Oil Cleansing: How to Do It Correctly + Mistakes to Avoid

Perhaps you have been experimenting with oil cleansing for a few weeks and now your skin is getting worse and it feels like it isn't working for you. Here are some tips and suggestions that may help.


When it comes to cleansing our face, we can easily get a little carried away. We want it really clean! – we want the dust of the day gone, pollution, sunscreen, maybe make-up off, and not to forget our pores. We want everything clear and polished. And what feels like it would do all that best? Likely, a foamy cleanser, one that gives us this feeling of ‚squeaky clean‘.

You might have heard it already: squeaky clean is not the best option. And you might have also heard of oil cleansing instead, where you cleanse your face with pure oil. Why would you? Because oil dissolves oil – and that includes the makeup, the sunscreen on your face as well as the sebum and dirt in the pores. Yes! You can massage them all away.

Oil cleansing is a fabulous method – however, and that is the topic of this article: there are a few tricks and tips that are helpful to really get the full benefit of it. And: The method isn’t for everyone, and not for everyone at all times. You might use some of these tricks to make it work for you on or alternate with a different type of cleanser – like I do. So read on.

1. Every skin is different, and even your own skin is different at different times. Weather changes as do your hormones, even the variety or sameness of your skincare routine influences the state of your skin. So, the first thing is: be aware of how your skin is responding. Get curious about its needs. Listen to it. Experiment gently. Start oil cleansing twice a week, then increase.

2. The magic is in the duration. When it comes to oil cleansing, the magic starts after minute two or so. If you have tried oil cleansing and found it underwhelming, you likely didn’t give it enough time.

Massage gently with your fingers and fingertips, in circular motions – and after minute 3 or so, you’ll feel little oil plugs, black little things, under your fingers. This is your pores being cleaned out, without squeezing, just by the principle of oil dissolving oil and your gently massage. You can do this deeper cleansing 1-2 week, or whenever you have the time to do so. 

The deeper, longer oil cleansing is especially good when living in a polluted environment, or when diet isn't optimal - internal and external impurities eill affect the skin, which then requires a deeper cleansing. 

3. Switch up your oils. Different oils have different linoleic/oleic acid profile, and they do different things. Jojoba, closest to the skin sebum, is an excellent oil for cleansing for all skin types but can dry certain types of skin. Use it pure or in the form of a BEST SKIN EVER.

Castor oil is fabulous for cleansing, and can be good for oilier skins because it is more astringent and purifying and has a high viscosity, meaning you can massage it on your skin really well. It helps condition your eyelashes too, so it is an excellent eye make up remover. Kari Gran and InLight Beauty make excellent oil cleansers that contain it.

For drier skin conditions, heavier oils are excellent – Best Skin Ever Sandalwood and InLight Beauty Cleansing Oil and InLight Face Cleansing Balm are perfect for this type of skin.

For some clients, switching up their oils regularly is the secret to oil cleansing being effective.

4. Remove the first layer before your real cleanse. Massage a few drops of oil on your face and then use a wet washable cotton round to remove your first layer of sunscreen, makeup, and dirt. Then do the oil cleansing – you don’t want to massage the dirt around on your face.

5. Add water to your massage. Again, this is a trick that might turn the magic of oil cleansing on for you. After a minute or so, wet your hands and emulsify the oil on your face. Adding water to your massage will also make it easier to remove the oil – some clients just use a cotton round or even a dry towel to remove it after they have added water to their massage. Or try double cleansing. See below.

6. Read the signs wisely. There might seemingly be more debris in your pores in the beginning: this is because things are starting to come to the surface. Don’t dismiss it as not working too early. Try it for a few months - give your skin time to properly detoxify and adjust to the new cleansing method. 

7. When, what, how: experiment! See how often your skin likes to be oil cleansed. I have clients whose skin go oilier, others skin has gotten drier – and sometimes that is resolved by switching up the oils, or just limiting oil cleansing to a few times a week. Experiment: Is it best to oil cleanse every day, or every other day? Does it feel best to only do a long once-a-week long purifying massage?

8. Mask instead of over cleanse. Purifying masks, based on clay or enzymes, are a wonderful way to clear your pores and gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. For drier skins, alternating with a richer more emollient type of mask will be just perfect.  

Your skin might respond beautifully to an oil cleanse plus masking one or two times a week. This might be all you need to complement your oil cleansing routine and be successful with it. Masks can be found HERE

9. Make sure your washcloth is clean. Use a new washcloth every time you oil cleanse your face. Wash it at high temperature. This is crucial if you have acne or any bacterial infection going on in your skin. You don’t want to spread the infection to other parts of your skin. 

If you have acne prone skin, it is best to use a disposable cotton round until your acne is resolved.  When the infection is gone, it is ok to use a reusable washcloth, but make sure it is always properly washed at a high temperature. Different types of wash cloths can be found HERE

10. Often forgotten, but oh so important: the facial toner - especially if the water in your house is hard. Depending on the hardness of your water, after oil cleansing you may have feel like there is a film of residue left on your face. The toner will complement the oil cleansing perfectly and create an optimum skin pH balance.

11. Double Cleansing Method: Might you need a second cleanse with a soap based or gently surfactant foamy cleanser, aka double cleansing method? Double cleansing simply means cleansing your face twice, first with an oil-based product and then followed by a water-based cleanser. If you want to give it a go, follow these steps:

First, clean with oil to remove sunscreen, makeup and excess oil from the skin. While skin is still wet, use your second cleanser, which can be a gentle surfactant or a clay-based cleanser. Gently massage into your skin, rinse off and apply your toner and moisturiser/serum while skin is still wet, to allow the products to penetrate your skin better and deeper.

I hope this inspired you to experiment, give it a try, and most of all: listen lovingly to your skin.





Do you have questions about the oil cleansing method or any other skin topics,contact us via hello@radiantbeauty.ch, book a free Zoom Beauty Consultation, or reach me on IG or WhatsApp. I'm happy to help you make the best out of your beauty products and enjoy healthy, beautiful skin. 

Ilanta Sa