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The Oil Method of Skin Care

Updated on November 25, 2013

Benefits of The Oil Method

Because The Oil Method is non-drying and natural, it has several additional benefits:

  • Prevents the skin from overreacting and producing excess oils
  • Often no additional moisturizers are necessary
  • Can prevent premature aging
  • Non-toxic
  • Prevents and eliminates acne
  • Leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth, and clean

Behind the Oil Method

The idea of rubbing oil into your skin to clean it might seem not only counterintuitive, but wrong. As someone who suffered from moderate-to-severe acne most of her life, I get it. Your goal is to get the oil out, not put more in, right?

The thing is, at its core, the oil method relies on some basic chemistry I learned in grade 11 and then forgot: you need oil to remove oil. Where oil molecules repel water, they grab onto each other. That's why the first soaps were made from fat, and why most soaps still have an oil base. If you want to get that oil and grime off your skin, a nice, clean oil is the way to do it.

The Oil Method is like giving yourself a facial at home.
The Oil Method is like giving yourself a facial at home. | Source

The Basic Method

Here's the basic step-by-step (I'll explain things in more detail later):

  1. Rub your oil mixture (castor oil and carrier - more on that later) into your skin. Really massage it in well, all over your face. Don't worry if it gets on the skin around your eyes or your lips. It's safe and beneficial!
  2. Let it sit for a minute or so, massaging even more if you like.
  3. Relax and enjoy your face massage!
  4. Get a clean washcloth and soak it in hot water (not scalding - you have to put it on your face). Wring out the excess.
  5. To steam the oil off, simply lay the hot cloth over your face. Let it sit until the cloth cools naturally.
  6. Do this one or two more times.
  7. If you feel the need, splash your face off. Don't scrub.
  8. Pat dry gently.

And that's it! If your skin feels a bit dry, you can rub a very small amount of the oil into your face. Don't be surprised if you don't need it though.


Choosing Your Oils

The primary oil used is castor oil. Castor oil is known to draw out impurities. The other oil you use is the "carrier" oil. You can choose a variety of oils for your carrier oil depending on your skin's needs. The table below indicates the benefits of different oils.

Oil Type
Recommended For
Sweet Almond Oil
Softens, smooths, and conditions skin. Said to be the closest to skin's natural oils.
All skin types.
Grapeseed Oil
Absorbs easily and won't cause allergic reactions for very sensitive skin.
Sensitive skin.
Avocado Oil
Contains essential fatty acids and vitamins.
Psoriasis, eczema
Hazelnut Oil
Oily skin. (May also be used instead of castor oil.)
Borage Seed Oil
Reduces inflammation and calms skin.
Eczema, acne, rosacea.
Hemp Seed Oil
Antioxidant and rich in proteins and minerals.
Eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, and acne.

Ratios of Castor Oil to Carrier Oil

The ratio of castor oil to carrier oil depends on your skin's needs. Here are some suggestions, but if you find your skin feels too dry or a little oily after you're done, tweak away!

Standard Ratios:

Oily Skin - 1:3 Ratio (1 part castor oil, 3 parts conditioning oil)

Combination Skin - 1:4 (1 part castor oil, 4 parts conditioning oil)

Dry Skin - 1:10 (1 part castor oil, 10 parts conditioning oil)

You can also mix-and-match types of oil for their benefits. For example, you can try 1 part castor oil, 1 part sweet almond oil, and 2 parts avocado oil.


Adding Essential Oils

Adding essential oils to your oil mixture can be a great way to add benefits, as well as scent the oil and give you even more of that spa-feeling. Here are some essential oils you can choose from:

  • Lavender: soothing and relaxing
  • Geranium: good for oily, acne-prone skin
  • Tea Tree: antiseptic, good for oily, acne-prone skin (can be drying)
  • Neroli: stimulates the production of new cells
  • Grapefruit: stimulates collagen production
  • Rosemary: hydrating

How Often to Use the Oil Method

The Oil Method is not recommended for your daily skincare routine. It is a very deep clean, and can be too much done every day. If you have problem skin that you are trying to correct, you can use it every day for up to a week. Then it is recommended 1-3 times a week, depending on your skin's needs.

I didn't believe that rubbing oil on my skin could make it anything but worse for the longest time, until finally, sick of all the failed treatments for my acne, I tried The Oil Method. I was amazed! First, at how soft and smooth my skin felt immediately after my first treatment, and second, at how quickly my acne cleared up. Now it is a regular part of my skincare routine.


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