On my way home from the gym one day, I looked at myself in the rearview mirror and thought about possible exercises for my facial muscles. I began imagining a gym with treadmills for your face. I seem to have forgotten what that million-dollar piece of equipment could have looked like, but there definitely seem to have been detachable tiny legs involved. How incredible would it be to have cardio sessions dedicated to your face specifically? Do not fret, for I am about to let you in on an ancient piece of wisdom that I have recently been fortunate enough to engage in.

My homeopath, my grandmother and a beautiful dancer all whispered to me, as if their words were laced with magic, ‘oil pulling’. It was an answer I got multiple times when I asked older generations what their beauty secrets were. My first thought involved a bucket, a can of oil and a rope; I couldn’t possibly come up with anything related to beauty specifically. So I drenched my imagination with the excitement of surprise and went on over to knock on the doors of the World Wide Web.

Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic technique, is simply swishing oil in your mouth on an empty stomach. The key here is consistency. I did it everyday, 20 minutes each day, for 2 weeks, and was really happy with the difference I experienced with my overall health. I am currently on holiday, but once I return home I plan on continuing my oil pulling routine, as it is an effective daily detox that also doubles as facial cardio.

The benefits of oil pulling include:

  • Lesser wrinkles and a tighter jaw line resulting from the exercising your facial muscles
  • Whiter teeth, prevention against cavities, better smelling breath and stronger gums. (Essentially everything that your best toothpaste claims to do)
  • Improved sleep
  • Clearer sinuses
  • Relieves headaches
  • Clearer skin (the increased blood flow and removal of toxins from the face aids with acne and eczema)
  • De-puffs your face
  • Prevents allergies

The process of oil pulling:

  • Begin on an empty stomach (do not eat or drink anything, except water, for 20 minutes before and after oil pulling)
  • Take a tablespoon of Cold Pressed Sesame oil (or Cold Pressed Coconut oil) and swish it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. You can start with 5 minutes and build your way up every day. Do not swish too hard as your jaw can begin to tire, and the idea is to swish for as long as possible.
  • Do not gargle or swallow the oil, just swish. It was initially hard for me to swish without spitting or swallowing, but I began imagining pushing and pulling the oil through my teeth, allowing the oil to touch all corners of my mouth by pretending to chew and rolling my tongue.
  • You can dance (do not sing), shower, go for a walk or read a book, to pass away the 20 minutes. I usually walk my dog or sit in the balcony and do nothing cause most often it’s the only time in the day that I am alone with my thoughts. If you are a badass maybe you could actually meditate to the thought of the swishing oil sucking out all the toxins from your blood.
  • After 20 minutes, spit out the oil into the trash or the sink. The liquid that you spit out should now be a milky white and should have doubled in size with the saliva and toxins.
  • Gargle with warm water and you’re done.

My experience with oil pulling has been gratifying. Before I began doing oil pulling, I used to wake up with a puffy face every morning that reminded me of chicken puffs from my high school canteen. Since starting oil pulling, my skin looks happier, my gums are less sensitive to cold drinks, my neck and shoulder pain has significantly reduced and I don’t wake up looking like a puffy food item anymore. In those 20 minutes I am able to improve my oral health and regain a sense of control over my body that I sometimes tend to lose. Also it is a great way of feeling better about yourself after you’ve indulged in your favourite cookie. I recommend oil pulling at least once a day, everyday. If you are unwell, you can do it up to three times a day to fasten the body’s healing process.

P.S: For your convenience, by clicking on the underlined products, you will automatically be redirected to the website where I buy them from.

– Video by Nithin Barath and BV Vishnu


    August 18, 2018

    Organic oil can improve complexion and skin tone.Beyond moisturizing your skin, almond oil is a great massage oil or skin treatment. It also has powerful antifungal properties.

    Organic Cold Pressed Oils

  • goddessguides
    May 26, 2016

    I’ve done this on and off for years, just started again 2 or 3 weeks ago daily for 15-20 minutes with organic raw coconut oil. I didn’t realise it had to be on an empty stomach so will have to rework how I do it (how important is that?). My other question – as you look somewhat younger than my 58 years – is that I’ve noticed the lines around my mouth deepening. Help! I don’t want to speed the inevitable 🙂 I’m pretty healthy all round, almost never get colds or ill so so far, the effects I see are fairly minimal though I absolutely believe in it. Any further information would be greatly appreciated. Blessings Glen

    • Ishika Sachdev
      May 31, 2016

      Hi Glen, hope this reply finds you well.
      -> The detox process works better if this is done on an empty stomach. I usually do it in the shower (on an empty stomach) every morning, but sometimes that is not feasible so I ensure that I do not eat 15-20 minutes before and after oil pulling. What I have noticed is that if I do oil pulling right after eating then I can get a little light headed. I think the important thing to focus on is actually doing it, so as long as you feed good and healthy (not dizzy/repulsed/nauseated) during and after the process, then when you do it should not be the priority. Hope I was successfully able answer your query.
      -> Regarding the lines around the mouth, if you believe that the lines are becoming more pronounced due to oil pulling, then I suggest that you try and consciously relax your upper lip while swishing. Sometimes one can unconsciously scrunch their upper lip which when exaggerated for 20 mins a day could cause lines around the mouth. Try swishing the oil more with your lower lip. This might sound strange, but I suggest you test it out and see if that makes a difference for you. Incase this doesnt work, then maybe you could counteract the line-inducing-effects by doing 5 minutes of facial yoga exercises daily. There are some great videos on YouTube for this. I have done one on lymphatic drainage facial massage which does incorporate some of the facial yoga techniques that focus on lifting facial muscles and plumping the skin. Do check it out here if interested -> http://thebeautyreel.com/mind/innocence-stems-effective-facial-massage-routine/
      Feel free to ask me any other queries whenever they pop up. Have a lovely week Glen. Best wishes and hugs, Ishika

    • Fiona
      November 3, 2017

      If by lines around your mouth, you mean what are officially called “nasolabal” folds, in Chinese face reading (a branch of Chinese Medicine) those are called purpose lines, and we are supposed to get them! No, oil pulling will not increase them, so no worries. As an aside, what we in the Western world call crow’s feet are called joy lines in the East. It’s all a matter of perspective.

      • Fiona
        November 3, 2017

        Sorry, I mis-typed, it’s nasolabial; folds. Check out Jean Haner’s Wisdom of Your Face book. She also has wonderful videos and sample face readings on youtube.

  • shalini
    May 25, 2016

    Hi Ishika,

    I will start soon Ishika and thank you…………..

  • shalini
    May 21, 2016

    Hi Ishika,

    Thank you very much for reply Ishika ,For oil pulling i want to try coconut oil by AMRITAM from good earth,my teeth

    are sensitive does my teeth get effected by doing oil pulling?And i also have tartar problem on teeth,by doing oil

    pulling tartar problem can be solved?

    • Ishika Sachdev
      May 23, 2016

      Hi Shalini, Oil pulling will strengthen your teeth by strengthing your gums. It is very good for oral health and will definitely help you with your teeth and tartar issues. I suggest you start as soon as possible. Do keep me posted on your progress and feel free to ask me any questions. Best, Ishika

  • Surya
    August 11, 2015

    Hi Ishika,
    Thank you for all the beautiful advices…?
    I have been wanting to do oil pulling from a very long time..thats when i came across your blog…so what i wanted to know is when do you brush your teeth? Is it after the whole process & whats the time interval?

    • Ishika Sachdev
      August 11, 2015

      Hi Surya, I’m very happy to hear that you’re enjoying the blog.
      I brush my teeth right after spitting out the oil. If you prefer you can gargle with salt and warm water first and then brush. There is no compulsion. Do whatever is the most convenient for you as the idea is to make it as easy as possible so that you do oil pulling everyday. I use a toothpaste called Patanjali, which smells and tastes a bit strange but it has changed my teeth completely and is a great complementary factor to oil pulling. Doing both in combination will make your teeth whiter and gums stronger, and will also get rid off and prevent further cavities.
      Keep me posted and have a lovely week. Best, Ishika

      • Surya
        August 12, 2015

        Hey thanks Ishika…am gonna start doing tommorow itself..lets see how it work?

      • shalini
        March 30, 2016

        Hi Ishika,

        I request you to suggest me the name of coconut oil for oil pulling which is available in online in india, please.you have mentioned cold pressured coconut oil but its not opening so i please request to suggest coconut oil available in online

  • Anu
    March 28, 2015

    Ishika i did 1/2 a tablespoon each of both the oils and did it for 15 minutes. How often should i do it? Today was my 1st time ever.

    • Ishika Sachdev
      March 28, 2015

      Anu, that’s amazing that you were able to do 15 minutes on your first try! Bravo!! For best results do it everyday for 15-20 minutes. You can do 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on one day and alternate it with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil on the next day. Do not mix both oils as it might dilute the effects of each of them. Keep going and keep me posted. 🙂

  • Akanksha
    March 24, 2015

    Okay, so Anuradha sent me here, and I’m all set to start oil pulling. Just a quick question, though: Which should I start with (coconut or sesame), and why? I saw that Kama (from the link you posted here) has both, but I can’t seem to figure if I should start with one, or alternate between the two? Let me know! Thank you 🙂

    • Ishika Sachdev
      March 24, 2015

      Hi Akanksha, if you are new to oil pulling, start with Cold Pressed Coconut Oil. Sesame Oil is stronger and may have more severe effects. Once you are done with your first bottle of coconut oil, switch to Sesame oil as you should have enough oil-pulling experience by then. If you have both oils, then feel free to alternate between the two. The main idea is to feel as comfortable as possible so that you are consistent with oil pulling.
      P.S: I use sesame oil and enjoy it, but some of my friends find it repulsive hence stick with coconut oil. So it is just a matter of preference and what you can sustain.
      Do let me know how it goes!

  • NudeL
    March 11, 2015

    Hello Ishika, That I know of, spitting your used oil down the sink is a bad idea. It can solidify and clog the drain. I keep my used ziplock bags and spit the oil there and simply throw it in the trash, or sometimes I spit outside in the dirt. I also read in another blog about rinsing with warm salt water afterwards and to brush your teeth. Hope that helps your readers. Thanks 😀

    • Ishika Sachdev
      March 11, 2015

      Hi! Thank you for the idea, it definitely helps! Yes I agree, it could clog the drain hence the sink may be a bad idea. I’ve begun spitting it in dirt or composte sometimes. 🙂 Do let me know if you have any thoughts on my other pieces in the blog! Have a good day.

Share your thoughts, beautiful human!