Oil Cleansing Doesn’t Have to Be Overwhelming – Let’s Break It Down!

Oil cleansing is a unique, yet powerful way to deep clean your skinwithout stripping it. If you’ve recently jumped on the oil cleansing train, are in the transition phase, or you’re considering it but want some more information, you’re in the right place. 

Oil cleansing can feel confusing and counterintuitive, so it's common to have questions. But don’t worry – there are plenty of answers here when it comes to how, why, and when to use the oil cleansing method. 

We love this effective + gentle form of cleansing for all skin types. Aside from a deeper cleanse, oil cleansing lessens irritations and helps your skin naturally strengthen and heal. 

Our favorite part is that it works for every skin state. After doing a poll on your most pressing oil cleansing questions, we’ve compiled this guide to help you reap the benefits of oil cleansing.

Note: before you dive into these questions, if you're not familiar with the oil cleansing basics start with these resources:

We’re here to support you in your skincare journey. So whether you’ve got technical questions, skin-specific questions, or just want some more guidance on correct usage – read on. 

Technical Questions About Oil Cleansing

Sometimes you just need some clarity for technical purposes right? After all, you want to be doing things the correct way, and sometimes details get fuzzy.

FAQ: How do I know which cleansing oil is best for my skin? 

Answer: Don’t overthink it! 

→ If you have oil-rich or acne-prone skin, try the oily formula.
→ If you have dry or mature skin, try the dry formula.
→ If you have combination or balanced skin, the normal formula is probably best.

Our skin state blog will give you a more detailed overview to discover your skin state, including other components you should add to your routine!

FAQ: Which cleansing oil should I use if I have dry skin and stubborn breakouts? 

Answer: Since it sounds like a combination of issues, we suggest using our normal formula. It helps tackle dryness while regulating oil production + dissolving impurities. 

Other products like our skin-specific serums and moisturizers can be paired with your cleansing oil for even better results!

Tip: Take our newly-revamped skin quiz to get your personalized recommendations.

FAQ: I’m feeling overwhelmed by the oil cleansing method, how do I do it? 

Answer: No worries, we’ve got you. It can be overwhelming to start something so drastically different than what you’re used to! Here’s a play-by-play:

  • Start with a dry face (you can leave your makeup on).
  • Take 1-2 min to massage the cleansing oil in gently but with mindful pressure – focus on areas of the skin where you experience issues most often (for many it’s the nose or chin).
  • Work out the tension on the jawline and forehead – this doubles to relieve emotional stress too.
  • Use light downward strokes on the neck to stimulate lymphatic drainage.
  • Press a clean, warm (not hot!), and wet washcloth against your face until it cools.
  • Then sweep it across your face, and repeat as needed until all the oil is removed.
Tip: If you’re a visual person, check out our video tutorial or our quick oil cleansing reel.

FAQ: How do I do a double cleanse?

Answer: A double cleanse pairs an oil cleanse with an additional cleansing step. You’ll use all the same steps for oil cleansing but follow it up with a water-based or glycerin-based cleansing bar. This gives you a gentle, non-abrasive cleanse that further clarifies your skin.

  • Step 1: Follow the steps outlined above to complete the oil cleanse.
  • Step 2: Lather your hands with soap and massage gently into damp skin, focusing on problematic areas
  • Step 3: Rinse with water and pat dry 

Check out our line of skin-specific cleansing bars for a tailored experience.

Tip: If you’re a visual learner and want to see double cleansing in action, check out this video tutorial on double cleansing.

FAQ: Should I double cleanse every time I wash my face?

Answer: Whether you choose a double cleanse or just a cleansing oil depends on many factors, like:

  • Climate – hot and humid climates can create excess oil, while dry arid climates can leave skin without enough oil (and moisture).
  • Lifestyle – sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can impact your skin, as well as exercise, nutrition, and mindset. You also want to consider environmental factors like high-pollution areas you may be exposed to at work.
  • Skin state – we all have different skin needs at different times of our lives depending on hormones, age, or other internal and external factors.

Unfortunately, there’s no solid answer here. So get to know your skin and see how it responds! 

Tip: If you’re experiencing dryness using a double cleanse, you might need to stick with just oil cleansing the majority of the time. An occasional double cleanse might help after a particularly sweaty workout, during a hormonal breakout, or other times your skin is producing more oil or exposed to more elements (or bacteria).

FAQ: Should I double cleanse morning and evening?

Answer: Everyone’s skin is different, but regardless of whether you do an oil cleanse or a double cleanse, we recommend you only wash your face once a day, at the end of the day. A simple splash of water before your daily routine is great for the AM.

Why? Too much cleansing strips your skin, regardless of whether it’s a gentle formula.

Throughout the day time, your face is exposed to far more contaminants. Things like air pollution, touching your face, or environmental toxins mean more exposure to harmful bacteria or toxins.

At night, your skin isn’t exposed to as many factors while sleeping. So a simple splash of water followed by your normal morning routine is sufficient.

Tip: Here’s an example of a morning and night routine that might work for you.

FAQ: Are cleansing oils pregnancy safe?

Answer: We feel confident all of our oil-cleansing formulas are safe for use during pregnancy in most cases and pose no known risks. But keep in mind, we aren’t doctors – so if you have any questions or concerns, it’s best to take them up with your OB or midwife to be on the safe side.

FAQ: Can I make my own cleansing oil at home? 

Answer: Yep, you can! Though honestly, it took us a ton of trial and error, along with years of research to perfect each of our formulas for different skin states. 

Plus, when you use our cleansing oils you can:

  • Use our skin quiz to save money (aka – get the right formula the first time around)
  • Be confident in cold-pressed carrier oils and high-quality ingredients that are grown organically and sourced sustainably
  • Pair them with our other products specifically designed to meet your unique skin needs 

If it were us, we’d just take the easy route and choose a pre-made formula. ;)

However, if you’re feeling adventurous (or the budget is tight) here’s a homemade recipe from our founder you can try. 

Skin-Specific Questions About Oil Cleansing

Some of your questions might feel specific to your skin condition or concerns. That’s totally valid, and we’re here to help. 

FAQ: What can I expect during the adjustment phase with switching to oil cleansing? 

Everyone’s skin is different, so the adjustment phase can vary. There’s no exact formula for what to expect. Here are a few things that you might experience:

  • Your skin producing excess oil for a brief period of time
  • Inflammation or breakouts as your sebum production learns how to regulate
  • You may not experience any changes or transition, yay!

Either way, know your skin is doing its job, and a clear, glowing complexion is on the way. It’s only temporary, and on the flip side, many of our customers find it clears up acne even better than conventional cleansers!

FAQ: What products are good for milia?

Answer: Milia are small hard bumps that form on the surface of the skin – often white or yellow in color. And they can be quite hard to get rid of without the help of a dermatologist. 

Oil cleansing may help prevent milia by keeping buildup at bay – which contributes to milia forming. As far as resolving milia, that’s a job for the facial brush. ;) A facial brush can be used as your first step in the morning. Do it after a splash of water to refresh your skin and lightly remove impurities. 

FAQ: Can I use a cleansing oil if I have acne? 

Answer: Absolutely! Acne is typically caused by multiple factors, one of them being the overproduction of oil. A properly balanced moisture barrier will help prevent your skin from going into oil production overdrive. Oil cleansing is one of the most effective ways to reset your skin’s oil output and dissolve excess oil. It’s based on the scientific principle that “like attracts like.” So adding oil actually helps purify excess oil while keeping that delicate moisture barrier intact.

Tip: Don’t be scared of moisture with acne. Moisture helps soothe and heal your skin. It’s the pore-clogging ingredients that DON’T help. Rest assured all our ingredients are non-pore-clogging (aka non-comedogenic) so you’ll never need to worry about that.

FAQ: What if I have mixed skin states? Which cleansing oil should I use? 

Answer: Our normal formula is best for targeting a combination of dry and oily spots. It also evens out your sebum (oil) production.

Other irregularities can be addressed with personalized tools, serums, and moisturizers. Masks add another level of intentional care. 

Tip: Check out the multi-masking trend for a fun, new way to personalize your skincare routine.

And you’ve heard this before but, the best way to discover a unique suggestion catered to your skin is through our newly-revamped skin quiz. ;) 

FAQ: If I have sensitive skin which cleansing oil should I use? 

Answer: It depends on what type of sensitivities you’re experiencing.

→ Dry, flakey skin may benefit from deeper moisture with our “dry” formula.
→ Acne-prone, inflamed skin that produces too much oil may need the “oily” formula.

Tip: Our PP skin quiz will provide even more specific suggestions for your whole routine!

The Adjustment Phase of the Oil Cleansing Method

You may have heard about the dreaded adjustment phase. It’s true – some people’s skin needs time to transition to this new method of cleansing. But stick with it, the results are so worth it!

FAQ: Why is my face more oily than before?

Answer: This is likely just your skin purging to reset its oil production. Give it time, and try double cleansing to remove excess oils and help your skin regulate.

FAQ: How long does it take for my skin to adjust to oil cleansing?

Answer: It can range from 2 weeks to 2 months. Why? Because skin is very personal – your skin won’t react the same as someone else’s. Some will experience a transition (“adjustment period”) because their skin has been exposed to toxic chemicals or over-stripping and needs to purge. 

Some people simply experience minor irritation and inflammation as the skin adjusts to a new method of cleansing. This is totally normal and will resolve itself. It’s impossible to put an exact timeline on the transition phase. We know it’s hard, but try to be patient. You’ve got this!

Here’s what you can do in the meantime to support your skin while it’s adjusting:

  • Give your detox pathways some love (this “transition” is just your body detoxing from exposure to conventional skincare or excess oil).
  • Hydrate intentionally to keep fluids moving and assist your skin in pushing out impurities.
  • Sweat often – it’s a healthy way to release toxins and reset your body.
  • Use a dry brush or a gua sha facial stone to open healing pathways and support lymphatic flow.
Tip: You may not experience an adjustment phase, and that’s fine too! Don’t worry. How the skin reacts is unique to each individual’s skin state and circumstances.

FAQ: What if I don’t have an adjustment period (breakouts, inflammation) with oil cleansing, is it still working? 

Answer: Yep! If you don’t experience breakouts, inflammation, etc. when you switch to oil cleansing, nothing is wrong! You definitely don’t have to see a “transition period” to know that oil cleansing is working. 

Let your skin be the real test. ;) 

How to Pair Oil Cleansing With Other Skincare Products

It can be confusing to add a new product to your routine. Here are all our most common questions about using a cleansing oil in combination with other products.

FAQ: After oil cleansing, should I still use a moisturizer, a serum, or both?

Answer: We recommend using toner, serum, and moisturizer after oil cleansing. 

Our favorite post-oil cleanse routine is spritzing a mist and finishing with a serum/cream. This is key to targeting specific skin concerns + maintaining the proper ratio of water/oil for resilient, radiant skin. Each product plays a role in providing nutrients and protection at different levels of the skin. (But if you're in a pinch and don't have a toner/serum/cream, it's okay to skip that step every once in a while.)

However, your skin might do fine without extra moisture – particularly throughout the summer or if you live in a warm climate. Some of our PP customers find that oil cleansing alone is enough moisture to keep their skin happy. It’s up to you. 

Tip: To gain more knowledge on what your skin is craving, check out our skin quiz

FAQ: Can I pair a cleansing oil with my Clarisonic or facial device?

Answer: We recommend sticking with your hands for the oil cleansing method because it doesn’t disrupt your skin’s delicate microbiome or skin barrier. Plus, oils are not fun to clean off of a brush!

But if you're really loving the results from your facial cleansing tool/device, try it with one of our Cleansing Bars instead. This will give you a foaming cleanse that can work more effectively with your device.

If you’re worried about missing the exfoliation aspect, try a facial dry brush instead for a gentle skin renewal that protects your skin barrier.

What to Expect After Using a Cleansing Oil

New products come with new results! Here’s what you can expect after switching to a cleansing oil – both immediate and long-term.

FAQ: What if my skin still feels dry after oil cleansing? 

Answer: There are so many factors that can contribute to your skin state! While it’s hard to say without seeing your skin in person, we’d recommend two things:

  1. After cleansing, spritz your skin with a Skin-Specific Mist to infuse hydration and prep your skin to absorb serum/cream more deeply.
  2. Supplement with more moisture through richer creams and serums, especially at night.
  3. You may need to switch to our “dry” cleansing oil for deeper moisture.

Tip: Our baby balm can double as a deep moisturizing cream for nighttime. 

FAQ: I’ve tried oil cleansing before, and it didn’t work – what do you recommend?

Answer: The first thing we’d ask is: Did you give it a full 2 months? Of course, this sounds incredibly long, but everyone’s situation and skin state are different. Until you give it a solid shot, you’ll never know what you’re missing out on. ;) 

Our advice: If you’re willing to give it another go, believe us – you’ll be so pleased with the results after your skin adjusts. We’re here to support you in the meantime!

Here are a few extra tips for supporting your skin:

  • Choose nourishing whole foods to support your skin from the inside out.
  • Avoid consuming seed oils + the dreaded three: sugar, alcohol, and gluten.
  • Hydrate like you mean it. This helps your body continue to push out impurities.
  • Sweat more – this is another effective way to push out toxins. Plus you’ll gain other mental and physical health benefits.
  • Pair your cleansing oil with our Everything Spray for additional anti-bacterial properties to help calm any potential breakouts during the adjustment phase.
Tip: If you’ve tried everything above – you can keep it simple with glycerin or water-based soap instead of a cleansing oil. Our skin-specific bars are also a non-toxic, nourishing product that will wash away the day without overdrying the skin. (Our soothing bar is the most friendly for sensitive skin.)

FAQ: Will my skin feel oily immediately after cleansing? 

Answer: If you properly remove all the oil at the end of your cleanse, you shouldn’t feel any oily residue – just nourished, hydrated and happy skin!

Tip: We recommend using a warm washcloth to wipe away all the product – and sometimes you may need to use both sides of the washcloth to fully remove the oil.

Questions About How Oil Cleansing Works

With a new method that hasn’t quite made its way to mainstream skincare, it’s understandable that you might have questions about how exactly this oil will clean your skin effectively, and what it’s capable of.

FAQ: How does a cleansing oil actually clean my skin? 

Answer: Let’s start here: Like dissolves like. It’s really sciency, but here’s what you should know: Chemical surfactants (aka lathering, bubbly, and foamy liquids) found in most cleansers strip the skin too severely. In turn, this kickstarts excessive oil production – not what we want!

Our cleansing oil, on the other hand, gently “melt” the oils in your skin to cleanse and push out impurities. On top of that, our cleansing oils all contain a therapeutic essential oil blend that brings balance to all skin states. Double whammy.  

Oil cleansing is powerfully anti-bacterial. But if you’re feeling concerned about getting your face 100% squeaky clean (or you’ve been exposed to polluted air or finished a sweat session) doing a double cleanse with a bar is a great way to go.

And if you’re wondering why we recommend a double cleanse with our lathering bars specifically, it’s not just because we’re biased! These are totally different formulas that are water-based or glycerin-based with the added benefit of skin-loving herbs and botanicals for an extremely gentle and non-abrasive sudsing effect.

Just remember, your skin microbiome is intuitive if you leave it be. An oil cleanse is the perfect option for cleansing while respecting skin integrity. Let your skin be the guide. ;) 

Tip: Our everything spray helps reset your skin PH which helps manage and eliminate unwanted bacterial growth.

FAQ: Does oil cleansing remove makeup?

Answer: Yes! It’s completely fine to apply your cleansing oil right on top of makeup. Though you may want to use something fragrance-free like our baby oil around the eyes if you’re sensitive to essential oils. That way you don’t risk getting any essential oils in your eyes. 

Otherwise, enjoy the cleansing oils’ castor oil content which also boosts healthy brows and lashes.

Tip: Depending on the type of makeup + the amount, you may want to double cleanse to fully remove the makeup. That way you can be sure all makeup is removed, so the nutrients from your other products absorb into the skin. 

FAQ: Does oil cleansing help with cystic acne? 

Answer: You bet! Oil cleansing is actually more gentle than traditional acne cleansers which contain harsh chemicals like salicylic acid and endocrine-disrupting fragrances – which we know are also contributors to acne!

If you’re dealing with stubborn acne, check out these resources for more tips:

Ready to Join the World of Oil Cleansing? 

Oil cleansing done correctly can create significant and long-term changes in your skin. It resets your skin’s oil production and gently cleanses away the day’s impurities – minus the stripping effect. Hallelujah! 

Hopefully, this is a resource you can continue to reference if you’re feeling unsure or want some guidance in your skincare journey with oil cleansing. 

Once you get accustomed, you’ll never look back – that much, we can promise. 

And as always, we’re here for your questions. Send us a DM on Instagram, email our customer experience team at hello@primallypure.com, or leave a comment below. :)


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