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How To Wash Your Face And Remove Makeup With Oil

Last updated on August 9, 2019

Oil cleansing can be a total game changer for just about any skin type and condition. Although it may seem counterintuitive to wash your face with oil, it's actually brilliant, and I'll tell you why. An oil cleanser dissolves excess oils on your skin, as well as makeup and sunblock—without any of the surfactants, harsh ingredients, or necessary preservatives in foaming cleansers. This means that your face gets a super-deep clean, without any "stripping," or disruption of the skin's natural microbiome. Because this cleanse is so thorough, I usually recommend that clients oil cleanse at night only, and just rinse with water in the morning.

After switching to oil cleansing clients often notice clearer, softer, brighter skin, fewer blackheads, more balanced oil production (less "why is my skin oily and dry at the same time?") and a sense of ritual and grounding in their nighttime routine.

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Oil Cleansing For Beautiful Skin

If you're wearing heavier makeup, start by removing that. I love a little oil cleanser and water on cotton pads for this. This regular oil-cleansing routine is enough to remove light makeup, though.

Step 1

Rinse face with warm water, then pat dry.

Step 2

Dispense a nickel- to quarter-size amount of oil into palm, spread over both hands, and apply to full face and neck.

Step 3

Massage! Take a full minute to work the oil into your skin. Focus on areas of congestion (hello T-zone) as well as areas of muscular tension (like the jaw). This is an opportunity to give your face some love, dissolve some of the tension of the day, and tend to the deeper layers of your skin by increasing circulation of blood and lymph, as you deep clean your pores.

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Step 4

Warm washcloth removal. This step is key to oil cleansing working for you. Wring out your washcloth, drape it over your full face, and press the warmth into the skin. Next, remove all of the oil with the washcloth. This may require multiple passes. Be thorough but not rough. Added bonus—this gives you a bit of gentle exfoliation.

Follow with the rest of your regular nighttime skin ritual. If you want a video-tutorial, follow along with me here.

Find your oil

My favorite oil cleanser of the moment is MyHavtorn Hydrating Oil Cleanser, a Swedish brand that uses very high-quality sea buckthorn oil blended with sesame, rapeseed, castor, and coconut oil, and some healing shea butter. You can also just try just a high-quality plain jojoba oil (you'll know it's the real deal if it turns solid in the freezer) like Stillpoint Aromatics Organic Jojoba.

The most common kitchen-cabinet recipe usually includes a mixture of castor oil and extra-virgin olive oil. A standard one-to-one ratio is a good starting point, but you can adjust as needed depending on your skin type.

  • Normal Skin: 1:1 ratio of castor oil to extra-virgin olive oil
  • Oily Skin: 3:1 ratio of castor oil to extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dry Skin: 1:3 ratio of castor oil to extra-virgin olive oil
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Britta Plug
Britta Plug
Holistic Esthetician and Skin Care Expert

Britta Plug is an NYC-based licensed esthetician and holistic health coach with over 12 years of experience. She holds an international skin-care diploma (CIDESCO), and is engaged in ongoing studies of meditation, herbalism, nutrition, and yoga. She is also the creator of Studio Britta.

In her early teens, Plug taught herself a pressure-point facial massage she found in the back of a DIY aromatherapy book. She practiced her new skill on friends at sleepovers and has been dedicated to healing skin care ever since.

Seeing each client’s need for personalized, skin-positive care, Plug weaves ancient and modern modes of healing into Facial Attunement™. She calls upon a wide array of techniques, from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda to detoxifying massage and LED therapy, for a tailored experience.