I have started washing my face with oil.I have combination skin; it gets oily in some places and dry/flaky in others, and I consistently have ~1-5 blemishes, in various stages, on my face at any one time. There are so many skin care options out there: soaps, scrubs, toners, moisturizers, foam, gel; and I have tried my fair share, but I have never been impressed with any one particular product. Some will work for awhile, then my skin will adjust and be back to its not-so-happy normal. I'm definitely ready to try something new!
As I was reading about the benefits of coconut oil for skin, I kept encountering "The Oil Cleansing Method," or OCM for short, and the more I read about it, the more it made sense! This method has worked for numerous people with all different skin types... Now I'm giving it a try.
How does the Oil Cleansing Method work?Our skin naturally produces and secretes oil, sebum, because it needs it. Sebum helps lubricate, heal, protect, and moisturize the skin so that it can function properly.
When skin is properly functioning it is clear and beautiful.
Oil alone does not cause blemishes.
Skin blemishes, such as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, etc, are caused by several different factors, including dirt, hormones, dead skin cells, bacteria, and the build-up of these factors on the skin's surface.
One of the most basic principles of chemistry is "like dissolves like." So when you cleanse your face with oil, essentially what you are doing is dissolving all the icky, dirty, build-up oil from your face, wiping it away, and replenishing it with clean, nourishing oil.
This washing with oil will actually keep your face from becoming oily.
Because... When you use harsh chemicals to wash your face, you strip your skin of its sebum, so it goes into overdrive and creates more oil; this is what leads to clogged pores and blemishes.
So, in short, when you think about it: replacing the dirty oil on our faces with good quality oil is the perfect solution to so many of our skin problems… including acne!
Now that you know why, lets discuss the what and how...
What oils work best?Start with Castor oil.
Castor oil is the drawing, cleansing, and purging oil for your pores; it is what will dissolve and cleanse all the dirty build-up, plus it is very antibacterial in nature. It is actually quite drying, so its proportion will depend on your skin type...
It can be found in most grocery stores with a pharmacy section, and is most often sold as a laxative.
The secondary/carrier oil(s) in your cleanser can vary:
Olive - all skin types
Sunflower Seed - all skin types
Grapeseed - all skin types, especially oily
Avocado - dry and aging skin
Jojoba - all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin
Sweet Almond - all skin types, especially oily
Apricot Kernel - dry, aging, and normal skin
The oil cleansing ratio...You know your skin best, so you will determine what ratio works best for you. To begin, it is best to think in thirds:
- Oily skin: Use 2/3 castor oil to 1/3 carrier oil. (For one application: measure out 2 tsp castor oil and 1 tsp carrier oil.)
- Normal skin: Use equal parts castor oil and carrier oil. (Measuring out 1-1/2 tsp castor oil and 1-1/2 tsp carrier oil.)
- Dry skin: Use 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 carrier oil. (Again, 2 tsp carrier oil and 1 tsp castor oil.)
It might be better to start on a “wash-by-wash” basis before mixing a whole bottle of oil together, just in case you want to change up the ratios if you notice your face is becoming too dry or too oily.
These ratios are NOT set in stone, but they’re a great jumping off point.
I mixed up a bottle of 4 oz. Castor Oil, 4 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), and 2-3 drops each of Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils.
How to oil cleanse:
- Prepare. Either mix your oils together ahead of time, or have the bottles ready. Set a clean washcloth beside the sink. Turn the hot water on to warm up.
- Cleanse. Starting with a dirty face (it works great for removing make-up, as well), rinse your face lightly with the warm, running water. Pour a palm-full of oil into your hand and gently apply all over your face. Massage firmly, but gently, always moving upwards, for 2 minutes, and then let the oil sit on your face for ~30 more seconds.
- Rinse. Soak the washcloth in clean, steamy, hot water. You want the water to be warm enough to open your pores and remove the oil (it’s probably going to be hotter than the water you usually rinse your face with). Place the washcloth over your face to steam your skin. As the wash cloth begins to cool, gently wipe the oil and dirt away, this will also help remove any dead skin cells that are stubbornly clinging on. Rinse your washcloth and repeat until you’ve wiped all the oil off your skin. After you have rinsed well, you can either splash your face with cool water to help tone and close your pores, or if your face feels tight, you can moisturize.
According to TheOilCleansingMethod.com:
This deep cleansing method should be done regularly, but not too frequently. You'll know if you're deep cleansing too frequently by the dryness that your skin will exhibit. Don't be surprised if you find you've unblocked an oil flow for the first few days. Once you remove the plugs from your pores, they will begin functioning properly again. Perfect skin won't happen overnight and while it should take a few massages to achieve your goal, you should notice a huge difference in your skin after the first deep cleansing massage. Give your skin a few days to adjust and adapt to being clean and clear of blockages; understand that the new oil coming from your skin is actually a good sign and will balance out very shortly. You'll find redness and irritation subsiding. You'll find your skin losing that "congested," and thick feeling.I have only done this twice so far, the first night was before I had bought the castor oil, so I just used EVOO, and that actually seemed to work quite well for me. The following night, I mixed up my aforementioned bottle of oil cleanser, with the blend of castor oil, EVOO, and essential oils. Afterwards, my face actually felt surprisingly dry and tight, so I moisturized with coconut oil, as I had been doing previously. I will probably ramp up the EVOO in my ratio now... I have noticed that the next morning my face still feels clean, and I haven't felt like it needs to be washed. However, I have been also incorporating raw honey into my face care regimen, but that is a-whole-nother post (if you want to know more, read here and here)! Since I wear makeup almost every day, I will probably continue to wash my face on a nightly basis, but time will tell; hopefully my skin tone will even up, and I will no longer feel the need to wear makeup, then I can adjust my face cleansing accordingly... I will keep y'all updated!
These websites have been very helpful (especially, including the comments from their readers!):
- Crunchy Betty (this site actually has TONS of helpful, natural skin/hair/beauty info)
- Aisha Wood
- One Good Thing by Jillee