This by far is the most “granola” thing I have done in the last year: the oil cleanse method. What is it, you ask?
The oil cleanse method is simply this: Instead of regular soap or cleansers, you mix together various high quality plant oils and wash your face with. Your FACE, you cleanse your FACE by smearing oil all over it. I kid you not.
Before you think I’ve completely lost my marbles, if you think back to what you learned in high school chemistry, like dissolves like. So while it may seem counter-intuitive to cleanse dirty, greasy skin with more oil, it does in fact make sense. The good, clean oil dissolves all yucky, dirty oil, allowing it to be rinsed away, leaving your skin soft and healthy. What is counter-intuitive in my view, is that your skin creates and releases oil on purpose, to keep your skin moisturized. If you rinse away all that oil via harsh cleansers, the body’s natural reaction is to create and release more oil. More oil, more potential for clogged pores and dull skin. It’s a vicious cycle.
The idea of “washing” your face with oil is not a new one, there are high end skin care products lines that specialize in this type of treatment and have been around for years. But it wasn’t until about a year ago that I found out you can create your own custom oil cleanse system at home.
I’m going to give you links to a couple different articles that cover this topic in depth, I don’t want to rewrite what these authors have already gone and done, but I will share my experience after the links:
Here are the basic ingredients:
Cleansing Oil- this is the cleansing part of your potion. Castor oil is the most popular cleansing oil. Castor oil is actually very astringent and can make your face feel dry if you use only castor oil so be sure to read the articles to get the right ratio of oils for your skin type. Other good cleansing oils are olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond, avocado & more.
Carrier Oils- these oils, or any combination of them, make up the rest of your cleansing potion. These are the oils that replenish your skin, leave it feeling silky and moisturized.
Xtras- some people like to add a little scent to their potion with essential oils. You only need a couple drops! Some great scents to try are lavender, rosemary, and citrus.
Here are the basic ratios:
Depending on your special skin needs, you might have to play around with the ratios of cleansing oils to carrier oils but you
can start out with these ratios below.
Normal Skin: 1:1 cleansing oil to carrier oil
Oily Skin: 3:1 cleansing oil to carrier oil
Dry Skin: 1:3 cleansing oil to carrier oil
Here is the basic method:
After you have mixed your oils, squeeze out about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of oil into the palm of your hand and rub gently in between your palms to warm. Rub the oil mixture directly onto your skin and massage gently for a minute or two. Next, get a washrag or flannel cloth wet with hot water, hot enough to really warm up your face but still cool enough that you don’t burn yourself! Lay the rag over your face and let the steam do it’s magic. After the rag has become room temperature, gently wipe off the oil and if you have time, get the rag wet again and steam one more time. Gently wipe off any remaining oil. Clean, moisturized skin remains!
So that’s the basic method, here is what I do:
I have combination skin, some weird dry patches and large pores so I mixed just slightly more than half castor oil with a combination of jojoba and sweet almond oil to fill the rest of the bottle. I chose jojoba because it’s supposed to be good for acne-prone skin and sweet almond because it also is good for oily skin. I also toss in about 10 drops of tea tree oil for the anti-bacterial qualities it has.
I am often in a rush, so I don’t always have time to “steam” as long as I should but it doesn’t seem to matter. Since starting the oil cleanse method my skin seems less confused. My Latino skin has never really been short on oil, but it definitely used to over-produce oil and I don’t seem to have that problem anymore. Also, the dry patches I occasionally fight with have greatly improved.
For me, I have to be careful not get the oils on my neck area or at least rinse really well if I do and even apply a little witch hazel or other toner just to make sure my pores don't get plugged.
My mother used to rinse her face every night with apple cider vinegar and cold water and I find that if my skin is feeling… overly moisturized or “thick”, a good rinse with apple cider vinegar and cold water does the trick. It’s a natural toner. Witch hazel will also tone your skin naturally.
I only use the oil cleanse method about once a day, usually at night. The rest of the time, I just “rinse” with a little warm water and if I feel like I need moisturizer I will take just a couple drops of my oils and rub into my skin. I do still like Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer, it’s so light, so sometimes I will mix a drop of oil into that and massage into my face. I find it a little awkward to travel with my oils so the Dramatically Different is good in a pinch. I need to get a reliable bottle to carry my cleansing oil in when I travel. Oh, and I don’t use the oils in the shower. I use whatever body wash I have on hand but when I get out of the shower I immediately massage in a drop or two of my cleansing oils to make sure my skin doesn’t get confused.
It took about 2 weeks for my face to get used to the new method but once it did I realized I would never go back to traditional cleansers. I would like to experiment a little more with my ratios and maybe get some aromatic essential oils to make it even more of a spa-like-treatment.
One important word of advise: whatever you do, DO NOT use coconut oil in this method! I made that mistake once and it was a disaster. Coconut oil, while a great body moisturizer, is comedogenic. That means it will clog your pores and can cause major breakouts. I learned that one the hard way.
Before you dive into this method, please the read the 2 articles above to get the particulars down. I would definitely recommend it for dry skin. I would definitely recommend it for combination skin. If you are acne prone, I would recommend it but with the disclaimer that you need to use your noggin. If you think it’s making your acne worse, give it up. I have read testimonials of people with acne who tried the method and wear by it but I have also read testimonials of people who couldn’t find a ratio of oils that worked for them.
Let me know what you think!