a simple lifestyle blog

The Oil Cleansing Method

Greetings, friends!
Let’s start out today with a little vulnerability.

Day 5 to Day 16

I realize it looks like I put some deceptive foggy filter on this “after” photo.
I didn’t.
My phone’s camera just suuuuuucks.

I have always wanted to be one of those people who doesn’t feel like they need to wear makeup in order to leave the house.
I used to have pretty decent skin.
Small pores, no breakouts. You know the type.
Then, I graduated high school and my skin was like, “Oh whoops, HERE’S ALL THE ACNE YOU NEVER HAD.”


After that its just been an uphill battle.
The breakouts are bad and the scarring is worse.
My solution?
Exfoliating cleansers.
Every morning. Every night.
I don’t mean those sweet little soaps with a tiny granule here and there.
I’m talking industrial strength, 30%-soap-70%-coarse-rocks exfoliant.
Somehow my acne never seemed to get better despite my sand-blasting it every 8-12 hours. Shocking.

Here’s how it was explained to me, those exfoliants rob my skin of its moisture (besides just being far too harsh even for someone like me with pretty resilient skin) so then my skin tries to over-compensate and THUS oily skin always.

A dear friend told me about a little something called Oil Cleansing.
Using a mixture of two different types of oils along with some good old fashioned steam as a facial cleansing regimen.

The secret to this stuff is that it uses oils to bring out oils.

I know.

If you’re like me and have been waging war against your skin for years its positively cringe-worthy to think of rubbing oil onto your skin. Ack!
But really, the oil you massage into your skin will help dissolve the oils that have hardened with impurities and lodged themselves into your precious pores.
The steam opens your pores while the oils help eliminate the need for moisturizers (which I never used because I thought they’d make my oily skin more oily, but without any kind of moisture my face, again, tries to over compensate and gets oily all over again!)


The Oil Cleansing Method

Here’s what you’ll need:

hot water
a clean washcloth
castor oil
extra virgin olive oil (you can use sunflower seed oil if you’re fancy and can find it, I couldn’t.)

* I could only find castor oil at Whole Foods, but at $9.99 for 32 fl oz. and only needing a nickel size glob per night, its still a killer deal. The EVOO is easy. $7.18 for 1.5 L at WinCo. 

Here’s what you’ll do: 

1. Get some hot water running on a washcloth in the sink. Hot enough to steam, but not hot enough to scald you/your face. That would surely defeat the purpose of this method.

2. Pour a nickel-sized glob of each oil in the palm of your hand.
** Some people need different rations of these oils depending on their skin type. If your skin runs dry, you may try 1 part castor oil to 2 parts EVOO. If your skin still feels dry, try lessening the castor oil in the mix or increasing the EVOO (same diff.)

3. Rub your hands together to warm up and combine the oils.

4. Gently massage the oils into your skin. Really take your time on this step. Maybe a whole minute or two.

5. Once your face is good and oiled, reach down and grab your wash cloth. Ring it out slightly so that it is not dripping excessively. While its still steaming, lay it over your face making sure it covers from ear to ear and forehead to chin. Its kind of like a facial, but not stupidly expensive.

6. Ahh… relax and let the steam do its thang. Once the washcloth cools, gently remove the remaining oil from your skin by rubbing the washcloth in small circles across your skin.
*If you have sensitive skin, using a baby washcloth may not be a bad idea. 

7. Try to resist undoing all your great cleansing by rubbing your filthy hands all over your now BABY BUM SOFT skin. ohhhh yeaaah.

*I only do this in the evenings, although I’m sure there’d be no harm in doing it both mornings and evenings. 
** There may be a transitional period during the first week where your face is 1. clearing out any existing breakouts that you already had and 2. getting used to this drastically different routine. Don’t worry! This too shall pass. 

Day 5 to Day 16
Day 5 to Day 16


PRO TIP: To help lighten some of the scarring, I usually do a mask of lemon juice and honey (roughly equal parts of each) as I brush my teeth/pick out my clothes then I gently remove it with a washcloth as a morning cleansing routine.

Besides the fact that before my oil cleansing days I couldn’t go more than about three days without a breakout of some kind and now its been about a week and a half or so since my last breakout, my skin is SO MUCH LESS OILY.
I used to have to reapply powder foundation halfway through my day because I would be so self-conscious about my shininess.
Not anymore, my friends.

I was doing some pretty rigorous heavy-lifting at my work the other day, just lifting box after box of marble tile (oi!), I went to the bathroom expecting to see a shiny, round face staring back at me in the mirror, but nope! It looked the same as when I first applied my makeup that morning. MAGIC!

As though the glowing/acne-free skin isn’t enough…
At $9.99 for 32 fl oz of castor oil
and $7.18 for 1.5 L of EVOO,
using maybe a teaspoon of each every night,
this cleansing method is a mere $.07 per day.
yeah buddyyyy!

All credit to my pal, Allegra for opening my eyes to this magical method of skin care.
Goodbye, over-exfoliating!
I will never go back to my old ways. Scouts honor.

Until next time, cheers!


7 comments on “The Oil Cleansing Method

  1. Rose
    April 2, 2014

    Thanks for sharing! I've been wanting to try this!


  2. Danielle Berger
    April 2, 2014

    Thanks for taking the time to read through all my jumbled thoughts here! Let me know how it goes for you! 🙂


  3. Dee Small
    April 2, 2014

    I too don't wash, it is monumentally drying. I use cold cream. $24/16oz at Merle Norman. Same idea. Makes for very happy skin. Well done, Danielle!!! Dee


  4. Danielle Berger
    April 2, 2014

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  5. Danielle Berger
    April 2, 2014

    Ooh! I've never heard of that. Maybe it will be my next skin care experiment… 🙂 thanks so much for the tip, Dee!


  6. Rose
    April 5, 2014

    Although oil cleansing seems so counter-intuitive, I gave it a try and my skin loved it!! How often do you use the oil cleansing method?


  7. Danielle Berger
    April 5, 2014

    Yay!! I know what you mean, it seems crazy, but it totally works!! I am SO glad you had positive results, Rose! I oil cleanse every evening before bed. It seems like every morning I wake up to more improvements. I love this stuff! Thanks for trying it out along with me 🙂


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