Introduction to Oil Cleansing

Oil cleansing is slowly on its way to being the most widely followed skincare practice in the world. While some may argue it’s only recently become a thing as the first step of the 10-step Korean skincare routine, the use of plant-based oils in skincare can be traced way back to Cleopatra times & you know what? Chances are there’s some sort of cleanser/soap/balm in your bathroom with a plant-based oil as a main ingredient.

Oil cleansing operates on the belief that oil dissolves oil. This is due to the chemistry principle of solubility, “like dissolves like.” Skin naturally produces oil as part of its natural maintenance, so by intentionally massaging the face with hydrating and cleansing oils, oil cleansing provides the skin with the space it needs to naturally repair itself. The second necessary component of oil cleansing is the steaming of the face with a warm towel. By pressing the towel into the face, you “wash off” the dirt and oil that was on your face while replacing it with the oil blend of your choosing. This steam process can be repeated as many times as you want to feel your cleanest. Just like you get to choose how long to massage your face for beforehand. Oil cleansing practices are unique & personal for all individuals, & they are as dynamic & ever-changing as we are.

Whether you’re someone who wears full coverage makeup regularly or someone who prefers a soft glam, there’s room for you to incorporate an oil cleanser into your skincare routine! If you’re worried about clogged pores, then I want to introduce you to something called a comedogenic rating. This rating describes the tendency of something to clog your pores, one of the many causes of acne. Acne can be triggered by a variety of factors such as hormonal imbalances, stress, & diet so before assuming an oil cleanser will heal your acne, take time to reflect on your environment & habits & how these can be contributing to the appearance of your skin. For example, during my senior year of college, my skin had a pretty drastic acne flare up due to the immense stress I was experiencing. I firmly believe our skin to be a reflection of our body’s internal state, so if you’re super stressed out & you’re not properly supplementing your body’s needs, it will begin to show on your skin.


Considering that disclaimer, lets get back to understanding a comedogenic rating. The scale this rating goes from 0 to 5, 0 being not likely to clog your pores & 5 having a high probability of acne-causing clogged pores. However, we are all unique, one-of-a kind individuals so what may work for some of us may be acne-causing for others. Comedogenic rating is simply meant to be a guide to better navigate the variety of substances that can be used for one’s skincare routine. Personally, I have tried olive, almond, grapeseed, castor, hemp, & jojoba oil, all of which fall between a rating of 0-2. Coconut oil has a comedogenic rating of 4, which is why its no surprise that a lot of people reported that using it as a moisturizer broke them out.

If you think you’re ready to take the plunge into oil cleansing, anything with a comedogenic rating from 2-0 is a great place to start! You can make your own oil cleanser by mixing equal parts castor oil & any of the other oils mentioned above! My personal oil cleanser recommendation would obviously be Hecajo Skin Potion, handcrafted with hemp oil, castor oil, & jojoba oil in North Carolina by yours truly!