Troubleshooting the Oil Cleansing Method


The Oil Cleansing Method TroubleshootingA few months ago I wrote a post about the oil cleansing method. I 100% stand by the effectiveness of this skin care ritual. As I stated (and showed before & afters) in my original oil cleansing post, it has been an integral part of clearing and smoothing my skin. 

Since writing my post on oil cleansing, I realized there are a lot of “iffy” habits that you can accidentally get into with this cleansing method. 

What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

Before we get into the trouble shooting, let me refresh your memory on exactly what oil cleansing is. It is exactly what the name implies. You are cleansing your skin and removing makeup with a combination of a nourishing oil and a cleansing oil. You massage the oil into your skin for about a minute and then use a hot washcloth to remove the oil. Repeat the hot wash cloth 1 or 2 more times then follow up with a serum or face oil. Like dissolves like and cleansing with oil is known for balancing the skin’s oil production and detoxing the pores. It is also great for dry skin because unlike soap based cleansers, it does not strip the skin of much needed oils. 

Benefits of the Oil Cleansing Method:

  • Balances the skin’s oil production
  • Reduce blackheads & whiteheads
  • Maintains healthy bacteria balance on the skin
  • Removes hardened impurities in the pores
  • Added exfoliation due to wet heat and a washcloth
  • Moisturizes and nourishes while helping erase fine lines
  • Leaves skin feeling healthy, not tight and sore
  • Removes make up and dirt thoroughly and gently
  • Nourishes the eyelashes
  • Invigorates and relaxes

The oil cleansing method must be done right in order to be effective or you can also cause more skin issues. 

As you can see, there are so many benefits of oil cleansing and it very likely could be the answer to your skin care issues, but there are many pitfalls that could ruin your experience so let’s jump right in and make sure we’re oil cleansing correctly!

Troubleshooting Oil Cleansing

  1. Washcloths can be incredibly irritating for skin.  I recommend using baby washcloths if you have any thought that you might be sensitive.  I have used THESE.  Your washcloth might feel really soft now, but over time excessive use and washing will stiffen and degrade the fibers and could cause tiny cuts in the skin.  This is a really bad thing when you are trying to remove bacteria from your skin. 
  2. Find a place you can hang your cloth properly.  The bottom line-a wet cloth will quickly form bacteria.  Best case scenario-buy enough cloths so you can use a clean one daily.
  3. Temperature is important-If you get your cloth too hot, you can exacerbate the appearance of broken capillaries and other skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and dermatitis.  Hot water will also dry your skin out, causing your skin to produce more oil!  That being said, steaming your skin is very beneficial when done correctly-it softens the skin and allows for easy exfoliation.  I like to get my cloth really hot, then hold it right under my face.  The cloth doesn’t touch my face until it has cooled to a lukewarm temp.
  4. If you are oily, washing off excess oil with a water based cleanser is a safe way to ensure no breakouts.  There is controversy around leaving oil on the skin when you are prone to clogging.  “Like dissolves like” is true, but honestly, it’s just too iffy when your skin is prone to clogging.
  5. Hemp oil is a great cleansing oil and can be used instead of castor oil. It rates a 0 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it will not clog your pores. Castor oil rates a 1 which is still very low but if you’re nervous about using oils due to clogging-hemp is the best choice. Safflower, squalane and sunflower oils also rate a 0 and could be used as your nourishing oil. 
  6. Get your proportions right!  This can be tricky and you have to be ready for some trial and error.  Basically, the more oily you are, the more cleansing oil you’ll need.  Since I am not oily, I put 1 tbsp. of castor oil in an 8 ounce bottle, then filled the rest with a nourishing oil.  If you are oily, you could very likely be using half cleansing oil and half nourishing oil.  It all depends on your skin type and how your skin responds.
  7. Add in essential oils-bacteria is an issue for acne prone skin.  Adding 10 drops to an 8 ounce oil/castor oil mixture is a great idea.  I would add tea tree, lavender and/or ylang ylang oils.  This will help fight bacteria and fungus as well as balance the skin. You might be interested in my Oil Cleanser Recipe for Oily Skin.

As you can see-there are a lot of opportunities for failure with this cleansing method.  It must be done correctly to reap the benefits and not have negative side effects.

Before oil cleansing, I was extremely unbalanced, meaning: I was very dry yet very sensitive to allergy bumps and blackheads-it was complicated!  Anyway, I love oil cleansing because it soothes my dry skin.  I do not experience dry patches anymore and after the initial detox period, my skin is happy and smooth again.

When done right, the oil cleansing method is a very valid form of cleansing in my book. For many, many people, it works very well.

If you need more opinions on this method, I have compiled a list of posts from fellow bloggers and health blogs about the oil cleansing method.  These are from blogs I trust.

  • Mommypotamus
  • more from mommypotamus
  • Wellness Mama
  • Crunchy Betty
  • Healthline

I think the biggest issue people run into with the oil cleansing method is a dirty washcloth. Be sure to invest in at least 5 cloths and be willing to toss them out after a couple months of use. The last thing you want to do is use a cloth that is filled with bacteria. 

I hope this post might answer some of your questions and apprehensions about the oil cleansing method.  The bottom line is, everyone’s skin is different.  This method is not for everyone.   When you find something your skin responds positively to, you should stick with it!

xx, Jenni

P.S.   If you are experiencing a “detox” period that lasts longer than 2-3 weeks, it is either time to give up this method or change the oils and proportions you’re using. 

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