Oil cleansing is one of those things I’d heard people talking about for years before I actually worked up the nerve to try it. Let’s face it, smearing oil on your skin to clean it just seems counter-intuitive. Several years ago, in a fit of boredom, I decided to give it a whirl and I’ve never looked back. After oil cleansing my skin literally felt softer than it has ever felt. Soft and smooth and it looked kind of dewy – you can’t buy that. It was an amazing transformation after oil cleansing just once so for all you skeptics out there who have used every product imaginable and are utterly jaded on the whole “miraculous difference” thing – just wait until you’re having a bored day, and slather up!
Why Does Oil Cleansing Work?
The basic idea behind oil cleansing is that oil is natural to your skin, where soap isn’t. Oil naturally travels deep into your pores, because it’s pretty much what is meant to be in there, where water stays outside because oil and water don’t mix, and they’re already filled with oil. So if your pores are filled with oil (which seems bad) but then you’re adding it on topically (supposed to be good) then what is the real story? Essentially we’re pulling out the gross, dirty oil from your pores and replacing it with oils that are beneficial to your skin and clean so that your skin can stay smooth and soft and lovely. This is great for acne-prone skin, dry skin or combination skin and it’s amazing for anti-aging because it keeps your skin hydrated and nourished.
What Oil Should I Use?
This is where it gets fun because you get to play kitchen chemist. First, let’s start with the base:
Oil Cleansing Base:50% Castor Oil
This base has the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of the castor oil as well as the stability of jojoba oil. It also penetrates deeply into pores because the castor oils ha very small molecules and the jojoba is the most molecularly similar to your skin’s natural sebum. This base by itself is a great mixture and if you’re just starting out and not sure you’ll like it, it’s a great place to start. You can always add things to the mix later on.
Great add-ins for Dry Skin
Kukui nut oil – high in essential fatty acids, readily absorbed into the skin to nourish the deeper layers.
Argan oil – rare, high in vitamin E which absorbs quickly and adds a level of luxury.
Baobab oil – light, rich in vitamins A, E and F which absorbs quickly and is specifically used for hydrating and protecting dry skin.
Sea Buckthorn OIl – exceptionally rich and healing for deeply dry, chapped skin. A small amount goes a long way.
Add-ins for Oily or Blemished Skin
Meadowfoam Seed OIl – healing and nourishing and high in natural salycilates, which reduce inflammation.Hazelnut Oil – highly suited for oily skin because it has astringent properties and helps to reduce excessive oil production.
Great additions for Anti-Aging
Pomegranate Seed Oil – it isn’t hard to imagine that this is highly prized for skin care and nourishes the skin while it provides antioxidant benefits. Promotes skin regeneration.
Rosehip Seed Oil – one of my favorites this is the predominant oil for wrinkled and aging skin.Black Seed Oil – highly nutritive and restoring to the skin. A little goes a long way.
So How Do I Oil Cleanse?
This is the best part:
- Get a headband to pull your hair back because stray hair gets oily really quickly.
- Put a dime sized amount of your oil mix in your palm and use the fingertips of your other hand to gently massage it into your face – don’t forget your lips, under your jaw line and your decollete, those are highly visible areas that often have the same problems as your facial skin, and your lips will just love the moisture. Use gentle upward strokes or light taps to encourage collagen production because god knows we all want more collagen.
- Leave the oil on your skin for five to ten minutes if you have some time, or you can skip straight to washing it off if you’re in a hurry.
- Run a washcloth under super hot water and wring it out then put it over your whole face and use the heat to dissolve and liquify the oil. Don’t scrub, just use the heat to almost steam the oil off your face and wipe up what is left with the still hot washcloth.
- Marvel at the beauty of your newly lovely skin. Seriously, it’s amazing.
- Use a tiny amount of an oil based moisturizer – I love MiraCell Skin Relief and Support (for a premade product) but you can also make a lighter skin oil and use a few drops as a moisturizer. We’ll talk about that in a separate post.
The only part about this that I don’t absolutely love is the washcloths – simply because it’s hard to get the oil out of them. The best trick I’ve found is soaking them in a bowl with baking soda in the water to dissolve the oil before you put them in the washing machine. In general it shortens the lives of wash cloths, but so spectacularly worth it for such lovely skin.
This is a totally different approach to skin care that has entirely changed the way I view soaps, and not for the better. I source all of my carrier oils from Mountain Rose Herbs and keep them in the fridge to prolong their shelf life. I mix up small batches (usually just an ounce at a time) of the facial cleansing oil, and then also end up using it as an after-shower moisturizer because it feels amazing. Typically I use about 80-90% carrier oil, almost always a larger portion of rosehip oil because I’m pretty sure it’s addictive, and then experiment here and there. I love changing it up a little bit and am always trying new combinations. I have added essential oils before, but I honestly like the simple oils better by themselves. I hope you love oil cleansing as much as I do – let me know what you think!