The Oil Cleansing Method 101

The Oil Cleansing Method 101

Cleansing your skin with oil might seem counterintuitive. After all, clean skin is oil-free, right?  It’s not that simple. Traditional soaps can be harsh and over-dry the skin, while cleansing oils provide a gentle, nourishing alternative. 

The truth is your skin needs oil. In fact, it’s essential! Recent research is showing that sebum (your skin’s natural oil) locks in hydration, balances the skin’s pH, has anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties, and protects from the sun. Pretty great, huh? Cleansing with oils instead of soap can help protect the natural lipid layer of your skin so that it can still give you all of its natural functional benefits.

Luckily oil cleansing has made its way into mainstream society. Oil cleansing has a ton of benefits and we are here to tell you what the hype is all about!

How Does the Oil Cleansing Method Work?

You’ve read “oil dissolves oil” or “like dissolves like”, but what does that really mean? Without getting into too much science, like substances attract other like substances. Your skin creates sebum, which is your own natural oil. Makeup, sunscreen, dirt and grime all contain some amount of oil in them, making them great additions to this theory. When you cleanse with oil, the oil cleanser will bind to these substances so that you can easily and effectively wash them away.

There is one caveat. If you are new to oil cleansing, you might break out. Don’t worry, this is totally normal and actually a good thing! This means your skin is detoxing and finally loosening and releasing all of that pesky dirt and impurities. The detox period can last anywhere from a few days up to two weeks. If you keep up with it, your skin will reach its equilibrium and leave you radiant, nourished and clean.

Why Cleanse with Oil?

The oil cleansing method works on all skin types! That’s right, even oily skin. Cleansing oil lifts excess sebum on the skin, including oil that has hardened and clogged pores. If you have oily skin, oil cleansing can help balance your oil production and breakouts. 

Here’s the 4-11 on the benefits of cleansing with oil:

  • Lifts excess sebum
  • Cleans out clogged pores
  • Removes pollution, sunscreen, dead skin and makeup (even waterproof!)
  • Leaves your skin nourished, not stripped
  • Protects the natural lipid layer of the skin
  • Helps balance the skins oil production

An ideal ingredient to look for in cleansing oils is castor oil. (It’s one of the main ingredients in Olive + M’s Cleansing Oil!) Castor oil helps to detoxify and cleanse the skin by lifting bad oils, which clog pores, to the surface of your skin; the castor oil then replaces these bad oils with good oils. Castor oil also contains ricinoleic acid, which acts as a disinfectant/antimicrobial to kill acne-causing bacteria. The fatty acids found in castor oil promote collagen and elastin production, which creates smoother, younger-looking skin. Castor oil has potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it a key player in cleansing skin. 

Because castor oil has pulling properties, it can be used to spot treat blemishes to bring them to the surface and reduce inflammation. It’s an exceptional natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide! 

How Do I Cleanse with Oil?

Oil Cleansing Method 

Follow these 5 simple steps for a basic oil cleansing!

  1. For the best results, put a warm washcloth on your face to allow your pores to open.
  2. Take a tiny amount in the palm of your hand and massage it into your skin. Pro tip: Leave the eye makeup for last!
  3. Let the product sit on your skin for a minute or two to seep into your skin.
  4. Take a warm, damp washcloth and lightly remove the oil from your face.
  5. Gently pat your skin dry with a clean washcloth or let air dry. 

The Double Cleanse Method

Japan and Korea are the Mothers of double cleansing, dating back to the 14th century! Double cleansing involves using a cleansing oil, balm or micellar water to break down all the yuck on the surface of your skin first, then following with a water-based cleanser for a deeper clean. Double cleansing in the evening, is especially beneficial to dislodge and remove any heavy makeup or pollution that might be stuck to your skin throughout the day. Double cleansing ensures that the first layer of sebum, makeup, dirt and pollution is cleansed in addition to the second layer of pore bacteria.  

The goal for double cleansing is to get all of the benefits from an oil cleanse, but not to have to worry about any extra oil product being left behind. However, it is important to pick a gentle cleanser to incorporate into your routine. Otherwise, the cleanser might strip your skin of too much oil and nutrients. Follow these steps to use the double cleanse method. 


  1. Follow the first three steps above for the oil cleanse.
  2. Wash with a mild face wash that won’t strip your skin after all that work you’ve just done with the oil cleanse.
  3. Pat dry with a towel and apply face oil if needed.

For double cleansing, we love this Blue Lotus 4 in 1 Cleansing Milk from vegan skincare brand Purlisse. This cleanser is gentle and pairs well with cleansing oil!

Oil cleansing is a great way to cleanse pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively. Plus, most cleansing oils are packed with oils that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, omegas and amino acids, adding an extra level of care and nourishment. Oh la la! Remember, double cleansing isn’t a necessity, but heavy makeup users or people with oily or acne-prone skin might benefit from trying out this deep cleansing technique. Why not, right? 

Do you still have questions about the oil cleansing method? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Shoot us an email and Olive + M would be happy to assist you on your oil cleansing journey. 

Be kind to yourself today, 


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