Whole Home Detox: Oil Cleansing 101

Washing your face with oil.  It’s so wrong it’s right.

When I first heard this jazz, the ninth grade version of me was like “Woah, woah, woah.  Gimme back my Noxema, man!”

I know.  Just trust me.

Today I’ve put together a little Oil Cleansing 101 for you to show you how easy it is to clean your face with natural oils!

Why Oil?

The idea behind this is very similar to the theory behind No ‘Poo.  Your skin (your body’s largest organ) produces it’s own natural oils.  The problem is, dirt, make-up and other impurities mix with it and clog our pores causing blemishes.  We need a way to remove this grunge without completely stripping our skin.  Like most people, I used to think the right way to handle it was to lather my face up with my soap-based cleanser.

Well, that was before I got on The Googles and found out otherwise.  When we strip our skin with cleansers, it responds by producing more oil and further clogs pores.  For people with dry skin, it dries us out and produces further irritation.  (ME.)  My skin always felt tight and dry after cleansing.  I was going through bottles of moisturizer like crazy, while still breaking out in my “acne” zones.

The unlikely solution?  Oil!

The oil cleansing method is based on one simple rule: oil dissolves oil.

Oil dissolves oil

What You Need

Castor Oil: The foundation of the oil cleansing method is Castor Oil (derived from the castor bean).  This is the primary pore-cleansing agent that dissolves the aforementioned face grunge. It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.  However, it is drying so it needs to be mixed with a secondary oil.  You do not want to use this on your face by itself.  (I got my Castor Oil at Mountain Rose Herbs.  I’ve been using it for eight months and have used less than a quarter of the bottle).

Secondary Oil:  You can have fun with this.  There are endless options of nourishing oils for your skin!  I started with olive oil because that is what I had in my cupboard.  I have also used Sweet Almond Oil.  Don’t obsess about this part.  Just pick one!

The potential list is long, but here are a few of the most popular:

  • Extra Virgin Olive (all skin types)
  • Jojoba (all skin types)
  • Avacado (dry skin)
  • Almond (oily skin)

Organic and cold-pressed is always best whenever possible.  Mountain Rose Herbs, Amazon, and Vitacost are the best places to get your oils.

Mix Castor OIl and Secondary Oil

Your Mix

Different skin types need different ratios.  Oily skin should use more Castor Oil, while drier skin should use more secondary oil.  Think about your ratios in terms of thirds.

Dry Skin: 1:3 Castor Oil to secondary oil

Oily Skin: 3:1 Castor Oil to secondary oil

Normal/Combination Skin: 1:1 Castor Oil to secondary oil

I use simply a 1:1 ratio of Castor Oil and EVOO.  It works perfectly for me. I have a combination of oily and dry skin.  If you are afeared of the oil, start out with a teeny batch, like one teaspoon of each.

I put mine in a cosmetics bottle that I purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Mixing Guide

Oil Cleansing How To

How To

1.) Grab a wash cloth and turn your faucet on to the hottest water that you can stand.  My faucet takes a minute to get hot, so I turn it on and let the water run over my cloth while I am applying my oil.

2.) Pour a quarter-size amount of your oil mixture into your hands and apply directly to dry skin.  I use my fingertips to massage it in.  Do not wet your face prior to this step!  It is not necessary and will repel the oil.  Just massage it right onto your dirty ol’ make-up face, girl.  I gently apply it around my eyes to remove make-up too.  It is the best eye make-up remover I have ever used!

3.) This next step is critical, as it opens your pores so that the oil can do it’s work.  Grab your wash cloth, which should be hot and steamy.  Wring out the excess water.  Now lay it over your face and breath in the steam.  Ahhh.  Leave it over your face until it cools to room temperature.  If you want to, you can repeat this step.  I do ’cause it makes me feel like I’m at a spa.  Though I’ve never been to a spa, but pretend I did.

4.) Now, gently wipe the oil off in a downward motion.  After this, the majority of the oil will be removed, and your skin should feel clean and moist.  I love the way my face feels after this!

5.)  Most of the time this is all I need to do!  If you want to add a little extra moisture, put some secondary oil directly on your skin.  A little dab’ll do ya.  Again, no rules here.  Just use what you like.  I like Almond Oil or coconut oil, just ’cause it is what I have around.

(Tip: For acne, apply some tea tree oil directly to the blemish.)

Apply oil to a dry face

Open Pores with Steam

Does It Work?

Yes.  I was actually pitifully uneducated about this method before starting, and it still worked.  I had only read one article by Simple Mom before I began slathering oil on my person in a careless manner!

You might notice some breaking out after the first week or so of using it.   This is NORMAL.  Don’t be surprised if this new cleansing method releases some pent-up dirt and oil.  Like No ‘Poo, your skin will adjust shortly and then you will be glowing!  (If you enjoyed this post, check out my Whole Home Detox for more!)


So maybe you want to find out if I have the slightest idea of what I am talking about before you risk looking like the junior high version of yourself for a week.   Fair enough.  Here are a few good resources for you to dig into!

The Oil Cleansing Method

The Wellness Mama

Simple Mom

For the Love of Food

Now there’s nothing left to do but tell your inner ninth grader to hand over the Noxema and start oiling up!  Would you ever try this?  Does anyone else oil cleanse?


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  • Jess

    Love this! I did this a while back as a moisturizer only with organic evoo while adding some essential oil as well (frangipani) sp? Smelled wonderful and my skin loved it. I have not tried the castor oil additive for washing. Sounds delish! I deterred from this course after forgetting what was on my skin and burnt!!! Ouch. I want to try again! Thanks

    • frugalfaye

      It sounds lovely to add some essential oil to my regimen! Great idea!

  • Julie Feicht

    What facial moisturizer do you use?

    • frugalfaye

      I just use a little dab of almond oil! Or coconut oil. I also have a some Avalon Organics lotion and sometimes I use that if I’m in the mood!

  • http://ShanaNorris.net/ Shana Norris

    I use the OCM too and love it. You did a great job of explaining it here.

    • frugalfaye

      Thank you! What kind of oil do you use?

      • http://ShanaNorris.net/ Shana Norris

        I use castor oil and olive oil. I mixed up my most recent batch 1:1 because it’s summer and my skin is oilier. But I think I need to add in a bit more olive oil to make it a bit more moisturizing.

  • Keli Smith

    I have oily skin and use a 3:7 Castor/Evoo mix and it works fantastically :) I love OCM!!

  • Shannon

    Wondering, do you mix your 1:1 oil solution together in a bottle and use that or do you mix the oils in you hand each time? How often do you wash this way in a day? Thanks!

  • Len Ong

    YOU ARE AWESOME!! Saving your blog as my FAVE!!!

  • Olivia74

    Why can’t you just use coconut oil or another oil alone? Why use the castor oil at all if it is drying? I’m just confused and don’t have any castor and wonder if the other things will work. Thanks!