The Oil-Cleaning Method (OCM): It’s About Time

I am not talking about cleaning your natural wood furniture, I am talking about cleaning your face!

Back in 2009 I read something about the Oil-Cleaning Method (OCM) and it has been on my list of things to try. Sometimes these “things” on my list get done right away, sometimes they wait a few years. I decided enough time has passed on this one and It’s About Time.

The two oils you need for this are extra virgin olive oil and castor oil. I always have olive oil on hand and over a year ago I bought a bottle of castor oil just to do this. I do like to plan ahead!

In my teens I always categorized my skins as oily. In my 30’s it seemed to change to combination skin (oil in some areas and dry in others). I have also noticed changes based on the climate I live in. We spent 10 years living in the dry desert of Palm Springs, CA. Each winter I noticed my skin becoming more and more dry, not just the facial skin but the skin on the rest of my body too. Almost four years ago be moved to south Texas. We have hot summers here, some of those days are humid while others are dry like the desert.

During the summer I do not notice much dryness to my skin at all, but winter is finally here and almost overnight I noticed the dryness in my face and hands. Even though I relate some of these changes in my skin to climate and season based on geographic location, I can’t ignore the fact that I am growing older and my body is changing.

As I continue to replace the commercially made products in our home with home made ones, The OCM fits right in. I have been using my homemade soap on my face and in the shower for over two years and I have noticed a reduction in blemishes and my face has felt better all around. I still realized that even though I am making my soap with healthy oils and ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil and vitamin E, I am still washing away some of the good oils that are on my skin and face. With fall upon us, I am noticing extreme dryness in my face and that reminded me that I really need to move The Oil-Cleaning Method to the top of my list, because I don’t want to start reaching for a commercially made moisturizer and I still haven’t made the recipe for the one I mentioned here.

Before you mix up your oil mixture, there are a few things to know:

  • The most used oils for OCM are castor oil and extra virgin olive oil. Castor Oil (CO) is used to draw out the dirt and gunk. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is used to help heal and nourish the skin and is also a great moisturizer too.
  • Before you open the drawer and pull out the large measuring cup, think small. Start out by only making up a small amount until you get the ratio of oils right for you and your skin, so grab your teaspoon.
  • If you have dry skin, start by using 1:3 ratio – 1 tsp CO to 3 tsp EVOO.
  • If you have normal skin, start by using a 1:1 ratio – 1 tsp CO to 1 tsp EVOO.
  • If you have oily skin / acne-prone? start with 3:1 ratio – 3 tsp CO tsp 1 EVOO

Start out by mixing a small amount and use it for a several days to a week and see how your skin feels and looks. When I started, I used a teaspoon for my measuring. Once I knew I liked the mixture, as well as the process, I bumped it up to using tablespoons.

Let’s get “washing:”

  • Put a little of the oil in the palm of your hand – about the size of a quarter
  • With your fingers gently work it into your dry skin. No scrubbing, just rubbing
  • Continue rubbing for about 1 minute
  • Take a wash cloth & wet it with hot water (or maybe I should say warm warm)
  • Put washcloth on your face & let the steam clean out your pores
  • Leave washcloth on until it has cooled (about  minute)
  • Remove and rinse washcloth
  • Use washcloth to wipe remaining oil from your face

Since I have dry skin, I also read that almond oil is a good substitute for the olive oil (I have not tried this.)

I have been using this method for a few months now and really like how may face feels. The one thing I don’t like about it is letting the water run to get it warm enough. We are short on water here in South Texas and I am very conscious of our water usage. We use a bucket in the shower to collect the water as it warms. We use a bucket in the kitchen sink as well. All this extra collected water makes a big difference, especially with the water restrictions we had this past summer. I have been doing the OCM in the evening before bed. With water collection in mind I have been washing my face in the kitchen. I can have the big bucket there to collect the water as I wait for it to get warm enough. Another way to give this a try is to massage the oil into your face before you get in the shower. Even if you aren’t collecting your water like I am, I have been very pleased with the results of the OCM.

When summer returns and things start to heat up around here, my bottle of mixed oils will get put on the shelf ready to use again when the days turn colder and more dry. I am all set with another new face wash when the days turn longer and the air becomes hot. I will share that face wash with you when we get closer to that time.

Is the OCM something you might try or do you have a recipe for a face wash that you already use?

Sincerely, Emily

I am working on my “list” this year. All I can say is “It’s About Time” there are so many things I keep putting off or never seem to get around to. It is going to be a fun year. You can read about another item I checked off my list here.

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19 Responses to The Oil-Cleaning Method (OCM): It’s About Time

  1. karenish says:

    I don’t, but I’m intrigued. It sounds a lot like the face butter I bought at LUSH last summer. So luxurious. Sadly, my rosacea doesn’t like any oil at all, so I had to give it up.

    • Karenish – The face butter you bought sounds wonderful.

    • Roselynn Paredes says:

      Hi! I just founded this recipe and I was about to try it when I see your reply. I have rosacea too, did you found anything better to clean your face with? Thank you!

      • Hi Roselynn. I am a bit confused by your comment. I am very pleased with the OCM method that I posted about and it works really well. In the winter I use OCM and in the summer I use the soap that I make. You asked if I “found anything better to clean my face with?” – I am not looking for any better way – this works for me. I do not have roseacea, so I have nothing to add. Good luck.

  2. J. Searcy says:

    How cool! I tend to have oily skin on my face, but this sounds like something I’d like to try on my hands which have been abused over the years by cooking, cleaning and dishes! I am also trying to replace (slowly) some of the commercial products in our home with all natural ones….thanks for the great ideas!

    • Hi Jessica – I do like how it is working. We have such a fluctuation in the temps here. 74F one day, freeze at night, next day 40F. There are days I feel oily because we are having such a hot day, but I do like how my face isn’t dry and cracking. Also, I am using more coconut oil as “lotion.” It has such great health benefits as well as moisturizing too. I have made one lotion that is nice but I have a list of others to still try.

  3. Jen Tho says:

    I have been using the OCM for about a year now, and I LOVE it! My husband and I prefer grapeseed oil instead of EVOO as it feels lighter on the skin. My husband has dry, flaky skin, and my skin is oily, and it works beautifully for both of us.

    I’m interested in the soap you’ve made. I’m a new reader, so I will dig through the past entries and find more on it, but if you havent already posted some soap-making instructions, that would be a great future post.

    • Hi Jen Tho – thanks for stopping by! Do you just use grapeseed oil by itself or are you still mixing it with some castor oil? On our warmer days I do feel more oily. I will mix up a bit with the grapeseed oil and give that a try. I have not posted a tutorial on soap making. There is so much information out there on the internet. I will be showing a friend how to make soap in Feb and I will be sure to take a ton of photos. I know I will post something about our day of soap making and other things, but it will be towards then end of Feb.

      • Jen Tho says:

        I use the “standard” OCM recipe, castor oil, a carrier oil (which is where I use the grapeseed oil instead of EVOO) and essential oils (I prefer tea tree – smells nice and has the antiseptic benefits for seriously acne-prone skin like mine). We tried EVOO at first, and hated how thick and heavy it was. It was like I could never get any of it off of my skin when rinsing and wiping, and I just felt gross in general. We’ve tried small batches of other carrier oils (coconut, almond, etc.) but either they were too thick or we didn’t like the smell. Grapeseed so far is the winner.

      • Jen thank you thank you!

  4. dee d says:

    I definitely like this recipe. for older people, this sounds healthy.

  5. zonnah says:

    I am going to try this, my skin has been sooo dry this winter.

    • Hi Zonnah, I really like this when it is dry and cold here. It is too heavy and oily with our hotter weather (even in the winter) so I will mix up some with grapeseed oil (like one of the other commenters mentioned)

  6. Pingback: It’s about time… « Not Dabbling In Normal

  7. Margo says:

    interesting. Never heard of this. My mother in law just gave me a bottle of almond oil, so I may be trying this.

    Why don’t you warm up the water in the stove or microwave instead of having the hot-water heater do it? We don’t have water shortages here, but I am always teaching my children not to let the water run needlessly.

    • Hi Margo – thanks for stopping by. I am amazed how well it works in the cold dry weather. I need to mix up a different blend (with grapeseed oil) for the warmer and hotter temps and give that a try. Part of my says heating the water on the stove is a great idea. The other part of me (conserve electric) tells me to just collect the water in a bucket and water a plant outside.

  8. Ashley says:

    I’ve been doing this for about two months and I love it! I use my oil mix (25% Castor, grapeseed oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. My next batch won’t have tea tree though) every night and follow it with Monoi tiare every other night. Monoi tiare is coconut oil infused with Tahitian gardenia (because I can’t stand the smell of coconut oil but love the smell of tahitian gardenia).

    • HI Ashley, Thanks for stopping by. It sounds like your process is working great for you. Through the summer I have been using my homemade soap to wash and using coconut oil at night. I’m not real big on smelling like coconut oil, so I used the expeller pressed oil (it has no scent, but still has the benefits of the coconut oil.) Now that winter has kicked in here I am back to the OCM and so happy with it and how well it moisturizes.

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