Oil Cleansing Method (How To Do It And Why It Works)

Oil cleansing method utilizes beneficial oils that penetrate into pores to deeply cleanse and dissolve buildup, based on the scientific principle that like dissolves like. Click this post to learn how to do it and why it works! | Primally Pure

As an oily-skinned and acne-prone teenager, I grew up thinking that harsh = better when it came to cleansers. I would buy and try every cleanser that promised to strip away oil (completely opposite of the oil cleansing method) and, as a result, get rid of pimples and blemishes.

Unfortunately, these cleansers never seemed to work like the commercials on TV promised. My skin would always feel super dry after a wash, but soon afterwards it would be overcome with unnatural amounts of oil/grease.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned why. By drying my skin out with harsh cleansers, I forced it to over-produce oil in order to compensate for the dryness (so simple, yet so contrary to everything conventional wisdom tells us about skincare)! My skin’s natural moisture barrier was completely out of whack and had been for years — even though I THOUGHT I was doing everything right.

What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

Once I discovered the oil cleansing method, it immediately resonated with me. Based on the scientific principle that like dissolves like, oil cleansing utilizes beneficial oils that penetrate deep into pores to dissolve grime and build-up. It’s the best way to purify + nourish the skin (natural oils are SO powerful in their ability to beautify and heal) while still keeping its natural moisture barrier in-tact. Oil cleansing works for all skin types when the correct oil ratios/types of oils are being used.

After the initial adjustment period during which my skin purged itself of toxins it released in the form of blemishes (this lasted for about a week), I finally felt like my skin had balanced itself out! I was no longer going through a pack of oil-blotting sheets every 2 weeks (not kidding) and the acne I had struggled with for YEARS was finally starting to clear up.

This was undoubtedly the most beneficial topical skincare adjustment I had ever made (and I had tried just about everything at that point)!

Since the oil cleansing method is so different from “normal” cleansing, I thought it would be helpful to provide some additional info on how it works. Below you’ll find my variation of the oil cleansing method along with a few extra tid-bits of advice which should help to make your transition to the oil cleansing method as easy and painless as possible!

Oil Cleansing — 5 Easy Steps

  • Step #1: Remove Makeup — I recommend using this organic oil or our Baby Oil for this part! Just rub into the skin until face/eye makeup has dissolved and gently wipe away with a warm, wet washcloth. Let your skin dry off completely before moving on to the next step.
  • Step #2: Apply a quarter-sized dollop of cleansing oil to your hands, and massage into DRY skin using your fingertips. Do this for about 60 seconds. This is when the cleansing oil really works its magic, dissolving build-up and nourishing the skin with powerful plant nutrients. Try to also think of this as a time to relax and massage away the stresses of the day — like a mini at-home spa treatment!
  • Step #3: Wet a clean washcloth with warm water and place it onto face until the washcloth cools. Use a different washcloth than the one you used to wipe off your makeup – we love this set of organic cotton washcloths (make sure it isn’t TOO warm for your delicate facial skin).
  • Step #4: Gently wipe away impurities + excess oil with washcloth. No need to scrub too aggressively here — a few gentle sweeps of the face will do the trick!
  • Step #5: Repeat process if necessary (this usually isn’t necessary UNLESS you skip step #1 and need an extra cleanse to remove makeup + grime).


Pretty simple, right? I tend to think so! But as is the case with any new habit, it does take some time to master. To help clear things up, here are the answers to a few additional questions I often get asked about oil cleansing.

Q: How often and which time of day do you recommend oil cleansing?

A: Once per day, every day, in the evening. But since this method does provide a very DEEP clean, some may prefer to only implement the oil cleansing method every other day or even once a week. Evening is the best time to cleanse in order to remove impurities that build up throughout the day. Cleansing in the morning (with oil or anything else) is usually NOT necessary, as our skin undergoes its own cleansing/detoxification process at night when we sleep! Simply rinsing with water is all your complexion needs in the morning.

Q: Can I continue to use other skincare products, get facials, etc. in combination with oil cleansing?

A: It depends. Some products/treatments can severely dry out (or even damage) the skin and counteract the balancing effects of oil cleansing. For best results, I recommend only using natural skincare products/makeup/skin treatments in conjunction with oil cleansing.

Q: What should I use on my skin after oil cleansing?

A: For some, oil cleansing alone is enough to keep the skin hydrated, balanced and moisturized. Others may want to use something like Fancy Face Serum, Complexion Mist or a natural moisturizer/cream (pure tallow or shea butter are great options) for an additional nutrient or moisture boost! I usually follow up oil cleansing with a few spritzes of Everything Spray to tone + balance out my skin’s PH and finish things off with a few drops of Fancy Face Serum to give help even out my skin tone, heal scars and prevent/diminish wrinkles.

Q: I’m using the correct oil for my skin type, but my skin feels more than it should. What gives?

A: Our blends are based on copious amounts of research + trial and error to figure out which types/ratios of oils are best for any given skin type. The blend that will work best for you will depend on your skin type (oily, normal, dry) in addition to the climate in which you live. For instance, someone with oily skin who lives in Phoenix, AZ may be better off using the normal blend or even the dry blend. In contrast, someone who lives on the coast in Florida and generally has dry skin may be better off using the normal blend. It all depends on what works best for you and YOUR skin, and there may be additional factors that play a part in choosing the blend that will suit you best.

For additional troubleshooting help, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot us an email at hello@primallypure.com. And click here to check out our line of cleansing oils!

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Bethany McDaniel

Bethany is the Founder of Primally Pure and lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. Having used all sorts of harsh prescription creams to treat her acne as a teenager and young adult (and dealing with red, raw, irritated skin as a result), Bethany was blown away by the effects she eventually experienced after ditching the harsh chemicals and replacing them with natural ingredients. Bethany’s journey inspired her to start Primally Pure (with an initial $250 order for ingredients + supplies) to help others experience the benefits of using clean products. In addition to leading the PP Team and envisioning new product ideas, Bethany is passionate about all things clean living, biohacking and personal growth - as well as taking regular tropical vacations with her family to reset + refresh.