For years, I struggled (and occasionally still do) with problem skin, especially over the colder months. I personally tested many brands and styles of facial cleansers and moisturizers but never gained totally satisfying results. Some products helped with breakouts but left my face dry and flaky (yuck). And others just did nothing. I also disliked the idea of all the harsh chemicals. Skin burning and eye watering were not a fun part of my daily routine.
I was nervous to try something new. Natural methods will never work as well, right? What if I break out horribly?!
Two winters ago, I decided that I couldn’t deal with synthetic products that left my face sore and that I needed to try something new. I tried the oil cleansing method. I will never go back to synthetic face products again!
I started super basic. Coconut oil. Yep, I know, slathering oil on your face causes more breakouts, right?
Actually, the oil cleansing method is awesome because the oil helps to dissolve and unclog pores while also moisturizing your skin. And the addition of oil (instead of stripping the skin of natural oils like commercial face products are designed to do) makes your body produce less oil. Less oil produced = fewer clogged pores. As an added bonus, coconut oil works really well at removing make-up (though, not the water proof kind).
I love the simplicity of the oil cleansing method. The only supplies you need are your oils of choice, a clean rag, and warm water.
- Rub about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of oil between the palms of your hands
- Gently apply and massage the oil (in little circles) onto your face
- Breathe in and out, relax, and give yourself a mini-facial
- Once you’re done with your facial, wet the rag with warm water and then wring it out
- Gently wipe the oil (and make-up) off, and repeat steps 4 and 5 until you’re satisfied
Presto! You’re done. Enjoy your clean and healthy face.
Now, what oil or oils can we use? I started with coconut oil because it’s readily available, it smells good, and I can eat it if I get hungry. But there are a lot of other nourishing oils to try. Like with everything, it’s a journey to finding out what works best for your body. Below are some common oils and usage suggestions.
For naturally oily skin, try oils with a higher percentage of linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is great at unclogging pores. Store these oils in the refrigerator so they do not go rancid. Some common ones include safflower oil and grape seed oil.
Oils that contain higher amounts of oleic acids are ideal for dry skin. Oils higher in oleic acids are heavier, dry slower, and are absorbed well by dry, thirsty skin. Some good oils to try are olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and avocado oil.
For extremely dry skin, you can try coconut oil and plant butters. Shea butter, mango butter, and cocoa butter will give you super smooth skin due to their high amounts of palmitic acid. With the butters, watch out for clogged pores.
For those of you with combination skin (dry and oily patches), choose an oil with an even amount of linoleic acid and oleic acid such as sweet almond oil, argan oil, apricot kernel oil, sesame oil, or rose hip seed oil. These oils are more balanced for combination skin types.
I don’t want to forget to mention jojoba oil. Jojoba oil contains low amounts of oleic and linoleic acids but it is amazing for the skin because it most closely resembles our natural skin oils. Jojoba oil reduces inflammation, breaks up plugs in clogged pores over a few weeks, and reduces the production of sebum (oil and waxy matter produced by our skin glands). This oil is great for all skin types and especially beneficial for acne-prone skin. Personally, I do not use jojoba oil for face cleansing but I do use it in my face moisturizer.
Also, you can mix oils to meet your needs and even add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for added benefit. Essential oils have been used for centuries as a natural way to heal wounds, clear skin infections, and to balance the skin. The antimicrobial properties of tea tree essential oil combined with the anti-inflammatory characteristics of eucalyptus essential oil make them great choices. Lemon essential oil (which I use in my nighttime moisturizer) is great at brightening your skin. If you do choose to add some lemon essential oil, avoid direct sunlight or use it under a foundation that contains protection from sunlight.
Some people prefer to infuse herbs into their oils to add healing properties. I have only worked with calendula blooms but will be incorporating other beneficial herbs in the future. This past summer, I grew calendula flowers to dry and infuse into organic extra virgin olive oil. I enjoyed using a flower that I grew because I knew that the flowers were clean and chemical free. The calendula-infused organic olive oil gently imparts antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties to the oil and is well suited for soothing a variety of skin-related complaints.
If you’re considering using oils for cleansing or moisturizing, choose one oil and try it out for at least two weeks. Pretty soon, you’ll have more balanced and comfortable feeling skin. The possibilities are endless.
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