My Oil Cleansing Method Journey

My Oil Cleansing Method Journey

The Oil Cleansing Method or OCM has changed my ideas about skincare for good.  When I started the Oil Cleansing Method I had already fallen in love with balms such as One Love Organics  Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm (which is perhaps why I never really went through the adjustment period many people do).  I understood well why cleansing with foaming or water containing cream cleansers were not the way to go because they stripped the skin of the vital acid mantle.

The perfecting of the technique…..that took some time and was a triumph of the will if there ever was one.

First there was the choice of oils.  Did I want a premixed one?  {See Our Top Picks for Divalicious Cleansing Oils}  Or did I want to mix my own? { See Oils for the OCM}  (I have a few premixed ones I love and have tried just about every combination of mixing my own.  It all depends on my mood, if I am travelling, and how lazy I am feeling OR if I want a specific scent or NO scent, as is the case sometimes with a pregnant woman!)

After six months on the OCM I have found a groove.

First, my favorite combination for my hormonal but oddly normal skin is 1 part castor oil, 1 part avocado oil and 1 part jojoba oil.  I mix in a few drops of whatever scent I want sometimes…… most of the time I just use it as is.  In more humid clients or times of the year I have to use 1 1/2 parts jojoba and 1/2 part avocado.  In drier climates or in the middle of winter, (or if my hormonal skin is going crazy that day) I might use a smidge more avocado oil.

The castor oil keeps my chin and cheeks (hormonal areas) perfectly clear with only the ODD blackhead peeking out so overall, for me, I don’t add more.  One mistake many people make is THINKING they have oily skin when their skin is generally pretty normal and just fighting for its life by creating an oil slick day after day.  If you have been over cleansing your skin day in and day out, try only 1 part of castor oil and resist the urge to use more because you IMAGINE your skin is really oily.  I am not suggesting it is dry, don’t get me wrong, just that your skin might surprise you and be relatively shine free if you give it a chance to adjust to natural surfactant-free cleansing.

For my acne prone clients I am finding more and more jojoba oil is really a good mix with sweet almond oil and castor oil.  Some people add tea tree but I find this can actually be a little drying in some people.

I still use my muslin cloth with fairly hot water and steam my face for about 20 seconds (until the cloth cools) and do this a good 5 to 6 times to remove residual oil and now will usually swipe my skin with a little witch hazel to remove any residual oil.   Bear in mind, my skin is charged with hormones from pregnancy and you may not need to use witch hazel but I often find my skin just feels a little more balanced with it.

Jojoba or almond oil make great moisturizers for after the OCM.  A lot of people use EVOO but me personally, I find a little too “heavy”.  My olive oil though is cold pressed, stone milled and full of “bits” and beautifully “cloudy”  and dark green so that might have something to do with it.  Some people do fine with coconut oil.  I reserve coconut oil for oiling my hair.

I am currently having a love affair with anything from May Lindstrom and use her Youth Dew as my only moisturizer at night.  During the day I will spritz some Liquid Vitamin Hydra-Mist and slather on Vital-C Serum mixed with Nutra Peptide Serum all from The Body Deli  and then use the Youth Dew on top.  Usually it is a little mascara, some Living Luminizer, add a little Lip 2 Cheek and I am out the door.

A few of you might be wondering why I don’t talk about sunscreen.  I do use it in the summer when the sun beats down on me but I don’t slather myself head to toe in it because doing so generally is one of the first reasons we have such a Vitamin D deficiency in the world today and, in the winter, since rosehip oil is a prime component of the Youth Dew and rosehip oil has a natural sunscreen, if I am not going to be out more than an hour or so, I don’t feel the need to add the heaviness of a sunscreen.  I do sometimes use a mineral foundation which has natural sunscreens as well.  In the Spring and Summer I tend to be a little more vigilant but I challenge anyone, especially those who live in the middle of a desert and right next door to the sun to find anyone paler than my skin and thanks to the wonders of bone broth, I have no sun spots either.  We will talk further about sunscreens and how many of them do more harm than good another day.  Trust me, it’s going to happen.

So basically, I can’t complain at all about the miracle that is the OCM.  I still use it pretty much every day, and the days I don’t use it, I am using nothing because I have worn no makeup.  On those days a little witch hazel goes a long way.  If I feel the need to cleanse and don’t want to use oil or my OLO Balm I will use Pai’s Rose & Camellia Gentle Cleanser but as great as this cleanser is (and for those of you who love cream cleansers that are not water based and are deliciously organic, this is my favorite!!!) it often sits collecting dust on the shelf because my skin doesn’t feel the need for cleansing if I am not wearing makeup.  For those who can’t fathom the thought of an oil or balm touching your face, I would recommend this cream cleanser to anyone.

The OCM will remain part of my slow beauty  routine for years to come not only for it’s amazing efficacy but for it’s ability to transport a frazzled mommy, if only for a few minutes, to a place of extreme self-care.  This ritual has transformed my skin from always congested and blackhead riddled to radiant even through the challenges and ravages of pregnancy and it can do the same for you if you have a little patience and faith.




  • mary

    The last time Detox Diva put up a post on the Oil Cleansing method some time late last year I decided to give it a go…..I just want to say to anyone unsure that I’ve never looked back and don’t want to use any other method now! My skin isn’t perfect but it’s MUCH better than it used to be. Much softer, and only the most occasional spot or two on at a certain time of the month and sometimes not even then! So I am a convert. I’d also like to mention how good the first choice on the list of oils is (the House of Vermont one) which is very reasonable and it seems to suit my skin though I would like to play around with others and am here and there.
    Would definitely recommend anyone who has problems with their skin in any shape or form to try this. What I like best about it is it FEELS so clean. It’s such a lovely feeling and even though it takes a little longer than my old routine (only a little longer) it’s well worth it for that lovely fresh feeling before going to bed!

  • charlene

    I have been plagued by acne/skin irritation from my teens until today (fast approaching with the big 40). I found this particular post very interesting as it means going back to basics. Though most of your products mentioned are not available in Manila, Philippines. I would like to ask if combining castor oil and EVCO (Extra virgin coconut oil) will be a better choice than EVOO as the weather here is mostly hot and humid throughout the year. I tried your OCM last night (castor oil and EVOO 3:1 ratio) and a few spots (pimples etc) appeared which I would like to believe that my skin is trying to rebel after all these years on being dependent on harsh facial cleansers, acne cream and the like. Please give me your thoughts on this. Thank you.

    • thedetoxdiva

      Combining castor oil with coconut oil for Philippines, would be fine… If you started to break out though we’d have to rethink the coconut oil as it has a tendency to clog pores (though Filipinas here have good luck with it.)in other women. You are steaming it off so it can take awhile before it gets better after years of harsh cleansers… EVOO might be a bit too heavy for your face. Jojoba oil would work too and I know you can get that in Manila.

    • Selle

      Hi! Where did you buy your castor oil?

      Thanks. God bless! 😀

      • thedetoxdiva

        I think Amazon….. You can buy castor oil at Whole Foods though that would be high quality.

  • Hi Jacqueline,

    Can you tell me if oiling rids the skin of old skin cells or do you still need to scrub, at the moment I only use oils to moistures but I feels like my skin isn’t absorbing the oil as good as it should, do you think if I start to using the oils to cleanse rather then moisturize this will remove any dead skin cells and allow my skin to absorb the oils completely also I do have a slight case of rosacea and the reason why i have not scrubbed my face in a long time im scared it would irritate my rosacea. I hardly breakout anymore since I have been using avocado and coconut oil on my face. What oils would you recommend I use to cleanse with my rosacea? Any other information you can provide would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  • Detox Diva,
    I ran across your blog a few months ago and instantly started the Detox method. I started with nothing but Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt as a scrub ( which i would place right onto the cotton ball ), I did this for nearly two months and my face, which was in quite an acne stage, cleared up nearly entirely, Was smooth, pores tiny, etc. two months in i decided to try the castor oil to clear up a patch on my cheek i couldnt seem to get rid of, i’ve been doing Castor oil and evoo for a month now, possibly longer, and I am broken out more now than I think i’ve ever been in my entire life. I want so badly to hide my entire face with cover up but I dont want to irritate it more with makeup.. HELP… over a month in with castor…is this a normal thing? should i keep going ? or should i return to the pure evoo and sea salt?

    • strike the beginning.. i did start out with sea salt and ALMOND oil… and than switched to castor and Evoo.

    • thedetoxdiva

      I say what works for you, go back to. Castor oil can be quite irritating and it can be something to which people are allergic. If sea salt worked for you (use a finely milled one) and your skin cleared up, I urge you to go back there.

  • ElizabethEwing

    Hello! LOVE your blog! I heard about the oil cleansing method and immediately went full speed ahead trying it. I am a former Proactiv user with very sensitive, oily and acne prone skin (full on pimples/white heads, lots of small red bumps that don’t ever form a head and deep, painful, cystic acne before starting proactiv). When I first discovered Proactiv, it was AMAZING… the ONLY thing that’s actually cleared up my skin in all my life (and I’ve tried EVERYTHING… prescriptions, pills, creams, BCP’s, SA, Other BP creams/washes… everything). Proactiv worked for me for over 10 years…Until I started really looking into what I’m putting in and on my body. I’ve slowly been detoxifying every aspect of my life: Eating a non GMO, Organic diet for over a year now, homemade deodorant, homemade lotions, homemade soaps, I do 20 mins of Oil-Pulling every day, No-Poo is up next, etc etc. Until recently, I never really stopped to consider my face and skincare regimen. I was horrified to say the least learning of what damaging effects Proactiv and Benzoyl Peroxide can have on the skin. So after reading up on the OCM, I started as fast as I could! At the same time, I also decided to switch from using my usual powder foundation face makeup (Maybelline PureStay Powder Foundation…..(REALLY BAD)) to a “lesser evil” that I had in my makeup drawer: Bare Minerals. (We are on a major budget and eating organic isn’t exactly cheap… so I’m trying to “use things up” before replenishing with all-natural or homemade products)
    I’m a week into the “switch” from Proactiv to OCM (my oil blend is about 50/50 castor and grapeseed with swipe of witch hazel afterwards when needed and a drop of tea tree oil if needed. Then just raw, organic honey with a little cinnamon and nutmeg in the morning to gently wash my face and gently exfoliate if needed) and though I have to say I am LOVING the initial effects on my skin (so SOFT and fresh, my pores have become much smaller after having a life of crater-sized pores). Unfortunately though, my skin has blown up with the WORST painful breakout that I’ve ever had in my life. My skin was super clear on the proactiv for around 10 years so going from that to this is tough…I think I forgot how horrible acne can be.
    My questions for you:
    1. Do you know alot about Proactiv? I’ve heard that the ingredients in it are incredibly addictive and that going off of it will cause worse acne than you had before… this is seemingly happening to me. Should I step down off of it while slowly incorporating the OCM? Or should I continue with my nightly oil cleanses? Is there anything a former Proactiv user can do to help eliminate the “addictiveness” of this horrible chemical product?
    2. In your experience speaking with and hearing from your blog followers, how long does it usually take for someone with acne prone, oily, sensitive skin to adjust to the OCM? I fully intend to keep going with it for at least a month. I don’t expect miracle results and understand that it takes time to adjust, but I’m slightly worried that my skin just might not work with it. Or that I’m using the wrong oils and my skin is trying to tell me that. I just don’t know when to draw the line, change things up, or cut my losses.
    3. Do you know anything about the ingredients in Bare Minerals? Stupid me… making 2 HUGE face changes in the same day… it makes it really hard to tell if possibly the Bare Minerals is what’s breaking me out so badly? And not the OCM? I work in the wedding business and unfortunately, not wearing makeup is just not an option with my skin like this!!! I don’t want to scare away all of my brides!
    4. My ultimate plan is to not have to wear any foundation/powder and only wear a little eye makeup when needed when my skin *hopefully* clears up. I have a lot of redness and scarring/pigmentation though…. have you seen the OCM help with this? Are there any other natural products or ingredients that you would recommend to help achieve a more even and glowing skin-tone so that I can eliminate makeup altogether? Should I wait until my skin clears to add in these ingredients?
    5. In the meantime, do you have any recommendations on powder foundations that I could use to mask my horrifying breakout at the moment? I’m thinking replacing the Bare Minerals might heal this?
    6. LAST AND I PROMISE LAST…. I’ve read that people with acne prone skin often have something going on on the inside that’s actually the root of the acne. (allergies, inflammation, hormone imbalances, etc). How do you recommend going about discovering what my root cause is? I just feel so overwhelmed! I have no idea where to begin.

    I just long to have clear, normal skin without polluting my face with horrible chemicals! Any help, suggestions, recommendations, etc would be AMAZING! You are a lifesaver!

    • thedetoxdiva

      I wouldn’t use Proactive if you gave me a lifetime supply. The ingredients are caustic and toxic to say the least! I am glad you are loving the OCM and yes, it can take 6 weeks to two months for skin to readjust and balance. I do think your 50/50 mixture might be a bit heavy… I would cut it down to 30/70 in favor of a carrier oil.
      I don’t actually like Bare Minerals. There are a lot of irritants present in it. It’s, at the end of the day, meant to be for the masses. There are many better such as Inika and Modern Minerals.
      I don’t use a lot of makeup. I am a HUGE fan of RMS beauty for creating a beautiful pallete for the face. I do feel the OCM can help redness but I don’t think scarring so much. I think you should stick with the OCM and maybe add in a little rosemary, lavender, tea tree oil or whatever scent you like but not veer too far off yet.
      Generally, if there IS acne then there is an imbalance somewhere. Looking at all the health factors, diet, lifestyle and perhaps environment can go a long way to treating the root cause so you are not far off!! Come and book in for a consult and we will do our best to get to the bottom of the problem from the inside!

    • Emilia

      Hi ElizabethEwing,

      I am hoping you can give me a little more information on your OCM journey. I started cleasning with oil about 2-3 weeks ago and my story is basically identical to yours. I’d like to know if your skin got better? Did you stick with it? I need a little motivation since I’m getting extremely discouraged but do not want to quit so easily! Please reply if you can! Thank you!

  • Mina

    Dear Jacquelin,
    What do you think about “Product B Product B™ Antioxidants plus Telomere Support” ?I really love simplifying my skin care and get great results with real products and oils but also advertisements and media with every day “breakthrough” is abit confusing .

    Any idea?

  • Paula

    I have severe acne due to using the OCM. I used 1 part castor oil, to 2 parts avocado oil. My skin and texture was impeccable, but then I started getting clogged pores. I stopped for about 1 month 1/2, and I started using 1 part castor oil to 1 part shea butter. WORST MISTAKE EVER!!! I read that shea butter was non-comedogenic, but YES, IT IS!!! It seems as though ALL my pores are clogged, my face feels like sandpaper, and I can’t stand the way my face looks. I know the OCM works, but for my sensitive, combination skin, it seems like nothing works. At first my skin was looking so radiant and smooth, and then a few days after, I had numerous clogged poors. This time however, nothing I try in order to get rid of my clogged pores is working. I read that using oils with high lanoleic acid is best for those with severe acne/skin that clogs easily. What oils would you suggest I use in this case? Thanks!

    • thedetoxdiva

      I would NEVER have suggested shea butter….. Shea butter is only for the DRIEST of skins and even then, only for the body. I would suggest jojoba oil and castor oil and I WOULD, until you get past the clogged pores, recommend double cleansing with a gentle coconut based cleanser after the OCM.

      • Paula

        Thanks for your reply. I tried you advise prior to the shea butter incident and it didn’t work. Just to give you an update, I conducted some reasearch on this as I mentioned previously and found out that it’s better to use oils that are higher in lanoleic acid in comparison to oliec acid. I have to give credit to this blog: http://www.minimalistbeauty.com/oils-specifically-for-acne-prone-skin/ . After reading this blog, I thought I would give the oil cleansing method another try using only hemp seed oil. Let me tell you how this oil has worked wonders for my face. After 2 full months of oil cleansing, I can tell you that my face is sooooo smooth. I have a few black heads that I’m working on clearing up within the next month and then I can focus on getting rid of the scarring. I use an apple cider vinegar toner after, and 100% organic rose hip seed oil to moisturize. To all those out there who say the ocm doesn’t work, you’re using the wrong oils!

        • thedetoxdiva

          See, I wouldn’t ever do hemp oil. It’s too high of a PUFA load for me. I don’t think I have very many people that don’t stick with the OCM and I feel it is more technique than anything because I use straight EVOO on my skin and jojoba on the road and, with the right cloth, the right way of removing the oils, and of course, after cleansing care.

  • Crystal

    Dear Detoxdiva,

    Thank you so much for your post and all of the useful information. I am currently trying the OCM and am about 2 days into it. My face has hyper pigmentation from 2 pregnancies. I have a brown liver spot on my upper cheek bone, dark shading (5 o’clock shadow like a mustache) above my upper lip, freckles in my t-zone, and a slight brownish discoloration on my forehead with the occasional breakouts (mostly when my hormones are going crazy once a month), and large pores on both sides of my nose and cheeks. My current skin care regimen is wash with Ulta brand resurfacing cleanser, follow up with Sea Breeze astringent, then Dickinsons Witch Hazel toner, and then Ulta brand resurfacing moisturizing gel. I’ve recently added using Palmer’s Eventone fade cream. I do this routine at least twice a day, morning and night. I’ve noticed some change since I’ve added the fade cream, but I’ve been reading up on the OCM. I’ve started using 20% Castor oil and 80% EVOO. I apply it with a facial brush, let it soak in for a few minutes, then gently steam and wipe off my face. I then follow up with my skin care regimen. I feel that I am doing too much to try to get faster results. I’ve been reading up on Rosehip seed oil and thought about using this for my hyper pigmentation with the OCM. Please help me! What are your suggestions? X out my whole face washing routine and stick strictly with OCM? I am so tired of having this “mustache” (even waxing doesn’t help) and uneven skin tone. I used to barely wear makeup before I had kids and now I can’t leave the house without piling it on because I am embarrassed. My skin is pretty normal, can be a little sensitive at times, olive skin with pink undertones (Native American and Irish mix). I used to have a smooth, natural complexion, and only had to throw on some Mascara and out the door I went. I know I am not going to have that 20 something complexion again, but I’m only 33 and don’t feel I should have liver spots on my face. Please help guide me!

    • thedetoxdiva

      I actually would recommend stopping all the other cleansers you are using because they are way too harsh for what you are trying to achieve. The OCM formula (give or take the castor oil percentage) sounds great at night and yes, rosehip seed oil (used in moderation as it has a high PUFA content) can help hyperpigmentation but I would also recommend mixing in a little Progest-E with some high quality face cream to fade it as well as taking and using topically Vitamin E and A. I recommend you start using organic skincare though because conventional products are actually, by design, meant to keep you having issues so you continue to buy their products.

  • Andleeb

    I had acne for nearly 10 years and now this acne left me with horrible scars and red full skin. Im using the olive oil for cleansing from last three days, I dun noe if it’s good fr my skin or not. And there is another thing I have eye bags from last 2 years and just found out that I’m iron enemic now takin the iron tablets, they seem better than before but I’m just wondering if yu could suggest something for my skin and eye bags. Thanks for your time.

    • thedetoxdiva

      Olive oil is nourishing for the skin. You might want to try jojoba instead though with a little rosehip oil for the scarring. Be careful with your iron tablets. They can be toxic. Unfortunately, anemia is really usually not being LOW in iron rather imbalanced (usually a detox issue) and the iron you have is built up and isn’t liberating.

  • Andleeb

    In addition to last post I have oily t zone but dry cheeks. My skin was used to be super oily but now it’s dry and dull.

  • Taylor

    Hi! What a great article…
    Myself, have been suffering from acne for years. Have tried everything under the sun. Been doing the oil cleansing method for about 3 weeks now – not really impressed yet.. I’m using sweet almond, grade seed, a little bit of Castor and a pinch of tree tea. Since I have very dry skin I think I will decrease the amount of Castor oil even more.. Trying not to lose hope.. I want this to be my saving grace! . .

    • If you have very dry skin you may want to avoid castor except for maybe a drop or two, especially in the winter. I would try avocado oil or tamanu as a cleanser as and make sure you are steaming your face properly, hot water, pressed in three to four times before wiping.

  • I’ve heard of people using mineral oil. Have you heard anything about using it and if so, what do you think?

    • thedetoxdiva

      I loathe everything mineral oil. First of all because it is a petrochemical derivative, and second, it clogs pores like nobody’s business. I don’t even use it on my babies!

      • Good to know. I haven’t noticed any clogged pores, but I’ll look into getting one of the others you suggest.

  • Swati Gupta

    Hi Detox Diva,

    I am from Delhi, India (with a weather too hot in summers and moderately cold in winter). I was planning to use the OCM method for my normal skin. Please answer the following questions:
    Would it be okay to mix castor oil with almond oil? I have heard that castor oil promotes hair growth.
    Instead of using a cloth to steam my face, can I use a steamer?
    I once used OCM using olive oil. Little bit of oil was left on my face after I steamed it. Is necessary that entire oil residue should be removed?

    Thank you so much 🙂

    • thedetoxdiva

      You must use a cloth because that’s the only way to get the oil off your face. You can mix castor oil with almond oil and while there shouldn’t be an oil residue, you will always leave a little of the goodness behind. You don’t want a face to have no sebum layer and good oil helps you do this. Make sure you get very good quality oil…. In the Lodhi colony there are a few organic stores that carry them and, of course, there is my favorite brand in India called Kama Ayurveda in Saket, in Khan Market, and GK1 where you can get great quality oils and products.