Everything You Need to Know About the Oil Cleansing Method

How to oil cleanse

There are two ways to oil cleanse. One involves removing the applied oil with warm water or a wet washcloth. The other, popularized by K-beauty, follows oil removal with a gentle cleanser to remove any residue.

Before you try either, test the cleansing oil on a small patch of your skin for a couple of days to see how your skin reacts.

Basic oil cleanse

  • Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil in the palm of your hand. For dry skin, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of castor oil. For acne-prone or oily skin, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba and a 1/2 teaspoon of castor oil.
  • Apply the oil to your dry face. Use your fingertips to gently massage the oil into the skin for a minute or two to remove impurities like makeup and dead skin cells, and let it penetrate the skin.
  • Use a damp, warm washcloth to gently wipe away the oil. Be careful not to press too hard or scrub at your skin, as this can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. A smooth, soft washcloth is best. You can also rinse with warm water if you want some of the oil to stay on your skin. Your face should be hydrated when you’re done, but not greasy or overly irritated from wiping it down.
  • Pat dry with a towel and apply moisturizer if you feel you need it.

K-beauty double cleanse

  • If you’re prone to acne or oily skin, you may want to follow this method. You’ll still get the cleaning and hydrating benefits of the oil cleanse, but you won’t have to worry about any oil being left behind to clog your pores.
  • Follow the first three steps above for a basic oil cleanse.
  • Wash with a mild face wash that won’t strip your skin of its new hydration (like Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser or Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser).
  • Pat dry with a towel and apply moisturizer if you feel you need it.
  • Some cleansing oils like Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil and Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Cleaning Oil include surfactants in the formula so that the mixture foams slightly once you add water and rinses off cleanly.

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