I haven’t used commercial face wash in over a year now. I’ve become very conscious of what I put on my skin shortly after I started eating a cleaner and healthier diet, because I think those two things go hand in hand.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it absorbs everything you put on it. A study looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water, and it showed that we absorb an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage through our skin! Not only does this impact just the way we look on the outside, it causes damage to our internal organs and our overall wellbeing. The more I learned about how porous our skin is, I’ve naturally started steering way from purchasing commercial skin care and cleaning products filled with toxic chemicals and fragrances, and try to make everything at home. My general rule is: Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.
What is the oil cleansing method?
One of the first natural facial care methods that I came across was the oil cleansing method. It is a simple concept of cleaning your skin using natural oils. Like dissolves like, and when you use the right oils to massage your skin, it loosens up the oil on your skin, as well as the impurities stuck in your pores. After massaging, you steam your face with a hot wet towel which opens up your pores and cleans them out, while replacing these impurities with the beneficial oils to balance out the moisture.
What type(s) of skin is it good for?
Oil cleansing works for all types of skin! Depending on your skin type, you may want to try different types of oils, but it’s a safe and gentle cleansing method great for even acne-prone skin. Just by removing commercial products, you are giving your skin a break it deserves from sulfates, parabens, fragrances, and other hard-to-pronounce chemicals. You may go through an adjustment period at first, when your skin actually detoxes these impurities that have been built up. You may experience acne, rashes, blackheads, or oily skin in the first week. This is totally normal and should go away within a week or 2.
What oil(s) should I use?
There are several oils that are great for oil cleansing, and you may want to experiment with which ones work for you the best depending on your skin type. Some options are: coconut, castor, almond, sunflower, jojoba, avocado, and oilve oil. Castor oil is deeply cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and great as a base oil to start out with, but it can also be drying for your skin so it works well for combination to oily skin. If your skin is on the dry side (like me), you may want to mix it with other oils like avocado or olive oil and find the right ratio, or just use another oil altogether. I usually use 70% avocado and 30% castor oil, but switch to 100% olive oil during the drier months.
When you first start out, I suggest the ratio of 50% castor oil and 50% olive or avocado oil, then you can adjust it from there. Whatever oils you choose, I highly recommend you use high quality, organic oils because it really does make a difference in the effectiveness of oil cleansing.
My personal experience
When I first started oil cleansing, I went through a detox period in the first week when I broke out on my chin a lot. However, this went away after the adjustment period, and my skin is healthier than it’s ever been. My skin on the dry side, but after I started oil cleansing, the moisture level has increased and I rarely get acne anymore which I used to get quite frequently. I only wash my face once a day with the oil cleansing method and it’s enough to keep my skin healthy and radiant. I also love that I don’t have to use a makeup remover anymore, because oil cleansing removes it all effectively.
As a side note, your skin health is also heavily dependent on your diet. You can’t expect to have glowing skin just by oil cleansing if you are still eating sugar and processed foods daily. By keeping a whole-food, nutrient-dense diet, full of quality protein and a wide assortment of vegetables and fruits, you’ll be able to control your inflammation and health from the inside out. As Robert Urlich put it, “A healthy outside starts from the inside.”
- A mixture of high-quality oils* (Start with 50/50 of castor oil to another type of oil like, coconut, almond, sunflower, jojoba, avocado, or oilve oil)
- Clean washcloth
- Starting with a dry face, take 1 tsp of oil mixture and massage gently on to your face for 2-3 minutes.**
- Soak a clean washcloth under running water that is as hot as you can handle, then wring it out.
- Place the wet washcloth over your face, leave it there to steam and to open up your pores, until the washcloth cools to room temperature.
- Wipe away the excess oils gently with the washcloth, and repeat the steaming process with the other side if necessary.
- Some oil will remain on the skin, which is normal and beneficial for your skin. There's no need to moisturize after oil cleansing, but you may choose to do so if you feel like your skin needs it.
**Oil cleansing will also remove makeup effectively, so no need to remove it prior to using this method.