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Cleansers - Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

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rated 3.3(338 reviews)

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rated 2 of 5 on 11/12/2012 11:49:00 AM More reviews by myjoyfullife20

Age: 36-43 Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Warm Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I can't recommend this method for oily/acne prone skin. If you read the other MUA reviews, OCM has the most success for those with dry skin. Also if you do some research online (which I should have done beforehand), there are several articles and videos that don't recommend this method particularly for those with oily skin. Here are a few links:


When I first tried OCM, I used a blend of olive oil and lavender, and my skin was so soft and smooth. A few pimples would crop up on my chin and forehead, but would go away quickly. A few days into the routine, I added castor oil and this really got those plugs loose. But after about two weeks, my skin turned a complete 360 with painful pimples, whiteheads and red bumps, and the texture felt like sandpaper. This was the worst it had ever been! My face hurt so, so bad and I looked terrible.

I know some people will claim that what I was going through was "purging", but purging is not about breaking out in places you normally donít break out. I never broke out on my forehead, but while doing OCM, it erupted in pimples, and painful ones! Unfortunately my skin just got irritated from OCM. And yes, I did use the good, cold pressed, organic, 100% oils (no blends).

For those of us struggling with oily skin, acne, blackheads and enlarged pores, using an oil/oil based cleanser is like adding salt to a wound - it will only make it worse. This is how I look at it - I already have oily skin, then I decide to clean my dirty face with oils, massaging all that dirt and oil deeper into my already oil-filled pores, steam my face with warm water opening the pores even more, then wipe the oils off with water. Water does not dissolve oil. There could be some oil and dirt left on my face that will now clog up my pores - great.

I am not saying that using oil as a cleanser is not good for the skin - it just is not good for oily, acne prone skin. What my skin needed was a good cleanser to dissolve and control the oils on my face, not add to the oiliness. It has taken me almost two weeks to get my skin back to its pre-OCM state, and I am using a mild castille soap to cleanse, raw apple cider vinegar to tone, a salicyclic cream, and 1-2 drops of tamanu oil (yes oil) to moisturize and help with scarring.

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rated 2 of 5 on 11/11/2012 11:19:00 PM More reviews by lukivo

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

I have tried the ocm on two seperate occasions. Both times I used it it for over a month. At first I tried olive oil and my skin was glowing and beautiful! But gradually it began getting really flaky, yet oily at the same time! My forehead was completley covered in clogged pores (nasty whiteheads). So then about 6 months later I decided to give it a try again...this time with Jojoba oil. I had a more pleasant experience this time. My skin purged a bit at first, but then it was clear and glowing! I was recommending it to everyone! Then... about 6 weeks into it, my chin and forehead got extremely clogged, full of whiteheads. I still am battling with the damage it caused to my chin. I guess this just isn't for my skin:( So sad!

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rated 5 of 5 on 11/6/2012 2:14:00 PM More reviews by Filledelavanille

Age: 19-24 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Red, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Violet

I've just started doing this, so I'll update if anything changes, but so far I'm loving this.

In June, I got a really bad renal infection and had to go through three (!!) really heavy courses of antibiotics to get rid of it. Of course, this made my rather pretty skin (it was just dry, never had any serious problems) react by producing horrible cysts and zits. My GP decided this needed to be treated with a topical antibiotic: erythromycin.
This didn't make it go away, it made it worse, so I decided to get a scan of my skin at a skin therapist.
She told me it wasn't acne, it's just my skin going crazy over all the toxins and harsh chemicals it was exposed to. The scan showed that actually, my pores were quite clean and my skin was really dried out.

She told me about OCM, so I jumped on this train and decided to try it.
I use 90% sweet almond oil (high in unsaturated fatty acids, magnesium and vitamin E) and 10% castor oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil, because of its anti inflammatory properties and lovely, relaxing scent.
After a cleanse, I use a mild toner by Clarins, some vitamin E oil on dry spots and pure lavender on the inflamed areas.
My skin is already improving! It looks much more relaxed, less angry and the zits are healing much faster.

The therapist also advised me to use a white clay mask once a week after steaming, to get an even deeper cleanse. That feels great as well.

I would advise this method to anyone with similar problems.
But, I think it is also very important to 'know your skin' before you try this. Let a skin therapist check it out before you assume something about your skin, because using the wrong mixture of oils may be catastrophic.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 10/13/2012 1:07:00 PM More reviews by BayRidge

Age: 36-43 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine Eyes: Green

I don't know if this has changed my life, but it has certainly changed my skin for the better. I've been doing OCM for over 2 years now & have noticed a substantial change in clogged pores, overall luminosity, less oil breakthrough during the day etc.

My general oils are castor, jojoba and tea tree which I modify depending on what my skin needs - more castor in the summertime, less in the fall & winter (drop the tea tree full stop). I may try to add a more moisturizing component this year as my skin is getting a bit flakey from retinol. At any rate, it gets everything off - waterproof SS, foundations, waterproof mascaras.... Its no wonder my skincare products work so much better now.

I make time a few times a week to spend at least 20 min (generally in front of TV) to really rub & massage my face so that EVERYTHING comes out. Then I use a very hot cloth to remove the oil, rinse with cool water & wash with whatever cleanser I have on hand.

I always notice the biggest change when I stop doing something - as happened earlier in the year when I was working from Italy. 2 weeks into cleaning with non-oil cleansers was enough to send me running to Sephora to buy their version of a cleansing oil. The change was immediate (and gratifying to feel all of those hard clogs coming out.) I now will not travel without an oil (unless its for an overnight trip).

I never had a purge or a break out from OCM, maybe I am just lucky or the quality of the oils suits my skin, I have no idea. But its definitely worth a try if you're considering it.

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rated 4 of 5 on 9/23/2012 2:33:00 AM More reviews by jenlovesthewestcoast

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine Eyes: Blue

So I've been on OCM for 4 days now(early to post, I know, but i'll update if things take a turn for the worse) .. I have combination skin, acne prone, and my skin gets flaky and dehydrated easily. I've been using 3/4 jojoba oil, 1-2 drops tea tree oil and 1-3 drops avocado oil for my oil mixture and It is really great. I felt castor oil would be too harsh since my skin is combination and sensitive, so I opted 1) Jojoba oil, for cleansing, 2) tea tree for acne and minimizing pores, and 3) avocado oil for moisturizing. My skin looks radiant and smooth except for my chin(my problem area), things are being pushed out so its good. I can get away without wearing make up for the first time which is fantastic feeling. My oil combination seems to be soothing for the skin but has blemish fighting properties especially from the tea tree oil. I use it at night with two steams and my skin looks and feels so nice after. On many reviews I read, people were using castor oil and having harsh reactions so I didnt want to use it in the beginning and I don't even need it. Jojoba is great on its own, and coupled with tea tree and avocado oil it seems to have the right balance for my combination skin!!!

I definitely recommend trying jojoba oil if you have acne prone and/or combination/sensitive skin, as it cleanses really well and leaves skin supple and smooth. From reviews, I think starting off with an oil and working castor oil in (in quantities relating to your skin type)might be good, but see how just one works for your skin before adding castor oil as it is harsh and might put you off the entire OCM if you have a bad result. :)

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rated 5 of 5 on 9/19/2012 8:54:00 PM More reviews by arisibelle

Age: 18 & Under Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Warm Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine Eyes: Grey

I use even parts raw honey and extra virgin olive oil. About 1 teaspoon of each. Pop it into a bowl or cup, mix, pop that into the microwave for 20 secs just to warm it up a bit. The most important thing to note with the OCM is that you MUST wash the oil off very thoroughly or it will clog your pores and cause break outs. Apply an even layer to your face, massage for 10-20 minutes, rinse with warm water. Jump in the shower to make sure it's all gone - which is why it's best to do this at night. Honey is antiseptic so it acts like hydrogen peroxide to clean your skin very gently - honey has been used on wounds and burns for thousands of years in order to prevent festering and infection. Olive oil is very similar to sebum, the oil that our skin naturally produces. The olive oil dissolves the sebum build up and helps soften and moisturise skin while the honey gently removes dirt. The olive oil is also a miracle for removing even water-proof makeup. EXCELLENT for sensitive skin, just don't scrub when trying to remove it. Instead let warm water and steam remove it.

My personal experience:
I've had acne ALL MY LIFE. When I was a little girl I had tiny red bumps and whiteheads despite bathing every day. When I hit puberty it got really wild and I have had cystic acne almost every day since puberty first hit. Tried Proactiv, tried all these different treatments and nothing worked. Found the OCM and I'm loving it so far. I had several new cystic pimples from trying a new skincare line known as Simple. ("with skin loving ingredients") I've been using the OCM once a day for about 4 days now and the cystic acne is almost gone. I've already noticed that older scars are starting to fade. Using this with my Egyptian Magic is really magic!

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rated 5 of 5 on 9/14/2012 9:58:00 PM More reviews by allenleliza9

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium Eyes: Green

Using the OCM has changed my life!! I have had anywhere from bad to so-so skin for years now (17-24) and I really thought it was just something I would have to deal with forever. About 2 years ago I tried the OCM for the first time to no avail...and by no avail I mean a terrible break out that took over 2 months to heal. Then I went off the pill and things really got bad, however I knew I wanted to stick it out bc i was just done with hormones. I healed myself cleansing with oats and forcing myself not to wear any makeup which was pretty rough bc you want it most when your skin is bad. Anyway, that was going well and things were starting to clear but I was unhappy with what a mess that was. About 4 months ago I decided to give the OCM another go and I am so glad that I did. As many have been saying, the trick is finding the ratio that works for you. My current recipe that I LOVE right now is one that someone a few reviews down doesn't like, so it all depends on you! Currently I am using 1/3 jojoba, 1/3 castor, and 1/3 sweet almond. I also add a bit of lavender essential oil. I put it in an old glass Burts Bees pump bottle and use 3 pumps before I get into the shower. I let it steam while I am doing my routine and then wash it off at the end. I follow with an ACV, witch hazel, h20 toner and then massage in a few drops of grapeseed oil as a moisturizer. My skin is the best it has ever been and has been for months now. Its glowey and fresh looking and all my scars are fading. Of course I get 1 or 2 spots that time of month, but they go away so fast. I also do raw honey masks 1-3 times a week. Every once in a while I wash with Dr. Bronners baby when I am really lazy or a little tipsy after a night out just because its easier, and it never causes issues, but I go right back to the OCM the next day. This is the best thing ever and I will never go back. My boyfriend was making fun of me the other day bc I was doing a little song and dance in the bathroom about how happy I was with my skin finally :) Ditch the chemicals ladies. It may take a little experimenting, but once you find your mix, you will love the OCM forever!

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rated 1 of 5 on 9/12/2012 5:14:00 PM More reviews by geekinpink

Age: 30-35 Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

I tried the OCM about 5 years ago with 50/50 castor oil and EVOO. It worked well but I was a student and it was a hassle when you're sharing a bathroom. My skin breaks out to almost everything. I've almost found the right balance of products but wanted to try OCM again since I'm starting to see wrinkles on my face. After reading about oils for acne prone skin, I went with a mix of 50/50 castor oil and jojoba. I was recovering from 2 bad cysts from trying a new powder. I stuck with the OCM for a week hoping that my skin was purging but I continued to get severe, deep and painful cysts. I did try adding more jojoba to the mix but it made no difference. After reading warnings from others, I've decided to give up. As soon as I stopped the OCM, the cysts stopped appearing. My routine had been: OCM in the evening followed by a nice hot wash cloth a few times on my face to steam the oil off. It felt lovely. IN the morning I washed with my Olay brush and my usual creamy baby wash as a face wash. I'll admit that the OCM helped remove those gritty plugs that some people talk about. I wish it worked for me as its natural and has such potential.

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rated 2 of 5 on 9/4/2012 4:23:00 PM More reviews by geideja

Age: 25-29 Skin: Oily, Fair, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium Eyes: Grey

OCM is trial and error - I tried different oils and none of them worked. Castor oil caused clogged pores and rash. Grapeseed oil caused rash. Olive oil, almond oil, hemp seed oil and sunflower seed oil are very moisturizing but unfortunately, they broke me out.

When I first did OCM, my friend told me that purging is normal and it will go away in a few weeks but it didn't! If you're breaking out then you ARE breaking out! There's no such as purging except AHA, BHA and retinoids.


[edit: (5/30/2013)] I tried OCM again but it still didn't work out. I recently discovered my own cleansing balm (inspired by Galen's original cold cream) with unrefined beeswax, organic jojoba oil and manuka honey. I've been using it for a month and there is no issue with clogged pores, rash or breakouts. I know it's not OCM but this is definitely the one for my skin.

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rated 1 of 5 top reviewer on 9/3/2012 12:32:00 AM More reviews by wws1980

Age: 30-35 Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Warm Hair: Brown, Curly, Coarse Eyes: Green

Yikes. Be very, very careful when deciding to try the OCM to cleanse your face. I had high hopes for this. My current method of Clarisonic and Black Soap had me almost clear but I still had one or two hormonal acne breakouts around my period. They take about two weeks to clear so I decided to try the OCM to see if I could clear it out faster and maybe even prevent them. Boy was this a bad decision! On my third day of trying the OCM (castor oil and sunflower oil), I started breaking out in tiny whiteheads on my jawline, where I normally breakout. Thinking it was part of the purging process, I proceeded for another week and it consistently got worse and worse until my entire lower cheek to jawline on both sides of my face were covered in cystic acne. I stopped OCM immediately and went to my dermatologist thinking it might be a horrible allergic reaction or something - she diagnosed me with oil folliculitis and possible staph. I' was put on a regimen of antibiotics, Hibiclens cleanser, topical antibiotics, and a steroid cream. The breakout continued for another three weeks, just getting worse and worse. Every morning I would wake up and there would be two or three new zits. It was horrible and even makeup couldn't cover the breakout. Random strangers commented on my skin which didn't help. My dermatologist did a series of AHA peels which seems to have finally curbed the onslaught of new acne, although the in-between stage of peeling + acne just added to my misery. My dermatologist has also put me on Retin A Micro to prevent future acne but I've been hesitant to start it in earnest since I've heard it also comes with a purging period.

I know the OCM works miracles for many, but sadly I wasn't one of them.

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