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Skincare for self-care


Natural Living Made Simple



This blog post covers the following information about oil cleansing:

  1. Overview

  2. How it works

  3. When to use it

  4. Recommended oils for skin types

  5. Recommended essential oils

  6. DIY recipes for skin types

  7. How to use it



When a friend first introduced me to the idea of oil cleansing for my face, I'm pretty sure I looked at him like he was a complete weirdo. But, after hearing him out, and doing my own research, I decided to give it a go. To my surprise, I loved it! Over the years I have made up a variety of my own oil cleanser mixes including castor oil, and a variety of other oils such as avocado oil, fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil etc.

Oil cleansing has started to become very mainstream, with many large cosmetic companies, such as Neutrogena, producing their own variations.

Our skin naturally contains a diverse amount of microbiota (microorganisms with include bacteria), which can contribute to our inner wellbeing as well as how we look on the outside. Therefore, we want to be careful about what we put on the outside. For the science behind this, click here for a scientific article.



"Oil dissolves oil", and "water and oil don't mix". We've all heard those two statements, and they just so happen to apply to skincare. Most cleansers on the market are water based, and therefore have to use surfactants to adhere to the oil on our skin so it can be washed away. However, oil naturally attracts the lipids on the surface and in the pores of skin, somewhat like a magnet. Surfactants can dry out the skin and are generally chemically based, which we just don't want. Whereas, oil is simply that...just oil! Nothing extra. Natural and simple.

Oil cleansing does the following:

  • removes excess sebum (not ALL sebum as we still need it)

  • cleans out clogged pores, including blackheads and whiteheads

  • removes makeup

  • removes pollutants

  • removes dead cells




It is recommended to oil cleanse at night, as we want to remove all the day's makeup, dirt, grime, and pollutant build up. A morning cleanse is to simply prepare the skin for the day and should be either just water, or a gentle cleanser.

Oil cleansing is great for winter time as it helps to retain moisture. However, you can follow with a gentle foaming cleansing.



It is important to not just run to your pantry and use whatever oil you have lying around. Different oils are better for different skin types. It may take trying a few different ones before you find the one that works best for your skin. Or, you can experiment with a combination of oils. Scroll for recommended recipes.

The comedogenic number is something to consider. It works on a scale from 0 to 5 based on absorption rate and the likelihood of the oil clogging pores. Just because an oil has a high comedogenic number does not mean it not necessarily for you, it just may mean it will be better mixed with another oil.

Be aware that there can be an adjusting period where you may find an increased level of acne, blackheads or unhappy looking skin. This is normal.

Here is a list of oils that are most suited to different skin types:



I love incorporating essentials oils into my skincare routine. They provide antibacterial properties to help clean the skin from the days impurities. Here is a list of recommended essentials oils depending on your skin type and need:

Important notes about essential oils:

  • Quality is really important to have an effective and safe essential oil.

  • Citrus oils can cause photosensitivity, so only use and night.

  • Some oils are stronger or "hotter" than others e.g. cinnamon and clary sage, so begin with just one drop to see how you go. Do not use if you have sensitive skin.

  • With any essential oil, begin with a very small amount.



The sky is the limit for the combinations and ratios you can use. It's all about finding what works for you. I usually go by the "four oil strategy".

  1. Cleansing oil - typically castor oil is the best cleansing oil. It has amazing astringent properties which draw out the bad stuff, and it is also antibacterial making it super helpful for acne prone skin. Using 30% castor oil for your mix is a good starting place. However, it can be drying, so if you have naturally dry skin reduce the amount and adjust further if needed. If you have super sensitive skin, I would skip the castor oil and use coconut oil instead as that has great moisturising and antibacterial properties.

  2. Main oil - This is where you choose the key oil that is best for your skin type (see above table). This oil will make up about 50% of your mixture, and could be made of two different oils at 25% each.

  3. Luxury oil - The special stuff. This is like a treat to your skin and is one of the more expensive oils with special properties, which is why we would allow just 20% of our mixture to made up of one of these. Luxury oils include things like jojoba, tamanu, argan, evening primrose, rose hip and sea buckthorn. You can easily skip this, and just use more of your main oil instead, or reduce the amount of luxury oil and up the amount of your main oil.

  4. Essential oil - this is like the extra boost in the mix. Once again, use an essential oil specific to your skin type (see table above). Begin with just one drop of an essential oil and adjust as necessary, especially use caution when using "hot" oils such as cinnamon and clary sage. Remember that citrus oils can cause photosensitivity, so only use and night. Skip this all together if you have sensitive skin. ALWAYS USE GLASS CONTAINERS WHEN USING ESSENTIAL OIL.


7. Now to the RECIPES!

Remember that these are suggestions based on the suitability of different oils for different skin types. The combinations are numerous! As with any homemade product, there will be a period of adjusting to find the best mix for your skin, and for your skin to adjust to a new product. Be patient and have fun experimenting.

Acne-prone skin

  • 30% castor oil, 50% grapeseed oil, 20% evening primrose oil, chamomile essential oil

  • 20% castor oil, 60% sweet almond oil, 20% tamanu oil, clary sage essential oil

  • 20% castor oil, 60% rice brain oil, 20% neem oil, tea tree essential oil

Combination skin

  • 30% castor oil, 50% grapeseed oil, 20% argan oil, myrrh essential oil

  • 30% castor oil, 50% sweet almond oil, 20% hemp oil, sandalwood essential oil

  • 30% castor oil, 50% rice bran oil, 20% evening primrose oil, palmarosa essential oil

Dry skin

  • 20% castor oil, 60% fractionated coconut oil, 20% apricot kernel oil, frankincense essential oil

  • 20% castor oil, 60% grapeseed oil, 20% avocado oil, rose essential oil

  • 20% castor oil, 60% rice bran oil, 20% jojoba oil, lavender essential oil

Oily skin

  • 30% castor oil, 50% hemp seed oil, 20% evening primrose oil, geranium essential oil

  • 30% castor oil, 50% grapeseed oil, 20% safflower oil, rose essential oil

  • 30% castor oil, 50% sweet almond oil, 20% argan oil, tea tree essential oil



Oil cleansing is designed to thoroughly cleanse the skin of makeup and pollutants, so only use this method at night.

  • Wash and dry your hands (this prevents any further bacteria being transferred to your face).

  • Apply 4-5 drops to your hands.

  • Massage in gentle circular motions around the face from 1 - 3 minutes. Enjoy the process, relax, close your eyes.

  • To remove eye makeup, apply a few drops of oil to a damp reusable cotton round (or a disposable cotton pad) and gently wipe away. Repeat if necessary.

  • Using a warm damp face cloth, place it on your face to warm up the oil (this makes it easier to remove) before gently wiping. Rinse face cloth in warm water and repeat until oil is removed.





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Hi, I'm Mandi. A former primary teacher, Lifestyle Medicine graduate and current Diploma in Natural Skincare student with a passion for natural living.

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