Olive Oil as Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer – Oil Cleansing Method

“Simplify, Simplify, Simplify” –Henry David Thoreau

Doing it Different

For the past several months I have been receiving kind comments and compliments regarding my complexion. I thought it was time to write a post about what I’ve been using as a facial cleanser and moisturizer for just over a year now.

What began as a search for a home made facial cleanser and moisturizer due to financial contraints has transformed into a way of life. About that time I decided I was tired of putting all those chemicals onto my face and into my body by way of my skin.

I’m on a patient search to see what else I can replace with natural and/or organic items in Team TLC’s life. I’m experimenting with replacing my shampoo and conditioner currently and will let y’all know how that turns out when I find just the right “mix” for me! I’ve already replaced our allergy medicine and eczema treatment!

Oil Cleansing Method

Now. Back to that facial cleanser and moisturizer. I searched online and found the Oil Cleansing Method. I researched it pretty heavily. I looked up websites that break down the comedogenic factors of different oils and research based on scientific data about how oils affect the skin (facial skin in particular). I have dry break-out prone facial skin. I experimented with many different oils to find the one I liked … sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, almond and olive oil. My favorite and most economical so far has been Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.ย I’m using organic as that’s what I try and feed my family and if I’m putting it on my skin every morning and night, it’s soaking into my skin and I want it to be of good quality.

This has been an economically good direction for me in regards to more than just moisturizer and facial cleanser.ย I’m using much less make up these days too! YAY!

You could typically spend anywhere from $8 to $60 (or more) for facial cleanser depending on what brand you purchase and the the same for moisturizer. That’s anywhere from $16 – $120. It costs me about $6.50 for a 16.9 ounce bottle of Trader Joe’s Spanish Extra Virgin Organic Olive oil which lasts for 1 – 3 months depending on how much I cook with it too!

The Process

So, here’s how I do it. I started out with this recipe for the Oil Cleansing Method and have since gone to just straight organic olive oil.

  1. I use one of the 4 ounce plastic squeeze bottles to store the olive oil. You will want to replace that every once in a while and/or at least give it a good cleaning. I’ve also used the glass bottle that soy sauce comes in which has the small spout at the top for pouring. I like glass because it’s easier to keep clean.
  2. I pour about a teaspoon (or a little more) into my hand at night. Rub my palms together and ย give myself a mini massage with the oil. Be sure to keep away from your eyes as it burns! It’s like getting soap in your eyes. I have a washcloth ready by the sink. When I’m done rubbing the oil into my skin and giving myself a mini facial, I close my eyes and rub it into my mascara.
  3. Then I wet my washcloth with nice warm water, wipe my eyes and face. You can also add to your facial experience by laying the warm washcloth onto your face and letting it sit until it’s cooled. Feels GOOD!!
  4. Next I wet my face with warm water and apply a tiny bit of olive oil as moisturizer. I have dry skin so I need this extra step after I’m done getting the make up off my face. Make sure to apply the oil while your face is wet so it soaks in good. I put any left over oil on my lips! GREAT lip gloss and lip balm too!
***Update: January 3, 2015: I am still using only olive oil as my facial cleanser and moisturizer. I’ve only made one small change. I no longer apply the oil with my face wet. I found that with my skin type (dry), I can apply it dry and it soaks in just fine.

In the morning I wet my face and apply a small bit of olive oil as my moisturizer. The key is making sure you apply the oil while your face is moist so that it soaks in good.

***Update: October 19, 2015 – I’m still using olive oil and just published an updated blog post. Go here to read the Oil Cleansing Method Update.

***Update: August 17 2018 – I rarely wear make-up so am now only using olive oil as a moisturizer. As I am applying it, I use a bit extra and massage it in a circular motion to help lift any impurities.

If you find this post meaningful or helpful, I invite you to buy me a coffee. Oceans of gratitude! –Camilla

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That’s it y’all! Been doing it for over a year now and I’m very happy with the results … for my pocket book and my face and health! No more icky chemicals on my face! WoooHooo to that!

*Oil Cleansing Method from The Oil Cleansing Method website. This is the one that began my oil cleansing journey.

**This may not work for everyone. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find just the right “formula” for you and your skin.

58 thoughts on “Olive Oil as Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer – Oil Cleansing Method

  1. Hey, i have dry and sensitive skin and i wanna try Oil cleansing method. But I heard that castor oil promote faster hair growth? Does that mean it will encourage faster growth of facial hair as well? Besides castor oil, is there any substitute for it? like if i use extra virgin olive oil and almond oil? is that suitable for dry and sensitive skin?

  2. Hi Nur Mira. After doing a Google search for castor oil and hair growth, I see what you mean. It seems to me that what these sites are indicating is that it makes hair healthier due to the nutrients it contains. If you are concerned I would test it on your arm or leg first. I have dry skin and I like to use organic extra virgin olive oil. It works for me. However, you may just have to test different oils. With patience you will find just the right ingredient for your skin. Enjoy and have fun with it Nur!

  3. I have tried this and I’m hoping it doesn’t break me out! Lol fingers crossed it works because I’m tired of this dry tight skin and flakiness! Also I just got over all my zits hope it doesn’t bring that nightmare back!;)

  4. Hi Maria! My thoughts are that olive oil will not make your skin darker. But, I am not a skin expert or one with advanced knowledge of how our skin reacts to products. It has not made my skin darker. I would perform an online search and look for results on reputable websites. Thanks for visiting Maria!

  5. Hey Carol! Dry, tight skin is NO FUN! It also gets itchy when it’s so dry! In addition, I use pure shea butter for those times when I need added moisture. You can search my post to find the one I use. We use it on our lips too! I still break out but no more than I did when I was using all those chemical infused products. However, the break outs are not as bad and go away much quicker! Here’s wishing success for YOU!

  6. Hello , your skin will get darker from olive oil if you got under the sun ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember I put it on the beach and I got dark and I burned myself ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi Janki! I have used sunflower seed oil and really liked it. The only reason I’ve been using the olive oil instead of the sunflower seed oil is that I prefer organic. The organic sunflower seed oil costs more. I think next time I’m where I can get some organic sunflower seed oil, I’m gonna switch it up! I like both! I use sunflower seed oil as a detangler for my daughter’s hair. After I wash her hair, I put about a dime size drop in my palm and rub my hands together. Then I smooth it into hair excluding the scalp area (she has really long wavy hair). Works great! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hey!
    I have very dry skin and I constantly had to use a lot of concealer and foundation to hide the redness. BUT, this past weekend, my boyfriend suggested that I try olive oil and I did. I washed my face and towel dried it then applied extra virgin oil oil with a cotton ball. I did this just once and surprisingly, not only did it moisturize my face but it also began clearing up a few spots left by acne. I was shocked. So tonight, I just decided to Google benefits of olive oil on skin and I found Camilla’s post and I just wanted to share my story. Best of luck to everyone!

  9. Hi Falasteen! I’m thinking one’s skin would get darker/burned when any oil is applied and one goes to the beach. Definitely not a substitute for sunscreen.

  10. Thanks much Meekie for your input! So happy it worked great for you and that you shared your experience with us! Best wishes for continued success!!

  11. Wow, your skin looks radiant! I just googled “olive oil as a moisturizer” because my face is really dry and my wallet is really empty. But I do have olive oil at home. I am definitely going to try this! Thanks!

  12. Thank you Meredith! Absolutely! Finances are what began my journey to find a simpler and cheaper solution! I couldn’t be happier with the results for my skin and my finances. Best wishes to you for success!

  13. Hello! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Do you think it is advisable for me to use olive oil as my moisturizer if I have oily skin?

  14. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, feeling incredibly inspired!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Hi Janki! My philosophy is that if I’m eating it, it sure as heck should be okay for my skin too! Now, if you are referring to whether or not it will cause your skin to break out, you might want to check out the website I mention in my post. I tried Sunflower Seed Oil and just found that I preferred the Olive Oil. Thanks for taking the time to read my article!!

  16. Hi Lyra! I suggest you check out the resources I link to in the article to read more about using olive oil and oily skin. My friend, Brenda, in the picture with me has oily skin and she has been using this method since I shared it with her about 6-9 months ago.

  17. You’re Welcome Charlotte! I’m inspired knowing that I have inspired YOU!! Blessings to YOU!

  18. Thank you for sharing. This has helped me greatly as I get dry patches on my forehead and nose in the winter months. So far I am clear after a month. No more itchy dry skin. I also use this on my entire body after a shower now. No more powdery legs to shed.

  19. Hey Lisa! I’m so happy for you! I like to use it on my entire body too. Feels good! I’m blessed to know that it’s been so helpful for you Lisa! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I have tried oil cleansing using sunflower seed oil and castor oil but I got a break out on my forehead. I have switched to using olive oil only, but the pimples have not dried out. What do you advise I should do? I am an African

  21. This is a very informative post, Camilla – thank you.

    I’m looking to substitute my (unnecessarily expensive but suitable thus far) moisturizer with a natural alternative. As a gentleman, I wasn’t able to fully understand some of terms and phrases you used in the step by step description of your cleansing/moisturizing routine. Do you happen to have suggestions on what a mid thirties aged male could incorporate into his routine, (essentially an adaptation of your routine for men)?

    Thank you again. I’m glad there’s a small, but growing number of curious, conscious and concerned people who desire and will see past the marketing blitz that big corporations plaster our lives with.


  22. Hope this will help me. I have normal skin, but last week I overused my scrub. My face is now red, feel like sand paper, become darker around my forehead and chin, and so dry and itchy. I don’t have olive oil in my kitchen, definitely going out to buy some tomorrow. I really hope my skin will at least return to its normal state before scrubbing.. aish.. what am I thinking scrubbing my face like that..

  23. Hi Cathy! I am absolutely no expert about our facial skin. I would continue searching online for other people with your skin type for solutions that are organic and natural …. products that don’t have preservatives and artificial ingredients. You may also look into your diet. For many people, dairy causes break outs. Perhaps pick one food type. Eliminate it from your diet and see if your face clears. If that one has no effect, move onto the next. Best wishes to you Cathy and thank you for visiting my blog!

  24. Thank you for your response. I will eliminate dairy products from my diet and keep you posted on the progress.

  25. Hi Avir! Not being a “skin expert”, I don’t feel I’m informed enough to offer suggestions. However, I think you should be able to use the exact same method as described in the post. There’s no way of knowing if it works for you unless you try it. Best wishes to you Avi!

  26. Hi there – Very interesting post! On the ‘original method’ link it says to do this regularly but not too often… so I’m wondering whether you do this every day, or less frequently and if so, what you use (if anything) to clean your skin on the days you aren’t using the oil.
    Thanks very much!

  27. Your information is awesome. I love the way olive oil makes my skin feel. My question is if I use the olive oil as my moisturizer can I still wear my foundation and powder?
    Thank you!

  28. Hi! I just started using the oil cleansing and moisterising method. It’s been over a week, and I love the way it makes my skin feel. I have very dry skin, so I use a mixture of avocado and castor oils to cleanse and then jojoba and sea buckthorn oils to moisterise (got the recipes off crunchy betty blog. Anyway, I have yet to try this on my body, do you use olive oil as a body cleanser as well?

  29. Hey… I really feel hopeful after reading your post because I am sixteen and I do not wish to put any harsh or synthetic chemical on my skin. However there is one question l would like to ask …. Does olive oil tan skin because l wish to get fairer instead of tanned and dark and l have seem mixed views on the internet about olive oil. Some say it tans you while others say it is effective in skin lightening. I really do wanna use olive oil as my skin is sensitive and it the most gentle moisturizer I have come across but I do not want to use it if it will darken my skin tone.

    P.S l have made all the possible reaserches and I think u might help. And you have such beautiful skin. I envy you. ๐Ÿ™‚


  31. To all who are concerned about breakouts, it can be used as a pre-wash as well. A couple of days a week I wash with only the oil, but other days I use it as a prelude to a traditional cleanser with salicylic acid. The best part is smoothing the oil on damp skin after the wash, so beautiful (lol).

  32. I have dry face and I am afraid to add castor oil (even though I know it is a cleansing oil) to my ocm. So I am using sweet almond oil only (is there a huge difference between a cleansing and moisturIzing oil?). However, whenever I wear makeup, it takes me at least 3-4 times of wiping off and reapplying almond oil cycle to remove all residual makeup from my face (does everyone else also take more than 2 tries at removing foundation?). And since I wipe my face so much, my cheeks get red and dry after ocm. Should I incorporate castor oil, as it’s addition may reduce the number of times I need to wipe my face to remove all makeup residuals? Thanks a lot:)

  33. Hi Liz! I hope the redness went away quickly for you! I personally don’t use a scrub, but if I were to use one, I’d make sure it is organic with natural ingredients and mild as well. Let us know how the olive oil worked out for you!

  34. Hi Robyn! I use straight olive oil to remove makeup and straight olive oil to moisturize every day. Except, on days that I don’t wear makeup I don’t use the olive oil at all. This is usually about 3 or 4 times a month that I go without makeup.

  35. Thank you Shawn! You should be able to wear your foundation and powder without issue. I use a mineral based makeup (powder). I make sure to wait 15 to 30 minutes before applying makeup to ensure that the oil has soaked in. Experiment with it on a day that you’ll be staying home. Best wishes to you and let us know how it goes!

  36. Hi! I have not used it as a body cleanser! Didn’t even think of that! I have applied it after showering as an all over body moisturizer. I wouldn’t want to use it in the shower as it would get too slippery in there. I’m still on the look out for something to replace regular bath soap with .. It’s got to be moisturizing too as I’d be an all-over-all-day itching mess, if not!

  37. I have used olive oil as skin moisturizer for some time now. I also don’t like the chemicals in store bought moisturizer. It is much less expensive and seems to be a base for many handmade moisturizers. So I gave it a try and now I won’t go back to those nasty chemical-laden ones!

  38. Thank you Asma for your lovely compliment! I can only speak from my own experience. I have very fair skin and have been using olive oil as a moisturizer for going on 2 years now. It has NOT darkened my skin. However, I would think if you were to apply it and then go out in the sun, it may act similar to suntan oils. The makeup I use has a sunscreen in it so that helps to protect my face when out in the sun. Hope this has been helpful to you Asma .. Wishing you the best of success with this and all your endeavors … ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. I am 61 and have been using olive oil as a moisturizer for many years. All of the commercial moisturizers that I purchased seem to bother my allergies. I did some research looking for natural methods to moisturize and found an article about Sophia Loren and her use of olive oil. It is the best thing that I have ever done! I use it before I go to bed at night and then in the morning before I apply my make up. I love the way it makes my face feel and I get lots of compliments on my complexion!

  40. Thank you Imelda for your comment. I am acne prone also. I still do get breakouts but they aren’t as bad as before and clear quickly. Make sure to check out all the links I include in the article as there’s one that touches on this subject. Please let us know how it goes. Best wishes to you!

  41. Thank you so much for your input Candace! I use the olive oil for my face wash and moisturizer. Works amazing at removing mascara!! You can feel it removing impurities. Awesome stuff! Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Hi Catherine! I started out using the OCM mixture with castor oil. I only did that for a couple to 3 months. I solely use organic olive oil now. I use it for make-up removal, cleansing and moisturizer. After I massage it into my skin (which I love!) I use a warm wash cloth and wipe my entire face a couple of times. Then I apply a tiny bit of olive oil as a moisturizer. I ONLY do this if I have worn make-up during the day. If I have gone make-up less all day, I don’t even wash my face! I use mineral make-up and am not sure if the type of make-up one uses has anything to do with how easily it comes off. Thanks for stopping by Catherine!

  43. Hi there! I use it at both times unless I have gone without make-up. I don’t use it at night if I did not apply make-up. Thanks for stopping by!

  44. That’s awesome Daryl! Thanks so much for sharing your story and the tidbit about Sophia Loren! Sounds like we use it in the same way. I love the way it feels too! Thank you tons for stopping by!!

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