What Is A Facial Cleansing Oil? How Do I Use It?

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Why Use a Facial Cleansing Oil?


Natural Organic Makeup Remover OilAlthough the idea may seem counter-intuitive, cleansing your face with the proper concoction of plant oils can have surprising benefits.

Each day dirt, makeup, pollution, and other impurities can become trapped within the natural oil on our face.

The oil cleansing method, which has been around for centuries, is not “washing,” it is a natural way to cleanse and/or remove makeup, tone and moisturize your facial skin all in one rather easy step.

A facial cleansing oil is a gentle way to dissolve away all the dirty skin oil that has combined with bacteria, makeup, dead skin cells, and other debris from your face and replenish it with clean, nourishing oils that help balance the skin’s natural oils.

There are no harsh chemicals to strip your skin of its natural oil.

Although we have received numerous requests to add an organic facial cleansing oil and makeup remover to our product line, I must admit that I was quite skeptical.

First of all, I love washing my face with our natural soap--the feel of that creamy lather as I massage it into my skin is so soothing. Secondly, I don't wear makeup.

Then I remembered that in my younger days when I wore mascara and eye makeup, I used baby oil to remove it. Of course, now we know that baby oil contains synthetic fragrance as well as petroleum-based mineral oil that can block pores and inhibit the skin’s natural ability to breathe.

But even way back then I knew that the best way to get rid of "waterproof" makeup was to use oil. So it became obvious, we needed to create a facial cleansing oil made with organic botanical ingredients that would refresh the complexion for a brighter youthful glow.


How Does a Facial Cleansing Oil Work?

Natural Organic Facial Cleansing Oil How It WorksThe concept of the oil cleansing method is rooted in one of the most basic principles of chemistry, “like dissolves like.”

Since water does not dissolve oil, if you wash with water you need some sort of soap or detergent. Think of soap as the middle-man that helps bring oil and water together so that the dirt and grease on your skin can be easily rinsed away.

Learn More Blog: "How Does Soap Work?"

If you use a facial cleansing oil, you can put away your facial cleansing detergent.

WHY? Oils are what chemists call lipophilic, meaning that they are naturally attracted to other oils, including the excess skin oil (sebum) that causes breakouts and the oil by-products found in most makeup.

Even if you use water-based makeup, throughout the course of a day the makeup will mix with your natural facial oil.

The method is simple (detailed instructions are listed below), but simply grab your cleansing oil and massage it on your face. Wipe off the cleansing oil with a hot washcloth. The warmth will open your pores and help remove the impurities that cause breakouts.

A facial cleansing oil will dissolve away the dirty oil and makeup from your face and replenish it with clean, nourishing oil that protects and moisturizes throughout the day.

The natural oils work great on eye makeup.


What If I Have Oily Skin?

If you have oily skin, you probably think that the last thing you want to do is slather on more oil. But cleansing oils can actually be very beneficial for an oily complexion.

Regardless of skin type, cleansing oils mix with the oils on your face, whether they are naturally produced, like sebum, or those from makeup and other products.

A correctly formulated cleansing oil will not block pores. As it binds to surface impurities, the dirt will be pulled out of pores instead of clogging them. As you gently wipe away the cleansing oil, the “good oil” takes the “bad oil” and dirt with it.

You may be asking, “doesn’t oily skin lead to acne and breakouts?” Many people with oily skin treat their skin with harsh cleansers, scrubs, and acne treatments designed to dry out your skin while clearing up blemishes. Unfortunately, these products have the opposite effect and actually exacerbate the oily problem.

As your skin dries out it produces more oil as a defense mechanism to balance out the loss of moisture on the skin. Now the breakouts occur because the skin is over-producing oil due to a lack of hydration. Your skin is now caught up in a vicious cycle. If you provide your skin with external oil, it will not go into overdrive, trying to create more. This will help prevent further breakouts, clogged pores, and irritated skin in general.

A cleansing oil can help balance sebum (natural skin oil) production and balance is the key to happy and healthy skin.


Not All Cleansing Oils Are Created Equal

Stay away from commercial products that contain petroleum-based oils, synthetic fragrances, and other synthetic ingredients. While they may remove your makeup they may also damage your skin.

A well-formulated cleansing oil contains the proper ratio of natural astringent-type oils and natural conditioning oils.

Astringent Oils

While it sounds odd, an oil with astringent properties may actually be drying to the skin. This makes them a good choice when formulating a cleanser for oily skin, combination skin, or even dry skin--using smaller amounts.

Astringent oils temporarily constrict the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) by reducing the blood flow, which then minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as shrinking pore size.

Some carrier oils that fall under this category include Castor oil, Argan oil, Hazelnut and Grapeseed oil.

Conditioning Oils

Conditioning oils are beneficial for all skin types, even those prone to oily skin and breakouts. They help soothe skin and keep dry skin moisturized while normalizing oil production. These hydrating oils help improve the look of dull, aging skin and provide moisture and nutrients and help soothe the skin.

A facial cleansing oil needs hydrating and conditioning oils that are light and have a low comedogenic rating. Some carrier oils that fall into this category include Sunflower or Safflower Oils (the regular--not high oleic versions), Sweet Almond Oil, Hempseed Oil, Baobab Oil and Jojoba Oil.


Why Is Castor Oil One Of The Best Oils To Cleanse With?

Castor oil has some awesome skin benefits ...

Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties

Natural Organic Castor Oil Facial CleansingCastor is great for irritated or inflamed skin because its anti-inflammatory properties help calm and soothe sensitive skin.

The antimicrobial properties of castor oil aid in reducing the effects of certain skin conditions, such as acne. Castor oil contains a fatty acid called “ricinoleic” which helps protect the skin against viruses and bacteria that can cause acne, as well as other skin problems.

Incredibly Hydrating and Moisturizing

Castor Oil possesses humectant properties, which means that it can draw moisture from the air into the skin, keeping your face hydrated and yielding a bright, glowing appearance.

The fatty acids in castor oil help enhance smoothness and softness, promote the growth of healthy skin tissue, aid in restoring uneven skin tones, and also help balance the skin’s sebum production by restoring natural moisture balance, thus preventing unnecessary dryness.

When massaged into the skin, castor can improve circulation and plump areas where fine lines and wrinkles may appear.

Naturally astringent and cleansing

Due to its natural astringent properties, castor is a "purging oil."

When paired with a lighter oil such as almond, castor can penetrate deep beyond the sebum barrier into the pores and pull dirt, grime, and impurities to the surface where they can be wiped away.

Castor is low on the comedogenic scale, so it will not congest sensitive skin. For oily skin, it also helps remove old sebum stuck deep within the skin pores without adding more oiliness to your skin!


How To Use A Facial Cleansing Oil

Natural Organic Facial Cleansing Oil How to UseWhile cleansing oils are great for removing makeup, they are also fabulous for those who do not wear makeup.

Even a makeup-free face gets dirty at the end of the day! The oils act to loosen the dirt from the pores so the water can wash it away.

There is no need to pre-clean your face even if you are wearing makeup.

Always start with dry hands and a dry face. If you wet your hands or face it counteracts the "like dissolves like" (oil dissolves oil) concept. The goal is to allow the oil to blend with the natural oils, dirt, and makeup on your face. Since water and oil do not mix, adding water will interfere with the process and prevent the product from effectively cleaning the dirt and oils off your skin.

  • Apply about ½ teaspoon of the oil to your face. Avoid your eye area.

  • Using your fingers massage firmly, but gently, using small upward circular motions as you knead the skin. The gentle massaging action warms the skin, which encourages the pores to open. This allows the cleansing oil to soften, loosen and dissolve makeup, dirt, dead skin, and impurities on your face. Kneading the skin also helps improve circulation, which brings more blood cells to the skin, more oxygen, and allows products to absorb better.

Natural Organic Facial Cleansing Oil Removal

  • After a minute or so of massaging allow the oil to remain on your skin to help deep clean pores while you soak a small face towel or washcloth in very warm tap water.

  • *Squeeze out most of the excess water apply the cloth to your whole face and hold it there as a compress for about 10-15 seconds. The warm wet towel will help soften your skin, open your pores, and aid in the removal of dirt, grime, and excess oils.


*Note: At this point, some like to use wet fingers to massage the face before applying the wet cloth. As you massage with the water the oil will turn a milky white as the oil and water emulsify. If needed wet your hands again with a little more water and massage again.

Natural Organic Facial Cleansing Oil Application


  • Using the corners of the warm wet face cloth slowly begin to gently wipe off the cleansing oil (be sure to have enough water on the cloth to help emulsify the cleansing oil).

  • Rinse the cloth, and repeat until the oil and dirt are wiped off your skin. If you are removing a lot of makeup you may have to rinse the cloth and repeat several times (or use the double cleanse method described below).

  • Unlike facial oil, which is a moisturizing step in your routine, you do not want a layer of oil left on your skin.

  • Finish with a cool water splash and pat dry with a clean towel.

To remove lipstick and eye makeup, including mascara, put a couple of drops of oil on a cotton cloth, pad or swab and swipe over the lips and eye area. This is a gentle eye makeup remover, but take care not to get it in your eyes.

Natural Organic Make Up Remover Oil

A facial cleansing oil will dissolve away the dirty oil and makeup from your face and replenish it with clean, nourishing oil.


Double Cleanse Method

For folks with very oily skin who wear full face makeup

Christine, our products manager, is always telling me about her "oily Italian skin." Below is Christine's description of her double cleansing method for those who wear makeup and have very oily skin.

I am a daily user of our Bamboo and Charcoal soap and it was hard for me to let it go completely because it managed my breakouts so well while providing a little bit of exfoliation. So, I decided to combine the two into one breakout-busting-oil-balancing-cleansing-and-moisturizing magical routine which I am going to share with you! This routine is for days when I wear a decent amount of makeup (foundation, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick).Natural Organic Bamboo Charcoal Soap for Acne & Oily Skin

  • I begin by saturating a small section of a clean reusable makeup removing cloth with facial cleansing oil.

  • Using that small clean section, I attack lipstick, then eye makeup removal.

  • Then, I choose another clean section of the cloth, saturate it with cleansing oil and remove any makeup that's on my face.

  • Next, I lather up and wash my face completely with the Bamboo Charcoal Soap.

  • I pat my face dry and then add a small amount of cleansing oil to my fingertips.

  • I massage the oil all over my face in short, lifting circles.

  • I allow the oil to sit and work its magic while I wet another clean washcloth with hot tap water.

  • I place the hot wet cloth over my skin, give the steam a chance to open my pores, and then gently wipe away the oil and all the day's dirt along with it.

  • Now my skin is super clean and soft, makeup is completely removed, and my skin is well moisturized. My skin loves this routine and I don't think I'll ever stop using it!


How Often Should I Use The Oil Cleansing Method?

The frequency at which you use a facial cleansing oil is up to you--take the time to get to really know the needs of your own skin.

No two faces are the same! Some people cleanse with oil every night, but you should experiment in order to find a routine that is best for your complexion.

Ida's Method: I always wash my face with our soap in my morning shower. I don't have the time or patience in the morning, I don't feel that my face gets that dirty overnight and as I said I love the feel of our creamy soap lather as I massage it into my skin.

I seldom wear makeup other than a bit of blush in the winter. I do use our squalane face cream every morning. By the end of the day, even my makeup-free face does not feel clean. In the evening I use the oil cleansing method 3 to 5 times a week depending on my daytime activities.

I have noticed that my complexion looks fresher (and dare I say--more youthful) since I began using the oil cleanser.

It is important to use the oil cleansing method with enough regularity that your skin has ample time to get adjusted.

I would suggest developing some sort of routine that you can stick to using natural products for your complexion. Remember your skin is a living organ and switching off between natural and commercial cleansers will only confuse your skin.


Natural Organic Make Up Remover & Cotton ClothThe Pros and Cons of USING THE NATURAL Oil Cleansing METHOD

  • It is Natural! Using a blend of natural plant oils, you can rid your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, while replacing “dirty oil” with beneficial plants oils.

  • It does not strip the skin of its natural oils.

  • It can help combat dryness, balance oil production, and clear acne.

  • It is probably the best way to remove make-up.

  • Most people do not need to moisturize after use. Use your judgment and get to know your own skin.
  • Depending on the condition of your skin at the start, your skin may go through an “adjustment period” during which you may even see more oily skin or more breakouts as impurities leave the skin.

  • It may take a week or two for your skin to adjust to a new regimen. Please resist the urge to use harsh facial cleansers during this time, as it will make the adjustment period take longer.

  • It definitely takes more time than simply washing your face in the shower.

The oil cleansing method may not be a miracle cure for skin issues, but an organic cleansing oil that contains hydrating and soothing ingredients is a natural way to cleanse and/or remove makeup, balance sebum production and tone and moisturize your facial skin all in one rather easy step.


If you have sensitive skin, always try an allergy patch test before using a new product.

Have you had any experience with the Oil Cleansing Method? If you have, do you have a special routine or method that you like? Please share your experience.

Learn More Blog: Creating A Facial Skin Care Routine

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