Do Not Fear the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

by Angela on August 4, 2013

I know the thought of cleaning your face with oil sounds absurd.  I thought the exact same thing when I first heard about it.  But before I go into the details, let me tell you why I like the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) and have stuck with it for over 6 months now:

– It uses 2 ingredients I can pronounce and buy at my regular grocery store.

– My skin is more balanced now than it has ever been in my life.

– I don’t need any other product on my face (however I do choose to use a daily moisturizer with SPF and an eye cream).

– It removes ALL my makeup, including waterproof mascara!

– It is inexpensive.

– It is easy!

OCM  face

I’ve always struggled with face cleaning products.  I grew up thinking that my breakouts were caused by too much oil, so I was always trying to “dry out” my skin with harsh products, only to end up with even oilier skin as it tried to balance itself out.  And I never had “go to” products.  I never knew what brand to use, do I need toner, what moisturizer, and now, unfortunately, what age defier.  I’ve tried many brands, I’ve used prescription lines, department store brands and mixed and matched drugstore brands.  And still I was in a constant cycle of my skin being tight and dry, then super oily, and back to dry again.  But finally, for over 6 months now, my skin has been balanced!

I had a conversation about a year ago with my friend, Kate, about how an older relative of hers put petroleum jelly on her face every night.  I gasped in horror thinking how this would result in me waking up to a minefield on my face of connect-the-dot zits.  She nodded in agreement but said this woman had the most beautiful, softest skin.  We laughed at the absurdity but you know what?  It all makes sense now.  Here’s the science behind it:


It’s that simple!

(by the way, sorry this is all sounding like an infomercial!  Not my intention at all, but I’m real excited about sharing this discovery with you all!)

What is the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)?

Go ahead and google Oil Cleansing Method.  You will get tons of result, including something on Wikipedia (so it must be legit, right?!).  But the gist of it is, you use natural oils to clean your skin.

OCM requires 2 ingredients:

1.  Castor Oil – Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean and is commonly used for medicinal purposes as a laxative.  So it’s highly recommended you don’t take a swig unless you really need it!  I have found my bottles in the infant medicine section at Walgreens and even my local Harris Teeter.  The role of castor oil in the Oil Cleansing Method is to draw out impurities and cleanse.  It is very drying and a little goes a long way, so this will be the smaller portion of the two oils in your mix.

2.  Natural, cold-pressed vegetable oil – This is the carrier oil and is used to dilute and moisturize.  I have been using sunflower oil and have been very happy with it, but you can also use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil, just to name a few.


OCM  ingredients

Side note:  I have read some articles where people have added an essential oil or tea tree oil to their concoction, but I haven’t tried that yet.  Why mess up a good thing, right?

Anyhow, my first mix that I made several months ago, I started with about 25% castor oil and 75% sunflower oil.  After a couple days with this mixture, my skin felt very tight.  So I have since changed my mixture to about 10% castor oil and 90% sunflower oil.  You may need to adjust your portions based on your skin type, but a good start is:

Dry Skin:  10% castor oil, 90% carrier oil

Normal Skin:  20% castor oil, 80% carrier oil

Oily Skin:  30% castor oil, 70% carrier oil

I just eyeball it, try it out a day or two, and adjust as necessary.  In this picture below, I actually had too much castor oil and a few days later had to add more sunflower oil because it was making my skin feel real tight:

OCM  castor oil

OCM  Sunflower oil

How does the OCM work?

I pour a small amount of the mixture in the cup of my hand before I step in the shower at night.  I’d say it’s about a nickel or quarter-sized amount.  Then I spend a couple minutes massaging it all over my face, gently rubbing over my eyes, and even onto my neck.  Then I wet my washcloth with hot water and lay on my face for a couple minutes.  The oil will dissolve the oil on your face that is filled with impurities such as bacteria and dead skin cells, and the steam from the washcloth will loosen it and draw it out.  Then you wipe it all away.  It’s that simple.  Every once in a while I will take a small amount and rub on my face after my shower just as an added moisturizer, but I don’t do it every night and certainly don’t feel the need for an extra moisturizer.  And that’s really it.  Simple, right?  The only negative I have experienced with this new skin care regimen is the amount of washcloths I go through or have to wash on a regular basis.  But it’s really not that bad considering I do laundry almost every. single. day.


OCM  face full bottle

You will see I am using an olive oil container.  I started with a  plastic travel bottle, but I switched to glass because glass is just better, plus I can throw this in the dishwasher before I have to make a new batch.  It’s highly recommended to thoroughly clean your container when making a new batch just to avoid introducing unnecessary bacteria into your mixture.

You may also notice in the background of one of the pictures that I have another similar bottle labeled “Body”.  Many moons ago, Deena wrote about the benefits of grapeseed oil as a natural body moisturizer.  So that is what is in the other bottle.  I’m just a walking bottle of vegetable oil.  Friends, please let me know if I start smelling like fried foods!

So that’s it.  Another major lifestyle change for me that I feel good about.  I’ve eliminated most skin cleansing chemicals from my life and feel safe with what is being absorbed into my skin.  I can mark that one off my list!

I’d love to hear if anyone else gives this a try and what you think!

Link to us on Social Media

Comments on this entry are closed.

Mary Ott March 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Hello Angela! I am going to try this earthy mixture tonight. I am just tired of using the market brand and they are expensive. I hope my face would not react to it since i have severe allergy all year round. But I do have a question, do you think i can use this everyday? I was reading something about it that you don’t need to use it everyday. I do clean my face twice a day and moisturize. Please let me know. Thank you.

Mary Ott

admin April 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Hi Mary – I use this method once a day, every day, at night to remove my makeup and cleanse and have never had problems. I wrote the article 3 years ago and haven’t changed to any other face cleansing method in the last 3 years. I have heard some people go through an adjustment period as their skin balances out, so I’d give it at least a week before you make any decisions to continue or not. Good luck and I hope it works out well for you!

Tiara Abrams August 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I want to also use this on my body. Do you think that this will be effective?

admin August 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Sure, why not?! It’s all the same skin, right? Let me know how it works for you!

Ariane Clay May 26, 2014 at 7:11 am

Hi, I’ve been trying the OCM since the beginning of the year and haven’t had much luck. I had previously used Proactiv, which had been working, but was starting to loose effect. I came across the OCM and it sounded really logical so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve really wanted this to work, which is why I’ve kept with it, but my acne’s gotten worse and I now have lots of comedones and just more acne in general :(. I’ve recently removed the castor oil from my mix because it’s apparently slightly comedomic. Any advice? 🙁

admin June 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I’m certainly no expert, but maybe research adding tea tree oil to your regimen or even mixed in your OCM cleanser? I’d love to hear back from you if this works!

nuril November 7, 2013 at 2:15 am

i want to ask did you make the mix everytime you do ocm or you mix it in the bottle already? sorry dumb question but im just afraid if it has a different effect..

admin December 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm

No question is a dumb question. 🙂 I mix a large bottle at once. The bottle I featured in this article from August is still the same one I am using and it is now December. I am very careful not to touch the tip of the spout to my hand when pouring so I do not introduce any bacteria into the bottle. I put the cap on after every use as well. When this bottle is empty, I will run it through the dishwasher to disinfect before making a new batch. If I had to mix every day, I don’t think I would still be OCMing! I hope this method works as well for you as it has for me!

Aly October 6, 2013 at 3:28 am

Hey, I’ll be trying this method soon, but I have a question. Do I really need to use a washcloth? Can’t I just use my clean hands? Or, I could steam my face over a bowl? The washcloth makes me paranoid, because it sounds like the perfect place for bacteria to grow and I don’t do laudry everyday.

admin December 2, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Hi Aly – I think you can go without the washcloth. For me, the washcloth gets off all my eye makeup. I have washed the oil off before with just my hands and end up with raccoon eyes. Give it a try and see how it goes. Any oil left on your face could just be rubbed in as a moisturizer. Good luck!

Previous post:

Next post: