Confession: I haven’t used soap on my face in years. Instead, I use the oil cleansing method. It’s the most natural and easiest way to have gorgeous skin without using nasty chemicals, or spending a fortune on natural cleansers that look like pondwater.
Umm, isn’t oil what we’re trying to wash OFF?
Okay, so our skin naturally produces this stuff called sebum, which is basically OIL. Things like dirt and bacteria get trapped in this sebum, and it gets stuck in our pores. We can cut through sebum with harsh soaps and cleansers–much like dish detergent cuts through cooking grease….OR, we can be more kind and gentle to our skin.
People have used oils to cleanse their skin since ancient times, because they knew that oil naturally bonds with other oils.
The sebum already present on our skin will bond with a clean oil applied, and warmth will open our pores, allowing the dirt and bacteria to be released and wiped away. Even better? You’re not unnecessarily drying out your face by stripping all the oils away.
If you strip your skin of all its oils by using harsh cleansers, it will respond by making even more oil! Instead of allowing that aggressive cycle to perpetuate, just cleanse your skin with oil, and it will be more glowing, dewy, moist, and supple than ever before.
What are the best oils to use?
So, certain types of oil are more moisturizing than others. Jojoba is the closest oil to our natural skin sebum, and is most easily absorbed, but you don’t want to use only that. Some people swear by using only coconut oil, which is very hydrating and antimicrobial, but can feel thick and heavy.
Castor oil, however, is the main “cleansing oil” that we can blend with other oils to make a great cleansing blend. Castor oil is actually drying to the skin as well as cleansing.
It’s best to use some castor oil in all facial cleansing blends, but someone with very dry skin might use a small amount of castor oil mixed with another, more hydrating oil such as olive, jojoba, or avocado oil.
How do I use the oil cleansing method?
To cleanse your face with oil, simply have a washcloth handy, and a source of warm water. Pour about a quarter-sized amount of your pre-mixed oil blend into your palm, and rub your hands together to warm the oil slightly. Then simply start massaging it into your face, using small circular motions. There’s no need to rinse your face first.
Cleansing oil is actually a fantastic makeup remover, even for that stubborn waterproof or stay-put stuff. Massage your face all over for about a minute, then get your washcloth wet with warm water. I prefer it very warm, but you may not!
Wring out the excess water, cover your face with the washcloth, and relax. Leave it there until it cools, about a minute. You can gently wipe the excess oil off afterward, but don’t scrub your skin! Then get the washcloth wet with warm water and do it again, waiting for another minute. By now your face should feel amazing, and very clean!
Yes, it takes a bit of time, but this is more like a spa treatment. You don’t even have to do this every day. I cleanse my face with oil 2-3 times a week, and the rest of the time I simply splash my face with warm water. If you wear makeup daily, you may want to cleanse your skin more frequently.
OK, gimme the recipes for oil cleansing blends:
Castor oil is your prime contender. Every blend should contain some castor oil, unless you’ve got the driest, most delicate skin. If you’re acne-prone, using castor and grapeseed oils may work best, as they’re both more drying. Normal skin does well with some castor oil mixed with jojoba or sunflower seed oil. If you’ve got dry skin, you may want to use just a small amount of castor oil, and focus on more hydrating oils such as jojoba and olive. If you want to get really fancy, you can also add in more exotic (and pricey) things like tamanu oil, carrot seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, and sea buckthorn.
Get a 1-4 ounce glass bottle (clean and dry, and dark glass preferred, to keep it from oxidizing). You can use one with an eyedropper or without–just make sure it seals well.
Then fill the bottle using one of these recipes:
- One part Castor oil, one part Grapeseed oil (acne-prone or very oily skin)
- One part Castor oil, one part Olive OR Jojoba oil (normal skin)
- One part Castor oil, TWO parts olive OR jojoba oil (dry skin)
- One part Castor oil, THREE parts olive/jojoba/evening primrose oil (aging skin)
Even though they’re commonly used for massage, apricot and almond oils are not as good to use for the oil cleansing method, because they don’t absorb INTO our skin as well.
Can I add essential oils to the mix?
It’s actually NOT recommended to do this. While I love essential oils, I don’t want to use them in my oil cleansing blend, because it doesn’t really stay on my skin long enough to gain any major benefits. Also, if you use too much, the scent could be quite overwhelming, especially with the warm washcloth covering your face!
It might take your skin a week or two to get used to this new, uber-natural regime, but your skin will eventually balance out and feel amazing. It’s worth giving the oil-cleansing method a try!