Learn the benefits of what oil cleansing can do for your skin (like acne, blackheads, oily skin, and dry skin), as well as step-by-step instructions and the best safe and effective oils you can use for it!
Oil cleansing is one of my favorite non-toxic skin cleansing methods that have done wonders for my skin. Instead of using regular cleansing soap, I usually oil cleanse at night and it works so much better than a regular cleanser to remove makeup, clean my skin, and help it look fresh and smooth afterwards. I was skeptical and unsure about it when I first tried it out, but now it has become a regular routine after seeing how well it actually DOES work!
What is Oil Cleansing?
Oil cleansing is a method where you use oils to clean your skin instead of soap and water. It works well for ALL skin types and even with acne-prone skin! Some people are afraid to use oil on their skin, especially if their skin is oily, but with the right type of oil, you’ll find that it can be a safe and gentle method that detoxes your skin and cleans even better than soap.
Our skin’s physical barrier can weaken with an increased imbalance in pH with stress, diet, oxidative stress, and even conventional cleanser and moisturizers that may contain toxic or harmful ingredients. Oil cleansing can help your skin improve strength while rebalancing its pH and its natural oils.
How Does Oil Cleansing Work?
Similar to the concept of like dissolving like, massaging your skin with oil loosens up the oil on your skin, as well as the impurities stuck in your pores and whatever makeup you have on. You massage in a circular motion for a minute or 2, then use a wet warm cloth to steam your face.
Steaming with a clean cotton or muslin cloth is an important step, because this process allows your pores to open up so any dirt, impurities, and bacteria can be drawn out and rise to the surface of your skin. You then wipe your face with the cloth until your skin is clean and smooth.
When done with the right oils and method, oil cleansing can improve issues like dryness, blackheads and whiteheads, acne, and even oily skin!
Expect a Detox Period
Keep in mind that your skin may experience a detox reaction for the first several days or up to 2 weeks of oil cleansing, and you may experience some breakouts or whiteheads. This happens because the dirt and impurities in your pores are finally able to loosen up and release, but this shouldn’t last last longer than 2 weeks. I promise, it’ll all be worth it when you see how great your skin looks afterwards.
When I first started oil cleansing, I went through a detox period in the first week when I broke out on my chin a lot. However, this went away after the adjustment period, and my skin is healthier than it’s ever been.
My skin is on the dry side, but after I started oil cleansing, the moisture level has increased and I rarely get acne anymore which I used to get quite frequently. I only wash my face once a day with the oil cleansing method and it’s enough to keep my skin healthy and radiant. I also love that I don’t have to use a makeup remover anymore, because oil cleansing removes it all effectively.
Best Products for Oil Cleansing
It’s incredibly important to use the right products and oils for oil cleansing. If not, it may actually worsen your skin. When you open up your pores through oil cleansing, not only do things come out of your pores, but the products and oils you use seep into them as well. Because of this, make sure to only use clean products with safe and toxin free ingredients.
Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm
My favorite oil cleansing product hands down is Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm. Not only does it have clean and safe ingredients that are extremely effective, it also contains vitamin C to improve and brighten your complexion, as well as raspberry and cranberry seed oils to moisturize and nourish. It is by far the best product I’ve used and I even use it as a moisturizer at times because it’s so hydrating!
The Cleansing Balm also comes with a 100% muslin cloth so you don’t have to purchase it separately, and you can even use the balm as an overnight treatment and wash it off in the morning. It always feels so luxurious when I use it.
Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil
Another great product that is a bit more budget friendly is Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil. They also have separate oils for dry skin or oily/acne-prone skin. These oils smell amazing, work great, and scientifically formulated to keep your skin balanced without drying it out. The ingredients are also natural without any harmful chemicals, but effective as well.
You do have to purchase a cloth separate with this one and the homemade oil I’m about to talk about next, and I highly recommend these 100% organic cotton facial cloths.
I used to make my own oil for oil cleansing, and it can be a bit tricky to find the right ratio that works well for your skin type. However, if you decide to go this route, there are several oils that are great for oil cleansing, and you may want to experiment with which ones work best for you.
Some options are: coconut, castor, almond, sunflower, jojoba, avocado, and oilve oil. Castor oil is deeply cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and great as a base oil to start out with, but it can also be drying for your skin so it works well for combination to oily skin.
If your skin is on the dry side (like me), you may want to mix it with other oils like avocado or olive oil and find the right ratio, or just use another oil altogether. When I did make my own oils, I used to use 70% avocado and 30% castor oil, but switched to 100% olive oil during the drier winter months.
When you first start out, I suggest the ratio of 50% castor oil and 50% olive or avocado oil, then you can adjust it from there. Whatever oils you choose, make sure to use high quality, organic oils because it really does make a difference in the effectiveness of oil cleansing.
Again, if you aren’t seeing great results with homemade oil since it can be a bit tricky to get right, I highly recommend trying out one of the 2 products I recommend above!
Oil Cleansing Step-By-Step
WATCH A QUICK VIDEO OF HOW I USE THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD
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If you want to learn the proper method for oil cleansing so you end up with smooth and radiant skin, follow this step-by-step tutorial:
Step-By-Step Oil Cleansing Tutorial
- Start out with a dry face. You don't need to remove makeup beforehand as oil cleansing will do that in the process.
- Take 1/2-1 tsp of your oil of choice (or an almond-sized amount for the Cleansing Balm) and massage on to your face for at least 1 minute. Concentrate on your problem areas.
- Soak the washcloth under running water that is warm to hot (not too hot - you'll be using it on your face), then wring it out.
- Place the washcloth on your face to let it steam and open up your pores, so it can draw out impurities.
- Gently wipe away the oils, makeup, and dirt.
- Rinse your washcloth and hang it to dry for the next time. I use the Charcoal Bar to clean the cloth every time and it works really well!
- There's no need to moisturize after oil cleansing, but you may choose to do so if you feel like your skin needs it. I have dry skin so I always finish with the Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream, which is so hydrating and nourishing.
Want Even More Radiant Skin?
You can use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel after oil cleansing for even better results that’ll help your skin tone even out, remove blemishes, and achieve that radiant glow. You can read all about my experience with in this blog post, along with my before-and-after photos from using it for a month!
If you want to learn more about safe and toxin free skin care and products, make sure to join my Safer Skincare newsletter for deals, discounts, video tutorials, and more education around why I choose safer skincare.
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