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How To Do Dry Oil Cleansing Method


I am SO EXCITED to share the Dry Oil Cleansing Method with you – this is the most effective natural anti-aging technique I’ve found yet (I can’t believe the results I’ve been getting!).

If your skin is:

  • dry
  • dull
  • lacklustre
  • dehydrated
  • maturing
  • losing elasticity
  • lined and wrinkled (and getting worse by the day)


What is the Dry Oil Cleansing Method?

First, you’re probably wondering if there’s a difference between the Dry Oil Cleansing Method and the Regular Oil Cleansing Method?

And yes, there is!

Dry Oil Cleansing is washing your face with a pure oil or an oil blend using a DRY washcloth.

Regular Oil Cleansing Method uses a damp/wet washcloth and oil to cleanse the face.

Pretty much, the Dry Oil Cleansing Method doesn’t use any water to wash your face, just oil and a soft cloth or flannel. And that’s why it’s called “Dry Oil Cleansing Method”

Besides not using any water, there’s a few other things that makes this method different from the regular Oil Cleansing Method, including the type of washcloth you should use, the technique to remove the oil, makeup, dirt and debris from your skin, and what type of oil you’ll use as your cleanser (more on all of this later…)

When most people hear of not using water to wash their face, their response is usually, “Ewh, no way!”

For me, it was the reverse. When I found out about this technique, I knew it would deliver results!

Why would I try the Dry Oil Cleansing Method?

As you might already know, I am pregnant. I’m also 41 years old, and pregnant. And with this pregnancy came a very weird change in my skin.

My skin type used to be a mixture of oily/combination/maturing/acne-prone.

But, with this pregnancy my skin totally changed. Sometime during the first trimester of my pregnancy, my skin went from being chronically oily and shiny, to dry, wrinkled, and lined.

Even my hair/scalp went dry (normally I have to wash my hair 2 times a week, but during this pregnancy I never get an oily scalp, and I can go 10 or more days without needing to wash my hair, or much longer if I wanted to. Sometimes I feel like I’m washing my hair for the sake of washing it, not because I actually need to!).

This is all down to the pregnancy hormones. And as they say, every pregnancy is different. (When I was pregnant with my daughter Luna Ray 4 years ago, my skin and hair was so super oily, I had to wash my hair every other day, and even then it just never felt clean! I also used to have very thick, curly, ringlet hair – and after I gave birth to my daughter, my hair went straight with some waves – my curls never came back!).

So starting somewhere during the first trimester of this pregnancy, my skin started getting really dry. And it wasn’t flakey or irritated dry, but more like dehydrated dry, and losing elasticity (and looking old fast). Suddenly when I’d smile the wrinkles around my eyes and mouth would get very deep, and once I’d stop smiling, my skin wouldn’t snap back, but instead the lines and wrinkles would remain quite pronounced on my face (yikes!).

At first I thought it was just my imagination.

But then one day a makeup artist remarked my skin was getting dry.

And then a little while after that my husband asked me what was going on with all the lines and wrinkles on my face?! And he never notices anything (and if he does, it has to be really bad for him to actually say something!).

That’s when the veil of denial was lifted, and I needed to do something!

Intuitively, I didn’t feel like I needed yet another product. There was something I needed to change or adjust in my skincare routine.

At first, I thought it over, and I couldn’t quite pin point what. Then, like a miracle, I randomly came across a blog post on Josh Rosebrook blog on the Dry Oil Cleansing Method. It was like a light had been turned on, and I immediately knew that this is exactly what I needed to do!

Most people are horrified by the idea of not using water on their face. They think they need water to clean their face. For me, I find the less water I use on my face, the better my skin is. I first discovered this 6 years ago when the apartment I was renting had a very low shower head that only came up to my chest. I couldn’t wash my face in the shower, only over the sink, and I had to be quite creative figuring out how to wash my hair. I noticed within a few weeks of not washing my face in the shower how much healthier my skin was, especially with evening out my skin tone and getting rid of redness and irritation. After that experience I never washed my face in the shower again, and instead I only wash my face over the sink, and always before having a shower. I personally find water to be quite drying and irritating, and avoiding it whenever possible can help maintain healthy, youthful skin.

So when I read Josh Rosebrook’s article about Dry Oil Cleansing Method, it really resonated with me. I have already been washing my face with oils for years, and skipping using a damp washcloth seemed doable – why not try?!

At first I was just going to try it out once, but after just one cleanse of using the dry method, my skin was SO MUCH softer, hydrated, and supple. I immediately decided to try doing it for 30 days continuously to see what kind of results I could get.

Now, looking back, I’m so thrilled I did this experiment.

Not only did I get to see the results of what 30 days of Dry Oil Cleansing Method can do, but I also got to see how it affected my skin when I had breakouts, how this cleansing method worked in conjunction with other products, if it worked well removing foundation, makeup, and/or sunscreen, and if it is suitable for all skin types (and if not, which skin types should completely avoid it).

Since there’s a lot of information I want to cover about the Dry Oil Cleansing Method and my 30+ day experiment doing it, I’ve decided to divide this topic into two parts/two blog posts.

In this blog post and video, I’m going to go over:

  • What is the Dry Oil Cleansing Method
  • Step-by-step how to do the Dry Oil Cleansing Method (both written instructions and video demo).
  • Special instructions for removing makeup and sunscreen (double cleansing using the Dry Oil Cleansing Method)
  • What oils, washcloths, and products I recommend for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method (and what I don’t recommend)
  • What skin types would benefit from the Dry Oil Cleansing Method
  • What skin types should avoid it
  • Special instructions for acne prone skin

In Part 2: blog post & video, I go over:

  • My results doing 30 days of the Dry Oil Cleansing Method (including no water touching my face)
  • The benefits and challenges I encountered during the 30 day experiment
  • What changes I have since made to my dry oil cleansing skincare routine to get even better results
  • How other skincare products work in conjunction with the Dry Oil Cleansing Method
How to do dry oil cleansing method for dry, sensitive, maturing skin.

Dry Oil Cleansing Method (for dry or maturing skin)

What you’ll need:

A Pure Oil or Oil Blend

Choose a pure oil, or an oil blend that you already know is suitable for your skin and doesn’t contain ingredients that need to be washed or rinsed off (like soaps, foaming agents, synthetic fragrance, etc).

If you’ve never used oils on your skin before, choose one of the oils I’ve listed below because they are all non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores) and for most people, won’t cause any reaction or sensitivity.

Recommended non-comedogenic pure oils:

  • Jojoba Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Safflower Oil

Recommended oil blends:

You can use a pure oil, make your own oil blend by mixing a few of the oils listed above, or you can buy any cleansing oil or oil blend product.

During my 30+ day Dry Oil Cleansing experiment, I used Living Libations Rose Best Skin Ever and Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser. I adore both these oil cleansers/oil blend products, and highly recommend them. I recently found another oil that is great for dry oil cleansing skin prone to sensitivity, redness, breakouts and inflammation, Loa Skin Botanical Beauty Elixir.

If you are to buy or use a commercial oil or oil blend product, make sure it’s made with just pure oils, no added surfactants or synthetic fragrance. Below I’ve listed ingredients that aren’t suitable for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method.

Ingredients to avoid (don’t use any oils or oil blends containing):

  • Mineral oil / Baby oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Synthetic fragrance (essential oils and infused oils used in facial products can usually be fine for most people, but not synthetic fragrance)
  • Soaps, foaming agents, SLS, (sodium lauryl sulfate), etc.
  • Added surfactants (oil cleansers that are formulated to break down with water, or rinse off without needing a washcloth to remove it).
  • Any product or ingredient that needs to washed or rinsed off
  • If you have acne prone skin, I don’t recommend using pure coconut oil because it can be quite comedogenic (unless you’ve already been using it on your face for a while and it doesn’t give you breakouts).

For the Dry Oil Cleansing Method, you’re not removing the oil with water, but instead gently patting the oil off your skin with a smooth dry cloth – so DON’T use an oil cleanser that needs to be rinsed off with water. If you’re using a commercial oil blend/cleanser, always check the ingredients. If the oil cleanser foams or lathers, that means it needs to be rinsed off with water, so don’t use it for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method!

Smooth & Soft Reusable Cotton Flannel Wipes (buy a packet of at least 6 or 12)

For the Dry Oil Cleansing Method, I’ve tried a lot of different types of washcloths and reusable wipes.

Personally, I prefer using baby wash cloths or flannels because they are usually a lot softer than regular ones (because they’re made for delicate baby skin), and they’re the perfect size for facial cleansing (not too big and bulky, not too small).

For Dry Oil Cleansing, I recommend using the smoothest, softest cloth you can find that is made with 100% natural fibre. I like a 1-ply cotton flannel or super soft muslin cloth.

The worst cloth for dry oil cleansing is a microfibre, synthetic fiber, or a blend (especially anything made with nylon or polyester) because even though they are soft, for some reason when they’re dry, they don’t quite absorb anything, and instead they just move the product, dirt/debris, and makeup around your face! I use these types of cloths for regular oil cleansing (with water) because they are so soft and gentle, but unfortunately they’re NOT good for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method.

I also don’t recommend using terry wash cloths either. Even though terry wash cloths can be made with 100% natural fiber and are also great for regular oil cleansing with water, when they are dry, they can be too rough on your skin, making it difficult to remove oil, makeup, dirt and debris.

The best wash cloths I have found so far for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method are Bummis Cotton Wipes (unfortunately now discontinued. I’m still looking for an alternative. In the meantime you can use cotton fabric from old pillow cases or bedsheets, or even cut up a cotton t-shirt. As long as the fabric is 100% cotton, thin, and absorbent, it will work).

If you are doing your own experiments with different wash cloths for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method, two important things to look out for:

  • The washcloth should always feel smooth, soft and gentle on your skin when it’s dry (it should never irritate, scratch, or tug at your skin).
  • When you are patting or gently swiping your skin with the dry cloth – oil, dirt, debris, makeup should easily lift up onto the cloth (you should actually see the oil and makeup on the cloth). If after patting or swiping your skin, if the cloth is completely clean with no oil marks, makeup, or dirt/debris – then it’s not cleaning your skin, which is not what you want).

Once you have found the perfect cloth for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method, I strongly recommend buying or making at least 6-12 cloths (or more). This way you are always using a fresh clean wash cloth for cleansing your face, and have enough stocked up in between laundry days.

Directions for the Dry Oil Cleansing Method

Morning cleanse:

Follow these instruction every morning:

1- Take a dime size amount of oil and apply it to your dry face and neck.

2- Massage your face and neck with outward strokes for a minute or two.

3- Using a clean washcloth/flannel, gently (yet firmly) pat your skin starting from the center of your face, outward. As you’re patting the entire surface of your face and neck, the washcloth/flannel should lift and remove the oil, dirt and debris from the surface of your skin.

4- Make sure you are gentle as you are patting the cloth/flannel against your skin. You should never pull or tug at your skin, nor should your skin feel hurt, irritated or become red by the patting/pressing the cloth against your skin.

5- Once you have patted off all the excess oil from the surface of your face and neck, you are done. You can put the used washcloth in the laundry, and follow up by using skincare products and/or makeup if you wish.

Evening cleanse (double cleanse):

If you wear makeup and/or sunscreen during the day, or live in an environment where there’s a lot of pollution or dust/dirt in the air – follow these double cleansing instructions for your evening cleanse. (If you don’t wear makeup, sunscreen or live in a polluted or dusty environment, follow the Morning Cleanse Instructions for both your morning and evening cleansing routine).

1- If you wear heavily pigmented eye makeup or lipstick (like mascara, dark smoky eye shadow, eyeliner, or red lipstick) – remove that first with an oil or makeup remover.

2- Take a dime size amount of oil and apply it to your dry face and neck.

3- Massage your face and neck with outward strokes for a minute or two.

4- Using one side of a clean washcloth/flannel, remove the oil, makeup, sunscreen, and products from the surface of your skin using a light, swiping motion from the center of your face, outward, and then downward along your neck. This swiping motion will remove all makeup and product from the surface of your skin. Always make sure the swiping strokes are very light and gentle, never tugging, pulling, or irritating your skin.

6- Once all oil, makeup, and products are removed, take another dime size amount of oil, and apply it to your face and neck.

7- Massage your face and neck again with outward strokes for a minute or two.

8- Using the other side of your clean washcloth/flannel, gently (yet firmly) pat your skin starting from the center of you face, outward, and then pat your neck in the direction downward. As you’re patting the surface of your face and neck, the washcloth/flannel will lift and remove the excess oil, and any remaining dirt, debris, and leftover makeup or sunscreen from the surface of your skin.

9- Once you have patted off all the excess oil from the surface of your face and neck, and your face feels clean, you are done. Put the used washcloth in the laundry, and you can then follow up by using your night-time skincare products if you wish.

Who is Dry Oil Cleansing good for?

Now that you know how to do the Dry Oil Cleansing Method – you might be wondering if this is something you should try? Would it be good for you and your skin type?

As I said before, this oil cleansing method is REALLY good for dry or maturing skin.

If your skin is beginning to, or already looking more “aged,” or losing it suppleness and elasticity – this would be something to try.

I would also say it can be particularly good for combination skin that tends to be oily and dry either at the same time, or switches back and forth. This oil cleansing method can help to balance out combination skin giving it enough moisture that it never gets dry, and simultaneously not over producing oil either.

That said, Dry Oil Cleansing Method could even help balance out chronically oily skin as well (because giving your skin more moisture can help it stop overproducing oil).

And if you have normal skin with no particular issues, you can certainly try it out to see how your skin responds (this might be a good addition to your skincare routine to prevent fine lines and wrinkles).

In general, if you’ve already been doing the oil cleansing method (with water), and you really like it and it works well with your skin, then by all means try this technique too.

What skin type must avoid Dry Oil Cleansing?

Based on doing the Dry Oil Cleansing Method for a few months now, what I’ve observed is if you have breakouts or acne, the Dry Oil Cleansing Method probably won’t be good for you (at least not when you have active pimples).

It’s not to say it will cause breakouts or acne, because it won’t. In fact, after doing this cleansing method for a few months, my skin is softer and smoother than it’s ever been before and the Dry Oil Cleansing Method has even helped to eliminated clogged and congested pores.

But, I have found that it slows down and even stalls the healing of pimples and breakouts.

Normally when I get a pimple, it take 2-4 days for it shrink up and disappear. With the Dry Oil Cleansing Method, I had pimples sitting on my face for 2 weeks, and not budging!

Why Dry Oil Cleansing isn’t good when you have pimples or acne?

Like any skin condition or wound, your skin heals more rapidly when the surface area is clean, dry, protected, and has oxygen (air).

For example, ever notice that when you cut your skin and leave a bandage or plaster on the cut for too long it actually keeps the wound too moist and slows the healing? Same with a rash – you let it “air out” cause if you put a bandage on it or covered it with something that seals out oxygen, it will take forever to heal.

Same with your pimples.

Some moisture helps healing, but not too much.

Out of the two oil cleansing methods (the regular oil cleansing method using water, and the dry oil cleansing method), the one using water/damp wash cloth is better for when you have active pimples because the damp washcloth will remove excess oil from the skin. The oil cleansing method using some water allows your skin to get slightly moisturized by the oil, but not overly so that it’s smothering your pimples and interfering with the healing process.

To learn how to do the regular Oil Cleansing Method (using water/damp washcloth), click here.

Special instructions for acne prone skin

If you currently have acne or active pimples, I recommend washing your face with smooth honey, or a non-foaming gentle cleanser, or doing my special Oil Cleansing Method For Acne Prone Skin until your skin clears up.

Once acne or active pimples are gone, then you can definitely switch over to the Dry Oil Cleansing Method.

If you get pimples just once in a while, you can do the dry oil cleansing method when your skin is completely clear, and the moment a pimple appears switch back to your preferred cleansing product/method using water (like washing your face with smooth honey, a gentle non-foaming cleanser, or my special Oil Cleansing Method For Acne Prone Skin). Once the pimple(s) heal and go away you can then go back to the Dry Oil Cleansing Method (this is what I do).

I will say, that even though the Dry Oil Cleansing Method isn’t great when you have active pimples, it does work great at keeping your skin clear and decongested, preventing future pimples and breakouts. I will talk more about this in my next blog post, but I have to say after doing this dry cleansing method for about 3 months now, my skin is super smooth and clear.

Want to know more?

Check out Part 2 of this blog post: My 30 Day Dry Oil Cleansing Experiment: Results, Challenges & What I’m Doing Now.

In that blog post and video, I talk all about my experiment doing the Dry Oil Cleansing Method for 30 days (and not letting a drop of water touch my face!). I go over my results and the changes I saw in my skin, some of the challenges I encountered, and how I’ve adjusted my skincare routine since doing that experiment.

About the Author
Hi, I’m Natasha St. Michael, Founder of Inspire Beauty. I’m also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Health Educator accredited by the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I’m obsessed with skin care and self-care. I’m 47 years old, struggled with adult acne until I was 30, and now I’m all about preserving the youthfulness of my skin (and sharing all my tips and tricks). If you have a question about a product or need a recommendation, feel free to contact me anytime.


This blog is for information purposes only. The content is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Should you have a medical or dermatological problem, please consult with your physician. None of the information or recommendations on this website should be interpreted as medical advice.

All product reviews, recommendations, and references are based on the author’s personal experience and impressions using the products. All views and opinions are the author’s own. 

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16 Responses

    1. Hi Anne,
      No I haven’t tried the Kansa Wand or the jade massage tool – but any form of gentle facial massage is always good (especially in the morning to boost circulation and de-puff the face!). I’ve heard the jade roller is really good, but never heard of the Kansa wand.

  1. Hi! I just wanted to share my version of the dry OCM. I have REALLY sensitive, rosacea skin. Any cleanser, exfoliation and even water turns my skin red and breaks me out. I’ve been doing this method as follows and my skin has been really calm and well moisturized;

    1) Gently glide jojoba oil over my dry face. Sometimes I let it sit on my skin for awhile before I take it off. It just feels good to have moisture.

    2) Use a Mediterranean silk sponge (the softest kind) to ever so gently exfoliate my skin. I basically soak the sponge in water and then ring all the water out. This thing is like a cloud on my delicate skin.

    3) To take of the oil off, I use recycled tissue (this works the best for some reason…like Trader Joe’s brand tissue) to soak up the oil on my face. I basically put the whole sheet on my face then pat around it. It’s really good at getting off all the oil. So much so that I feel like I need to put a bit of extra oil on my face to moisturize afterward.

    I hope this can help someone. I have spent so much money and time agonizing about how to cleanse my delicate skin and so far this has been a god send!!!


    1. Hi Marsha-

      My skin & experience is just like yours.

      Do you cleanse with the water/sponge after you remove the oil with tissue? And then add more oil to moisturize? Thanks! Kris

  2. Hi! Thanks for this post. How do you know whether or not it’s necessary to moisturizer after you’re done with the dry oil cleansing? Will your face gradually dry out if you don’t? Thanks!

    1. With the dry oil cleansing method you probably don’t need to moisturize your skin after, unless your skin is really dry or dehydrated. The dry oil cleansing shouldn’t dry out your skin (in fact, it should do the reverse). And how you’d now if your skin is dry is it could flake, feel tight, lines or wrinkles around eyes or mouth would be more obvious, and your skin wouldn’t feel moist or plumped.

  3. Hi. Awesome post. I have dry, sensitive, flaky skin with mild rocasea on my t-zone. Would the dry oil cleansing method work on me? I’ve been doing the normal Ocm and I have noticed clearer, softer skin but recently I find that during the course of the day my skin is still slightly dry and flaky.. I used a mix blend of oil in the morning but from a day ago I started with jojoba oil to see if there will be a differenceso far it feels good and i use rosehip seed oil at night.. Can I just used oils to cleanse and moisturize my face because whatever creams I’ve bought before doesn’t seem to do the job.. Oh and would it be OK to do the Ocm daily morning and night for my skin
    Thank you

    1. You can definitely try the dry oil cleansing. I received feedback from a few people with rosacea that this has helped a lot, so it’s definitely worth a try. And yes, you can also use oils to moisturize, and do the ocm night and day. You might find with the dry oil cleansing method that you don’t need to moisturize as much (or at all).

  4. Hi Natasha! I have really dry sensitive skin and recently ditched all my old skin care products in favor of using all natural products. So far its been great, and the new products don’t irritate my skin. However, I’ve been having trouble keeping my skin moist/hydrated. I tried this method and used the bumkins flannel wipes you suggested and nothing came off my face when I patted it down. I used 2 or 3 pumps of best skin ever oil cleanser and I think my starved skin just soaked it all up? What do you recommend I do? Should I just use more oil or is that the wrong approach?

    1. Hi Phyllis, it sounds to me your skin might need more moisturizing. Some oils are more moisturizing/hydrating than others. What products are you currently using on your skin? I find squalane oil or rosehip seed oil to be good at sealing in moisture, so perhaps after washing your face you can use 2-3 drops of one of these oils to moisturize, or add them into your moisturizer.

  5. I discovered this accidentally on my own – was very tired one night and forgot to wet my washcloth, just did oil, and I noticed I had no redness or irritation (unlike I usually did when cleansing with anything). For the past month, I have been exclusively dry oil cleansing, and the difference in my skin has been INCREDIBLE. So cool to see this pop up on your IG feed today – I have avoided telling anyone about this miraculous method (for my formerly super-sensitive, dry/delicate skin) for fear that I would sound unsanitary, but it really truly works! No water, just oil.

    I think part of it, for me, has to do with a sensitivity to the chemicals in tap water, as I also stopped drinking tap water in the past month after I got a water filter and WOW – no more whiteheads that troubled me for 12 years since puberty. On the few occasions I have splashed my face in the past month, I have only used filtered water, without the usual drying feeling of tap water on my skin.

    Personally this got rid of 100% of my irritation and acne, but I have come to suspect in the past few months that what I dealt with was not really “acne” – I have never in my life had a cystic pimple, just whiteheads and red irritation, which I think had a lot to do with dryness.

    Thanks Natasha for sharing this useful method! 🙂

    1. I’m so happy the dry oil cleansing has been working for you too! That’s so awesome 🙂 And ya, it seems a little weird until you try it (and see what it does to your skin, especially if you struggle with dry or irritated skin). I’ve known a few people who had chronic eczema that have had fantastic results with dry oil cleansing. Sometimes water is irritating. It could be the chlorine in water, or even just hard water with a lot of minerals.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience!

  6. If I do a double oil cleanse with my own oil mix, will it remove enough oil so that my skincare actives are able to penetrate since oil is occlusive???

  7. Hello! Loving the dry oil cleansing method, but I’ve been wondering how to clean my face cloths thoroughly and get rid of that oily feeling on them. Looks like I might have to throw them out at some point. I’ve actually started wiping my face with a tissue instead of a face cloth. How do you deal with that part Natasha?

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