...] can learn more about the benefits and fine tune your method through this blogpost by Simple Mom. This is the guide I followed when I was first introduced to the Oil Cleansing Method. Thanks to [...]

  45. [...] (John calls them my “hippie” blogs) and one day I stumbled across a couple posts about washing your face with oil. This intrigued me for several [...]

  46. [...] .I clean my face with oil! Castor oil and grapeseed oil to be exact. Once again the credit goes to theartofsimple.net . I’ve just started so I’ll keep you posted. I’m really hoping this will do [...]

  47. [...] first heard of the Oil Cleansing Method on Simple Mom, but at the time, these kinds of changes were not at the top of my [...]

  48. [...] a-bit-more-natural with my facial cleansing and moisturizing. Another well written post about that here. You can trace my contemplation of no shampoo back to the contemplation of no facial soap from the [...]

  49. [...] I’m trying really hard to get better about applying detox concepts to things outside of food, including household products and hygiene products. I’ve come a long way over the past couple years, but there are still items in my bathroom that are not organicnaturalchemicalfree (etc). I’ve read about using oils as cleansers and moisturizers, but am still a bit apprehensive to use it on my face. Have any of you tried the oil-cleansing method? [...]

  50. [...] after reading this post by Tsh of Simple Mom on oil-cleansing for like, the hundredth time, I decided it was time to take [...]

  51. [...] on your skin type. Crunchy Betty has a great post about the benefits of the different types here. Simple Mom also does a great job of  describing other options for the OCM. I’ve been using a simple [...]

  52. [...] been a fan of the Oil Cleansing method for a long time, but I have just one issue with it. I’m a lazy face washer. At the end of a [...]

  53. [...] If you've been treating your acne and not seeing good results, perhaps you don't have acne at all. A…ot have known about the difference between acne and rosacea. [...]

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