In the past weeks I have had several requests for more information on oils to use on the Oil Cleansing Method.  The basics of the OCM are castor oil and either olive, almond, or jojoba oil but what if your skin needs a little boost because of dryness, severe acne, or even hyperpigmentation or scarring?

In this segment of Dear Detox Diva we will address the many other options you have  when choosing your perfect blend for the OCM.

Dear Detox Diva,

HELP!! I have been using the OCM for the last 4 weeks and my skin is getting much worse, now red and raw like sandpaper and I am breaking out like crazy.  I am using castor oil and coconut oil and am thinking of giving up and going back to my normal acne wash.  Can you give me some suggestions on what I am doing wrong?  Am I using the right oil?  I know you said coconut oil isn’t good for winter so can you give me some suggestions on what I can use in the winter and then which oils I can use in the summer? ~B


Dear B,

The OCM does take some getting used to for some people, and it is very common for breakouts to occur even for even a few months after beginning.  I don’t recommend using coconut oil for any skin type as a means to cleanse the skin.  Coconut oil has a tendency to clog pores.  Even if it were not comedogenic, coconut oil, ayurvedically speaking, is a cooling oil, therefore not an oil to use in the winter for anyone.

Below you will find my picks for the best oils to use for the OCM.

Castor Oil– Make sure you get the highest quality you can afford, preferably sustainably sourced. Castor oil has the greatest ability to cleanse the skin and is an anti-bacterial agent to boot.  It can be drying for the skin so in the winter or if your skin is on the drier side you may have to use the bare minimum.  Use it 1 part castor oil to 3 parts carrier oil for drier skins.  You can use 2 parts castor to 1 part castor for oilier or acne prone skin.

Sweet Almond Oil- good for all types of skin.  Light but warming and, even with the highest quality, cold pressed variety (a must for OCM) it is relatively inexpensive. High in Vitamin E sweet almond oil is great for treating scars and pigmentation from acne.

Jojoba Oil–  very nourishing for the skin as it mimics the skin’s own natural sebum helping to easily dissolve “gunk” in pores.  Jojoba oil is hydrating without being greasy so it can be used as a moisturizer for after cleansing even for the oiliest of skin.

Argan Oil:  contains more antioxidant and cell regenerative properties than olive oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil combined.  Argan oil increases cell regeneration and improves cell turnover. When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly, and without an oily film, leaving behind a silky and satiny feel.

Tamanu Oil–  is a remarkable natural product with anti-neuralgic, anti-inflamatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, ,making it perfect for the treatment of acne. Tamanu oil encourages the formation of new skin tissue making it ideal for accelerated wound healing when it comes to stimulating the growth of healthy skin tissue. Tamanu oil is of the most versatile when it comes to natural healing and as an anti-aging treatment.  It is a bit pricey but worth the expense.

Rice Bran Oil-incredibly healing for inflammation and skin irritation. It absorbs very quickly without leaving a film on the skin. This oil is antioxidant-rich, as it contains vitamin E and gamma oryzanol. Rice Bran Oil is a great, lightweight oil to give your skin a radiant glow.

Sunflower Oil– is chock a block with vitamins A, C, D, and E. It has highly protective qualities. It has also been shown to fight bacteria, which makes this a wonderful oil for acne.  You must use organic cold pressed sunflower oil


Grapeseed Oil– This is very lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. It contains antioxidants and has high amounts of linoleic acid.  Grapeseed oil is high in Vitamin E.


Olive Oil–  This oil is full of antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. These antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals that cause skin damage. Olive oil also contains squalene and trace amounts of chlorophyll. Squalene is a moisturizer that helps regulate your skin’s sebum production.


Olive Squalane– Has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is ideal to soften your skin as well. We produce squalane naturally, but as we age, production decreases and slows down.  Olive Squalene can improve cracked skin, and skin suffering from conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. It has regenerative properties and can help restore a youthful, supple appearance. It is very light in texture, so it will not leave a greasy residue on the skin.


Safflower Oil– Safflower oil has firming and hydrating properties and consists of over 75% Linoleic Acid and is very high in Oleic Acid. Both of these compounds are very moisturizing, yet this oil penetrates the skin very quickly and not greasy at all.


I play around with my mixtures. Lately I have mixed equal parts, in a clean dark glass 8 oz. bottle,  of olive oil and rice bran oi, filling the bottle half full.  For the other half of the botttle I mix 1 part castor oil with 1 part argan,  1 part olive squalene, and 1 part almond oil.  I use about 3 droppers full of oil each time I cleanse my face.  Depending on my mood I add in 2 drops of an essential oil of my choice.


{See our Comprehensive Guide to Essential Oils to determine which essential oils would suit your skin type and mood.}