Oil cleansing method? What does that mean? Is it a cleaning procedure for dealing with oil? Nope. The oil cleansing method (OCM) is a method of cleaning with oil.
Stay with me. Some of you who have never heard of the oil cleansing method may be confused. After all, haven’t we all been told that oil on our face is basically the root of all evil?
Oil Cleaning Method: A page out of my acne-prone history.
I’ve mentioned my skin woes before. But sometimes I get really frustrated when I think back to all the things my face endured in the name of “curing my acne.” I was put on birth control in high school (don’t even get me started on how angry this makes me now). I tried every cream known to man. Thankfully, I skipped the dreaded Accutane garbage, but only because my poor brother had such a horrific time with it.
But for the sake of this post, let’s just focus on the stuff I was told to put on my face. I tried many brands and types of chemical blemish removers (who knew I could even make my own). And every time I saw a dermatologist I was given a sermon on the importance of keeping my face clean:
Wash twice a day, thoroughly. Use this harsh cleanser. Then apply this harsh toner. Then put on this harsh medication. Then wonder why your skin gets dry, irritated, and won’t clear up. Then take a look at my bill and call me in a few months when you are fed up again.
–My dermatologist (perhaps slightly paraphrased.)
Needless to say, my skin never really healed. Every now and then my acne would appear slightly improved, but then my face was more red, dried out, and painful. It was like I had to choose between blemished skin and flaky skin. Ugh.
Why oil is your friend.
Oil is kind of a big deal for our body. You may remember my post on shampoo and how commercial shampoos strip our scalp of its natural oils which in turn makes our skin produce even more. The result? Greasy hair that needs to be washed every day. Sadness.
Our skin (including our face) needs oil. But once again, most commercial products are bent on scrubbing the oil away clean:
These products strip the oil out of our skin, leaving our largest organ trying to repair itself by replacing the oil stripped away. This leaves us in a cycle of being tight and dry followed by the inevitable oil slick. Each time we strip the oil away, our skin over-compensates for the lack of moisture by creating more oil. (source)
Of course this says nothing about the fragrances and other toxic stuff that is usually inside these products. Not only have some of these toxins been linked to cancer, but they are really rough on our skin.
Enter: The oil cleansing method
Oil cleaning method seems odd at first. I know it seems really counter intuitive to use oil to clean our face. I mean, most of us feel the need to wash our face before bed because we feel really greasy. But think back to your high school chemistry class. What did we learn? That’s right:
Like dissolves like.
In other words, Oil dissolves oil.
The oil cleansing method is such a simple idea. Use oil to get rid of the excess oil. It’s about balancing your skin, not scrubbing it to death. But you really need to try it to believe it.
Because your face will feel awesome.
The first time I tried to oil cleansing method I couldn’t believe how fresh, clean, and soft my skin felt. It was remarkable. Even my husband noticed a difference. Best of all, it’s a really easy process.
The Oil Cleansing Method: How to do it.
The oil cleansing method is usually done before bed. And honestly, I don’t do it every night. Since I stopped wearing makeup I don’t feel like my face gets that dirty. Often a couple of splashes of cold water will do the trick. But then there are days where it’s extra hot, or my kids gets snot all over me, or I just need a pick-me-up. This is where the oil cleansing method really feels luxurious.
Of course, if you do wear make up the oil cleansing method is the perfect way to take your cosmetics off. (yay!)
The Oil Cleansing Method: Choosing your oil blend.
There are a lot of different oils that work for the oil cleansing method. The most common oils are probably a combination of extra virgin olive oil and castor oil. Depending on your skin type you’ll use the following ratio:
- Dry skin: 3:1 ratio olive oil to castor oil
- Normal skin: 1:1 ratio of olive oil to castor oil
- Oily skin: 1:3 ratio olive oil to castor oil
You can also play with different oils. In fact, I don’t know if I can wholly recommend castor oil (from a sustainability standpoint), and would probably recommend starting with just olive oil or some of the following:
- Sweet almond or Grapeseed - Especially suited for oily skin (NOTE: Someone left this warning about Grapeseed oil in the comments: “Please mention that grapeseed oil is not recommended for people with hemophilia. (Read more here).”
- Jojoba - Great for all skin types, but particularly good for acne
- Avocado or Apricot Kernel - Great for dry skin
I’ve also used coconut oil (and JUST coconut oil) with good results. Although some sources say coconut oil with clog pores. I haven’t had any issues, but it is something to consider. Lately I’ve been using just olive oil (in the winter my coconut oil hardens and is a pain to use) and add some essential oils like frankincense and lavender because they make my skin SING.
Combine your oils into in a bottle. Now you are ready to clean.
The Oil Cleansing Method: What you’ll need.
- a soft washcloth
- your oil blend
- hot water
The Oil Cleansing Method: The method.
- Pour a generous puddle of oil into the palm of your hand (a little bit more than the size of a quarter). Rub your hands together to warm the oil up and then smooth it over your face.
- Massage the oil into your face for a couple of minutes. Not only will this remove makeup, dirt, or toddler snot, but it will also help relax the muscles and tone the skin. Take your time, using slow and firm motions, to massage the oil deep into your pores. Take specific care to work any problem areas. Enjoy this time.
- Once you feel like your pores are fully saturated, pick up your washcloth and soak it in clean, hot (but not scolding) water. The warm washcloth will help open your pores and remove the oil. Place the washcloth over your face. Leave it there for 10 – 20 seconds to open the pores.
- Gently wipe the oil away and rinse the washcloth out. Wipe and rinse two or three times until you feel like the excess oil is off your face. Don’t scrub.
- If you skin feels too tight or dry when you are done, take a couple of drops of your oil blend and rub it between your hands. Then simply massage the oil residue onto your face. No need for commercial moisturizers! This is an all-in-one product!
The lazy person’s guide to the oil cleansing method
Just in case the above procedures looks too long and daunting, don’t worry! Basically the whole process for the oil cleansing method can be summed in this simple single sentence direction:
Oil your face, rub it in, and gently wipe it off.
Not as calming as the full length instructions, but even if you don’t have time to deeply massage and bask in the luxuriousness of the full oil cleansing method, using oil for a quick clean still beats out the toxic stuff any day.
Have you done the oil cleansing method? What do you think of it?
This post is part of Sunday School, Make Your Own Monday, Fat Tuesday, Living Green Tuesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Eat Make Grow, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Creative Juice Thursday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Small Footprint Friday, and Monday Mania.