Washing Oily Skin with…OIL??

by Ivory Soap

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Yes. Kid you not. Before I started doing this a month ago, I still looked like a 13 year old and I’m 36. My other alternative was to use over the counter acne products. As you know, they take the HIDE off you. Back then, I had my make-up done by a professional who told me my “skin was just crying.”

I’d seen around the web lately, people talking about the “oil cleansing method.”  I spoke about using olive oil in s sugar scrub with oily skin HERE.   But that wasn’t for daily use.

So, a few weeks back, I took the plunge and started using the method described HERE.  I didn’t, however, use the sunflower oil as the moisturizer.  I used extra virgin olive oil.

The Routine

1.  Mix the oils in the percentages suggested for your skin type at the above website.  I have oily skin, so I used 70% olive oil, 30% castor oil.

2.  Dip fingers and grease face up like a pizza, especially cramming it into the pores where you have problems. (Wow, that was freaky the first few times.)

3.  Steam face with hot rags a few times.

4.  Gently wipe clean.

The castor oil is the cleaner.  The olive oil (or avocado or sunflower or the like) is the moisturizer.  This works on that old chemistry adage, “Like dissolves like.” Oily junk in your pores will dissolve in the oily castor oil.  Your great gramma knew this when she took off her makeup with vaseline, baby oil, or cold cream.   Oily stuff  resists dissolving in water which is why you then need a grease cutter, like soap, if you aren’t going to clean your pores with oil.


The site says that you can FEEL the impurities leaving your pores in the castor oil as you steam your face.  This did not happen, but after all that steaming and oiling, every pore is ready to dump. Now is the time for squishing. I use a rag over my finger tips to avoid traumatizing a single pore. You can pressure like 10 at once. After the second day of a thorough face squishing, there was nothing left.

The site says that your pores might go all greasy for a few days after you start this method and the pores are clear. My skin didn’t go oily, but it did take a while to get used to the PLUMP feeling. It did the DEWY thing. It’s moist, soft, but not greasy.

The site says that too much castor oil will dry your skin out. THIS IS TRUE.* I thought that was crap. Oil is oil, right? NO. I switched to pure castor oil for a few days. It Was Horrible. Peeling. Breaking out. Itchy. Don’t do it. I tried 1/2 and 1/2 castor oil and olive oil. NO GO. I HAVE to do the 70/30 split. It took DAYS for my skin to recover from this experiment.

*I rubbed hubby’s feet with castor oil just to see if it had different properties somehow. It did. If you massage in castor oil, when you’re done, it’s not greasy at all.

My Suggestion

Go get a cheap bottle of castor oil from the pharmacy. Pour ~70% of it in a little container and throw it in your freezer. Refill it with olive oil. Shake before use. Try it for a week and tell me how it goes!

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Alicia June 25, 2012 at 9:12 am

Wow! I will try this. I am so frustrated with all the products not helping including the dermatologist who only wants to put me on antibiotics. I am extemely scared of putting the oil on my face, but right now I have a “knot” on my chin that won’t go away and when it does it will leave a scar. What do I have to loose.

Lynnette June 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I’ve done this before but I think I need to practice this in the kitchen. My bathroom takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get warm, let alone hot. Thank you for the reminder.

Joan June 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Stick a wet cotton rag in the microwave for 30 seconds. It will be very hot!

Maggie June 26, 2012 at 2:56 am

When I’m not too lazy and actually do wash my face I use this method too, except I’ve just been using straight jojoba because that’s what I had to hand. Perhaps I should get castor oil too. Though works great now.

Virginia P. June 26, 2012 at 7:10 am

I’ve used oil cleansing for years on my oily, acne-prone skin, and it really works! I’m 44 now, and not a wrinkle in sight. I’ve never used castor oil, and didn’t know it had cleansing properties, but that’s interesting and I may try it someday. I’ve always used grape seed oil because it is so light and it dissolves makeup well.

I also like to use microfiber cloths to steam and “polish” my face after oil cleansing. I think the tiny fibers do well to help exfoliate dead skin cells and dirt without any scrubbing or harshness.

Sue June 26, 2012 at 7:35 am

Well that explains everything! I tried oil cleansing but I think I used too much castor oil, it did the whole peely flaky thing for me and I quit. I’ve got the classic combination skin, oily some places, dry others. I’m 56 and I still get the occasional pimple. I’ve got castor oil, grapeseed oil and EVO. Going to do some experimenting. Thanks!

Stevi June 26, 2012 at 7:46 am

My great-grandmother never used soap on her face or sat in the sun & at 85 was still having to prove senior citizenship!

I’ve never tried this routine but I do use oil on my face. If my face is feeling icky I’ll slather coconut oil on it & rinse in a very warm shower. My skin usually feels really dry after that so I put more coconut oil on afterwards – it’s the only “face lotion” I use. Oil is wonderful for the skin!

Jessie June 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

I love the oil cleansing method! I have combo skin that runs to dry, and acne prone. 70% olive oil and 30% canola oil works great, or straight up walnut oil. I also add a few drops of lavender essential oil for the smell and antibacterial properties. I’ve been doing this for well over a year and my skin’s looking fantastic. I just had my office birthday party this morning (30th) and my coworkers were remarking that I don’t have those fine lines/wrinkles. Granted, part of that is genetics, but the oil cleansing helps a lot!

Tanya June 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I have been doing this for about two weeks now, and while I love many aspects about it, I have a question for you. The first week I had several little pimples pop up that cleared back up before the week was out. For the past week, I have had a breakout along my jawline. For the most part the rest of my face has cleared up, but the jawline is ten times worse. Did you have this problem at all when you first started?

Right now, I am using a 50/50 mix of EVOO and castor oil. At the moment, I am just pushing through in case this is a matter of it getting bad before it gets better. If you had this problem, when did it clear up? The 50/50 mix is not drying out my face, so I haven’t thought to switch . However, if you had the same problem when using a 50/50 mix, I may just have to change it up.

Michelle June 28, 2012 at 4:07 am

Do you think this would work on my 13yo son? His breakouts aren’t always bad and his skin isn’t overly oily. I am avoiding acne products because I think they might make the problem worse.

Ivory Soap June 28, 2012 at 7:49 am

I did still break out with the 50/50 mix. I also break out if I skip a day. I also break out if I “neglect” a section of my face. Don’t push through. I’ve never found that to be a truism.

Ivory Soap June 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

I had heard rumor that it works on teenage skin. Especially if he’s not that bad. I think the biggest obstacle will be the male aversion to skin care.

Ivory Soap June 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

YAY, Jessie. I’m glad to hear a veteran of the method tell us the long term results.

Sheila June 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Even stranger? I put straight coconut oil on my skin, and after a week to ten days, my enlarged pores almost completely disappeared. I got a 1 pound jar at Trader Joes for a few dollars. Doesn’t make any sense to me, but there it was.

Ivory Soap June 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I KNOW, Sheila. I have giant pores and they’re shrinking every day! What is up with that?

Kim July 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

I have been using this mixture for a couple of months and adding tea tree oil for the zits and my skin has never been better. I had big pores and they are smaller, soft dewy like I have always heard about but never achieved, till now. I do break out every now and then but could be from what I eat or sitting my chin on my hand while looking at the computer.

Valerie July 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My son has been fighting “over active oil glands” around his chin area plus acne for over 10 years. He had these white bumps (the size of small peas) under the skin that no amount of washing, picking etc would make them go away. We tried every product on the market including prescription medications from the doctor. Nothing worked and half of the time the products made it worse. I read this the other day and we decided to try it. OMG what a difference. The 1st time he did it ALL of the bumps were gone, GONE! He has continued to use it and his face is continuing to improve. (Takes a while for the actual sores to heal) but everyday you can see the improvement. We are spreading the word and giving you credit for “saving his face.” Thanks again!

Ivory Soap July 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm

YAY, Valerie! Me too! I love the oil treatments. Who knew, right?

Elena July 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

Thank you for sharing this, I will defenitely try. Got me a while to source castor oil (7 out of 8 pharmacies didn’t have it) and I have peach pit oil to pair it with.
My question to those using the method is – how exactly often do you do it and what do you use in between the oil sessions? The original article says “This deep cleansing method should be done regularly, but not too frequently”. So how often, please?

Tish July 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Ditto Elena’s question. How often do you use this? I tried it tonight for the first time using 25% castor oil and 75% olive oil since I have combination skin. I love, love, LOVE the way my skin feels after using it. So, I’m wondering if it would be overkill to do this on a daily basis? Thank you for sharing this and for your WONDERFUL site, which I visit often.

Ivory Soap July 31, 2012 at 8:24 am

I have used it on a daily basis and it was wonderful, but I am just really lazy about my face lately.

Tish July 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Thanks, Ivory! I used it again today and I’m still loving the way my face feels after using it. I go through lazy phases in my skin care regimen, too. lol

Tonight I mixed up a small batch of 1 t. castor oil and 2 t. olive oil to experiment on my nephew’s back. He has such trouble with blackheads and pimples there and I figured a stronger castor oil presence would be okay. I hope to see a change on his back soon.

Jen C. August 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

Looking for some advice……I’ve been using this method for a few days and have yet to see any results. I have dry/sensitive skin (but large, yucky pores) so I started with 20% castor oil and 80% olive oil. Should I bump up the castor oil or give it a few more days with the 20/80?

Elena August 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

I used it for three weeks and found no difference. My skin remained oily, pores didn’t srink, nothing at all. I’m back to conventional face wash as it just feels better. Guess it’s just not for everyone. Best of luck, hope it works for you, Jen C!

Ivory Soap August 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

It may take a few weeks for some people to notice anything…I hear.

Imuneek December 3, 2012 at 6:17 am

I’m thrilled with this method. Though, like some of the posters here, I prefer to use coconut oil for everything body care. It is antibacterial/anti fungal and works really well with my skin and hair. I have a jar of whipped coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree and lavender essential oils–to which I whip in a bit of sweet almond oil for winter and Shea butter for summer to help combat it’s tendency to solidify or melt with the storage temp. I massage it into my hair weekly and leave it overnight–only conditioner I need. I’ll be using it on my face as well. What a difference!

Mindy December 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

If you don’t have very hot water, pop your wet towel in the mocrowave for 30 seconds and steam away!

Alex G January 29, 2013 at 11:04 am

I have the WORST oily skin problem, and I use the Complexion Scrub from the Shielo brand. Its wonderful for people with oily skin. It cleans my skin and doesnt dry my face out. I have somewhat sensitive skin, and to finally find a good face wash that doesnt make my face break out because of dryness is quite the discovery for me. I still have to put moisturizer on my skin afterwards. It doesnt make it moist, but it does keep from doing damage. It also lasts a long time; it only takes one or maybe two pumps to wash my face. I love it!

Niki March 29, 2013 at 12:18 am

Can a 15 year old put olive oil on face?

Lena April 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I’ve between doing this for a few months now with only evoo and am in love. I can’t believe I have not used soap or lotion on my skin all winter! For the first time in my life, my skin looks amazing – no joke. Beautiful skin, fewer wrinkles, no pricey creams at 36? Happy birthday to me! Spread the word, ladies!

Patty June 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

I saw this on another blog and finally gave in to trying it. 80% grapeseed oil and 20% castor oil. I used it daily for a week…no difference. I was extremely bummed as I have large pores on my nose. Believe me, I was staring at my nose in a magnifying mirror daily. Now I’ve just been using it every other day because I had mixed up a big batch. I never had the experience of “seeing and feeling the toxins just pouring out of my pores” either. I was saddened. Then the other day I was speaking to my daughter and she just rudely interrupted me 🙂 to inform me that “Mom, your skin looks awesome!”. I was baffled. I think what happened is I was expecting to see miracles every time I used it that I didn’t see all along that it was working! So keep it up people! And don’t inspect close up everyday! BTW, I have been using coconut oil with a little vitamin E blended in for quite awhile, and it is WAY times better than ANY $40.00 face moisturizer I have ever tried! And then there’s my body lotion I make…………….:)

Swiss Miss October 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Would it make sense to use this oil mixture as a body wash as well? What is your experience?

Ivory Soap October 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

Never tried it.

Steffanie November 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

Thank you!!
You just saved my my family’s face!! I just moved to Vermont after a lifetime of living in the south and my skin and I are freaking out!! I have been praying that God would somehow help me not to age like 20 years this winter and for a way to combat the new acne that has arisen. Our son who is 14 also has terrible acne now but when we in in Fl wasnt nearly as much and we’ve only been here for just over two months! I cant wait to see what happens using this method
I had no idea there was a way to clean the skin like this.

lucydawn January 28, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I’m allergic to ivory soap!! Also I’ve been dealing with a contact dermatitis for years. The only makeup and face care products I can use is Chanel. What would you suggest for a “Miss Itch”like me??

Jack August 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I have really acne prone skin! The only things what have been able to keep on top of it is the Oil cleansing method and manuka honey! I tend to use Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil for my skin. It really does help!

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