The Oil Cleansing Method, or OCM in common parlance is an ancient method of cleansing, using oil to lift dirt and grime from the skin. Essentially, it is based on the theory that like attracts like.
The beauty of OCM is that it removes everything from sunscreen to waterproof makeup, leaving skin silky soft and moisturised. It also reduces the appearance of open pores, softens fine lines, and cuts down on the need for a host of other products, including night creams, serums, eye-makeup-remover and for some, daily moisturisers.
The idea is that OCM works because it does not strip the skin of its natural oils, like harsh chemicals do, therefore it is believed to cut down on the overproduction of sebum that can cause clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, spots, acne, cystic acne (when the trapped bacteria have a wild orgy and multiply beneath the skin) and even help with rosacea.
Okay, you want to jump on the OCM bandwagon, its easy, but please be prepared for some trial and error.
Broadly speaking Castor Oil is commonly used, although there are those that are fundamentally opposed to the use of ricin because it is a toxin, even though all undesirable traces are removed during processing Castor Oil still gets bad press. The decision is personal, but bear in mind that it is a drying oil and must be diluted, as such Castor Oil works well on oily skin types.
For Oily Skin use 30% Castor Oil to 70% blend of Argan, Apricot Kernel Oil, Borage, Calendula, Camphor, Emu, Hemp Seed Oil, Jojoba, Neem, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn, Safflower (Thistle) Oil, Tamanu, Watermelon Seed Oil, small drop of Vitamin E Oil.
For Normal Skin use 20% Castor Oil to 80% blend Argan, Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Hazelnut, Jojoba, Sunflower (cold-pressed not from the food isle) small drop of Vitamin E Oil.
For Dry Skin use 10% Castor Oil to 90% blend Avocado Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Jojoba, Peach Kernel Oil, Rosehip, Sesame Oil, Sunflower (cold-pressed not from the food isle), Vitamin E Oil.
Castor Oil can be replaced by Cherry Kernel Oil, Rice Bran Oil, and Sunflower Oil only for drier skin types, Coconut Oil is not recommended for those with oily acne-prone skins because it is currently rated at 4 on the Comedogenic Scale; meaning it is highly likely to cause comedones (spots).
Essential Oils can be added to your own blend of oil, but only in very tiny amounts. Do not put undiluted Essential Oils onto your skin. Use at two percent; 2ml Essential Oil into 98ml of carrier oil.
Truth to tell, there’s more than one way, its pretty much down to personal preference. There is no right or wrong, but there are some do’s and don’t’s. (I’ll hold your hand; you’ll be grand).
1. Hot Face Flannel
Put a small dollop (up to 1/4 ml) of cleansing oil into the palm of your hand, rub together and massage into your face for up to three minutes.
There’s some discrepancy whether or not this should be done on damp skin, so lets leave it to you.
Soak a clean face flannel in steamy hot water, either from the tap or kettle, let it soak for a few minutes, squeeze out the face flannel as far as possible, take care not to burn your hands or face.
Place the hot washcloth flat on your face until it has cooled, repeat this process working your way up and down, until you have covered all of your face twice. Do not scrub, wipe only.
Also, if there’s some steam in the bathroom this may help to ease dirt from the pores, not that you’re dirty or anything. God forbid!
Some bloggers recommend a double cover for the face flannel, using a small clean hand towel. Again, your call, whatever works for you.
Keep the face flannels spotlessly clean, boil wash after each use in either a washing machine or sauce pan; avoid using a fabric conditioner. Soap nuts although natural, turn the water brown (mine did). Cleanliness is preferable to whiteness, in my books anyway.
The fabric of the face flannel/washcloth is again one of preference, availability versus budget, bamboo is really popular but cotton is good also.
Another feature of the Oil Cleansing Method, is breakouts.
Please be warned; if you have not already encountered pictures of bloggers covered in acne and pimples due to experimentation with the OCM, they are numerous. Although Coconut Oil seems to be one of the main culprits, the oil cleansing method can trigger acne in anybody, young or old.
Face masks can help dry out pimples, anything from Zinc Oxide (non-nanoparticles) white or green clay, bound together with Sea Buckthorn Oil, Deep Sea Mud, Royal Jelly, Raw Honey, Oats, Rosemary to raw eggs may help. Professionals maintain that harsh scrubs make matters worse.
Research the properties of the oils used in OCM before embarking on a new routine. Consider introducing your new routine very slowly, it is also advisable not to cleanse with oils twice a day, every day.
2. The Double Cleanse | OCM with Water
This method seems to be more popular in Asia where the OCM has been popular for a very long time.
In the East, Rice Bran Oil is favoured over Castor Oil. Put a few drops of oil into the palm of your hand, mix with a few drops of water, rubbed together it will emulsify, message into face for a minute or so and then remove by splashing water over the face. This is followed by a cleansing lotion or cream and known as the double cleanse.
As above, put some oil into the palm of your hand, rub together and massage into your face for up to three minutes.
Put the cotton wool ball or pad into hot water and massage off the oil using small circular movements.
For the purposes of hygiene, you could use a fresh pad or ball for each area of the face; e.g. chin, each cheek, nose and forehead.
For those with the desire to be fastidious, keep cleaning until the cotton wool remains white.
The cotton wool ball or pad works like a scouring pad, lifting dirt and dead skin cells with out resorting to a scrub. Great to clean our lines and wrinkles.
Using up to one quarter of a millilitre of oil in the palm of your hand, rub together to warm and then massage upwards into face and eyelashes for three minutes, give your face a bit of a work out whilst massaging the oil.
Dampen a clean cotton wool pad and remove eye makeup, including waterproof mascara. In the interest of hygiene, use a clean pad to remove all traces of foundation et cetera. Once you have removed the heavy duty muck, pat face dry with a tissue and reapply more oil, massage again for up to three minutes, then move on to the hot face flannel treatment as above. Make sure to remove all the excess oil, if there’s too much residual oil left this may result in blocked pores.
Tone skin afterwards by splashing very cold water, followed by either Lavender Hydrosol or Witch Hazel (on a damp cotton wool ball).
Leave skin to breath while you sleep, night cream shouldn’t be necessary.
Eye cream should be used every morning and evening of every week.
5. The OCM Shower
The Oil Cleansing Method generally seems to be done in the evenings, to take off makeup or just cleanse at the end of the day, but some people oil-up first thing then jump into the shower, then they rinse off the oil as suggested above with a hot face flannel.
The thing with OCM is that there are those that say once you get your skin really clean, you will only need to oil cleanse twice or three times a week, but this does not take into account that most of us wear makeup everyday!
All information and recipes provided herein are not designed to replace the advice of a fully qualified medical professional. Always research thoroughly, including talking with your GP and pharmacist before experimenting with make-it-yourself cosmetics and fragrances. Cosmetic ingredients can be hazardous and cause burning, scarring, blindness and irreparable damage including acne that can be nearly impossible to get rid of. Experiment at your own risk and ensure that you adhere to all safety guidelines; plastic gloves, safety googles, apron and proper footwear, never open toe sandals to list but a few of the safety precautions required.