How To Cleanse The Skin With Oil - The Oil Cleansing Method

I discovered oil cleansing by accident many years ago. It was the 1990’s and I was using sesame and almond oil as a moisturizer. My friends thought this was crazy and told me that my skin would break out. I did it anyway. I argued that the skin produces sebum to moisturize and protect itself and oils naturally mimic the structure of sebum. I also knew that drier skin breaks down faster and was prone to fine lines, so nutrient-rich plant oils fit into my skincare practice perfectly.

Over the years I noticed that tap water dries the skin and I stopped cleansing my face with high-foaming cleansers. I would cleanse my face with a damp, wrung out, warm washcloth only. This approach felt fresh and really worked for my sensitive skin. 

One day when I was applying my sesame & vitamin e oil moisturizer on my face, I remember slathering a bit too much on, so I wiped it all off with a cloth. To my surprise, I immediately noticed how soft and clean my skin felt. I didn’t use a wet washcloth, I used a dry one, and it was just the oil. My skin felt clean and I wasn’t using water at all.  

Like attracts like. Oil applied to the skin has the ability to attach to unwanted, imbalanced sebum and draw dirt and impurities with it. 

Keep in mind there is no singular, right way to cleanse the skin. Cleansing differs for each person and varies by season.  Oil Cleansing or Dry Oil Cleansing works for everyone differently.

Without the water on the washcloth, the cleansing oil attaches to the imbalanced oil in the pores, gathers dirt, impurities, and makeup on the surface of the skin. The oil pulls the imbalanced oil with the dirt and debris off the skin effortlessly, leaving clean, moisturized skin without disturbing the skin’s natural oil balance. Of course, a wet washcloth always feels refreshing, and that's wonderful if you prefer. Less water contact and water rinsing will always retain more hydration in the skin. Retaining hydration in the skin offsets skin decline. 

Pores don’t open and close, there are no muscles, they are just small openings in the skin. Steaming your face beforehand can help loosen imbalanced sebum and clogged pores, but not because the pore is “opening.” It’s balanced oil that will draw out the unwanted oil and dirt, regardless of steaming or the use of a hot washcloth.

The right oil for your skin won’t need any help effectively pulling the imbalanced dirt and oil from the skin. If you are steaming to loosen clogged pores, after steaming, pat the face dry then oil cleanse on a dry face.

Here's my dry oil cleansing method: 

- Massage Herbal Infusion Oil onto skin well - this loosens skin surface tension and the friction helps dissolve imbalance oil.

- Next, use a dry washcloth and gently wipe all around the face and neck for effective removal and cleanse. Perform a second cleanse if you removed makeup. 

- Mist Hydrating Accelerator and press an appropriate amount of oil on top of your hydrator, and finish by sealing in your hydration, actives, and oil with Vital Balm Cream


could you explain the press and twist method a bit more please? and why is it best to avoid a sweeping motion with a dry washcloth? And if you use sunscreen daily is it necessary to do I double cleanse daily? And finally after gym workout could you use a this cleaning method as well then?
Andrea June 11, 2020

Hi …i would like to get few clarification ….I m using an organic cleansing oil that need to be washed away by warm water …following your method ..but i m worry that can give problem to the eyes area.. so i m thinking how you also suggested to use my cleansing oil for the first step dry clothes..than use a milk cleanser to wash away or maybe opposite wash away my oil cleanser and than use my rosehip oil cor the second step with dry clotthes.. …but here come the 2 question which is better for a mature skin ?plus can i use directly my rosehip oil for trying to do this 2 steps dry oil cleansing ? another concern got me .even if you explained how it works.. after use the hydrating mist … i m.worry serum and oil cream will not get in properly ., thank u for sharing this new view of cleansing face .. have a nice day Dan

Dan January 15, 2020

I’m truly wondering why people don’t oil cleanse the entire body? Or their hair?
Is “soap” really necessary?

Angelica January 04, 2020

With Superior hemp oil, I got amazing results In less than a week, this hemp oil has greatly helped with acne by stopping new breakouts, reducing redness, and healing cystic acne, along with blackheads. It is a lightweight oil that absorbs quickly and provides the appropriate amount of oil to the skin without making it seem greasy.

Eudora December 04, 2019

How do you clean your washcloth effectively after washing with the dry cloth and oil? A lot of times I find it hard to pull out all of the oil in the cloth. Thanks!

Beth October 02, 2019

Awesome article! I just came across your blog, and love it! I have a question. I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu regularly and need to make sure I clean my skin properly as things like ringworm are common to catch as a grappler if you don’t. Do the oils you recommend work well enough to cover this issue? I see that some of the oils are anti-fungal but I have no idea how to tell what would be effective in this situation.

Deborah September 25, 2019

As someone who comes from the beauty industry, your innovative products and ideas have sparked my love for natural skincare again! By the way, I am hooked on your shampoo and can’t wait to try something else.

I will most definitely try this in the mornings, a video tutorial would be amazing for this ritual.


Z July 18, 2015

Wow great advice. I will stop with my dace under the shower! I love makeup and wear a lot of heavy eye makeup, concealer, foundation, ect so I like double cleansing. I will have to bust out my muslin and At least try no water…

erika s June 26, 2015

Hi again, I did in fact manage to get your Moisturising cleanser from A Beautiful World and I am loving it. They also sent me a tester for the oil but unfortunately it was titchy and not even enough to do a double cleanse :-( I don’t mean to sound ungrateful as obviously it was free but it would have been good to try it for a couple of nights to make sure it could do what I intended it for. I also bought a shampoo and conditioner and am loving them too. Whoop whoop for the Content stocking – the more the better as far as I’m concerned. Thanks again for all the advice.

Lisa June 25, 2015


Hi! Thank you so much for reading. Yes, I love a dry muslin cloth – my favorite!

Josh June 24, 2015

I have read this post so many times it’s so amazing, the thoughts behind it! I always cleanse my skin with oil and think I have really nice skin because of this. However, I would use a damp cloth to remove the dirt/oil/makeup and then I would apply my mists and oils after. NOW, I have been trying your method the past few days and WOW I am already seeing a difference! I will NEVER go back… or stick my face directly in the shower water again. Thank you Josh!

Love your posts and the new Tinted Nutrient Day Cream, incredible!

Tiffany June 23, 2015

Hi Josh,
Thanks for this new idea for oil cleansing. I am just wondering what type of cloth you use. I currently use a thin terry-type cloth dampened with water for my oil and/or cream cleansing, but am wondering if you use a terry or muslin-type cloth (obviously without water)?

Danielle June 23, 2015


Haha my pleasure!! I am so glad you appreciate it. I totally understand. First of all, just received more Moisturizing Cleanser so they should have it in stock very soon. They will also have samples of my Herbal Infusion Oil so you can test my cleansing oil make up remover – it’s a treatment serum as well with concentrated actives – not just a cleansing oil. We are hoping to be available at Content Beauty soon as well, stay tuned! ; ) I have a feeling, like you mentioned, that it’s the oil formula you are using, so I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Herbal Infusion Oil. Here is what I’m thinking – Yes, do a sweeping motion cleanse twice – that should remove ALL of your make up – it DOES with my HIO. If it doesn’t, then yes, do a third cleanse and If you still have residual, it’s the formula – and/or I would suggest this for the evening: a dry oil cleanse to remove make up, then a water cleanse with my Moisturizing Cleanser (most likely you won’t need the water cleanse if you are using my HIO, but if you don’t have it, I suggest the water cleanse). In the morning, JUST dry oil cleanse in pressing motion. Does that make sense?
Josh June 18, 2015

Me again. That ? Is supposed to be a heart… Commented from phone….

The Choosy Chick June 17, 2015

Wow this is really revolutionary! The Dry Oil Cleanse! Of course we ? everything you do as does the rest of the world! Will share this new concept soon with our customers!

The Choosy Chick June 17, 2015

Wow – I am loving this one to one advice – I feel very privileged. The first night I used MV Organics cleansing oil. It occurred to me that it might be the formulation so last night I tried NUDE cleansing oil (this was worse as there was an awful lot of product left on my face). I was taking a look at your products ( I wish they were more widely available in the UK – some of them don’t seem to be available at all – so get moving on that one please ;- ) and I thought maybe your cleansing oil might be better? I have been desperate to try your moisturising cleanser but A beautiful World have been sold out for ages… sad times… Ok – back to anal Lisa but do you mean do the sweeping motion cleanse twice? Then do the twist and pull for a third cleanse? Sorry – I’m annoying myself here.

Lisa June 17, 2015


No problem at all! I totally understand, it takes time to find what works and it’s not always easy. Thank you for your comment explaining everything so well. First, what oil/oil combination are you using for your oil cleanse? That may be affecting the result of your make up removal. You should be able to remove all your make up with the oil cleanse – if it’s an effective formula – especially if you do it twice with a sweeping motion. If you can’t get it all off like you experienced, a lot of clients I have do a double cleanse – First oil cleanse and remove make up, then follow that with a water cleansing treatment. Of course my clients use my Moisturizing Cleanser. With this process you should be entirely free of residue. If you want to skip the water cleansing, I would suggest first making sure you have a good oil cleansing formula for your skin, then use the sweeping motion on BOTH oil cleanses. I suggest the Press and Twist action when the face is clear of make up already – To effectively remove make up, a sweeping motion is necessary to pick up the heavy make up on the surface. When the face is free of make up, the Pressing action helps pull from the pore better. Does that make sense? Let me know and hope this helps!!

Josh June 17, 2015

Thank you so much for replying. I actually tried this last night. My issues were this. I wear makeup and sunscreen every day ( I also suffer from hormonal acne) so making sure both makeup and sunscreen are removed completely is very important to me. So, after a double cleanse (both with oil – the first using the dry washcloth but in light sweeping motions and the second with a dry washcloth but doing the sort of twist and pull method you mentioned). Being my first time doing this I had to be sure everything had been removed before just spritzing and putting more oil on so I went over my face with a cotton ball drenched in lavender water and there was definitely still some makeup residue (not as much as I thought there would be but enough that could have caused me problems if I’d just left it on). What changes/suggestions would you have for someone that wears foundation / sunscreen? Also, what if you use an exfoliating toner after cleansing, is this defeating the purpose? My apologies, I’m so picky – I sometimes feel like I need a complete dummies guide when someone is explaining skincare processes to me :-/

Lisa June 16, 2015

Great article! Thank you!!!! I love oil cleansing but now will try it without water. :)

Chrissy @ Uncommon Beauté June 15, 2015

Hi Jill!
Thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. To answer your question, no, now I use my Herbal Infusion Oil which is a combination of jojoba, sesame, sunflower, olive, grapeseed, almond and apricot oils and a potent combination of infused herbal actives that detox, cleanse and treat the skin with powerful anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant constituents. I’ve upgraded! lol It’s a sensational cleansing oil and treatment serum. I highly recommend it! let me know if you have any other questions and thanks again for reading and commenting! ? josh

Josh June 15, 2015

Wow, great post!! Are you still using sesame and almond oil to cleanse or do you have a specific product you recommend to use?

Jill June 15, 2015

Catherine and Lisa –
You are so welcome and that’s not a silly question at all! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate the support! When double cleansing, I would perform the dry oil cleansing first but if you are choosing to do a water cleanse first, yes, dry your face first, absolutely.

I feel this method is the best for acne prone skin types. Acne – sensitive skin can become inflamed by the most benign actions or ingredients. With this method, the delicate, very important acid mantle is not compromised at all. Water can dry and water cleansing acne – sensitive and rosacea skin types can sometimes over cleanse, irritate and/or cause disruptions So with dry oil cleansing, those possibilities are totally minimized. Also, one of the biggest problems with acne prone is the bacteria-oil clogged pore which causes disruptions; with dry oil cleansing the cleansing oil can access the imbalanced oil and bacteria and remove it more effectively – the oil is left to remove the oil on it’s own, and it’s work is not diminished by water. So this method is more effective for acne prone skin in my book. Less is more. Let the skin heal itself and the simplicity of the dry oil cleanse allows that to happen by effectively cleaning the pores and ridding the problem, without causing other issues in the process. I hope that makes sense!! Thanks again! Josh
Josh June 15, 2015

I feel like this is silly to ask, but since I have to do a double cleanse (makeup, sunscreen), should i dry my face after the first cleanse and then use your method? Would love to try this! Also curious about acne-prone skin types, although like you said, I’m sure it differs from person-to-person! Thanks for some great knowledge, once again!

Catherine June 12, 2015

I wondered if you could just confirm whether someone with acne should use this method?

lisa June 12, 2015

As someone who has done the oil+water cleansing method for ages, this totally made sense to me. Trying your method tonight thanks Josh! Always love your posts ?

Tianna June 11, 2015

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published