How to Oil Cleanse: How to Do It Correctly + Mistakes to Avoid

This is a 2-part series on the Oil Cleansing Method. Like many things in life, sometimes doing it is only helpful if you do it correctly. So no shame if you’re wondering exactly how to oil cleanse. 

This post shares tips on how to oil cleanse and the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) mistakes you might be making. Be sure to check out Part 1 to discover the oil cleansing myths you may be believing (they might surprise you).

Face cleansing with oil isn’t just a trending topic – it’s truly the key to clean, balanced, and healthy skin. In fact, several skin issues you may experience can be significantly improved by simply cleansing your skin properly. 

If you feel a little overwhelmed, or just want to make sure you’re doing it correctly, this post is for you. You’ll walk away with some helpful tips on how to oil cleanse and be able to troubleshoot any mistakes you might be making. 

Whether you have sensitive, combination, dry, aging, or even acne-prone skin, read on for directions on how to oil cleanse properly for healthy + happy skin!

First Things First: How to Oil Cleanse

Hey, no shame if this is where you need to start. We’ve got you covered. Here’s your step-by-step guide for how to oil cleanse: 

  • Remove your Makeup. You can use your cleansing oil directly on dry skin or opt for a gentle baby oil if you have sensitive skin around your eyes. Rub the oil into your skin in circular motions until your makeup is dissolved and can be easily wiped away with a warm wet washcloth.
  • Massage PP’s Cleansing Oil into dry skin with your fingertips. This is the most critical step when learning how to oil cleanse properly. It’s important to massage the cleansing oil into your skin for at least 1 min, but 2-3 minutes is even better. This provides plenty of time for the cleansing oil to work its magic, dissolving impurities + excess oil build-up in the pores. The longer you massage, the more nutrients are delivered to the skin, + blood flow is encouraged. So think of it as your daily act of self-love and embrace the process.
  • Wet a clean washcloth with warm water to give your face a steam bath. Don’t get too hot here. You don’t want to disrupt the skin’s delicate barrier with scalding heat. It should be warm enough to create steam but not hot enough heat to make it uncomfortable. The goal is to give yourself a mini steam treatment for a few moments of bliss + opening pores. Take several deep breaths and soak in the relaxing scent of essential oils. Hold the washcloth to your face until it cools.
This step in face cleansing with oil further encourages the cleansing oil to clear out impurities and bring any build-up to the surface so you can wipe it away easily.
  • Use the washcloth to wipe away excess oil + impurities. Notice we said wipe, not scrub. You should be able to remove all the oil with one or two gentle wipes over the face. But keep in mind that face cleansing with oil leaves your skin moisturized instead of stripped dry. So oil cleansing may feel different than what you’re used to with a traditional cleanser. As long as your skin feels clean + smooth, and there’s no residual oil that can be wiped off, you’re all set.
  • If needed, repeat the process or try a double cleanse. This is optional because everyone’s skin state is unique, and every day’s routine looks different. Some days, you might want an extra cleanse after a good sweat, or if you went straight for step #2 with the cleansing oil, you might need an extra cleanse for grime + makeup. 
That’s it. Now you know all the basics on how to oil cleanse properly. Let’s cover some of the most common mistakes we see with cleansing oils and confusion about how to use cleansing oils.

Mistake #1: You’re Oil Cleansing With the Wrong Formula

If you’re a visual learner, you can find countless tutorials for DIY cleansing oil recipes + how to oil cleanse across Pinterest. 

However, finding the proper cleansing oil blend for your specific skin can be quite the process (and one that might take a toll on your skin!). 

Oil cleansing works for all skin states when the correct oils + ratios are being used. We’ve done the hard work for you. Our cleansing oil blends are based on copious amounts of research + trial and error to determine which formulations are best for any given skin type. 

So the blend that’ll work best for you depends on your skin state (oily, normal, or dry) and the climate you live in. 

We want it to be easy to choose what works best for you and YOUR skin. If you’re not sure, take our skin state quiz for a personalized recommendation! 

Mistake #2: You’re Not Massaging Long Enough

The less time you massage, the less time you give the cleansing oil to dissolve build-up and nourish the skin with powerful plant nutrients. You can think of this as a time to relax and massage away the stresses of the day.

Not only does this step feel so relaxing and helps stimulate circulation in the skin, but it’s also crucial for proper + thorough cleansing. So if you want to know how to oil cleanse, the time spent massaging is a significant factor in the results you’ll see.

Be sure you massage the cleansing oil onto dry skin for at least a minute. Use outward + upward circular motions and spend a few extra seconds on problem areas like the chin and forehead, where you may experience more build-up or breakouts. 

With the needed time, cleansing oil can work wonders to dissolve makeup, impurities, and sebum that’ve built up in your pores. It can also give you a spa-like treatment right from home.

Breathe and enjoy – this time is for you. 

Mistake #3: You’re Re-Using Washcloths And/Or Using Hot Water

Temperature and cleanliness are priority when it comes to washcloth use.

→ Washcloths can easily harbor bacteria, so always use a clean cloth for oil cleansing – or really anything related to your skin (hygiene practices 101). To keep it real, using a dirty towel could defeat the purpose of cleansing your skin if you expose it to day-old bacteria and grime from a pre-used washcloth. 

→ Soak your clean, organic cotton washcloth in super-warm water. (Warm, not hot.) Scalding hot water can cause skin sensitivities or dehydration. On the flip side, tepid water won't soften your skin properly to pull out impurities. The gentle steam from a super-warm washcloth helps bring dirt, debris, makeup, and build-up to the surface of your skin.

Like many things in life, these few tweaks may sound simple, but try them out – you’ll be impressed at the difference you experience.

Mistake #4: Giving up Before the Glow. 

You know we always dish the truth. So we won’t lie, for some people, oil cleanse purging is just part of the process for you to see the desired results in your skin.

There’s often a cleansing oil adjustment process (aka, your skin may get worse for about a week or two), but we highly encourage you to stick it out. 

Why? Your skin is doing something amazing, even in the oil cleanse purging phase.

If you’ve transitioned to natural deodorant, you know it can take time for your body to adjust + reset to a new product. Oil cleansing is similar in this way. So it may take some time for your skin to adjust. The best advice? Give it time +  trust the process. :) 

Keep in mind that it may take 2-3 weeks for your skin to fully adjust to face cleansing with oil. It takes time to fully detoxify from the build-up that’s been residing comfortably in your pores up until now.

Still trying to decide about switching to cleansing oil?

Here are some five-star oil cleanse before and after testimonials to encourage you to not give up.

→ "I've always had loads of blackheads and random pimples that show up and take forever to go away. Within a few weeks of using this cleansing oil (along with the everything spray and beauty cream), the composition of my skin COMPLETELY CHANGED.
– Anna, PP Customer

→ "It was a very different shift for me, having previously used oil-free anti-acne cleanser, but my skin feels so moisturized and wonderful after I use it. I love the scent, and my skin has flourished after switching to this product." 
– Allison, PP Customer

→ "Finally, a cleanser that does it all and leaves your skin refreshed without feeling ‘tight.’" – Sue, PP Customer

→ "I've been struggling with dry skin and breakouts for months now, and after only two weeks, I've noticed a significant improvement in the texture and tone of my skin, and I'm much more hydrated!" 
– Shawnie, PP Customer

→ "I went as far as trying Accutane to get rid of my breakouts. I also have rosacea and extremely sensitive skin. I will never go back to anything else. This product is amazing and has calmed my redness down, and no more oily face. This wash makes me feel so good." 
– Renee, PP Customer
If your skin is still reacting after about a month of trying out the OCM, you could potentially be sensitive to a specific ingredient. Please email us at – we’d love to help you find a solution.

Now You Know How to Oil Cleanse Like a Pro

Congrats! Now you know how to oil cleanse your skin in the most effective way to achieve the best results. 

You can say goodbye to skin struggles that last for years on end. You don’t have to wait for better skin – oil cleansing could be the key to getting your skin back on track. And now you’re equipped with the basics, to be sure you’re doing a thorough, sanitary, and effective cleanse. That’s worth celebrating. 

If you’re hungry for more info or you want a video tutorial, check out some of these resources:

Your Top 5 Oil Cleansing Questions Answered (From Our Holistic Esthetician)
How To Oil Cleanse (A Video Tutorial)
Our Highlight Reel on Oil Cleansing

Ready to dive into the world of oil cleansing? Now that you know how to oil cleanse + all the benefits of this unconventional practice, it’s time to boost your skin’s health! 

Shop our full line of cleansing oils – specifically formulated to meet the needs of your unique skin state. And share your progress along the way – we’re here to cheer you on and celebrate your newfound glow! 

 Pin your fav blog post below:

Oil Cleansing Mistakes You May Be Making

Leave a Comment

Courtney O’Connor

Courtney Joy O’Connor is Primally Pure’s In-House Holistic Esthetician and Content Curator. Being in the beauty industry for over a decade, her experience + expertise with pure products, the healing power of touch and holistic skincare rituals are at the core of all she creates. She has trained extensively with industry experts across the country to offer her community the most educational content and transformative treatments. Courtney lives at the beach with her plant babies and loves road tripping, blending superfood bliss balls and exploring our big, beautiful world.