I’ve posted many natural living and natural beauty ideas before, and this is one of the most simple and effective natural beauty tips I’ve ever found.
I admit, I was skeptical before I first tried this oil cleansing method, since my skin is naturally oily and I wasn’t sure it would work for me. I had also had very acne prone skin when I was younger, and was afraid that a method like this would bring back the acne… I was wrong!
What is Oil Cleansing?
Though it sounds somewhat crazy at first, the idea of using natural oils to cleanse the skin gently actually makes a lot of sense. The basic idea of oil cleansing is to use natural oils in specific combination to cleanse the skin and naturally balance the skin’s natural oils. This produces much more nourished and moisturized skin that traditional soap and detergent based facial cleaners. As the website dedicated to the oil cleansing method explains:
“The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.”
Even Acne.org explains the benefits of oil cleansing:
Fact: Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: Other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.
But Does It Work?
This is the part I’m most excited to share! Even in third trimester of pregnancy, when my skin usually goes a little hormone-crazy, I have ZERO breakouts, red pots, or splotches! For the past two months, I’ve been using only oil cleansing (and occasionally, a plain antibacterial microfiber cloth to remove makeup if I don’t need to completely cleanse skin again).
When I first started using Oil Cleansing, I had an adjustment period where my skin got worse for about a week. Most resources I’ve seen suggest that this is a detox reaction as impurities are pulled from the skin, and this is definitely what it seemed to be for me. After that, my skin gradually improved and by 3-4 weeks of using only oil cleansing, I had no excess oil, no dry skin, and no blackheads…
I cringe when I think of the dozens of chemical laden products I used, especially in high school, to try to keep my acne under control! The skin care industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it seems that the best solution is one of the most simple, inexpensive, and easy!
I asked several friends and family members who now use the oil cleansing method how it has worked for them, and they seemed to have the same results. Some even noted that the combination of oil cleansing and taking Gelatin daily has been the best anti-aging treatment they’ve discovered!
Oil Cleansing Ingredients
Want to try Oil Cleansing and see the results for yourself? All you need are a couple of natural oils and a clean wash cloth!
The most common oils used are Castor Oil and Olive Oil, though any natural oil can be used. Castor Oil is naturally astringent, so it helps pull impurities from the skin, making it ideal for oily or combination skin (and even dry skin in lesser amounts). Castor oil should never be used undiluted on the skin, and I always add at least twice the amount of other oil as Castor Oil when making an oil blend.
There is some controversy over the growing practices for Castor Oil (the harvesting and manufacturing exposes workers to a compound that can be toxic, but it is removed in processing), so many people choose to avoid this oil. The finished castor oil is not toxic, so there is no concern there, but for those who don’t want to use it due to its un-sustainable growing practices, hazelnut oil works wonderfully in its place.
My favorite other oil to use is Olive Oil, though sunflower, safflower, or even coconut oils work great.
I get all of the oils I use for oil cleansing from Mountain Rose Herbs, though many local stores might carry them as well. Just look for oils that are cold pressed, organic and pure.
Oil Cleansing Instructions
If you are new to oil cleansing, it may take a couple of tries to figure out what blend of oils works best for you. Personally, I use a mix that is 3/4 olive oil and 1/4 castor or hazelnut oil and it is perfect for my skin. Other articles I’ve seen and friends who also use the method recommend these ratios:
- Oily Skin: 1/3 Castor Oil or Hazelnut Oil and 2/3 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
- Combination Skin: 1/4 Castor or Hazelnut Oil and 3/4 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
- Dry Skin: All nourishing oils like olive oil, or a very small amount of Castor/Hazelnut Oil added to the nourishing oils.
To find out the best blend for you, I recommend starting with the suggested amounts above for your skin type and adjusting if needed. When I started, I mixed up very small batches (1 teaspoon castor oil to 2 teaspoons olive oil, etc) until I figured out the right blend for me.
I’ve also found that even pure coconut oil works great once skin has adjusted, though it can be drying on some skin types. One friend uses a half and half mix of coconut oil and olive oil that she blends in a blender to create a cream, and this works perfectly for you.
To Wash Face With Oil Cleansing
- In the shower or at the bathroom sink, pour about a quarter size amount of the oil blend into your hand and massage into the skin on your face (don’t wet skin first). Use smooth circular strokes and let this also be a gentle facial massage. Massage for at least a minute (two minutes is better) or until you are sure that the oil has saturated your skin. This will also remove make-up very effectively, so there is no need to remove make-up first. You can even leave the oil on the skin for up to 10 minutes to really deep clean pores.
- Place a clean washcloth under very hot tap water (or shower water) until it is completely soaked and quickly wring it out. Open it and place over your face. This will create steam against the skin to remove the oils and any impurities in the skin. Leave the wash cloth on for about a minute, or until it cools. Repeat if needed with the other side of the washcloth and then use the corners of the washcloth to gently remove any remaining oil. There will still be a thin layer of oil on the skin and this is beneficial.
- Typically, no moisturizer is needed after the adjustment period, but if you still have dry skin, try reducing the amount of astringent oil and using a tiny bit of homemade organic lotion to moisturize skin.
Notes on the Oil Cleansing Method
- It is normal for it to take a week or so for skin to adjust, and you may even see more oily skin or more breakouts during this time as impurities leave the skin. If you can, resist the urge to use harsh soaps or facial cleansers during this time, as it will make the adjustment period take longer.
- You will likely have to experiment some to find your perfect ratio.
- If you do this in the shower, make sure to clean your shower floor regularly so it doesn’t get slippery!
Have you ever tried oil cleansing? Did it work for you? What oils and ratios did you use? Share below!