Homemade Facewash — The Oil Cleansing Method

posted by Andrea | 02/23/2011

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to try homemade cleaning and beauty products.

I started small, by replacing a few of my cleaning products with vinegar {I’ll talk more about this later}. Then I started using vinegar and safety pins as an alternative to fabric softener.

However, the one homemade product I’m most excited about is my homemade face wash.

The Oil Cleansing Method

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Yup, we’re washing our face with oil — which I know sounds absolutely ridiculous. But believe it or not, my skin has never looked better!

I did a bit of research and found that traditional cleansers strip skin of its natural oils, leaving it tight and dry {which is why I had to slather lotion on my face at least 4 times a day}.

However, the oil cleansing method uses castor oil to cleanse the skin, and sunflower oil or olive oil to moisturize the skin; resulting in soft, glowing skin without the need for extra lotions or products. {I’m not a dermatologist, but if you’re interested, you can read all about the Oil Cleansing Method here.}

Don’t worry, it’s REALLY simple to make, and practically free!


1. Caster Oil — found in the laxative section of your grocery store

2. Sunflower Oil or Olive Oil — we’re using sunflower oil

3. A small plastic bottle with a tight-sealing cap — I found mine in the travel-size section for 89 cents

4. A soft washcloth

Making the Oil Cleansing Face Wash

Mix the two oils in a small, flip-top plastic bottle according to your skin type.

NORMAL SKIN: Mix one-part castor oil with one-part sunflower oil.

OILY SKIN: Mix two or three-parts castor oil with one-part sunflower oil.

DRY SKIN: Mix one-part castor oil with two or three-parts sunflower oil.

Using the Oil Cleansing Method

  • Pour a quarter-size amount of the oil mixture into your hand
  • Gently massage the oil into your skin for about one minute
  • Run a clean washcloth under very warm water
  • Lay washcloth over your face and let it sit for another minute — this is key to “steaming” the impurities out of your pores
  • Rinse the washcloth and gently rub the remaining oil, dirt, make-up, and residue off your face
  • Repeat rinsing if necessary
  • Enjoy really smooth and moisturized skin without the need for lotion!

Why I LOVE the Oil Cleansing Method

1. It’s really inexpensive. If you already have sunflower oil or olive oil in the house, your total expense will probably be less than $3.00. And you’ll be able to make enough face wash to last you for many months!

2. It removes makeup. The oils naturally remove makeup, so you won’t need to buy pricey makeup removers anymore.

3. It’s SO moisturizing. Dave and I have been using this method for almost a month now and have only used face lotion a few times {compare to multiple times every day}.

4. I feel like I’m at the spa. When I have the hot washcloth on my face, steaming my pore, it feels like a mini facial.

5. I only have to wash my face once per day. I use the oil cleansing method at night when I’m in the shower. Then in the morning, I simply splash warm water on my face.

6. It’s all-natural. Even though I’m still not a hard-core “green” gal, I do think it’s important to reduce the number of chemicals we put into our bodies and on our skin. So I love that I’m using a product that are safe to eat!

7. It makes my skin feel so soft. Like I said earlier, my skin has never looked better — and this is reason enough for me!!

Additional Resources

  • Here’s a video tutorial from Keeper of the Home

Filed under: LifeCleaningGoing Green

Leave a comment


  1. Arden


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  2. Kate


    I tried this with Castor Oil and Wheat Germ Oil and it’s truly a great way to wash your face. Never drying and keeps my face looking fresh all day. Just be careful with wheat germ…if you have a sensitivity to gluten you may not want to use this oil.


  3. Myta



    I tried OCM tonight! 1/4 castor oil and 3/4 olive oil (I don’t have sunflower seed oil ATM). Honestly I don’t feel anything. But I did notice that the blackheads on my nose are gone. Should I use a different oil other than olive oil? I have jojoba. Will that work?


    Andrea Reply:

    jojoba should work — and also, this is not an “instant miracle serum”! You’ll definitely want to try it for several weeks before you come to any conclusions as to if it works for you or not. In some cases, your skin might actually get a bit “worse” for a few days before it gets better.


  4. Mari


    Do I need to rinse or wash my face with a facial cleanser after the OCM? thanks,


    Andrea Reply:



  5. Julia


    I have tried using this Oil Cleansing Face Wash off-and-on over several weeks. I like the way most of my face feels when I use it, but I experience a problem. Every time I use it my lips and the area right around them become extremely chapped for several days. I have tried to avoid using it on the mouth and upper lip area, but it only lessens the chapping a little bit. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this issue? Any helpful tips? I really love using simple, homemade products instead of the pricey, questionable ones.


    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm… this is super weird. I’ve never heard of anyone’s skin (or lips) getting dry and chapped because of the oil. If anything, it would be the opposite — the skin would feel too oily. I wonder if you’re using too much Castor Oil — that’s the only thing I can even think of. Try 50/50 castor oil and other oil and see if that’s better… or even 40/60 castor oil and other oil.
    Other than that, I don’t know what to suggest — I’m certainly not an expert in this type of thing 🙂


  6. ytc


    cn i use baking soda nd lemon before ocm for fading acne scars???


  7. amanda


    when you rub the remaining oil,dirt and makeup of your face, you use the wash cloth right? Sorry for another question I just wanted to make sure.


  8. My Favorite Things: October 2015


    […] was so tired of paying for expensive face washes and waterproof mascara removers. I read a post by Andrea Dekker about the oil cleansing method years ago and it’s been sitting in the back of my mind every […]

  9. Amanda


    do you wet your face before applying the oil?


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, get your face wet, apply the oil, cover with hot cloth


  10. Michelle


    I have started using the OCM method with castor oil and jojoba. I’m still playing with ratios due to drying out my skin. Is there a more moisturizing oil than jojoba I can put on after cleansing at night?


    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve never used Jojoba oil so I can’t really say. Maybe coconut oil — I’ve never used that either but I know of people who use it as a moisturizer.


    Michelle Reply:

    Thanks but i have found Coconut oil is a 4 on the comnogenic rating as a potential clogger. I’ve unfortunately tried that and cystic acne became my result. I was just wondering about the sunflower oil if that is more moisturising. I have the combination skin type with oily t-zone but have noticed less oil production with going to the OCM.


    Andrea Reply:

    hmmm… I’m not sure. However, I just posted your question on my facebook page. You can follow along with any answers via this link. Hope that helps!


    rene Reply:

    Use fractionated coconut oil. It is always liquid form and is better for acne prone skin that regular coconut oil.


    Mrsj Reply:

    Argan oil or avocado oil are great for dry and or aging skin.


  11. Annunciata


    Hello thanks for explaining all this. I have been using a larger amount of castor oil and lately grapeseed oil along with small amounts jojoba oil & vitamin E oil. Now I am seeing Sunflower oil and will be trying that; do feel dry could be the larger amount of castor oil. Have also been using apple cider vinegar with distilled water toner which has been effective. Have you ever used that? thanks so very much – nancy


  12. Natalie


    Can you put essential oils in the mix?


    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure — I don’t do anything with essential oils


  13. Sharon Propp


    I have used this combo for years except for the amount of castor oil in this formula is much higher than I use. If you have very dry skin, you don’t want to use as much castor oil as it dries the skin out. I have normal skin so I use a ratio of 20% castor oil and 80% sunflower oil. for oily skin you can try 30% castor oil and 70% sunflower and for dry skin 10% castor oil and 90% sunflower oil. I used to make this for my grand-daughters also that had horrible acne problems and it would immediately start clearing their complexions. They are young adults now with beautiful skin. I haven’t used soap on my face for about ten years now.


  14. Annunciata


    hello – which type of container do you recommend? I have washed out several of mine which are plastic but am thinking it might just be better to buy new ones – is glass better though? Do you recommend any certain manufacturer and where do you store it once it is made. Is there an ideal temperature? Not now of course(!) but summers in Baltimore can be humid. Thanks so very very much for your help!


    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve used the same container for the past 4+ years. It’s plastic and “squeezable” — which is really nice to squeeze it all out. I probably wouldn’t go with glass — just because you can’t squeeze it, but that’s just me 🙂


  15. Irise


    Ive been using the Somaluxe Face Wash (with organic ingredients) everyday. Works amazing, makes skin clear after the first use. It smells so fresh and makes your skin feel like it just left the spa. The ingredients are not harsh nor do they test on animals. Which is a big plus. It keeps pores perfect and makes my skin even.


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  17. Ariane Clay


    Hi, I’ve been trying the OCM since the beginning of the year and haven’t had much luck. I had previously used Proactiv, which had been working, but was starting to loose effect. I came across the OCM and it sounded really logical so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve really wanted this to work, which is why I’ve kept with it, but my acne’s gotten worse and I now have lots of comedones and just more acne in general :(. I’ve recently removed the castor oil from my mix because it’s apparently slightly comedomic. Any advice? 🙁


    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Airane, I’m not a dermatologist so I don’t have any professional advice — but for oily or acne-prone skin, you actually want to INCREASE the amount of castor oil you use (not remove it).

    The castor oil is what pulls the impurities from your skin and then the sunflower oil is what prevents the castor oil from over-drying your skin. So again, I don’t have a professional opinion, but if it were me, I’d add extra castor oil and give that a try. Also, make sure your washcloths are very clean and limit the amount of facial moisturizer you use after washing your face.


  18. Some Thoughts on DIY and Natural Beauty | Sorting Buttons


    […] is AndreaDekker.com. As I was reading back through the archives of her blog, I found a post where she described a homemade face wash made from oil (yes, oil). It was in fact what I now know as the widespread phenomenon of the oil […]

  19. victoria


    I was a little unsure of how much to use for the mix for oily skin


    Sharon Reply:

    The recipe I use calls for 30% castor oil and 70% sunflower oil for oily skin. This differs somewhat from the above recipe but castor oil can be very drying on the skin. Choose one then adjust your amounts if needed. The oilier the skin, the more castor oil.


  20. Ann



    You mentioned using this @ night in the shower. Would you mind elaborating on how? Do you put it on before or after? Thinking about starting this & trying to figure out how it works. Thanks!


    Sharon Reply:

    You would need to put this on before the shower and use the wet and very warm washcloth to cover your face to help pull the impurities out of the skin, do this several times to remove the oil. Nothing left to do to the face in the shower.


  21. Yvette


    I have the most oily skin known to man kind. About a month ago I started using the oily skin recipe. My skin has NEVER been in better shape! I will never stop using oil as my face cleanser.


  22. Lisa


    I appreciated your sharing the oil cleanser. I have been using it now for several weeks and it works great for me. I have struggled with oily skin and acne for years. This is the first thing that has ever worked. My skin feels very soft and no longer hurts. My husband has definitely noticed the difference as well.

    Thanks again for sharing that information.


  23. Megan


    Please delete my first comment as I haved edited and added a few things, Thanks.

    I have been using this for awhile now and love it. I actually mixed 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil to 2 tablespoons of castor oil in a 4oz blue glass bottle with glass eye dropper. I found the eye dropper made it very easy to get the right amount of oil without getting oil over everything. I decided not to add tea tree oil in my mixture after doing research and I had been using an organic soap made of goat milk with orange citrus and tea tree in it which caused my skin to become extremely dry with patchy spots on my face. However, with that said I have noticed a huge change with my skin. At first, I did break out some on my checks, but this is nothing I have not experienced my entire life. I also do wear makeup everyday to work. How I took care of the breaks was I would wash my face with the oil mixture, dry my face well, and then dap some of the oil on the spots. The next night I would watch my face with the oil mixture, dry it, and put lavender oil on the spots. I noticed that the lavender oil helped to dry up the spots and to heal, however be careful to keep it way from your eyes and don’t over use it, as it is really drying to the face. I would only use the lavender oil on the spots once a week, maybe twice if needed but no more. If something doesn’t work try messing with your ratio and give it time. Overall, I am very excited that I found out about this way of cleaning my face and can’t wait to try it with almond oil or grapeseed oil.


  24. Megan


    I have been using this for awhile now and love it. I actually mixed 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil to 2 tablespoons of cator oil in a 4oz blue glass bottle with glass eye dropper. I found the eye dropper made it very easy to get the right amount of oil without getting oil over everything. I decided not to add tea tree oil in my mixture after duing research and I had been using an orgain soap made of goat milk with orange citrus and tea tree in it which caused my skin to become very dry in patchy spots on my face. However, with that said I have noticed a huge change with my skin. At first, I did break out some on my checks, but this is nothing I have not expericend my entire life. I also do wear make up everyday to work. The few break outs on my face I would use the oil mixture to wash my face. Then after I dried it well I would dap some of the oil on the spots. Then the next night I would watch my face with the oil, dry it and then put lavendar oil on the spots. I noticed that the lavendar oil really help to dry up the spots, however becare to keep it way for the eyes and don’t over use as it is relly drying. I would only the lavendar on the spots once a week if needed. Overall, I am very excited that I found out about this way of cleaning my face and can’t wait to try it with almond oil or grapeseed oil.


    Megan Reply:

    Please delete this comment for me thanks reposted below.