I’ve lost track of the number of requests for a cleansing oil I’ve received over the last little while. Danielle, Christine, and Shelley all sent some in, and then there’s been a bunch in the comments on various posts and videos, so I figured I should pull this one off my never-ending to-play list (much better than a to-do list!) and make it—stat! And I’m very glad I did. This silky citrus-scented Grapefruit Deep Cleansing Oil leaves my skin feeling all kinds of clean and happy. I love the scent first thing in the morning, too.

A cleansing oil uses liquid emulsifiers (aka non-ionic surfactants) to create an oil mixture that rinses off cleanly with water. Almost all cleansers, from soap to cleansing balms to bubbling cleansers, clean with double ended molecules that grab onto the oils on your skin with the oil-loving end, and then hitch a ride down the drain with your rinsing water with the water-loving end, and a cleansing oil is no exception. The oils in the cleansing oil pick up the oil and general schmag from your skin (remember, like dissolves like!), and then the added emulsifiers mean when you add water to the mix, your skin will easily rinse clean without an oily residue. Cool, no?

I chose two different emulsifiers for this cleansing oil. Mostly ’cause I had two and wanted to play with them both, honestly. You could likely use all of one or the other and it would would work out great. I used olivem 300, a water-soluble ester derived from olive oil, and Polysorbate 80, a solubilizer/non-ionic surfactant that works well to emulsify carrier oils with water (Polysorbate 20 is better suited to emulsifying essential oils into water, so it’s not an awesome choice here, but would likely be ok if you used 1.5–2x as much). I’m loving olivem 300 these days, but in the interest of keeping costs down, I thought I’d incorporate some Polysorbate 80 as well.

Since this cleansing oil is heading straight down the drain after a minute or two of use, I chose inexpensive carrier oils for the oil part of this Grapefruit Deep Cleansing Oil. I went with a blend of fractionated coconut oil and safflower oil, plus a bit of castor oil as it’s a drawing oil that’ll boost the cleansing abilities of the cleansing oil. You could definitely use whatever light to mid-weight inexpensive liquid carrier oil you have on hand—this would be a great place to use up something that’s nearing the end of its shelf life.

I decided to take advantage of the wash-off-ness of this project and add some rarely used citrus essential oils to it, and I love it! There’s something very lovely about washing up with grapefruit first thing in the morning—it’s all fresh and juicy and lovely 😊 You should definitely give this Grapefruit Deep Cleansing Oil a go!

Grapefruit Deep Cleansing Oil

6g Olivem 300 (USA / Canada)
12g Polysorbate 80

24g fractionated coconut oil
6g castor oil
11g safflower oil
0.3g (~7 drops) vitamin E oil

5 drops orange essential oil
12 drops grapefruit essential oil

Weigh everything into a 70mL/2.5oz bottle, cap, and shake to combine. That’s it!

To use, I like to wet my face a bit with a warm, wet washcloth, and then massage about 1/2 tsp of the cleansing oil into my skin. I’ll then rinse/wipe that off with the washcloth and follow up with some face cream.

Because this cleansing oil is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.

Want to use a different carrier oil? Read this for information on how to make good substitutions.

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