Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)


352 reviews

62% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.2

Price: $$



on 1/3/2009 4:54:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

What I love about OCM: It's customizable! Or at least that sounds better than saying I don't follow the rules. Here's what I do:

1. Remove eye makeup with a cleansing towelette. Not a necessary step. But since everything gets mooshed around your face when you do the OCM, I hate seeing little bits of mascara everywhere.

2. Apply oil to dry face. Mine is 80% grapeseed oil with 20% cold-pressed castor oil.

3. Let oil soak into face for two minutes while I brush my teeth. Again, not necessary, but I have to brush my teeth sometime, and why not let the oil have a couple extra minutes while I do?

4. Massage oil into skin for five minutes. I use gentle to moderate pressure with fingertips only. This is enough to get my fair skin very rosy, so I don't dare do anything more aggressive.

5. Wipe off oil with a cotton cleansing pad.

6. Apply Lumene Lift Touch cleanser to dry face and massage it around. Does this sound like I'm doing the OCM twice in a row? I guess I do. But *this* is the step where all the blackheads and sebum plugs come out of my skin. I don't know why that is, but this is my favorite part, and I would never skip it.

7. Rinse with water and wash with Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap. Not prescribed by the OCM, but I've had significantly fewer breakouts since I added this extra step. Whatever OCM says, I don't like the idea of leaving the gunky oil on my skin, even if I did wipe 90% of it off.

The whole process takes about 10 minutes. I don't steam my face since the water in my bathroom faucets takes about a year to heat up.

Regarding breakouts: When I first started using the OCM with castor oil, I used the cheap castor oil from the laxative section of the drug store (20% blended into 80% grapeseed oil). Maybe it was a coincidence, but I developed several large subterranean cystic pimples that week. I dumped that oil and started over with a blend using cold-pressed castor oil from the health-food store, and I've had no cystic acne since. After two weeks of use, I'm still getting breakouts, but these are small pimples that crop up and then disappear surprisingly quickly. I'm willing to stick it out and see if this is the purge that other reviewers have mentioned.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 12/22/2008 3:54:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

1 part EVOO 1 part Castor Oil 1 Part Weleda Calendula Oil.

My skin is very oily in the T-Zone and Normal-dry on the cheeks.

I have experienced only one bout of breakouts with this method which I attribute to using a new makeup and falling asleep in it after a night on the town (oops!)

The first few times I used the OCM, there were literally dozens of "kernels" of solidified sebum that were freed from the pores on my nose, chin and cheeks.

My skin was glowing and soft. I had new skin really. I am very happy with this method.

I now add a few drops of Garden of Wisdom's Blueberry Exfo Serum once a week and massage it into my skin as usual. I leave the mixture on my face for 15 minutes.

I use a baby washcloth to steam my face- hot water. Once I have steamed and removed the oil, I use a few drops of Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Castille Liquid and massage that into a lather.

After rinsing generously with hot water, I mist my face with a weak Glycolic Toner diluted with Rosewater Witch Hazel. I then apply 1 drop of Skin Actives Every Lipid Serum and my chosen Moisturizer (Skin Actives).

Sometimes I will apply dry heat from a small personal heat lamp to detoxify my skin while the oil is on my skin. I have found this effective in releasing more of the plugs from my pores.

ETA: I have been using the OCM for three months.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 12/16/2008 1:42:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

Skin type: combo/dry/extremely sensitive that's prone to clogged pores on the nose and forehead but very few whiteheads.
IMO cleansing with oil is a technique that can be personalized to suit the user so don't feel that there's only ONE right way to work with oil. I've been using oil as a cleansing tool for years and have tweaked my approach numerous times to suit the season or my current skin's needs. I've used it alone and before facial cleansers, however based on my skin type my skin likes oil + very warm water + cold-pressed soap best. Basically I model my method after Erno Laszlo's cleansing method with a few changes for convenience. I've been doing this specific routine 2x per day, morning and night, for about a month and my skin really glows and is hydrated, calm and baby smooth. I have zero dryness and less oil in my t-zone. I look like I'm doing routine facials! There has also been a near compete reduction in sebum build-up on my nose and forehead, too. When I look closely, my pores are paler and shrunken because there's significantly less stuff in them.
First stage: oil on dry skin. I use any oil that's available and like them all. I'm currently using avocado oil, sweet almond oil and even melted shea butter. What the oil does for me is break down my sunscreen, sebum and makeup while giving my secondary cleanser a moisturizing boost. That's pretty much it. I massage it in GENTLY for about 30 seconds or 60 seconds if I'm feeling generous, but beyond that is a waste of my time and when I did it I only found it irritated my skin. That goes for extra firm massaging - too much pressure just irritates my skin.
Second stage: rinsing with moderately warm water - washcloth added for facial 'steaming'. I don't use hot water - that's too irritating for my skin. However, moderately warm water (comfortable bathwater temp) is stimulating and purifying and feels comfortable upon contact. Basically I rinse my skin with generous handfuls of water about, oh, I guess about 8-10 times then I gently hold a soaking, moderately warm plush terrycloth washcloth against my face for a few seconds, then rinse the cloth and repeat about 3-5 times. The warm water supposedly improves the skin's circulation and promotes tissue drainage...according to Dr. Laszlo. By this stage of cleansing I notice that my skin already has taken on a soft pink hue, which I need to add is "very very" different than ruddy, hot-looking or flushed. It just looks healthy. The added rinses also help to remove excess oil. Who'da thunk? lol
Third stage: cleansing with cold-pressed soap. Now don't I sound fussy by using not just any old soap, but a cold-pressed soap? Truth be told I find cold-pressed soaps to be gentler and less drying than synthetic soaps (Dove), traditional soaps (Ivory) or liquid cleansers (foaming face washes or cleansing gels). My favorite soaps are ones from Chagrin Valley (Honey Butter or Rhassoul Clay for when I'm feeling dirty). So, after all that rinsing I then massage a generous lather of soap onto my skin and work it in gently for about 15-30 seconds. If my skin doesn't feel completely smooth during this process I add more soap to a baby washcloth and gently wash my skin with this for a few seconds more.
Fourth and final stage: final rinse. Basically I rinse my skin "at least" 10 times with the moderately warm water then I go at it with tepid water for another 10 rinses. Note: my skin doesn't feel squeaky clean after the final rinse. It feels clean and not greasy but I do sense a slight residue on my skin. You can try a 2nd soap wash at this point but I don't because I found it too drying.
All I do afterward is apply a few drops of a treatment oil (loving Garden of Wisdom's Rosacea Oil Blend) and a moisturizer (Eucerin Q10 Firming Cream). That's it.
So why do I give it a score of 4? It's a bit of a hassle to do this routine. Timewise it takes me about 2 minutes to wash my face. Believe me, the process is completely worth it but it still can be a pain when I'm tired or in a hurry. But I don't get the same glow to my skin if I skip the oil. After a day or two my skin just starts to look less vibrant. It still looks great but with the oil I get a facial-quality glow about me. So hi-ho, hi ho, it's off to 'oil my face' I go.... :) continued >>

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 12/12/2008 1:12:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Well, I tried the OCM using Weleda Iris Cleansing Lotion, and I also bought the Wild Rose, but used it less. I tried several combinations of oils...I used this mostly mixed with Castor oil. My skin behaves most of the time with breakouts only monthly, and I'm not nearly as reactive to products as I used to be. Also, I'm neurotic about my skin. I take good care of it, and am relentless about keeping it clean, and protected. I'm also aging, so I treat it regularly with anti-wrinkle treatments like glycolics and tretinoins...my skin is very well exfoliated. I've always been of the "natural" bent though, and knew if I could make the OCM work for me, my skin would be healthier for it. So I gave it a try and promised myself if I started breaking out, I would quit. I also knew if I was going to break out it would happen immediately. The morning after my first cleansing with the Iris Lotion, my skin looked absolutely stunning (for me). No more red...the tone had become even and calm. The quality of my skin was clear and moisture-full, and felt lovely to the touch. It didn't feel like baby's skin though, it was "wetter" than that.

I check my skin daily for blackheads, and while I always have a couple, I don't normally have many. So while I was trying all this, I scanned my skin every day for anything new or abnormal. I noticed no new blackheads, but started breaking out almost immediately. I told myself it was just a little purging from stuff already in my skin, and it would go away. Well, it didn't go away, the little red cysts just got worse and greater in number...and no new blackheads. This must be why they're cysts...they form so deep beneath the surface, you just don't see the clog....AND anything cystic is very inflamed, so I'm assuming the bacteria was just running rampant with the new oiliness of my skin. But the parts of my skin that looked good, kept getting better...so I didn't stop...I kept on. Big mistake.
When I used the OCM, I applied the oils, massaged my skin for several minutes, and removed it all with my muslin cloths (from Liz Earle) after steaming my pores with the warm cloths. I did everything by the book. There was NOTHING left on my skin...no oils, no nothing, and if you've ever used muslin cloths, you know how well they exfoliate when you wipe your skin with them. But it wasn't enough. My skin continued to break out, and after two weeks, I gave it up. I tried getting my skin back under control treating it very gently, but that wasn't working either. It's been two weeks now since I stopped the OCM, and my skin is still very reactive...you know once this starts, it's hard to get it to stop...so now I'm taking desparate measures and drying the crap out of my face. Lots of glycolics, salycilic acid, and alchohol...whatever works. It's finally starting to calm down, but I'm going to have some dark spots on my face as reminders not to mess with oils again.

I contemplated all of this, wondering what our fore-mothers used to keep their skin healthy. I assumed they used oils. What else would they have used before soaps were prevelant? I should do some research. I also looked closely at the comedogenicity of the Weleda products, plus castor oil, and sunflower oil (which I used some nights without the Weleda). Most of the ingredients are rated about a 2 (out of 5), so they're not that bad. The Wild Rose Cleanser is much worse, but I didn't use that as much. Most oils are highly occlusive though...that must have more impact than comedogenicity on why they don't work for those of us with natural sebum in our skin. I also need to remember that baby's skin is not oily at all...they don't produce sebum, so a drier skin is really a more natural skin.

I can't imagine anyone with oil already in their skin who this would work for. Only the driest of skins would benefit from oil in this quantity that doesn't emulsify and wash off cleanly. I'm also a little peeved that I let myself be influenced by folks who don't know my skin. It was a sad case of the blind leading the blind. I've read so many accounts of the OCM not working for people, I just hope my trial allows others to stop sooner than I did if it doesn't work for them and they start to break out. No reason on earth to destroy your skin for some silly "natural" ideal.

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

on 12/10/2008 4:40:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

OCM is not for everyone.. and it may not work the first time becuase it is a formualtion that will need to be perfected. This methos is honestly by trial and error.

My formulation may not work for everyone... everyones face is different!

I use Cold Cream to remove the makeup with a Warm washcloth..

Then I use Queen Helene Daily facial scrub to exfoliate...

THen I have my bottle premixed with
equal parts
Jajoba Oil, Grapeseed and Rose Hip Oil

I massage this onto my face and it gets real nice and warm.. Im usually watching tv when im doing this.
Then I blot my face to get the excess of and leave it as a moisturizer for the night.
In the morning I lightly cleanse my face with Jason's Rosewater Face wash.. and a natural botanical moisturizer...
Thats.. it..
And to be honest.. I used to have such a slick and oily face.. very prone to pimples... and now I have normal skin.. I dont ever have to blot anymore.. and if I do feel a pimple comming on.. I zap it with the Burts Beezwax Spot treatment... works wonders too!

I like to keep my stuff very simple and easy.. i get ready in 20 min in the morning and most of it is trying to get out of bed!

Just wanted to share my story and say that OCM is great and that it has saved me thousands of dollars on face products and has given me GLOWING SKIN.. but is difficult to achive only because time is needed to figure out what is the best formulation for your face.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 12/10/2008 3:55:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Like others, I really wanted this to work for me - so much so that when I started to break out and was assured that it was just part of purging or that I needed to change percentages/oils, I did so and continued to use OCM for about 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, I had acne like I've never had in my life. I had cystic acne all over my cheeks which took a total of 4 months after I stopped OCM to completely clear. I'm now currently trying to remove the scars (both indented and raised) caused by this cystic acne - I had never scarred from acne before this. I had decent skin before this and really regret trying something with such unpredictable results. Many people will give you advice on how you should change the oils/percentages/method to fit your needs - but IMHO, there is too much at risk (uh, my face) and not enough certainty that you will find the magical combo that works.

If you do try it, I sincerely hope that it works for you. But PLEASE stop as soon as you start to break out with cystic acne. Seriously, is there any other product that you would continue to use if you knew it was breaking you out? Of course not - do NOT fall for the hype if it turns out to not work for you! Scars are not worth it - I don't care how natural or cheap it is. OCM has cost me more than any other cleanser/product I have ever used before put together.

I'm now using a natural soap bar to cleanse my face and it has kept me completely clear for the past four months.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 12/10/2008 6:54:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

1part avocado, 1part castor oil, 2 part sesame seed oil
4 drops of teatree oil, i rub this all over my face before showering try not to let it get in your hair or it will be hard to get
out of your hair, at then end of the shower about 10 mins later
i take a red circular makeup sponge and wipe away the oil, till i'm happy, if the sponge gets too oily or dirty from makeup, i wash it with soap and continue wiping at my face,,,

the lazy mans ocm

works for me :)

on 12/8/2008 12:18:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Hazel


I've only been using The Method a couple of weeks with excellent results so far. I use about a 1:1 ratio of castor and sunflower oil, maybe slightly more castor oil.

In reading a lot of the previous reviews, I see that many do not even mention castor oil when it's, perhaps, the most important part of the oil cleansing method. Check out www.theoilcleansingmethod.com for complete details.

Too many use EVOO, too, which can be very comedogenic - no wonder so many have breakouts.

I do steam with a warm, not hot, washcloth about three times before removing as much oil as possible with the rinsed-out face cloth (I always start with a fresh one). I follow with my regular cleanser (Equate moist facial wipes from Wal-Mart, after trying many, many much more costly cleansers, both OTC and prescription - including Cetaphil, beloved by many but not by MY skin) then alcohol-free Neutrogena toner.

Blackheads and "plugs" are pretty much gone - even where, on one side of my nose and at the base of it on both sides, I couldn't get rid of them and constant big flakes despite trying everything under the sun. Pores are much smaller appearing, and my skin gets a lot less oily (no powder at all except when I first apply my make-up, few blotters, but when I need them, the blue Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets are a lot better than the tissue type).

Both my roseacea and sebhorrheic dermatitis are happy, at least so far. Normally, I'd be as scaly and flakey as can be by this time of year with my SD. Admittedly, my roseacea has been better of late anyway, so I was afraid to try OCM initially in case it triggered a flare-up. Thankfully, that hasn't happened.

Based on reviews here, I just switched to Dermactin-TS eye cream and night time serum, which I follow with after my toner dries. So far, with the OCM and these Dermavectin products, my combination skin (more on the oily side even at 52) is moist, plump and soft with fewer than usual breakouts. I have done OCM most nights, although a few times, I've just cleansed with the facial wipes and skipped the oil - I haven't been religious about it, but still excellent results. Couldn't ask for anything cheaper, either. If any of this changes, I'll update.

**** UPDATE: 6/18/09 - still using the OCM about 3 nights a week and then cleansing either with Purpose for Normal/Dry skin (although mine's pretty oily) or the Equate wipes on the other days - OCM is too time consuming for lazy me to do every day, plus I just don't think it's necessary that often. I'm still using sunflower oil but in a ratio of about 3:1 castor:sunflower. I only mix up small batches that I'll use up within a couple of weeks, and I store my sunflower oil in the refrigerator so it doesn't go rancid. I'm not using the Dermactin Night serum any more as it was giving me some breakouts. Most of the time I'm just using some plain old Fruit of the Earth clear aloe vera gel as a light moisturizer after my toner. I am still using the Dermactin eye cream, though. I can't stress enough that EVOO or any olive oil regardless of "virginity" is not good for most people to use for OCM as it's pretty comedogenic. Check out this site for a list that scores ingredients' comedogenicity and irritancy levels - I've found it very helpful: www.zerozits.com/Articles/acnedetect.htm ****

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 11/28/2008 7:28:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

**************READ this if the ocm DIDNT work for you*********************

I LOVE the OCM, but like most regimes, they need a bit of tweaking to get the most out of them for your skin type. Here are a few of my "tweaks" :)

I started out with OO (what the ocm reccomends) and castor oil..but my beautiful results didnt last. So I switched to SUNFLOWER OIL. OMG-what a difference! Sunflower oil is incredible..its so much lighter than OO and I found I no longer even needed castor oil.

I also dont like the "washcloth steam method"--I think its very INEFFECTIVE..but thats just my opinion after steaming over a pot of water from the tea kettle..its AMAZING! You can literally FEEL your pores opening :O

One more thing--I happen to think there is a major FLAW in the OCM..something that, if done without, more ppl would have the results they are truly looking for. The theory behind the ocm is "Oil Desolves Oil" but what holds true is "Water Does NOT Disolve Oil"
Soooo-everyone is following the directions of the ocm which say to massage the oil to your skin, make up on and all, because it will cut throught the dirt/oil/and make up of the day (which it does) but then after you steam, they tell you to simply " Wipe away the oil with your warm washcloth" and then your done.

:O omg! This is the part where ppl go to bed and wake up with those ENORMOUS, painful, deep under the skin pimples...and they wonder why :( YOU MUST TO USE A CLEANSER!! A very gentle, very mild cleanser of course (I like anything by cetaphil or aveeno) but there you are with oil on your face with all the dirt/oil/make up of the day mixed in with it...you cant "wipe it away" with water--you need something to BREAK THE TENSION and the hold of the oil on your skin...it needs to come off your skin and go down the drain. If you try only wiping it away, You will leave traces behind that cause the painful cystic acne (and other annoying blemishes). I STRONGLY urge you-if you have tried the OCM in the past and had a bad experience..try it this way.

I cannot believe how many years I have spent and how many products Ive bought trying to achieve the promised glowing skin that I am FINALLY beginning to see.

Really hope this helps!

107 out of 107 people found this review helpful.

on 11/20/2008 4:39:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

The other posts have quite elaborate techniques on How To and How Not To do an OCM... I will share my experince with you on OCM..
Like all users the first time i tried this, my face glowed like no one's business... walking down the street, a lot of women gave me second looks and the skin was dewy soft.. after that it all slowly went downhill.. i faced similar problems of acne breakouts like other users. My normally oily skin became so dry that i developed flaky patches which my moisturising lotion could not combat. I persisted for 2 weeks and finally gave up..

Cut to a month after i had quit OCM, i was still struggling with dry skin and acne that was so severe that it refused to die out on its own... it was time for some professional attention, so i got a clean-up done.. My skin settled down after that and the acne began to reduce, but skin was dry as ever... It was time for my bi-annual weekly scrub routine. Twice a year i exfoliate my face with a papaya scrub for a week, once everyday... three days into the scrubbing, my oily skin made a re-apperance... i was so relieved, having spent all my years tending to an oily skin, i was at sea on how to care for the sudden dry skin, i had no products and no understanding of what to do..
here's my take on what happened, while OCM is excellent at drawing out impurities, it does not help remove dead cells, maybe the oils cause cells to clump up together causing acne on fast cell renewal areas like the cheeks..

OCM has it's place i believe as a cleansing technique, but a weekly incorporation of exfoliating scrubs or salts or grains into the oil mixture or a separate exfoliation procedure will help prevent acne. I plan to return to OCM as soon as my exfoliation week ends.. will post my results of my second innings for members.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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