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Dear Detox Diva:: Oils for the OCM

oils for OCM

In the past weeks I have had several requests for more information on oils to use on the Oil Cleansing Method.  The basics of the OCM are castor oil and either olive, almond, or jojoba oil but what if your skin needs a little boost because of dryness, severe acne, or even hyperpigmentation or scarring?

In this segment of Dear Detox Diva we will address the many other options you have  when choosing your perfect blend for the OCM.

Dear Detox Diva,

HELP!! I have been using the OCM for the last 4 weeks and my skin is getting much worse, now red and raw like sandpaper and I am breaking out like crazy.  I am using castor oil and coconut oil and am thinking of giving up and going back to my normal acne wash.  Can you give me some suggestions on what I am doing wrong?  Am I using the right oil?  I know you said coconut oil isn’t good for winter so can you give me some suggestions on what I can use in the winter and then which oils I can use in the summer? ~B


Dear B,

The OCM does take some getting used to for some people, and it is very common for breakouts to occur even for even a few months after beginning.  I don’t recommend using coconut oil for any skin type as a means to cleanse the skin.  Coconut oil has a tendency to clog pores.  Even if it were not comedogenic, coconut oil, ayurvedically speaking, is a cooling oil, therefore not an oil to use in the winter for anyone.

Below you will find my picks for the best oils to use for the OCM.

Castor Oil– Make sure you get the highest quality you can afford, preferably sustainably sourced. Castor oil has the greatest ability to cleanse the skin and is an anti-bacterial agent to boot.  It can be drying for the skin so in the winter or if your skin is on the drier side you may have to use the bare minimum.  Use it 1 part castor oil to 3 parts carrier oil for drier skins.  You can use 2 parts castor to 1 part castor for oilier or acne prone skin.

Sweet Almond Oil- good for all types of skin.  Light but warming and, even with the highest quality, cold pressed variety (a must for OCM) it is relatively inexpensive. High in Vitamin E sweet almond oil is great for treating scars and pigmentation from acne.

Jojoba Oil–  very nourishing for the skin as it mimics the skin’s own natural sebum helping to easily dissolve “gunk” in pores.  Jojoba oil is hydrating without being greasy so it can be used as a moisturizer for after cleansing even for the oiliest of skin.

Argan Oil:  contains more antioxidant and cell regenerative properties than olive oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil combined.  Argan oil increases cell regeneration and improves cell turnover. When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly, and without an oily film, leaving behind a silky and satiny feel.

Tamanu Oil–  is a remarkable natural product with anti-neuralgic, anti-inflamatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, ,making it perfect for the treatment of acne. Tamanu oil encourages the formation of new skin tissue making it ideal for accelerated wound healing when it comes to stimulating the growth of healthy skin tissue. Tamanu oil is of the most versatile when it comes to natural healing and as an anti-aging treatment.  It is a bit pricey but worth the expense.

Rice Bran Oil-incredibly healing for inflammation and skin irritation. It absorbs very quickly without leaving a film on the skin. This oil is antioxidant-rich, as it contains vitamin E and gamma oryzanol. Rice Bran Oil is a great, lightweight oil to give your skin a radiant glow.

Sunflower Oil– is chock a block with vitamins A, C, D, and E. It has highly protective qualities. It has also been shown to fight bacteria, which makes this a wonderful oil for acne.  You must use organic cold pressed sunflower oil


Grapeseed Oil– This is very lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. It contains antioxidants and has high amounts of linoleic acid.  Grapeseed oil is high in Vitamin E.


Olive Oil–  This oil is full of antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. These antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals that cause skin damage. Olive oil also contains squalene and trace amounts of chlorophyll. Squalene is a moisturizer that helps regulate your skin’s sebum production.


Olive Squalane– Has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is ideal to soften your skin as well. We produce squalane naturally, but as we age, production decreases and slows down.  Olive Squalene can improve cracked skin, and skin suffering from conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. It has regenerative properties and can help restore a youthful, supple appearance. It is very light in texture, so it will not leave a greasy residue on the skin.


Safflower Oil– Safflower oil has firming and hydrating properties and consists of over 75% Linoleic Acid and is very high in Oleic Acid. Both of these compounds are very moisturizing, yet this oil penetrates the skin very quickly and not greasy at all.


I play around with my mixtures. Lately I have mixed equal parts, in a clean dark glass 8 oz. bottle,  of olive oil and rice bran oi, filling the bottle half full.  For the other half of the botttle I mix 1 part castor oil with 1 part argan,  1 part olive squalene, and 1 part almond oil.  I use about 3 droppers full of oil each time I cleanse my face.  Depending on my mood I add in 2 drops of an essential oil of my choice.


{See our Comprehensive Guide to Essential Oils to determine which essential oils would suit your skin type and mood.}


  • Mariana

    But on the other post you say “I reserve coconut oil for the oiliest of skins and even then only in the summer.” And now you say it’s better not to use it…
    My skin is extremely oily, so… can I use coconut oil for my OCM or not?

    Thanks for the post!

    • thedetoxdiva

      Because “extremely oily” will normally balance on the OCM, coconut oil is better not used. I know a few people who do well in the heat of the summer with coconut oil but they use very pure coconut oil and even then, only as moisturizers, less as cleansing methods. Coconut oil, based on my research, does not truly suit most skin types unless it is saponified (made into a soap). As the oil, it is better for YOU to use one of the oils listed (I would recommend jojoba if your skin is very oily).

      • Mariana

        Thank you very much for the response! I think I understand now… I’m going to try the jojoba oil 🙂

  • I get confused when it say mix equal parts, or 3 parts this oil 1 part of another oil. This may be a stuipd question, but does it mean in tablespoons, teaspoons or cups?

    • thedetoxdiva

      It means parts. If you are mixing up a 4 oz. bottle, for instance, and you are mixing equal parts of let’s say jojoba and castor (for acne prone but neither oily nor dry skin) oil you would mix 2 oz. of jojoba and 2 oz. of castor oil. If you are mixing enough for one use you would need about 4 teaspoons therefore you would mix 1 tsp+1 tsp+1 tsp+1tsp. It depends on how much you are mixing.

  • Thank you for your reply. Which ones would be best for winter? I live in central NY and my skin is very dry. I haven’t started the OCM yet, but I have been using grapeseed oil or olive oil during the day for a moisturizer and at night I use both oils. While it’s on my skin, it feels moisturized, but I can see and feel that my skin is still dry, and there are dry spot I had on my face before I started using the oil as a moisturizer that are still there but at the same time I had a huge dry patch on the top & sides of my nose that is gone now, it’s weird! Just trying to figure out what’s best for my skin and all the info I can so I don’t buy and use the wrong ones.

  • Freedom

    “You can use 2 parts castor to 1 part castor for oilier or acne prone skin.” I think this is a typo- (I think instead of saying “castor” twice you meant to say “carrier”)- could you clarify? I just went out and bought some of the oils mentioned here and I want to make sure I have the correct ratio for my acne skin! (I got sunflower oil). Thanks!

  • coachkathie

    Wow. I have never even heard of this! I have had dry skin and eczema on part of my face for years. This year I started to eat better and exercise and my skin has become quite oily and has started to break out again. I haven’t broken out since I was a teenager, besides the odd pimple here and there! I’m 33 now. I haven’t tried the OCM just yet but what would you say is the best mixture for me to use? I’ve got oily skin that breaks out as well as some acne scarring and darker pigmentation from previous breakouts. (I am brown skinned) I was thinking castor oil, with sweet almond oil and maybe even some jojoba oil? Would you suggest a different mixture and what would be the parts that I should mix?

    • thedetoxdiva

      I would say you start with one part castor oil and one part jojoba with another oil like almond or even avocado. Or even two parts jojoba to one part castor to simplify and tell me how you get on.

      • coachkathie

        Great! So, I went out and bought some organic cold pressed castor oil, 100% jojoba oil (they were out of organic) and I figured it was the next best thing (its expeller pressed, hexan free and vegan), and I also got organic sweet almond oil. I mixed equal parts of each in a bottle, and had my first oil cleansing today. I was actually really surprised! Although I had massaged oil into my face, it felt really clean. I would describe it as a little bit less than squeaky clean. Am I over doing it?

        Until I read further comments, I had realized that I may not need to do it twice a day. Today I ended up doing it twice. Once in the morning and once just before bed (just now). Since it felt so clean I thought I would try using a little bit of the jojoba oil as a moisturizer. Either I used too much, or I shouldn’t use it as a moisturizer. Anyways, I’ve been reading your other comments and replies and I think that I also want to try the rose hip oil. I’ve got dark spots from previous pimples, as well as darker skin around my mouth from having constant eczema on my upper lip as a kid and in my early 20s. Do you think that the rose hip oil could help those areas? If so, how would I use it? My guess would be to spot treat the areas I want to “lighten”?

        My other question is, I work out 6 days a week. I get completely drenched and sweat buckets down my face. If the OCM isn’t a good idea to do twice a day, I have another gel cleanser by a company called “Jouviance” is that okay to use until I can get an organic one? I live in Canada, and its a Canadian company/product created by a Canadian dermatologist and it doesn’t contain any preservatives (or so I’m told).

        I work as a cosmetician currently (it’s a temporary job, … long story) so, I need to wear makeup every day that I go to work. Have you heard of a makeup brand called “Cover F/X”? That is what I currently wear to work. It’s water based and non-comedongenic… If you have heard of it, what are the cons of this makeup? I just ordered some of the Vapour Organic Foundation but until it gets here…. I just want to make sure I’m not using something bad for my skin if I’m trying to help my skin.

        Thanks so much for your help! I’m so excited to see how my skin looks in 4-8 weeks! I’m also starting a 21 day reset at the end of the month so I hope that helps too. If you get the chance please take a look at the information on the cleanse and let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear it! =) http://www.myultimatereset.com/coachkathie

        • thedetoxdiva

          I don’t do gel cleansers when using the OCM. YOu could I suppose but you must make sure it is all natural. No, you don’t have to do the OCM more than once a day and if you don’t wear makeup a few times a week is adequate. I do mine every day at night. Rosehip oil can help lighten skin but making sure your estrogen is detoxed from body will also help lighten the skin from the inside!!

          • coachkathie

            Oh! How do I know if I need to detox estrogen from my body and how do I go about doing so? I’m sure you have an article about that somewhere but I couldn’t seem to find it through the search function. Thanks so much for your wonderful advice! I will also cut down my OCM to once a night and just rinse the sweat off my face with water in the shower instead. =)

  • kaylalee

    Hi, my name is Kayla and I have been dealing with adult acne since I was 23. I am now 27 and have tried all types of products and nothing seems to work. I was certain after I had my iud mirena placed that this may have been the cause because my skin used to be very clear. I have red hair and pale skin that is oily and acne prone. I was recently told by my herbalist that she uses sesame oil with a few drops of tea tree oil and tones with witch hazel and rose water. She suggested that form me. I have purchased the sesame oil, witch hazel and rose water toner which also contains aloe. I also purchased the tea tree oil. All of these products are organic as she is an herbalist. Would you please help find a fitting skin care regimen based off the information I have given you. I just want to feel desirable again. 🙁 Kayla

    • thedetoxdiva

      Kaylalee, I would recommend trying a double cleansing method where you are using the sesame oil with a little tea tree oil as a cleanser and then double cleansing with either One Love Organics gel cleanser OR The Clean Dirt by May Lindstrom (I alternate). Eventually you will get to where you can use the OCM exclusively. I would also like to point out that acne can and usually is caused by something else going on in the body that needs to be addressed. Finding a good nutritionist is the FIRST step to clear beautiful skin!

      • kaylalee

        Thank you for your response! I will definitely order the products today. Would you suggest sesame oil? I know on some of your other posts you said that sesame oil isn’t great for ocm but great for oil pulling. I was thinking sweet almond oil and tea tree for the ocm or getting turmeric or tamanu and adding it in there because it is great for acne.

  • kaylalee

    Really need you Detox Diva for my post above…please 🙂

  • elizrose

    Hi, wow! You are full of south amazingly helpful information. I have just using OCM and i use sesame oil to cleanse, and rose hip to moisturise. I might adjust this now I’ve read your blog. I am wondering if u could guide me in the right direction for OCM for keratosis Pilaris on the backs of my arms. I am hoping to relieve the redness and scarring from microdermabrasion which has made it worse. I have been using coconut oil but just read that this can clog pores.
    Thank you in advance, E

    • thedetoxdiva

      Coconut oil on the body should NOT cause problems with clogging pores with keratosis Pilaris. I would keep using it BUT since it is going into the winter, I would recommend mixing it with a little sesame oil. I would urge you also to use Vitamin A (Nutrisorb) and Vitamin E as well, which have amazing results in getting rid of keratosis. I would also urge you to dry body brush every day. Don’t get into essential oils just yet. Look for a post on this a bit later for more information as I am going to use your comment as a “Dear Detox Diva” post.

  • elizrose

    Thank you so much for responding. KP is so difficult to treat. For years I just left it alone but I realise now how dry and my skin obviously is. It’s actually become worse with age, not better. I wish I had never had had microdermabrasion. The area is so red now. Im actually from Sydney so we are heading into summer here. I will keep using coconut oil and dry brushing. My oil cleanser (for my face) has vitamin E in it. The brand is Moo Goo (from Aus). Ill use it on my arms too. Can’t wait to read your next post on this topic as I believe so many people suffer from KP and there isn’t much info out there. I’m flattered you are using my comment for your “Dear Detox Diva” post. With thanks, E.

  • Summer

    I have been using the OCM for over 6 months now but your website was the first time I read about coconut oil bot being an ideal oil for my face. I switched to jojoba oil and have been using that for almost 2 weeks now. My acne seems to be improving! I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for Perioral Dermatitis? I have suffered with this on and off for over 10 years. I used to take an OTC antibiotic which would clear it up, but with my new holistic mindset I haven’t used any conventional medical treatments. I’ve had it consistently for 11 months now, some days and weeks, more pronounced than others. There are times where it appears to be going away and then it will flare up again. That would normally make me think hormones are playing a role but it didn’t seem to consistently react the same with my monthly cycles. I’m now 4 months pregnant and who knows what my hormones are doing. Bottom line, I haven’t found anything obvious to link it to yet. Could the OCM be exacerbating this rash? Do you have any natural remedies to recommend? Thank you! So glad I found your site.

    • thedetoxdiva

      Hi Summer. Tell me, do you still use flouride toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate?? (Pretty much any conventional toothpaste on the market)? Do you still exfoliate in that area? What is your diet like? What kind of cosmetics do you use? All these do play an active role in perioral dermatitis and if you would like we could explore some of these things together to find the best way to help you treat it naturally! I don’t believe the OCM would exacerbate this BUT sometimes, in our bid to get rid of the oil, we tend to over exfoliate.

      • Summer

        Thanks for your response! I’ve been using fluoride free and SLS free toothpaste for 10 months now. I also switched to SLS free shampoo a couple of months ago. I’ve gone without make up for the past 6 months in hopes of my skin healing! On the rare occasions that I do wear makeup, I use Bare Minerals. I used to exfoliate with Corrective SkinCare’s Tea Tree Scrub 2-3 times a week but have recently stopped using this product in just the last couple of weeks, after reading mixed reviews on whether exfoliating our skin is even necessary/beneficial. My PD has flared up in the past couple of weeks but I wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to me stopping my exfoliation as it’s flared up like this in the past when I was exfoliating. Right now, I’m just using the OCM once a day, sometimes every other day since I don’t wear anything on my face. I’ve overhauled my diet this past year. I did the Arise & Shine 30 day cleanse in March and have been eating an organic whole foods diet 90% of the time. I’ve also been largely gluten free and sugar free since March but haven’t been perfect about that either. I generally follow the 80/20 rule…..it’s the only way I’ve kept my sanity with traveling, moving across the country and being mommy to 2 young kids. 😉 I also completed 5 liver cleanses after my whole body cleanse and before becoming pregnant, on the recommendation of Fran w/ High on Health.

        • thedetoxdiva

          You should not be exfoliating and please, for heavens sake no more liver cleanses… To get your body balanced, liver cleanses (or any cleanses) other than making sure your body is functioning at optimal levels TO detox (detox pathways 1 and 2 doing what they are supposed to do) and sometimes, no matter how many “cleanses” you do that doesn’t happen if, for example, your stress levels and other lifestyle aspects, your diet, (and whole foods if you have impaired digestion aren’t ALWAYS the way to go). I don’t know if any of this applies to you (though I have to say I do NOT like the sugar free at all!! The body requires some natural sugars!! You could be flaring up because your stress hormones are chronically activated!) because I don’t have all the facts but these are what is glaring to me.

          • Summer

            Good Heavens! I could never go without sweets……we eat lots of raw honey and maple syrup. Sorry, I should have clarified, what we don’t eat are refined sugars. Stress hormones chronically activated…..yes, that is definitely plausible. I divorced my emotionally abusive husband 2 1/2 years ago. And I can tell you the two years prior to our divorce I was overwhelmed with anxiety and stress. Since my divorce finalized, I found emotional healing and regained my life! And it’s been wonderful these past 2 1/2 years. I have thought that many of my physical ailments I suffer(ed) from were physical manifestations of what I endured emotionally for so many years. I cured myself of fatigue and indigestion through my cleanses and clean diet. It’s peculiar to me that this last bought of PD and the onset of my adult acne happened more than a year after my divorce, during a time of low stress. I am very happy now, remarried to a wonderful man, and aside from those occasional moments when my children are driving me bananas, my life is pretty stress free. I’m very blessed. Now if my face would just follow suit. So if it’s true my stress hormones are chronically activated, how would I confirm that and how would I treat it? Is what you’re talking about the same thing as or related to adrenal fatigue? Thanks for your help!

          • thedetoxdiva

            Chronic stress activation and adrenal fatigue are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It can be but it isn’t necessarily. You might have some residual thyroid issues, could still have some hormonal imbalances, and your face could be the last holdout… It might actually be a food intolerance. Treating it is dependent on what the actual problem is. Sometimes, with the OCM you just need to consider double cleansing.

          • thedetoxdiva

            Also, I would not go back to exfoliating. I would venture to guess there is a food intolerance and/or gut issue somewhere…

  • Kim

    I’ve been using 2:2 of castor oil and jojoba oil for 2 weeks now and have not had a break out of any kind. After doing this I still reach for my anti-aging serums and lotions (MyChelle). I feel that I must use these as I have them and they are expensive. If you say this brand is bad for my face, I will stop. If not I will use until gone. Anyway, because I still feel I need to reach for a conditioner, possible I should be using another oil instead of jojoba?

    I love this cleansing and want to figure out what would possibly be best for my skin. I am 51 years old, want to age gracefully (but slow the process down – also looking at my diet), and have acne scars from my teen years. So it seems that the Tamanu oil would be the best to try first – I think. BUT Olive Squalane and Argan Oil sound interesting as well. Also I think I read in another posting of yours about rosehip oil.

    What mix would you suggest to try first? I know this is all trial and error and probably did not give enough information about myself, but I am getting confused.

    • thedetoxdiva

      Actually, I am in love with Marula oil as well as Tamanu and yes, you can add in rosehip oil as a great anti-aging boost!

  • Laurie

    Hi ! I just started the OCM about a week ago. I have combo skin, tho it’s much dryer in winter, and I’m using 2/3 castor and 1/3 jojoba. I’m finding my skin is becoming flakey and dry even on my oilier areas. Should I lessen the castor oil? As well, when I remove my oil I hold the hot cloth on my face then WIPE the oil off. Could this be why my face is dry as well? One more question.. how much oil should I be using each time I cleanse? I started w 3 tsp of oil total and found this was too much, so I lessened it to roughly half that. I’m really excited about the OCM so I want to get it right ! Thanks 🙂

    • thedetoxdiva

      That is entirely too much castor oil even for combo skin. You want to do MAXIMUM one part castor!! Hold the hot cloth as a compress 3 to 5 times before you swipe, a tablespoon ought to do it.

  • Tee


    • thedetoxdiva

      I would say jojoba would work for you!

  • Denise

    Hi! I have been using grapeseed oil to remove makeup and moisturize. I still use an Aveeno facial cleanser for anti aging. I picked that one in particular bc it has vitamin C in it and I have Rosacea but with an extremely oily T zone. I also spot treat any acne I may get with Tea Tree oil. I switched to grape seed oil bc it’s light weight and it seemed that my nose would get super oily throughout the day. It has been working and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my skin. But sometimes it appears my nose has oil but some of the skin is flakey, giving the appearance I should exfoliate, especially when wearing makeup.

    Also, this is gross, but I’ve been getting acne on my backside. 🙁 I’ve been just spot treating with tea tree. And I use an apricot scrub (st. Ives) in the shower. I use it on my back to prevent blackheads and it seems to work so I thought I could use it there as well. It works but the acne always comes back. Last night I showered and used grapeseed oil over night. It seemed to really help.

    So my questions got you are: 1. If I oil cleanse what would you recommend I use for the best results? 2. Is there something specific I can add to the grapeseed oil to actually prevent acne in such an embarrassing place? I can’t seem to stave it off. Buttne is no fun. Lol 🙁

    • I actually don’t use grapeseed oil any longer because it is SUPER hard to get good quality pure oil. I would tell you jojoba oil is a better oil all around as is tamanu and avocado. If you are breaking out on your bottom and it is not from perhaps a change in laundry soap, you may very well have a problem in your gut and if you don’t treat the root, it will keep coming back. You might want to try using ACV as a rinse after you get out of the bath but if it keeps happening, you have to treat the root.

  • Lacie

    Ok, so I am actually an esthetician and let me tell you I have tried many things. Ok, so I recently moved to FL 5 months ago and cannot wait for the humidity to help my skin out a bit.. I recently started carrying ilike skincare and of course we carry Obagi.. I love both of these lines but I want to try the OCM.. I have been using ilikes calendula oil and mixing with ilike yarrow oil… I am steaming for a few minutes and massaging it all in and rinsing with a fiber super soft washcloth. My skin immediately was pretty tight again.. I supplemented adding more calendula as well as ilike rich carrot moisturizer. My problem has ALWAYS been blocked pores and whiteheads.. I know its happening because my skin is soooo topically and dermally dehydrated not to mention oil and water dry at all times. My diet is fairly good and I drink a ton of water.. My worry is that although my skin is looking better I can see all the little whiteheads coming up and this is day 2 of OCM… of course with my profession I am freaking out because I cant have bad skin but I have been unable to find anything to even touch the amount of dryness I have. If there is a better oil I should be using I will… but I chose ilike because of how it is processed and made… I have used rosehip before and found it broke me out in whiteheads.. I am looking for a high linoleic acid to help combat and loosen the acne plugs… any other professional advice would be appreciated!

    • thedetoxdiva

      I would really add some jojoba oil and make sure you are steaming your face appropriately! Jojoba oil mimics skin sebum so it can dissolve those plugs straight away. Rosehip is only appropriate in a mix topically….

  • Mary

    I’ve read your post. I’m 42 and have hormonal acne with scarring. Your article mentioned Tamanu oil, Sunflower oil, Flax, and Primrose oils for acne. I was wondering which oils would be best for OCM and what ratio for the mix.

    • Mary, I actually don’t recommend flax any longer for hormonal acne (thanks, I need to ammend that post) as flax can be estrogenic even when absorbed. Tamanu is still a good oil but jojoba and a small amount of castor should work for the OCM for you and managing your nutrition will work a treat for hormonal acne.