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Debunking Myths: The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

Commercialized products and skin care “experts” covertly advertise oil as something to stay clear of by pushing consumers onto oil-free products. Fact of the matter is, oil is a natural part of the skin’s structure, it actually helps nourish the skin, and it is produced all its own oil – it’s called sebum. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands and these glands are found all over your body except for on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet

The myth that has been popularly widespread for far too long is the idea that oil clogs pores and makes you “greasy”, and if you have naturally oily skin, you should use an oil-free moisturizer, or you shouldn’t use a moisturizer at all, but sebum is important for many reasons. It helps reduce natural water loss, for starters. Sebum is also a component of what is called an acid mantle, made up of sweat, sebum, and other lipids, which helps keep bacteria from entering the hair follicle, keeping the skin healthy. And most importantly, sebum actually helps keep us looking youthful and fresh because dry skin is the root of all evil – it causes wrinkles!

The Down and Dirty: You cannot stop the natural production of oil. The problem with extra oily skin and/or acne prone skin is not the issue of sebum itself or products made with oil, but that your skin’s sebum production might be a tad overactive. There are two main reasons as to why your glands could be producing oil in double time:

1) You are drying out your skin thinking it will help combat the overproduction of oil – it doesn’t. It actually has the adverse affect. Because your skin has been stripped of all its natural moisture, the sebaceous glands are working to generate double the oil for your dehydrated skin.

2) The culprit (most likely): IMBALANCED HORMONES. Balancing hormones can be tricky, but like everything it begins with proper foods, proper diet, proper nutrition, and proper digestion. From there, go ahead lather yourself up in good oils – face and body.

The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM):

Now that we understand a little bit more about oil for the skin and oil production we can now begin to understand how to cleanse our faces in one of the most natural, easiest, (and best of all) CHEAPEST ways possible. It’s called the Oil Cleansing Method – or OCM for short.

The OCM is the process of cleansing your face naturally with noncomedogenic and chemical-free carrier and essential oils in replace of face washes, toners, and astringents. It improves dry, congested, and/or scarred skin, combats cystic and hormonal acne, and helps balance oily skin.

How the OCM Works: It begins with the idea that like breaks down like, so the only way to get rid of bad oils is by breaking it down with good oils. Now, not only are you removing the bad oil that has accumulated on your face, but also, you are replenishing your skin with good oil at the same exact time. It is ideal for all skin types and can be modified to fit your exact needs – it is completely customizable.

The first step is to find what mix works best for your skin type. Typically the OCM is made with castor oil mixed with your choice of another carrier oil – sunflower, almond, olive, jojoba, evening primrose, etc – plus your choice of essential oils. From what I understand most OCM advocates use solely carrier oils, but essential oils are just too good not to use.

The ratio will depend on your skin type (approximate):

Oily Skin: equal parts castor oil to your other carrier oil – 1:1

Balanced Skin: 1:2

Dry Skin: 1:3

And you might have to try a few different ratios before you find the one that works best for you. If you find that the OCM is not working for your, more than likely it is because you have not found the proper blend.

What you’ll need:

  • Oil blend

  • Washcloth

  • Hot and cold water


  • Use a considerable amount (1-2 TBS) on an uncleansed face – no need to remove makeup, the oil takes care of that for you (mascara, too!)

  • Massage oil into the skin

  • Let the oil soak into the skin for at least one minute

  • Turn on the hot water, not scolding, but steamy. Run your washcloth under the hot water and wring it out. Place it over your face and let it steam until the cloth is cool. Repeat this step as many times as you’d like. Added Bonus: Adding essential oils to your blend makes for a great aromatherapy and relaxation session if you breathe in deeply while you are steaming your face!

  • Rinse your washcloth under cool water and wipe away all the oil. Make sure all the oil is wiped clean since the oil is now mixed with dirt and other bacteria

  • Splash your face with as cold of water as you can stand.

If you have the proper blend, you won’t need any other products (toner, astringent, moisturizer, etc).

The OCM only needs to be done once a day – typically at night. For some, it only needs to be done 2-3 times a week, with water rinses in between.

My Mixture and Routine:

I use 1 part castor oil to 2 parts sunflower oil with drops of tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and ylang ylang oil. I have very sensitive skin and sunflower oil is quite light and is ranked zero on the comedogenic chart.

Tea tree oil and peppermint oil are great for breakouts. Ylang ylang oil is amazing for congested and ruddy skin. Refer back to this link above for essential oil tips.

I oil cleanse once a day (at night) and follow up with hemp seed oil mixed with geranium oil for an acne and wrinkle reduction nighttime “serum”.

In the morning I rinse with cold water and follow up with my hemp seed oil mixture.

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