Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)


366 reviews

62% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$



Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I'm a victim of OCM. My experience was so bad that I had to write a review about it. It has been more than 2 months since I last OCM-ed my skin and the current condition of my skin is pretty lousy. My routine was to use olive oil and massage onto my face before washing it again with a face wash.

There were online articles saying that using a facial foam together with OCM will make matters worst and I'm not sure how reliable are these comments. Maybe this works best for normal to dry skin and for those who don't wear make-up on a daily basis.

Anyways... My bad experience could also be attributed from massaging the oil too much into my skin (you know how much gunk comes out with the massage). Initial trials were fabulous - i.e. clear and smooth skin. A few weeks on, my skin started to develop zillions of comedones. Whenever I wash my face, I felt like I'm touching some kind of reptile skin. My skin was bumpy everywhere, especially those areas I was happily massaging during my OCM sessions. Some of these comedones turned into cysts and some were infected. It was horrendous....

In my opinion, OCM is an unproven fad and the price I had to pay was just too much (primarily the sacrifice of my bump-free skin). I ended up going to a dermatologist for treatment. Right now, the comedones are still there and my skin is still bumpy (feels like they are never going away).

No doubt there are many positive and some good "skin-changing" experiences, I think it's best to not follow such hype without reliable professional advice on the how to correctly perform OCM, the kind of oil to use and the implications of using OCM. What works for many doesn't mean it works well for you - just need to remember this.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 6/14/2013 12:25:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

This method is working great for me so far!
Skin type: I have combination/dry/dehydratated/ skin, prone to congestion in the T-zone.

I tried so many cleansers... You know there are some very gentle cleansers, but they don't remove make up well... And there are the ones leaving your face squeaky clean and also dry, stripped from natural oils... So perfect cleanser doesn't exist.
This is why I was experimenting with this method a few months ago, well, I ended up with totally messed up skin (I used jojoba oil).
Now I'm using unrefined coconut oil, I massage it in for a minute or so, after I wipe it away using a warm wash cloth. Then (here comes my trick) wash my face with extra virgin olive oil soap! This removes the oily (and dirty!) residue, leaving my skin silky. Not sure,this is still the traditional OCM, but I think this is the KEY to avoid breakouts. I'll report back for sure.
Good luck, girls!

I'm back for a quick UPDATE 7/8/2013
Ok I'll be thankful for everyone who wrote a review! This method for me was life changing, and I can't imagine any other way to cleanse my face. Sure it can be a pain in the @ss to always do this whole ritual, not to mention taking with yourself (I travel a lot) oil (hoping that it won't spill and making your whole suitcase oily), wash cloth etc, but well it is worth it! Will be using this forever.
My skin is still not perfect but it did improved a hell of a lot.
Skin texture: smoother, firmer, looks healthy.
My skin does not feel dehydratated anymore. (yay)
Pores are almost invisible. (yay again)
No more blackheads on my nose! (YAYYYYYY)

So my tips:
After I wiped away the coconut oil with a warm wash cloth, I use soap (extra virgin olive oil soap). After the whole cleansing ritual I use rosewater to tone.
I think the key is to 'double-cleanse'. First remove make up & dirt with coconut oil, next remove coconut oil with soap, or any cleanser you prefer. HTH

Just here to say that I'm still using this method. No kidding. Oh gawd finally I'm persisent in something when it comes to skincare. I'm pretty sure I'll never use anything else. 'm using sweet almond oil, next I'll try camelia oil. Love 'em. OIL UP Ladies.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I've been doing the OCM for a few months now and I've been very pleased with the results. The biggest secret to making the OCM work for YOU is to know YOUR skin and modify the OCM to fit it, instead of blindly following what you're "supposed" to do.

For example, I knew extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) wasn't going to work on my skin from the get-go. My pores clog easily, so the last thing I'm going to do is use a comedogenic oil even if that's what I'm "supposed" to use. So no EVOO, no coconut, and no jojoba oils. I chose safflower oil as my main oil, and it works great.

I started off using only safflower oil, then slowly titrated the amount of castor oil I added until I ended up with a 3:1 ratio of safflower to castor oil. I add some tea tree or lavender oil for fragrance depending on how I'm feeling when I make the bottle up. I find that this ratio works well for me. Because of the slow titration--it took a couple of months to hit my current ratio--I never had any adverse reactions to the OCM such as excessive dryness, irritation or "purging", which BTW I don't believe really occurs, and most dermatologists will agree with me.

I rub the oil on (not in, but on. Big difference), for 30 seconds, let it sit for another 30 seconds, give another quick rub, and then remove it. I'm "supposed" to massage it in for a few minutes, and I don't massage the oil in until I feel any grit/sebum plugs/etc. coming out of my skin. Reason why not: if I work that oil very deep into my skin, it's not going to be easy to get it out, especially with using just a hot washcoth. Common sense.

I use the warm washcloth steaming technique to help remove the oil, but I don't make it a prolonged spiritual procedure as I'm "supposed" to. I do it two or three times because it feels good, then I wipe the remaining oil off with the cloth. By the way, the pores "opening/closing" is a myth too--ask your dermatologist. But the warmth does make the oil and sebum softer and easier to remove.

I don't rely solely on the OCM to cleanse my skin. Instead, I use it as a pretreatment to remove the makeup and grime first; then then I follow with my Clarisonic and the cleanser du jour. I also follow up with a moisturizer afterwards. Again, using cleansers and other moisturizers isn't what is "supposed" to be done, but this is what works for me.

Last, I use OCM only at night. If I find my skin is getting a bit dry or if I'm not wearing makeup that day, I either use plain safflower oii or just skip the OCM entirely that evening.

My routine is this: after the OCM, I follow with a gentle cleanser and the Clarisonic brush, then salicylic acid on any problem spots, Retin-A and argan oil. My morning routine is a regular cleanser with the Clarisonic, hyaluronic acid and moisturizer with SPF.

My skin has never looked better. I haven't had a bout of cystic acne, and any breakouts I do have are minimal and resolve quickly. I don't expect the OCM to prevent me from ever breaking out again. Reality check: if the OCM cured acne for good, then it would have made headlines long ago and the companies that make Clearisil and Proactiv would be out of business.

I'm sure you've seen that the OCM doesn't work for everyone, with some even complaining that it has ruined their skin. I noted that the problems seem to have 1 of 4 causes: a. they didn't change the OCM to suit their skin, b. they used poor-quality oils, c. they didn't remove all the oil from their skin, or d. they kept slogging along with using it even though it was making their skin worse.


a: If the OCM isn't working, tweak the oils you're using. Don't blindly follow a recommended oil blend that you read some random model/beauty-blogger swears by, but first think about your skin and how they would react to those specific oils. Also cut back on how often you're doing the OCM: once a day is enough, but doIng it less frequently is fine too.

b: Make sure you get the highest-quality oils: cold-pressed, unadulterated, and preferably in dark bottles as light can break down a lot of oils and make them go rancid. Store your oils properly too: cool and dark places are the best.

When shopping, read the labels. Highest quality doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive oil out there. At the same time, cheap oils are not a bargain if the quality is poor. Buying in bulk isn't a good idea either, as the oil may turn bad before you get a chance to finish the bottle.

When making your oil mixture, I recommend making it in small batches. That way you can tweak the formula as you need to. I also recommend storing it in a dark bottle to help keep it fresher longer.

c: Be sure to remove all of the oil, as you can get oil folliculitis from the oil clogging your pores. If you don't want to follow up with another cleanser or toner, then put that wet washcloth on your face for as many times as it takes to get the oil off. Also, no need to massage for 5-10-20 minutes: a minute or less is fine. Ignore the urge to rub until you feel the sebum plugs--you WILL regret working that oil so deeply in.

d. Don't expect never to break out again; in fact, you're a fool if you think you never will. If the OCM cured acne for good, it'd have made the history books a long time ago. However, any breakouts should be minor. If you have more than the odd lesion or two, review what's going on: What oils are you using? Are you removing the oil from your skin thoroughly? Have you changed other parts of your skincare routine? Using a new makeup? Taking a new medication? Are you at a time in your cycle when you usually break out? Any unusual stress going on?

However, if the breakout is really bad, or if your skin has gotten worse since starting the OCM, then immediately STOP using it. Remember, skin doesn't "purge" so if your skin didn't like the OCM, don't keep doing it in the hopes that it will get better. It just i

29 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

on 5/16/2013 2:00:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I used 75% evoo and 25% castor oil for a month and at first my pimples dried up and my skin looked so nice but after doing this method for a month I started noticing small bumps under my skin. I got freaked out cause I realized they were pimples that hadn't surfaced yet. So I decided to stop doing this method and that's when all hell broke loose. I got the worst acne I had ever gotten in my entire life. I had a ton of huge pimples that hurt so badly. Now I'm left with really red acne scars. So seriously I would not recommend this method. I loved it at first and even told my friends and family that they should try since I loved the results I was seeing. But if I would have known how badly my face would turn out, I would NEVER have tried it. Please don't make my mistake. My face looks horrible now

6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

on 5/11/2013 10:34:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Sincerely wish I'd tried it sooner. Years and years sooner. Putting oil on my skin just seemed far too mental. I've had problem skin since I hit puberty. I'm 25 now and I'd say I've let it affect my life and, partly, who I am as a person. Which is sad. I had terrible cystic acne for most my teenage years, but that has almost completely subsided aside from the occasional sneaky ones on my back, which I can live with.
For the last few years though, I've had gradually worsening rosacea and enlarged/consistently clogged pores (all over cheeks/nose).

I tried several different cleansers, face masks, and moisturisers, (and probably more useless stuff I don't care to remember) in hope of making it better. To be honest I think I'd also been making things worse by aggravating my highly sensitive skin. Even with mild cleansers I could never resist the urge to wash quite thoroughly twice a day. I also picked and squeezed which definitely doesn't help at all... can't overstate this enough, because I know just how hard it can be not to. SO there's my life story up until now, it's not been a happy trip for my skin if I'm honest. However, I'm a month into using OCM now and wanted to say how much I appreciate it even if it helps just one person. Put it this way, I've never wrote a review on anything before. It is that good for me.

One month in and ALL my skin problems have improved and I'm way less stressed about it all which has gotta help. My skin doesn't feel oily or dirty in the morning so I'm fine with just splashing it with water (the less I can do to it to aggravate it the better, although... I did try doing nothing for a week once and that didn't work too well!). I do moisturise currently with a light moisturiser (clinique m-gel) mixed with a drop of jojoba, but I feel the more I use OCM the less I need to as my skin seemingly adapts.

There WAS A PURGING PERIOD for a few days. Terrible ugly purging, but that's good right? I still find myself gently squeezing some crap out every 3 days or so from somewhere, usually my nose, but it comes out easier ( = less aggravation) and the general condition of my skin is SO much better now so it's a price I'm willing pay. I'm using 1/3rds castor/jojoba/grapeseed at the moment and things just keep getting better. I'll update if it all goes to **** but I'm feeling pretty hopeful right now. More than worth a go if you're having any of the issues I described.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 4/25/2013 3:17:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I am being detailed in this review because I hope it might be helpful for people who have skin like mine: 46 years old, combination, very fair, breakout prone, somewhat dehydrated, sensitive. I'm often told I have great skin, and that's because I have the breakouts totally under control with a 2% BHA. OCM messed that up and it took a while to fix. After a long talk with a famous dermatologist, and lots of personal trial and error, here is what I Iearned about OCM.

Most people cannot rub oil into their faces day after day without clogging pores and having the oil build up slowly on their skin. You can really mess yourself up if you don't dig deeper than strangers telling you online that it worked great for them. For example, the often-proposed recipe of 50% castor oil/50% carrier oil is totally wrong for most people: it is way too much castor oil, which WILL clog pores and for many will result in serious breakouts down the line, even if it seems wonderful at first.

For most people with any tendency toward breaking out, the key to a successful OCM is using an emulsifier, such as Polysorbate 80 and/or 20. There is a reason all commercial cleansing oils have an emulsifier! I've talked to many people who used OCM and it went great for a few weeks---until all heck broke loose with acne, milia, and bumps that took ages to subside. Use an emulsifier, preferably high up on your ingredient list.

RECIPE: For those who are breakout prone, I finally came up with a blend that does not cause big issues, and you can find all the ingredients online quite easily: 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or rice bran, sunflower, or safflower---all very light, so if you're drier go ahead and use olive oil instead); 1/4 argan oil (not expensive if you buy Watts or other off-label brands; you can substitute this for jojoba or hemp oil if you're quite oily or want to spend less); 1/4 cup Polysorbate-80; 1/8 hazelnut oil or raspberry oil (these are slightly astringent; if you're on the drier side replace with almond oil, macadamia oil, or avocado oil; if you're very sensitive or itchy try oat oil instead---Avena Sativa); 2 tablespoons Polysorbate-20.

Do not---and I can't stress this enough---add essential oils. They irritate the skin at a subcutaneous level. You may think they feel great and don't irritate you at all, but the irritation takes place subtly over time at a level you do not see or feel immediately. Fragrant oils impact your skin's ability to renew and repair itself over time. Skip the lavender, mint, eucalyptus, citrus, bergamot, rosemary, etc. It adds absolutely nothing of value and it harms us no matter how nice we think it smells.

The key is NOT to massage too much or for too long if you have sensitive or breakout-prone skin. You'd only be stimulating your follicles and you don't want that. Lightly massage the oil blend in for no more than 30 seconds. There is no need to use the hot towel to 'open pores.' Dermatologists will tell you there is no such thing anyway: you can't actually open or close your own pores. Doesn't happen. The hot towel just feels good, but it can irritate your skin over time too. I skip this altogether since I have an emulsifier in the oil anyway.

So I just lightly massage my cleansing oil in for about 20-30 seconds, and rinse off with warm water. It rinses right off. All makeup is removed. I follow with a second cleanse, usually something from Paula's Choice. (I love these three, though none are good for dry skin, just normal to oily: Earth Sourced; Hydralight; Skin Balancing. Note: Hydralight does not foam, it's just a silky gel you rub on and rinse off, but it's fantastic and leaves me so clean and soft. If you must foam, skip it---the Earth Sourced is the one that foams the most.) I end with a toner: Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Witch Hazel or Paula's Choice Hydralight Toner.

I've been doing this most nights of the week for a month with no adversity so far. My skin looks excellent, though I do also use various serums and moisturizers and SPF, of course.

Here is how I got to this OCM recipe---I really hope you learn from my trial and error. I initially wanted to try OCM because oils have benefits, take makeup off so well, and the method gets great reviews. Well, ladies, I was in for DISASTER. First, I tried washing my face with organic extra-virgin coconut oil. I loved the feeling and thought I was sold, but three days into it I had the most ghastly red acne all over my face, like I used to get 25 year ago! I just about cried at the sight of myself.

It got better in a week, so I tried again with olive oil. Same thing, even worse! Truly, all hell broke loose on my face. I was so broken out, like I have not been in decades. I went crazy trying to fix this, using strong BHA twice a day until the breakouts subsided, but that made my skin flaky and dry and angry in the process. Got somewhat back to normal in a week by washing only at night with Toleriane or Cerave, splashing with water in the morning, and putting on calamine lotion and 1% hydrocortisone a few times a day. (That really works, btw! Those 2 things together are miracle workers when there is a skin crisis.)

After my personal Exxon-Valdez disaster, I decided I had to explore emulsifiers and different methods and oils, and also talk to my dermatologist who is in Bev Hills and works on "famous faces." She told me she has tons of people coming in in a panic because they jumped on the OCM bandwagon and had awful breakouts.

I also have a friend who is a cosmetic chemist, and she confirmed the following: no alcohol (except thickeners such as cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, which are not really alcohol); no camphor, menthol or sulfur; no fragrance; no essential oils in your OCM; use tea tree sparingly and only when needed for breakouts/bacteria.

I really hope I've prevented a few breakouts out there with this review!

27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Other, Dark, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Tonight was my first night doing the OCM and I'm already a believer! My skin has never felt so clean. I had already been using argan oil after cleansing (with cetaphil) and those results were great. So I decided to enhance that by doing complete cleansing with oil. I used castor & jojoba. After toning with Peter Thomas Roth glycolic pads I didn't feel like I needed to moisturize. But, I wanted to add argan & rosehip seed oil just for an extra overnight treatment. I will update you guys on the results after using it for a few more weeks. Wish me luck!!

on 4/21/2013 11:26:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I really like this method! I've had moderate to severe acne for the past few years, and have been on various acne medications that were very drying. I have been doing this for a little over three weeks and it has really cleared my skin up!! My acne scars have faded significantly, I currently only have one pimple, and my overall complexion has evened out. I hardly put on any makeup now! I use 2 parts grapeseed oil mixed with one part castor oil, and steam my face twice! I recommend this method!

on 4/14/2013 2:34:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Words are not enough to explain how much I regret trying the OCM method.
I used to have a few small blemishes om my right cheek (they had been there for many years) and I've never had acne in my whole life except for the 1 or 2 pimples I used to get when I had my period. I tried the OCM 3 times back in february, hoping it would make them disappear. It resulted in light acne and LOTS of blemishes after LOTS of pimples. It took 4 months for my skin to clear up. And now I'm stuck with a lot of acne scars.

I tried several creams, cleansers and oils but it didn't work.
Please be careful. It's a 50/50 % chance it will work for you and I personally don't think it's worth taking the risk. Especially if you already have a pretty good skin to start with.
I didn't listen to my gut feeling and it resulted in really bad skin and acne scar all over my face.

I tried castor oil, sunflower oil and olive oil.

Cleansing my face with unpasteurized (eco) honey and using jojoba oil (wax) as my moisturiser day and night. Especially the jojoba oil has helped tremendously against the oily skin I used to get in the mornings and during the day because of my combination skin and also because of worthless day/night creams. And one of it's many miracles is that it evens out the skintone. The skin on my upper lip is quite a few shades lighter than the rest of my face and the jojoba has even it out. And it makes my face all glowy.
The honey is supergood to my face and the combination with the jojoba totally destroyed the bactaria or whatever it was I contracted from the OCM method.

I hardly get pimples any longer, even when I'm on my period.

I just wanted to send out a helping hand to other women whose faces have been traumatized by the OCM.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 4/9/2013 1:22:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green


At first, the OCM worked for me, but then my pores began to clog and my skin became weirdly bumpy. Also, I just was lazy and the oil would get all over my counter tops and leak from the bottles when I traveled. It just got to be a pain.

I switched to good old fashioned washcloth and Aveeno soap and my skin cleared right up. I also stopped using olive oil, as it seemed to heavy for my skin and wasn't absorbing. I switched to using sweet almond oil at night, and Avene lotion during the day (something my mom bought with Vitamin C and sunscreen in it)

I guess this method works for some, but I can't do it anymore.


I have sensitive skin and I get tiny blackheads on my cheeks, nose and forehead. I've also been noticing the pores around my nose getting bigger as I age.

I read about the OCM in a novel about the Romans and how they used to slather their entire bodies with oil and then scrape it off...got me thinking!

I did lots of research before I started this and now I'm in week 5 with no problems to report!

I used a mix of caster oil and olive oil to start (the caster oil sounds gross, but thats the oil that actually does the cleaning work! You need to use it.) I used a ratio of maybe 75% caster oil to 25% olive oil. Sounds like a lot of castor oil, yeah, but I figured I should start strong to begin with and then lower the ratio later. At the end of the first week, I did get a few red bumps on my forhead and hairline, so I dropped the ratio to 50/50, then to 25% caster oil and 75% olive oil.

I use the OCM everyday, usually twice, morning and night (or if I've used it at night, I just put a hot towel on my face the next morning, wipe and apply a little more olive oil as moisturizer)

My method is this, get out two washcloths and run the water to the highest heat. I apply the oils to my face and lightly massage for a few minutes.(2-5) Then I wet one washcloth with hot water and set it on my face till it gets cool (thats like only 30 seconds), then I wipe. Then I wet the second washcloth, set that on my face another 30 seconds and wipe. Then I apply some olive oil as a moisturizer. If I'm going to be wearing makeup, I go easier on the olive oil here, since I don't want my makeup floating around on my face.

I put my oils in a little pill bottle, but I have been looking around for a pump, since that would be so much easier to dispense it.

Olive oil as a moisturizer works amazing and makeup sits wonderfully on my skin when I've used it.

Yes, I even use the OCM on my eyes. it gets off ALL my makeup and I have never had it get in my eyes (I've even opened my eyes while they were slathered in oil)

Key to the OCM is getting the ratio right.

Also, some people actually ARE allergic to the oils and can't use the OCM...don't cry if you are one of them.

Try to think of the OCM as a face mask, instead of a face wash. The castor oil is STRONG. It can pull stuff out of your body. It's like a weird magnet oil. I have read of users massaging their face and suddenly they have all these little grains of sand under their fingers! Those are the blackheads that the caster oil has pulled out! I have never had anything that dramatic happen to me, but sometimes I feel a little thing and look down at my hands to see one little blackhead. YAY!

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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