The 15 minute oil cleanse challenge: What is it and is it actually good for your skin?

Many of us suffer with blackheads and clogged pores, and no matter how many pore strips we use, or how often we exfoliate, sometimes nothing will do.

Enter: the latest skincare hack derived from TikTok, which consists of cleansing skin with an oil-based cleanser for 15 minutes or more. 3 million users have watched TikTok user Adrika (who goes by the handle ‘Opulent Jade’)’s video which is entitled ‘If you have blackheads, you need to see this.’


My life is FOREVER CHANGED #skincareroutine #skincarehacks #oilcleansing #skincaretips #tiktokwellness

♬ original sound – Adrika

‘I saw a video from an esthetician on Youtube and she talked about how oil cleansing for 15 to 20 minutes can get out little oil plugs [in the skin],’ she says in the video.

‘I thought “no way in hell is that going to work on me”.’

After trying the hack out for herself, Adrika reveals to the camera that her hand is covered in black sebum plugs, proving the technique has worked.

What is the 15 minute oil cleanse challenge?

The ‘gritting’ technique (which was named as such due to the excess that is removed from skin during the process), is a favourite of US esthetician Nayamka Roberts-Smith, whose YouTube video inspired Adrika’s TikTok.

15 minute oil cleanse
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Her video sets out how to try gritting clearly. ‘Oil dissolves oil. Oil cleanser attracts lipids in your pores and on the surface of your skin to wash it away,’ she explains.

‘If you have acne-prone skin, oil cleansing is going to loosen congestion in your skin in a really gentle, non-inflammatory way.’

But while this all sounds wonderful in theory, is it actually a safe idea? It may be best to approach with caution.

The expert’s view

‘I would say that there is no evidence to suggest that you aren’t trading one problem for another here,’ says Megan Felton, co-founder of skincare consultancy Lion/Ne.

‘This trend could lead to further pore clogging and additional build up/production of sebum long term. The evidence to me seems very anecdotal and would have to be looked at on a case-to-case basis. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.’

However, Mark Curry, co-founder of The INKEY List, believes there in theory isn’t anything wrong with this method of skincare, but that you need to be consistent in order for it to work safely.

15 minute oil cleanse
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‘If you’re going to assign to a technique like this, ensure you’re executing it consistently,’ he says. ‘For example, a balanced diet would be the most effective way to lose weight vs hitting a crash diet once.’

If you’re apprehensive to try the hack, Mark recommends using glycolic acid toner instead, which is ‘great for helping to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, clearing blackheads and helping to reduce the appearance of pores.’

So basically, the jury is still out on this one – but if you do decide to give it a go, be sure to assess how your skin looks and feels in the days afterwards and adjust your routine accordingly.